Today is September 26th. It is the seventh September 26th since my wedding. I hesitate to call it an anniversary, though. That’s because it is also the first September 26th since my wife moved out. And, barring something crazy, it will be the last September 26th before I no longer have a wife.
I’ve been in a foul mood all day. I woke up to a reminder on my phone that today is my anniversary. Apparently, I didn’t think to take it out of my calendar. Not that it made much of a difference. I remember dates pretty well and I’m sure I would have known what day it is regardless. The thing that’s normally nice about anniversaries is that they help in remembering. The thing that is definitely not nice for me is that I can’t stop remembering today.
It’s not really the remembering that bugs me. It’s all the feelings that come with the remembering. Divorce never seemed like a real possibility before, so I’d never thought about the feelings that would arise during a divorce. But, if I’d speculated about them, these aren’t the feelings I would have expected.
There’s guilt. That’s natural enough. Clearly, something went wrong with the marriage and I bear at least some of the responsibility. But there’s quite a bit of surprising guilt as well. I keep thinking of all the people who came to our wedding and bought us gifts. (I also keep thinking of the one friend who didn’t come to the wedding because she had tickets to a baseball game. Now, it feels like she was smarter than everyone else.) It feels like I let them down or at least owe them an explanation. That feels silly at the same time. I’ve been to weddings where the couple is now divorced. I wasn’t let down, nor do they owe me an explanation. I don’t know why it feels this way for me, but it does.
There’s a ton of loneliness. That’s not terribly surprising. The surprising part is not wanting to do anything about it. I am simultaneously lonely and want to be alone. It’s odd and unpleasant.
Then, there’s the anger. Anger probably wouldn’t be surprising for anyone else, but I don’t do anger. I’ve probably spent more time angry in the last couple of months than in my entire life before. I prefer the guilt and loneliness. The anger just makes me feel petty and small.
I’ve been feeling strangely nervous since my wife moved out. It’s not directed at anything in particular. It’s almost like the kind of nervousness caused by being in a new social situation. I’m not sure what the etiquette is and I’m afraid of making a mistake. Who am I supposed to tell about the divorce? How should I tell them? Is it something that can be brought up during conversation? Does it need its own conversation? What do I say when someone asks about my family? Or when someone asks how I’m doing? This probably explains why I’d rather be alone.
The least surprising feeling has to be the sadness. I would have guessed that sadness would dominate everything else. The unexpected thing about the sadness is that it doesn’t dominate. It just comes and goes as it pleases.
The worst part about all these feelings is their impotence. It would be better if they spurred me to action. Instead I just sit here and feel. Doing would be preferable.
I guess a foul mood is fitting for my last anniversary. Maybe in a year (or two or three), September 26th will come and go and I won’t even notice.