Today marks the 1-year anniversary of me separating from my wife.
While she was with our daughter and her friends 90 miles away, I was loading my life into the back of a transit van, moving into a distant flat against my will because my wife ‘loved’ someone else. Such is life.
That probably wasn’t entirely the case, as the subsequent suicide threat and hospitalisation suggests, but will still be closer to the truth than I ever dare tell anyone, ever, including those who pretty much know the whole story from start to finish. My wife was diagnosed with severe depression with bipolar tendancies. Knowing what I now know about this, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
Anyway, the details are not important at this time.
A lot of people have helped me though the past year. It’s generally known that when shit like this kicks off you find out who your friends are. Well you know what? I certainly did. A few who I thought would be there for me, were: one despite being compromised in a way. A few who I thought would be, were not. This hurt a lot, but sod ’em. People who I would class as recent friends who actually knew to a greater degre what was going on a long time before I did, but chose, for whatever reason, to not let me know. I can appreciate not wanting to get involved, but when you are told that [wife] is in love with [another (married) man] it’s a simple courtesy to let [husband] know really. Just my opinion, of course.
But the surprise, in a way, was Twitter. My Facebook profile is locked down to friends only (close friends and meaningful friends of friends,) about as much as Facebook can be, many of whom were utterly awesome and the rest wonderful. But, my Twitter account was public and contained people across the world, many of whom I didn’t know from Adam. When I separated, I un-followed my wife and protected my tweets, removing a fair number of followers who I considered her friends and other accounts I considered compromised in some way, or dull. I then tweeted and retweeted the general life shit just like everyone else does on Twitter, and poured my heart out in the depths of the night when I felt at my most alone.
And you know what? A fair few Twitter peeps came to my assistance. In different ways, using different means, but help nontheless. Facebook has trivialised the meaning of ‘friend’, however I believe I made a few friends thanks to Twitter, many of which I have never met, but some I have. I am not going to name names here, as I will post this blog post on Twitter, Facebook et al and the people I am referring to will most likely pick up on it, read this, and quickly realise I am talking about them, however a little gerneral detail will suffice:
- A friend I came into contact with for two reasons, 1. due to the name of a sci-fi story I had just that day finished reading, and 2. via the FOSS Moodle project. They were also going through some tough times and I’d like to think we helped each other out a bit, tho I do’t know how much I helped them, to be honest.
- A couple of people I know through Twitter, again through use of Moodle, came to my assistance. Both of these peope I subsequently met, albeit briefly, in real life and were lovely, deep people. (Somehow I did not consider that people other than myself have their own complex lifes to deal with: part of my selfishness and naivety I suppose.) Sadly I did not take up the invite to one of the UK’s summer festivals, but I was deeply grateful for the offer and tenacious persuasion which I (somehow) avoided. Thanks for that. But from the other I did take the idea that “everyone needs more happiness in their lives”. I think about that almost daily.
- Some of my oldest friends came to my assistance in various ways, but I learned that out of sight can so easily equal out of mind.
- Some friends who I did not even think were aware of what was going on, stepped in briefly to voice their support and opinions. This quite surprised and shocked me to a point, as it challenged my point of view rationally and calmly and made me take a step back and think about things.
- And some local and distant friends I didn’t know I had were so fundamental to my wellbeing and by association that of Little (and my wife) that I can never ever thank them enough.
Family I will leave out of this post due to sensitivities that still strongly exist due to my wife’s ill mental health. But thanks are due to them all, too.
This is the barest summary of the past year: so many people came out of the woodwork as it were, with a ‘cheer up’ or a ‘get over it’ (but generally positive, it has to be said), and many of these people I cannot hand-on-heart call friends, but will now always be fondly recalled.
I would also like to say a thank you to Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits (and my dad for introducing me to them at an early age). During the first weeks of my split, I had a computer but no internet connection and no television, so I read books, listened to music, and kinda wondered what the fuck just happened. (Soppy emotional states and rantings about said situation have been omitted from this post.) I forget the books (I read a lot) but one of the tracks I played over and over was Why Worry (older live version on YouTube here, Spotify link here) from their brilliant album Brothers in Arms. That song has always reminded me of Christmas for reasons which escape me, and as Christmas was coming up quckly and I/we had Little to consider, it was going to suck so hard. This song somehow helped me through. For reference, here’s the chorus:
Why worry, there should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now
Man, so much more I want to write about this. Best leave most of it unaired I think. At 3am and full of dry white South African wine, my judgement is probably not at it’s best (although my spelling and grammar appear to have survived mostly intact).
So, that’ll do.
I’d like to finish with a short lyric from my favourite band, which already had a special place in my heart for other reasons both positive and negative, and address it to all my friends, both local and distant, past and present, whether they were a guiding light in the last 18 months, or just sat on the sidelines with popcorn and watched events unfold either because they didn’t want to get involved or there was nothing more interesting going on:
Love ya mate.