I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’…
Far away and left behind
Left behind. ~ Boston, Don’t Look Back
The three water Sun signs – Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces – are just about the most sensitive, wistful folks you will ever meet in Zodiac Land. They endlessly yearn for what once was, as well as what coulda-woulda-shoulda been. And as someone with a Pisces Ascendant, I can assure you that although it’s a pretty sweet concept, leaving the past in the past and forging ahead with tunnel vision is much more easily said than done.
This is in no way meant to imply that these highly emotional Sun signs (or the poor, unfortunate bastards like myself who are cursed with a water Ascendant or Moon) are totally incapable of appreciating today or looking forward to whatever the future has in store: we most certainly can, and we do. The thing is, we just tend to hang on a little more tightly to yesteryear than most folks.
Whether you are a follower of my blog or know me personally (lucky you!) you are no doubt aware that I am currently on my third
marriage/long-term relationship. Although my first two marriages obviously came to an end, I remained friends with both of my ex-husbands. Granted, I have three children with the slightly restless Sagittarius who was my first husband so staying in contact was a given, but being friends was definitely optional. And we were friends…until the day he died more than twelve years ago. However, my second husband — who was a hypersensitive Cancer — and I had no children together and we were under no obligation to speak to or see one another again, let alone remain friends. But we did. He helped me raise my three sprites, each of whom he loved as if they were his very own progeny and, although he lived a thousand miles away from us in the years following our divorce, he continued to have the kiddos up for visits for a month or two every summer. And over time, he also grew to become friends with my current Cancer love, which most people could never seem to understand.
And once again, if you are a friend or follower, you already know my former Cancer husband was killed on New Year’s Day 2013.
In the seven and a half months since the death of my ex, I have yet to visit the city where he was born and ultimately died. As excruciating as the grief has been while struggling with it from a distance, the whole experience has been somewhat abstract for me. I haven’t yet stood on the grass where his truck, for reasons which we’ve only been able to speculate, veered off the road, partially ejecting him and killing him instantly. I haven’t hugged his devastated stepmother, his siblings, or any of his other family. Nor have I received satisfactory explanations from police reports, which have only served to leave me asking more questions as to why his truck left the road in the first place. I need to be able to fully accept what has happened so that I’m able to heal more completely. I feel like, to do those things, I need to see and touch where he died…to find out why he died…and to hug the grieving family he left behind. To physically be there, to experience the tangible and confront the painful reality of it all.
My current Cancer love wholeheartedly agrees and supports me in my desire to gain some measure of closure. So much so, in fact, that he and I will soon be taking a thousand-mile road trip in my quest for solace. I don’t have any illusions or expectations regarding how I will feel when I return home. I don’t believe that I will stand where he took his last breath or meet face to face with the investigating officer and experience a sudden epiphany, a moment of clarity where everything will come together like a jigsaw puzzle and make sense. Nope. Not for one second do I believe that. But I do feel that the simple, yet significant act of actually being there could be just the catharsis I need to be able to grieve — and in turn, heal — more fully.
Contrary to how this might sound, this need isn’t something that is being driven by my I-can’t-let-go Pisces Ascendant. It’s true that is usually the case, and it may in fact play a significant role in the reason I tend to stay in touch with people from my past, be it an old friend, a distant cousin, a former teacher…or an ex-husband. But the need for closure is an innate human desire, perhaps driven to some extent by my stubborn, pushy Aries Sun.
I feel incredibly lucky to have such an amazing, generous, supportive partner in my current Cancer man. I am well aware that a lot of men out there — and women too, for that matter, especially ones with a water Sun — would never be on board with something like this. They would probably feel threatened or insecure, feeling like their significant other shouldn’t be this torn up about the death of a former spouse, and would likely question the depth of those feelings, wondering and perhaps even accusing them of still being in love with their ex.
But not my Cancer cusp man. He is 100% secure in the fact that he alone is the only man with whom I am in love, the only man I can imagine spending the rest of my life with, the only man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I am truly blessed to have him and I never take that for granted. There is literally not a single day that passes where at some point I don’t think about how thankful I am for him, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. However, the fact remains that a lot of people don’t understand any of this. They think that for me to be so crushed by my ex-husband’s death, I surely must still be in love with him and furthermore, they can’t believe my current Cancer man supports me in any of this…and not in a “wow-you’re-so-lucky-to-have-such-an-awesome-man” way, but rather in a “wow-he-must-be-a-complete-idiot-not-to-see-you’re-still-in-love-with-your-ex” way.
Several days ago, I posted a Facebook status about our upcoming trip, writing about how I need to do it to get some peace of mind, that I was looking forward to spending time with the family, how amazing my current Cancer man is to support me in my endeavor, how much I love him, and how very lucky I feel to have him. One of the responses to my status was from a pompous, know-it-all Leo whom I’ve known for 28 years. His comment?
“Lucky indeed. Your whole heart obviously still belongs to Tom.”
Wow. What a prick.
I was married to Tom, my late Cancer ex-hubby, for nearly seven years. We went through a lot together during that time, including the death of my Sadge first husband which was indescribably painful, not just for my three children but for me as well. And my Cancer ex loved my babies as much as I did. While he was driving my first ex-hubby to chemotherapy one autumn afternoon, my first ex elicited a promise from him that he would always be there for the kids, no matter what (that’s right: First Husband and Second Husband also came to be friends.) And you know what? He was. Until the day he died, my ex Crab kept that promise, even though he lived halfway across the country. He was never a candidate for Husband of the Year, but he was a phenomenal, hands-on father who truly had a heart of gold and a loving soul. And although there was simply too little compatibility for the husband-and-wife thing to succeed, we were great friends who deeply loved and cared for one another. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if it had been me who was killed, he would have been just as devastated by my death as I am by his. It has zero to do with being in love with him or even wishing we had stayed married. It has everything to do with the love I had and always will have for him as the caring, decent human being he was…as a father figure to my children…as someone who will always be an important part of my life story…
…and as my treasured friend.
I realize that oftentimes, the “norm” is to carry around anger and bitterness toward an ex as if it’s the socially acceptable, or even the expected thing to do. However, I chose — as did both of my ex-husbands — not to do that (a point of interest here is the fact that both of my now-deceased ex-husbands as well as myself all have Aquarius Moons…and a Water Bearer values friendships like no other. But I digress…) Hating on an ex isn’t mandatory, yet so many people treat it as if it were, like we’re supposed to harbor grudges or a thirst for vengeance. And –gasp! — a current spouse/significant other actually liking and being friends with their partner’s former spouse/significant other? The repercussions could be catastrophic! We must alert the church elders!
Be careful what you think you know about someone; you’re probably wrong. ~ Dexter Morgan, from the Showtime original series Dexter
Why is it so difficult for folks to grasp the concept of former spouses not only getting along, but being friends? Where is it written that if someone cares that much about what happens to an ex, they must still be in love with them? Why is it such a big deal that we didn’t all vehemently hate each other? Is there a law somewhere stating that we are required to hold an ex in contempt and/or sever all contact with them, even without a legitimate reason to do so? Why is it so unfathomable that my former spouses actually liked and became friends with my current spouse, rather than wanting to beat each other’s asses to a bloody pulp? Why is it so unbelievable that two people who love one another are unable to have a successful marriage, but it just so happens they make great friends? Certainly it’s possible: the platonic, yet close friendships I shared with both of my former husbands are living proof. In addition, my current man was friends with both of my previous husbands. He has grieved both of their deaths, and furthermore, he too would like some answers as to what specifically caused my ex’s truck to bail off a two-lane, in-town road, down several feet into a drainage culvert, crushing him. Just because such friendships might not be possible with some used-to-be couples doesn’t mean there’s an ulterior motive with those for whom it does work. And just because it might be wrong for their situation doesn’t make it wrong.
You know what I find difficult to understand? Those who reflexively harbor animosity toward an ex or a partner’s ex not because they did something to warrant such bitterness, but because that’s what they’re “supposed” to do.
Like I mentioned before, the arrogant Leo* douchebag who made the snarky comment implying that my current Cancer man is some kind of chump who I’m playing like a fiddle is someone I met when I was only thirteen. Prior to him finding me on Facebook a few years ago, I hadn’t even seen or spoken to him in nearly 25 years. And since then we’ve only had sporadic contact, primarily via an occasional comment on one another’s Facebook statuses. Additionally, we have never so much as exchanged a single private message. Yet, even with so little information on which to draw such a bold conclusion, he evidently feels qualified not only to profess his (albeit thinly-veiled) judgment of the situation involving two men he’s never even met, but to also tell me how I feel. And he couldn’t have been more wrong. Clearly, he is one of those people who simply don’t get it because he could probably never imagine himself being so open-minded with his wife. It’s okay if he — or anyone else — doesn’t get it. We do. And that’s what matters.
Besides, maybe it’s not for anyone else to get.
*The words “arrogant” and “douchebag” used to describe the Leo in question are not intended to be all-inclusive or apply to my feelings toward every Leo. Generally, I love Leos. This particular Leo…eh…not so much.