It’s always in the first moments… that the truth appears. Excited Utterances in the law of evidence, is a statement made by a person in response to a startling or shocking event. An unplanned reaction. Trustworthy because it is not premeditated.
The two of us sitting there at our table in a busy Bistro at lunch hour in downtown Chicago. The people were scurrying past us in a blur. Scott was talking through tears. It sounded like wah- wah-wah, like in the Snoopy cartoons. I could hear him talking, but the words were unrecognizeable. That is until I heard “stage 4 colon cancer, it’s spread to her liver.”
I took a deep breath as I made eye contact with Scott. “She can’t manage the divorce Scott. Not when she has to fight for her life. We need to go back.”
During the next several minutes we rushed back to the hotel.. threw our things into suitcases and called for the car. Once on the road, he called his wife.
For the first time, I felt like an intruder. They were both crying as they talked. I was crying too as I stared out the passenger window, wishing I were anywhere but here in the seat next to Scott.
The last words he spoke before he hung up were, “I’m coming home.” In that moment, I knew our relationship was over.
Of course he had to go home. Of course he did. Life can change our direction in an instant. He has teenagers at home, a seriously ill wife and a crumbled marriage. The girlfriend doesn’t even make the roster.
We drove silently back to Rockford where we’d left my car. I cried most of the way. I cried for all of us.
He pulled into the parking lot next to my car, opened his door and got out. He leaned agaist the building with his hands stuffed deep inside the pockets of his jeans. His eyes focused on a spot on the sidewalk. He couldn’t look at me, he couldn’t touch me.
I felt selfish for feeling so sad at losing him. And for wanting his comforting arms around me. He just had nothing to give me. He needed it all for what he had to face when he got home.
I drove the next several hours back home. A tissue mountain grew in the seat next to me as my tears never stopped falling. My grief process was already beginning. Denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. What a tumultous drive it was.
During the days that followed, I became lost in sadness. I’d see the beautiful lake home I’d just moved into. The stained glass that Scott had hung a couple of weeks earlier. Beauty all around me, yet I couldn’t find my way from the tissue box.
I was trying to grasp what had happened and how to move forward from here. I would chastize myself for dating someone who was only separated. Then I’d forgive myself because I had been only separated too when we first began dating.
I’d talk to my girlfriends and try to make sense of it. It was too much to put into a place I could manage alone. I felt myself sinking in sadness.
I phoned a counselor I knew and made an appointment.