Dating and breaking

Six weeks before my 50th birthday, my longtime, live-in boyfriend dumped me.

Wayne came home one afternoon from the part-time security guard job he'd taken to supplement what he earned as a freelance journalist, walked into the small bedroom we shared in my parents' house, where I was working on an article, and, instead of kissing me hello like he always did, sat stiffly at the end of the bed, as far away from me as possible. I knew in that minute what was going to happen, though I couldn't believe it."Jill," he said, sighing a little, the way he did when I'd frustrated him. But when I think about that day my stomach still flutters and flip-flops, an approximation of the butterflies I used to feel seeing him, only far less pleasant. The moment Wayne ended our relationship was one of the most painful of my life, made only worse because it came at the tail end of a run of years filled with such moments.

My life was coming apart, unspooling with great speed, like kite string on a gusty day.

My mom, who is 79, has emphysema and a spine that is slowly disintegrating—conditions that keep her almost entirely bedridden.

My 84-year-old dad fell and broke the C-1 and C-2 vertebrae in his neck two days after Christmas the year before last, which should have killed him but didn't.

Along these same lines, it’s important that you’re not too hard on yourself and/or blaming yourself after a breakup.

Even if you feel you could’ve done things differently, you should still be an advocate for yourself and treat yourself with respect, dignity and love.

Wayne and I had moved up north from Tennessee and into my parent's home in central Pennsylvania by that point, so I was able to devote myself to tending to my father during the three months he needed it.

Last modified 10-Mar-2015 20:06