Unconditional Love

The text comes early from a man who doesn’t text early.  It is an insulting response to something I had said the night before.  I am confused but not for long.  Hi J….. I text.  Good morning she says back.  It is his caretaker not him that is texting me.  She is rude to me, telling me that I am cruel and selfish to abandon a crippled drunk when he loves me so much.  And I find myself stopping once again to address this notion that swims in my head that people judge you not on what you are doing yourself, but on their need to control you, to control situations, and to feel a sense of power for themselves.

I shake my head as I read this, and tell her my first obligation is to my child, something she has already abandoned at least twice.  Her first obligation is to her addiction and somehow to his.  Somewhere in there her obligation is to the man who’s cell phone she is using, undoubtedly as he is passed out drunk, probably piss drunk, on her sofa.

I feel a waxing feeling of disgust, it sweeps in like a rogue wave and I shudder.  It taints me in my own quest for love.  Her admonishing my conditional love as some how weaker than her unconditional love.

I wonder in the shivering cold morning, in which I procrastinate away the spiritual time with reading time, and wonder if the physical time will somehow make up for the spiritual.  I mean that I skip yoga in favor of reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and wonder if a hike in the woods amounts to the same spiritual deposit as yoga even though it is the physicality of it for both myself and the dog which draws me.  Later I will make my spiritual deposit, I rationalize when I go to dharma study, but I am tired from insomnia and suspect I will never go.

That wave of disgust allows me to let my crush wane, he has proven his lack of interest five times.  I should have given up on three.  I have been waiting for this, a repeated pattern interest, crush, disgust with myself,  lack of interest now on both sides.  And it helps me this admonishment with one to feel disgust with an0ther.  I sit and contemplate why we are expected to give up everything for the person we love.  Why we should some how accept that they are entering alcoholic dementia in their 40’s, that they are crippled for their long addiction, left to atrophy because it was thought they were on a binge.  Perhaps the failure in the brain can also be attributed to excessive drug and alcohol abuse.  Yes I say, you can love him without condition, you can scrape the bloody shit off his ass and change his pissed pants for him and still love him. Why would I take this on?  I have already borne the burden of another for 11 years.  Was that not enough sacrifice in the name of love?  Was it not?

Another wave of utter disgust hits me, it has a fierce undertow.  I find myself wondering, is this something I really want to take on?  This attempt to meld my life with another, all the shit and piss and crippled parts swirling in the crashing surf.

She confesses she is sick of him, of his crap, of his angry manipulation of her, and again tells me that I have broken the heart of a man that adores me, without condition.  I see her as being pathetic, pathos, get him out of my life, I adore him but he is a drunk, and I am tired of taking care of him, because I want to be a drunk too…..No J….. I think.  No.  The minute, the instant, the millisecond I saw what had become of him, I put my hands up and walked away.

Yes I am weak.  And although my love has no condition, my care taking does.  I want no part of it.  I have paid my dues, I will willingly stand side by side with another, but never ever will I heft that person over my shoulder and slog through the sucking quicksand while their able legs kick my ass to make me move faster, harder and stronger.

Unconditional love begins with yourself.


8 comments on “Unconditional Love

  1. It sounds like you’re in a really tough situation, Meg. I hope you will stay firm in your resolve to put you and your daughter first. We’ve been through similar situations with alcoholics and it can be a struggle to stay the course. Maybe this poem will help a little:

    “One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice–
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    “Mend my life!”
    each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations –
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice,
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do –
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.”
    ~ Mary Oliver
    (Dream Work)

    I believe unconditional love is for babies and children. Mature and responsible love definitely has conditions to be met, and a sense of deep mutuality where the needs of both are met.

  2. My resolve is simple, he lives 3000 miles away, he is too drunk and has lost his mind enough that he cannot even remember the simplest things anymore.

    But as to the later, that is it exactly. It is hard for me only in the sense of recognizing when the love is mature and responsible. But the disgust I think keeps me from even wanting to wait around long enough to find out.

    I just know without question that I don’t want a fantasy of love, unconditional. I want the real deal. Anything less than that would be a sacrifice I am not willing to make.

  3. How very sad that , in his 40’s, he is an old old, sad man. Nothing you could do or say can or would “fix” him . It’s very easy to say the words “I love you”…..

  4. Mom,
    For me the idea that a person can supposedly love you and yet abandon you emotionally, and not make any sacrifices on your behalf is crap, total crap. You and I both know that I have already done that, and I paid very very dearly for believing in the words, while the actions did not follow through.
    In the end people will tell you all kinds of things, so that you will feel sense of doing what you should do, a sense of obligation, a feeling of guilt. I also know that that isn’t going to work this time around. Words are like smoke, they are there but they dissipate. Actions are like words written in chalk. A single action over time fades, but you can keep filling in the space and all that chalk over time yeah. That is what I want.

    Love you Mama.

    • Love ya too, Meggy…..saying I love you is just words……love has substance and sacrifice and it is living ….not just mouthed platitudes. When I think of love , it’s an old man caring for his sick, elderly wife…..it’s a mother with her baby, it’s someone holding your head while you puke your guts up, it’s being in the trenches , the boredom, the anger , the joy, the toughness of life day after day after week, after year, after half a century……showing and doing and loving. words are dust in the wind…..

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