General Non-Fiction posted October 16, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
There is always an end to the story, eventually.

The End of the Story

by LoannaLois

John broke up with me twelve days before our wedding. He looked around, after the deed, just long enough to run back and scoop up the engagement ring. I had thrown it at him and into Mom and Dad's front yard.

In my miserable state, I spent the weekend with my folks at their cottage. There, I met my cousin's friend, Mike. For the next forty-four years, we were together.

He was getting over being left by his high school girlfriend. Sue had left him to marry a surgeon.
By then, Mike and I were both juniors at Ohio State. Mike and I became best friends. Since I was putting myself through college, skipping class or not studying were not options for me. So, I helped raise his grades as we studied (and partied) together.

We married soon after graduation because he got a great job in Iowa. We were inseparable by then. I was a high school teacher, so I could work anywhere. We moved every couple of years until we were placed at corporate in Minneapolis. By this time, we had two children and a wonderful life together.

He traveled constantly but I understood this as a necessary part of his important job. I wish he could have enjoyed his children more, but work always took precedence. By the time he became the senior vice-president, he lived mostly for the company. He loved us, but had no time for us. Never did he take his son golfing; yet a membership to a country club assured him of a tee time every Saturday morning with his associates. Our daughter struggled with Borderline Personality Disorder. She worshipped her Dad. He just never thought to do things like take her on a lunch date. If I offered suggestions, he resented me. Did he love them? Oh, yes, without a doubt. He just had no clue how to express loving feelings for any of us.

Eventually, I began longing for his retirement so that I would finally get to spend time with, and have my husband back. I retired from teaching high school and was planning on our later years.

We never made it. He walked into the kitchen as I was making dinner. He put his arms around me, and said, "I have been trying to say this for some time, Honey. I want a divorce." He wanted his freedom and capability to go and do whatever he wanted without guilt. I was struck dumb. What? After having loved him, having raised our kids, and having waited for him for forty-three years, just to have him back? He wanted his "freedom"? He already had all the freedom in the world!

But, our kids were grown, married with wonderful grandkids... His timing was devastating to me, but only me. He left me, not the kids and grandkids.

He said there was no one else. He just wanted to be free. He moved into an apartment. He got a lawyer and proceeded to tell him he couldn't live with me anymore. The things he wrote on the list were lies and shots to my heart. He partied and traveled and now took the children to dinner. Then, they would sadly repeat what he had said. They had not meant to hurt me. They just no longer wanted me blindsided by his plans. I didn't know how to I didn't.

He was with Sue. Oh yes, the sightings...;people didn't want me to (GOD FORBID) stay in the dark. Devastated is such a lame word.

Then, after a few weeks, every time he called or stopped by to talk over some legal problem, he sounded miserable. He had lost a lot of weight (and claimed he had adopted a healthier lifestyle). He finally took my advice and went to see our doctor.

The tests began.

He had stage-four pancreatic cancer.

He refused to come home, but wanted me to take him to chemo. It was killing me. He kept a tight grip on his cell phone which was his link to Sue. He didn't say much to me as I sat with him, trying to encourage and support him. The kids and grandkids were devastated.

He still held that phone. He spoke now in shorter sentences. His twin brother, the kids and I , took turns taking care of him in his apartment. One day he didn't hold the phone. I didn't mention it. She had had enough and couldn't deal with the situation.

A few days later, he didn't answer my calls. I drove over and had to get the manager to let me in. He was sprawled on the floor, barely breathing.

He was in the hospital for a week. I pleaded with him to let his family care for him at home. He finally accepted.

For four months, we talked of everything but us. He was so very sick. I asked him to at least speak to the kids about the things they so needed to hear. He just couldn't. He had held so many secrets for so long that he couldn't face it, or us.

He passed away after excruciating months. I did my best to just love him. By then, it no longer mattered whether he could share the truth with me. It was just too late. He passed away with what he hoped would be hidden secrets. I read The Bible with him, made a devotional book for him, and the kids and I surrounded him with our love. We had communion a few hours before he no longer could speak or swallow. Then we lost him.

The battle was not over. It was at another beginning. My husband had been living two lives. No wonder he resented every small purchase and my need to be with him.

He has been seeing Sue for years. They had planned their retirement together. He had bought property on a lake, a boat, and they had been saving money...put in HER name. She ended up with about half of what should have been left to the kids and me...and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. She was already a wealthy woman. But, she held on to all the money and property that were our children's and my rightful inheritance. He had put it in her name.

Then, the I.R.S. visited. He had made a real mess for me to clean up. In trying to impress her, he had spent too much money he didn't have. I couldn't believe it.

So, the fight for normalcy of some kind goes on. I loved him and love him still. But I don't have any idea who he was.

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This is my story.....or rather, the end.
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