Today I had no plans. And because of the stress and rushing around I’ve been doing I figured I’d have a nice relaxing day, aside from household chores.
The increase in laundry was bugging me though and the more I tidied the bigger the bags of laundry grew. The kids really don’t grasp the concept of laundry baskets. As I was due to pick up some clean items, I decided a trip to the laundromat was necessary. It was begrudgingly. My head aches and the stillness of the day gave my brain plenty of time to consider my life as a single parent. And the eternal feeling of, how the hell did I get to this?
I vow never to take my washing machine for granted again.
So, off I went. Throbbing head. Boot full with black bags. No music soothed me like usual. Everything was noise. And I was hitting every red light. I felt miserable, tired, the weeks events still jumbling around my head.
Because of my shoulder, I like to park close to the laundromat because of course it gets painful carrying items. Or worse still, it painfully stiffens and I drop things. One park remained and I guess I carelessly slid my car through a gap in between the bugger that wouldn’t shift in an inch forward in the traffic. I was careless. Was I too busy in thought? So tired from the events of the last couple of weeks? Just plain bloody stupid, the front of my car nicked the side of the parked car on my left. A few scratches and caught the indicator light. Of course, my car was fine. But it happened to be the oldest piece of crap of a car that I could scrape. Already dented and on its last wheels as it was. But regardless, I called the non emergency police immediately, reported what I did and gave the plate numbers. The car didn’t have a ticket in it, so I had no idea what time the owner would be back. I wrote a note with a grovelling apology, my details and then took pictures and called my insurance company.
I had to make the weary call to him, because as it turns out, I don’t have authority to make claims. WTF?? Not sure when that was changed, but like when I called about the mortgage the other day, I find I’m in fact a non entity, unrecognisable, no power, no authority. He was fine really considering. And in all the calling and holding, I saw the driver turn up. I apologised profusely, I know how bloody annoying it is when someone hits your car. There’s the time it’s off the road, the inconvenience, especially this time of year. She was appreciative that I had gone to the effort of leaving a note and making calls but I still felt like a shit. At least I have insurance (it’s not compulsory in NZ). But still, annoying for her and self loathing for me.
I still dropped off and collected laundry.
As I was driving over a bridge, there was a brush fire in its early stages. I was the first car at a red light with a bunch of closely knitted other lanes at the junction. I saw the fire engine trying to approach but there was simply no room. So I checked the road ahead, clear, and sounded my horn as I drove through slowly. Hoping to give the fire engine more room to manoeuvre.
I wasn’t far along the road when a cop pulled me over about the red light. He seemed angry, aggressive and anxiety took over so I went on the defensive. It lasted all of 5 minutes until I broke down and sobbed about the fire engine and that I was just trying to get out of the way. I got my license out but by this stage he was clearly shocked at my outburst then sobbing. He explained he hadn’t seen the fire engine, and told me to go on. Also checking I was ok to drive. I sobbed that this was the worst time ever and moped back to my car.
He was behind me for a while (it’s a straight highway) and I was just a complete mess at this point. Sobbing along but too scared too pull over. Eventually I was going too slowly for him and he overtook. I finally came to a rest stop where I pulled over and vomited my guts up.
I then just sat in my car and sobbed into my hands until a woman came to my car, knocked on the window and said she saw I was distressed and wanted to check I was ok. She said it looked like the world was over for me. I thanked her rather embarrassed and said it was just silly stuff. It was really thoughtful of her to stop.
Knowing it wasn’t quite as private as I’d thought, I continued my short journey home. Drained, fed up, ashamed, embarrassed and fearing I might have a major meltdown.
The emotions got the better of me today. The grief, the loneliness, the confusion.
In any ordaniry day, my ‘husband’ would have come home, cuddled me, joked at my expense to make me laugh. Suggested a take away and a movie or something. Whatever I needed to feel safe and whole again. But he didn’t. He didn’t offer any comfort or solution. Not that I should have anticipated it.
I need to get used to this. I’ll have bad days, good days, eventful days. But they are for me alone to deal with. I realise just how hard single mothers have it. Trying to look after themselves and their kids, without a partner to rely on. To support, to laugh about things with.
The sadness, the grief, the stifling realisation of how just how disastrous things have become came at me like another tidal wave.
I’ve spent this afternoon lying on the bed, exhausted but unable to sleep. Knowing these days will come but I’ll have the kids alone. Perhaps it will be easier because the pain of having someone around that isn’t part of your life anymore is awful. It’s almost suffocating to see a person that has no love for you anymore everyday. A constant reminder.
Today was a bad day, and to be honest as I sat sobbing on the side of the road, post bump, post cop, I really did feel like my world was ending.
It’s true, my world is changing dramatically. Everything I knew – it’s gone. But I don’t feel it’s over. I don’t have the urge to hang myself from the light fittings. The thing is, there is a tiny shred of belief in myself and the bond I have with my children.
It’s not just me, it’s me and my children. And they need to see a positive mother who can cope with life changes. They should never feel that all hope is lost.
I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom. My worst nightmare is coming true. But the reality is, it’s here. I’m in it. I can only go one way now. And I’m determined not to let anything else destroy me.