* * * * * *

You know what I remember most about Mass General?

The gift shop.

For some inexplicable reason, the Mass General gift shop is one of the coolest little (well, not so little, even) stores I’ve ever seen. In addition to the regular hospital gift shop fare (mylar balloons and Tylenol), they had house stuff and games and decorative items and jewelry and hair trinkets and all sorts of neato things.

I remember being sad about the plates or placemats or lampshades or something like that. Sad because they were so funky and cute and would have been perfect for a funky little apartment in a city somewhere. I would never have that, and it made me wistful.

But I had bigger issues. There was a greater good.

* * * * * *

Finally she was well enough to go back to New Hampshire. She was stable enough, even with all the tubes and everything, to stay in the hospital there and not be too great a strain on their resources.

So after a few days (weeks?) of being in Connecticut and showing the house to prospective buyers, we made the trek back to New Hampshire.

There was nothing good. There was no way to make it okay in my head. I didn’t have any experience with this sort of thing. Everything wasn’t, actually, going to be okay.

I half started regretting selling the house. I sort of wanted something safe and stable now. I needed something comforting. I was grateful for my rock of a husband, who kept taking my moodiness, my unhappiness in stride and pushed on through anyway. He was willing to do what it took to make it work.

My mother was not really any better. Still on a lot of morphine, still not totally aware of what was going on. And the lucid moments were worse. She’d complain, she’d be in pain, she’d need constant care and tending and yet nothing made her feel better.

It was officially summer and it was officially, grossly hot. Humid. Disgusting.
[People say they leave the Northeast because of the winter weather. Not for me. If I never have to live with the Northeast’s suffocating blanket of impossible humidity again, that’d be swell.]

Staying in my parents’ house was not a joyous thing. The house was old and crumbling and dirty. My parents’ dogs were old and incontinent and my father did not have it in him to be housekeeper. None of the rest of us did, either. I didn’t want to clean the house – my mom’s house. My mom’s stuff. My mom’s responsibility. Fucking hell.

Where is she? She should be doing this. I have my own God damned house to keep spotless so that asshole strangers can roam through it. I can’t deal with this mess, too.

Everything! Go back to how you are supposed to be! Right now!

God, so much crying. So much to be unhappy about. My whole world was shifting. How could I not have a mother? You've got to be kidding me.

* * * * * *

David and I fought in New Hampshire. I don’t even know about what. Everything? Nothing?

Dave had to get back to Connecticut to look for work or do some consulting or something (I was able to do my work wherever I was), and I was going to stay another week. We agreed it would be a good idea, and maybe I should do some thinking about us. The house-selling didn’t seem to do the trick overnight. I was still really unhappy. I couldn’t tell why, but was pretty sure I was taking my anxiety over my mother out on my husband. It happens.

I know the night before he returned to Connecticut had been tearful. I drank a lot. It was too hot. David found some washcloths and dipped them in cool water and patted me down with them. He rested one over my eyes and a couple over my wrists. I remember the dampness from the washcloth mixing with my warm tears and making me feel better.

That was the last night I’d ever spend in bed with my husband, and I had no idea.

* * * * * *

Was it a day later? Two? Three? I’d spent the day at the hospital and the evening at the bar. The day had been very bad. My mom was as uncomfortable and fussy as I had ever seen her, and I literally felt my heart break as I continued to watch her from the shore.

Later that night, David called. Or I called him. We were on the phone and almost immediately and accusingly he asked if I had spent any time thinking about us. I said no, I hadn’t, my heart and mind had been otherwise occupied.

And for once, rather than understand, he got angry. I was shocked at his insensitivity. Where did it come from?

And then he told me it was over.


Just like that.

I told him no.

He said yes.

I said no.

I cried, screamed, and sat dumbstruck and in complete shock and disbelief and sobbed and screamed and sobbed some more and kept saying no.


This was not. No. It could not be. No. This man, this rock, this guy who just…No. He never ever ever suggested ever ever in a million years that he might go. That he was considering leaving. No.

I begged and pleaded with him for a couple hours until he shut me off. I stayed up until I heaved myself to sleep. I woke up early and sat in my parents’ empty living room.

All I could hear myself saying in my head, over and over, was:

My mother is dying and my husband left me over the phone. No. This cannot be happening. Just, no.


  1. I've been reading your story with much interest but haven't commented until now.

    My marriage fell apart shortly after a family crisis, too, and I had been intrigued by the parallels in your story to mine... until now.

    Who DOES that? No matter how much you may or may not have deserved it, a person does not tell his wife it's over when her mother is dying. That is absolutely inexcusable. Unforgivable. Very possibly the worst thing I have ever heard in my life.

    P.S. You are very brave and a very good writer...

  2. thank you, edsg.

    i have tried to be careful and as even as possible about this. i know i must have been wretched to live with. i know it.

    and yet still.

  3. Oh. My god. dess.

    I want to bring you to a bar and buy you 15 martinis right now.

  4. I SO did not see THAT coming...I SO thought it would be the other way around...I am going to wait until I read the rest of the story to form an opinion of David, but its not looking too great right now.


  5. It amazes me how you always have and continue to portray david as such a great guy. Throughout these horrible emotional stories, I don't think you've said a single negative thing about him

    Seriously, that really shows your character

  6. Oh, Jeez k.

    I know only what you've described, and while I can't imagine that you or him were happy the way things were, or that you were easy to be around, or that the situation made things better, but Jesus in a sidecar, you'd think he'd wait it out until you were a bit stronger to handle a divorce. asshat.

    I'm totally going to mooch off of Caroline's martini offer too while we're at it, or hell, my cousin's boyfriend is a bartender. His cosmos. Ohmy, the best.

  7. I'm so pissed off I could spit.

  8. Oh, lordy. I know that every time I post a comment on your blog that I seem to go off on a tangent about what you remind me of in my own life. You have that effect on people -- on me, anyway -- of writing about a scenario with such painful clarity that it lands like a thunk in the pit of my stomach like a hard reality that *I* have just swallowed.

    Today, you reminded me of when my first husband -- after four years of dating and then four years of marriage -- took me home to my mom's house for Thanksgiving and proceeded to end our eight-year relationship by telling me on a car ride why he couldn't be married to me anymore. He actually gave me a list of seven areas in which I was to improve if I wished to retain the privilege of remaining married to him -- and in his earnest little discussion he even had them categorized (two major problem areas and five minor ones). I remember feeling a horrible urge to cry and laugh at the same time, and I wondered if he had a little progress chart and a packet of gold stars tucked away for me somewhere. My response was to listen carefully, look thoughtful, and quietly say no thanks. The crying and puking and sorrow and bereft feelings came later. And the rage, when I found out from a mutual friend that he'd blabbed about the divorce before he even told *me* about it. (Before that, I remember a fight when he was castigating me for not feeding the dog while I was home and very sick. And the time when he thought I was writing in my journal just to piss him off, as if everything was about him.) I think after a while they just demonize you so they can cut their own losses and stop their own pain; they don't think about the circumstances or the timing. Thanks-freakin-giving weekend. I think about him -- appropriately enough -- every time I see a Thanksgiving turkey now.

    Some people ...

  9. Kristy, thank you for writing this story. I've been rabidly checking for each next installment. As for David, everyone has their breaking point. While I don't think doing it over the phone was the nicest thing, maybe that's the only way he could get up the courage to actually do it.

  10. wow. wow wow wow. i, like everyone else, did not see that coming. i feel, like everyone else, that i have so many similarities and i have often thought that my husband would never ever leave me. wow. i wonder if a future installment will make you grateful to him for making the decision.
    can i again thank you for sharing! you are a very brave person, as well as an excellent writer.

  11. Carolyn, how very Jessica Simpson of him.

  12. Thank God you post, like, 8 times a day. I really really don't know how I would not spontaniously combust if you didn't.
    You're an amazing writer.

  13. God, what a shocker. Hit me right out of left field. Even though you weren't happy, you were still devastated when he ended it. Even though I left my marriage emotionally long before my ex did, isn't it weird how hurt I was when he finally did? Even though I didn't want to be in the relationship? Once again, thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone in the universe.

  14. I was on the phone with you, Kiki, and Dave had just done the unimaginable -- and you had to call me back because there was a "situation" with Jane and a "bug" of some sort (was it a spider?)... We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So many pieces to the story (many of which we'll never know or understand). So many people affected by so many emotions. So many layers of life intersecting and smashing into each other, like plates that ultimately cause an earthquake. I knew the players and was aware of the events, yet, as your best pal said to me, "It's as if we've read the book and now we're glued to the movie." You are astounding.

  15. Oh. My. God. I've sometimes wondered how you got to be as strong and independent as you come across in your blog, and now I know.

  16. It's such an easy way out for him. He, doesn't want to hurt you when you're feeling well, so why not pour it on while you're already down. It totally sucks, and its probably a subconscious reaction and not a planned event, but its logical. I think its got to be a common occurence. Wait until someone is already down, then announce your separation, so they only have to be devestated once. Its a total dick maneuver, but I bet its pretty common.

  17. I must say your life is more gripping than "A Million Little Pieces." (And I mean that in a way that one would say it before all the Oprah hoop-la and law suits and stuff.)

    I feel like you are the creator of a new kind of media. Although blogs have been around for a couple years, I have yet to see one as spell-binding as yours. It is as if you have mixed a written memoir-book and a blog. I can't wait to get to work so I can read the next chapter. You are an amazing writer.

    And let me tell you how great it is to know that although you have gone through so much heartache and sadness, (although I'm only a meer IIF) you seem to have turned out to be ok on the other side of all of it. You are an inspiration.

  18. not to be all meta or anything, but any time one of you says, "you make me feel like i'm not alone" it makes me feel like i'm not alone, either.

    it has been somewhat cathartic, but i've told these bits and pieces of the story so many times, it's not that it's gone untold. but having it written and seeing it on a permanent "page" -- THAT is new. it sort of makes it feel like all this stuff isn't inside me anymore, it's outside. (Dumbledore's Pensieve.) it's freeing.

    thank you all for sharing your stories, too.

    cosmos all around. :)

  19. Ok, this is the smallest smallest part of your story, but I DID have to leave the NE because of the summers. 3 feet of snow? Not cool, but OK. 90 degrees with 90% humidity? NEVER AGAIN!

  20. My heart has been tugged at over and over by your story... we all have pain and suffereing in our lives and somehow it seems a little better when you hear how someone else is in the same boat as you... not everyone's life if perfect and just yours that sucks... thank you for sharing all of this and letting us know we're not alone.

    On the flip side... I'm having major internal issues with this entry... I've been on both ends... I know what it's like to be dropped by someone you care about at the time when you need them most... but I also completely understand just not being able to take anymore. It's horrible what David did... but I've done it too, maybe not to the severity of a mother's death... but I have attempted to cut someone off from my life at a time when they were suicidal and depressed... I regret it 100% now, but at the time... it was breaking me down being the rock. it was making me weaker and weaker day in and day out and i couldn't take it anymore... it's time like this when you have to make a choice... Do I do what's good for me? or do I do what's good for someone else? ... I grew so used to doing what was good for someone else, that I felt I owed it to myself to do what ws good for me...

    i'm not trying to justify what I or David did... just ... letting out some thoughts.

  21. I...I don't have words. I feel as if this is unfolding in real time and even though I can see the inevitable coming it hits me like a blow to the gut the more I read.

    Amazingly raw and real writing. I just happened to stumble (literally) across your blog tonight by hitting the "next blog" button. And now I can't stop reading. Or crying.


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