I spent my New Year's day watching a heart break. It was hard to see, and there was nothing I could do about it but pretend that everything was normal and this moving day would be like any other.
My cousin decided that she didn't want to be married anymore. She is a lively and enthusiastic 43 year-old mother of two, married to a very nice man. The problem was that the very nice man didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. He'd been in the service and gone everywhere and done everything before he even met her. So, as they got older he didn't seem to feel the need to see more or do more. He was very happy to be home, with his family and his pets. My cousin wanted to go see and do, and she did - but she did it alone. More than once. She WANTED her husband to join her, but it never happened. And she realized that she was unhappy with the way things were and had been for some time.
Today, she moved into her new house. And I was there to help. It was not a smooth operation on my side of things. Z-boy accompanied Darling Man to work today. I took them breakfast and came home to get directions to my cousin's house (I'd never been there!), and managed to lock myself out of both my car and my house. After lengthy consideration, I found a way into the house (and promptly remedied that security breach), grabbed my keys and was on my way.
When I arrived, the U-Haul was backed up to the garage and my cousin's husband was lugging a dresser out to the van. In fact, he and her father moved just about EVERYTHING. He was hot and sweaty and wore a look of grim determination that the sudden realization that this was really happening wouldn't show on his face. Never a very verbal person to start with, he was like a moveable wooden indian. It hurt to watch. None of this should have been a surprise. My cousin had been talking to him constantly since the decision was made to leave - about what to take, what would stay, arrangements about their house, their children, their money...
But I believe he was in serious denial. Up until today, he didn't believe it would happen. But in loading the moving van, the truth struck home in the saddest way and I really believe I witnessed a heart break today.
My cousin's father was there to help. In actuality, the only person who did much of everything was cousin's husband. His way of dealing with it, I guess. She made a remark that her dad didn't do much made me reply, "Oh, but he did. He was here to be a man with your husband. That is worth a lot." And she saw that it was.
I am lucky. I have not had to witness the break up of a marriage so personally - not even my own. When I left my first husband, I got in the car and left. That was it. My parents are still married, my husband's parents are still married. I've had divorced brothers, but none of it was personal - I wasn't really there for any of them. All information was delayed and second hand. So in a way, this was my first. I hope it is my last.