Goodbye Poppy

After crying most of the day at work yesterday, for reasons which I’ll tell you about sometime soon, I ended up staying back late to calm down and finish off a report that I’d neglected whilst I was too busy sobbing.

When I looked up from my computer screen, I realised that it was almost dark and that I should be headed home. Finally feeling like my eyes were dry, I walked to the carpark, hopped into my car and was about to turn the key in the engine when my phone pinged to let me know I’d received a text message. I reached over and snatched it out of my handbag, glanced quickly at the screen and my stomach immediately dropped.

One new text message from Will

Will is my father-in-law. Was my father-in-law. Often over the past years I’ve felt closer to him than I have to my own father. He and his wife Mary (Doug’s stepmother) have always provided Doug and I with unconditonal support and always made me feel so welcome in the family.

Will was always my favourite in Doug’s family, and maybe one of my favourite people in the whole world.  We call him Poppy Will because he is grandfather to Doug’s nieces. I’d been so heartbroken that he hadn’t been in contact with me these past two months, and even went as far as to unfriend him on Facebook because I felt so rejected.

But suddenly there was this text. Finally, the contact I had been craving. But I had no idea what Will was going to say to me. I was worried he was going to say horrible things. My hands were trembling as I swiped to unlock my phone and click on the message.

Hi Sadie. Mary and I would just like to say we are sorry for the way things have turned out, and we apologise for not getting in contact sooner. It’s so hard as a parent to accept this kind of situation, especially when you become fond of your child’s partner. Please know that we will always wish you well. Love Will and Mary.

And that was all it took for the waterworks to start again. You’d think I’d eventually run out of tears, but apparently my body is extremely efficient at producing them. I cried non stop the whole way home from work. Huge, noisy crying. Shrieky crying. The kind of crying you hear from an overtired four year old at the end of the day when they’re told they can’t have ice cream for dinner.

At one stage I pulled up at a red light and glanced over at the car stopped next to me. The guy driving was gawking at me with his mouth hanging right open. How horrifically embarrassing. I must have looked awful.

When I arrived home I went straight up to my bedroom and collapsed on the bed in a fit of hysterical tears. I couldn’t even think straight. I was crying so much I was dry heaving.

My brother, who was getting ready to leave for his shift at the hospital, came upstairs and looked honestly shocked at the state of me. He asked me what was wrong, but I was too hysterical to even respond. Not knowing what else to do, he started dancing in my bedroom. Really stupid dance moves like the running man and sprinkler. Then he grabbed my dog and started dancing around the room with him, making him do the YMCA with his front paws. He was trying very hard to make me laugh, but I was just so upset.

Eventually I stopped crying and just lay there, staring at the ceiling. My brother went to work soon afterwards, but he must have contacted my mother because she knocked on the door a few minutes later.

While she was downstairs cleaning up the kitchen, I sent a response to Will. I wanted to express my emotions to him in a way that he would understand, without resorting to anything petty like telling him that Doug has cut me off financially or not offered to help around the house.

Hi Will. Thank you for your message, you will never know how much I truly appreciate it. I have really wanted to reach out to you but wasn’t sure if I was able to. I want to thank you and Mary so much for always making me feel welcome and like I was part of your family. I just want you to know that I am completely devastated by Doug’s choice and never wanted this to happen. I will always love him very much just as I will always love our children. I carry them in my heart always. My only dream in life was to have a family with Doug that we could hold in our arms and watch grow up as we grew old together. I am beside myself with grief because my dream will never be a reality now. I think of you guys all the time and miss Layla and Amy every single day. I will always cherish the few years I got to be an aunty to those beautiful girls. I wish you and everyone in the family so much happiness and I count myself lucky that I was given the opportunity to know you. I couldn’t have asked for a better father-in-law. Love always, Sadie xx.

After I sent it, I finally felt composed enough to go downstairs to see my mother. We made some dinner together, I ate a little, and then we watched some television. I didn’t receive another text message from Will and I honestly didn’t expect to.

I felt torn emotionally. On the one hand, I was glad that I’d finally been given an opportunity to say my piece. I was able to tell someone in Doug’s family that this whole mess had nothing to do with me. And I really wanted them to understand that I am a victim, and I miss my nieces, and I have had so much taken from me. I have no idea what awful lies he has told them and I’m glad I was finally given a chance to have any kind of input.

But on the other hand I was so very sad. When Will had texted me, I felt like he’d opened up an old door and now I was having to close it again. That lovely man is not going to be in my life anymore. I will no longer have a father-in-law. I felt so crushed and lost again. That was it. That was my opportunity. And now it was gone, and over. Finished.

After my mother left I didn’t want to be alone in the house so I took myself to the gym. I’d been running on the treadmill for maybe five minutes when my nose started bleeding and I had to rush to the bathrooms to clean myself up. I don’t really think my body is physically coping very well with the rollercoaster of emotions in my life. I felt so crap about myself because I couldn’t even finish my work-out.

This morning, unexpectedly, I received another message from Will.

All I can say darling is thank you for your kind words. Life deals us shit sometimes, but I know you will find happiness in the future. I did when I thought it was impossible, and as you know Mary is beautiful. What you guys have been through in your short lives is so unfair, but you have amazing strength. More than I. Lean on your family for support Sadie, for I can tell that they will always be there for you. Take it from an old man – time heals. I know you don’t want to hear that but it does. At the same time I want you to know that I feel your pain. Take care beautiful strong Sadie.

It was such a sweet and caring message. I didn’t cry but my stomach has been in knots all day because I’ve felt so emotional about it all.

I didn’t respond to the message and I’m not going to either. I don’t think there’s anything left to say. It’s not like Will and I can maintain any sort of real relationship without him feeling like he has betrayed his son. So I’m just going to leave it as it is.

I love that man so much and I will miss him so greatly. My world will be a darker place because he is no longer part of it. He really would have made an amazing grandfather to my children.

I wish, I wish, I wish that things had turned out differently. I wish, I wish, I wish that I could go back in time and magic away these past months. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am living inside a nightmare and I can never wake up from it.

Goodbye Poppy Will.

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6 thoughts on “Goodbye Poppy

  1. I’m so glad he finally reached out to you. I found it very difficult contacting my brother in law after he and my sister left so I can relate to how dougs family (the nicer ones anyway!) must be feeling. It sounds like he truly thought the world of you.

    Sorry to hear you’ve received more bad news. Be strong, I hope you can power through whatever it may be

  2. Now you have me crying in my office… What a beautiful and unexpected opportunity for some closure. I think that what you wrote was perfect for what you wanted to communicate and I hope that the exchange gives you a small comfort. Just keep living… It will get better.

  3. It must be so hard to lose all of these people in your life at once. It’s a very, very heartbreaking and difficult thing. Maybe you’re already going to counseling, but I would suggest a grief group as well. My friend who recently lost her mother and brother within a few months of each other goes to one, and she says it might be what helps the most. I know it helped me immensely to talk to other people who went through miscarriages after I had mine, and I think talking to people who “get it” can really help.
    That being said, you need to grieve/mourn these losses before you can truly heal. Don’t put pressure on yourself to hurry up & heal. I know it hurts, but like gradualchanges said… just keep living. You’ll eventually start to notice the pain is a little less raw, and you smile a little more often.
    I’m so sorry you have to go through this.

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