Jun. 19th, 2017

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My alarm is set for 5 hours from now and I really should be trying to sleep, but I'm just not that tired, and there are some bits from today that I want to write down.

I had lunch with Rafal's mom and stepdad (but, really, his only dad) today. I was so nervous beforehand, but seeing them was wonderful. In a really hard way. I had to come home and sob for a little while afterwards.

They both acknowledge what Rafal did, but don't know any of the details. They've been largely shut out by Whitney's family. All they know is what they've heard from police (the investigation is still open) and Rafal's friends, who are all just as stunned as anyone. No one saw it coming and no one knows why it happened. It couldn't have been premeditated. It sounds like Whitney's mom knew there was a reason to be worried on the day it happened, but whatever she knew is not public yet. The neighbor just said she sped into the driveway and raced into the house in a frenzy, like she knew something had happened. She gave a newspaper interview, though, where she just mentioned she'd been on the phone with Whitney shortly before and that she was planning to pick her up. Seems like there was more to it than that. Anyway. The point of this all is that while his parents don't know any details, they don't deny that Rafal committed the murder-suicide. But his dad kept calling it "the accident." Maybe it's just easier to talk about using that word.

They told me that Whitney kept hating me her whole life. That made me feel sad. I used to hate her, too, just the way that young, jealous girls do. But it had been 16 years. Jesus. But they said that Rafal always spoke kindly about me, and that he had even spoken to his mother about me the last time they talked, three days before he died. He said something to the effect of how he never thought he and I would break up, and he's not really sure why we didn't end up together. Not like he wished we did, just that he didn't know why we didn't. He's the kind of guy who would've made it work if I could've. It was my decision to end it, but he would've thrown his whole being into saving the relationship if I'd cooperated. I just knew I was done when I was. And the next girl he dated was the one he stayed with. He wasn't one to play the field. We talked some about the possibility that maybe he and Whitney were headed for divorce (he had assured them that she wanted to stay together and that they were fine, but maybe she changed her mind? Maybe he was misleading them intentionally? I don't think it's the latter -- he really didn't ever lie), and how that would've wrecked his world, even if he wasn't happy in the marriage. Just the idea of starting over for him would've been so daunting. I was surprised when his mom said she'd never thought of that possibility. She said a few of the things I'd mentioned to her (theories about how he might have been feeling, mostly) were things she hadn't considered. Hearing about him from the perspective of someone he dated, I guess, was new.

They also told me a really funny story about their immigration. When they came to the US, they had two suitcases, and Rafal, age 10, had a backpack. One suitcase was clothes, the other was a few blankets, and Rafal's backpack, the only thing he brought with him when they moved from Europe, was full of Legos. That makes me smile.

His parents used to spend every Thanksgiving with them at Whitney's family's house. Whitney's family no longer speaks to them, except through lawyers. They mentioned that they will probably move when they retire (next year) because they don't have any family here now that Rafal is gone, and most of their friends aren't here, either. After leaving lunch, I was thinking about Thanksgiving, and I sent them a message to say they'd be welcome at Massie Thanksgiving. Everyone there knew Rafal -- they wouldn't be strangers! They enthusiastically accepted. I'm really looking forward to including them. I feel very connected to them now, and I know it's not my responsibility to look out for them, but I still feel like I want to. That's how I'm honoring my enduring love for Rafal; by being there for his family. It feels nice.

When we said goodbye, Barbara asked to hold my hand for a while. "You give me positive energy, Meg." I hope that's true. She said Rafal is probably laughing at us right now. His mom is having lunch with Meg! Who would've thought?! And to see us both crying over him...I do hope that he somehow is aware of us, and is amused and happy and grateful that we spent this time together.


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