A dear friend of mine read Running On Empty and took the time to write to me. They were loving words, get “off your ass” words and “let’s get with it” words. I appreciated each and everyone so much so that I decided to share it with you.
A dear friend of mine read Running On Empty and took the time to write to me. They were loving words, get “off your ass” words and “let’s get with it” words. I appreciated each and everyone so much so that I decided to share it with you.
One of the nice things (if you can call ANYTHING about divorce nice) is that I get to start over, While moving is usually exciting to me this time I find everything seems muted, Colors, sound, views…all different than before. Almost like seeing everything in black and white instead of in beautiful vibrant color.
One of the things I am starting over on is my home. What do I want it to reflect when someone steps inside? How does it identify who and what I believe? After 32 years of marriage who am I ALONE? What do I want people to glean about me when they enter my domain? And so I have been working on this the past week and would like to show you a few of the results….starting with the kitchen.
I paired an antique french table with these modern chairs. I think it says a lot about who I am
Next is the formal living room. Since I left my beautiful baby grand piano back in Texas I find the room has doubled in size! I have a corner to fill but other than that it is done.
First I went on Craig’s list and found this old desk which I brought home and painted. I paired it with a chair from Ross Dress For Less which cost under $50.
Remember the Persian Rugs that I bought and that B hated well I think this one looks really good with the sofa. I found the modern chair to pair with my art deco cabinet as a floor sample and swept it up for under $175. Yes, I bought that beautiful velvet Green sofa off of Wayfair and I LOVE it. So tired of the former all brown “Family” look.
I have had this large scroll painting since I went to China the last time but had no where to hang it. With that big boring blank wall hogging up the space I decided the Giant Tibetan Mastiff and his girl really needed a home there. I love this picture because it reminds me so much of Tibet…the kids with smudges of dirt all over their faces no matter where you went.
Finally, I had this other picture from Ethiopia and have never done anything with it. The dimensions were such that it could not be framed so I solved that problem by filling the landing wall with it.
I hope through these pictures you get a glimpse of who I am.
Today, I also got off my ass and went for a three mile walk. Here are a few pictures of what I saw:
And so I start my new life. A life that once offered such promise and now I know not what it brings. One could say we never do…know what life brings. But when I was married for 32 years, I know that life brought me hope, assurance, and feeling appreciated. Now I feel nothing…but empty. An all encompassing emptiness like the lack of sound around you as you stare wide-eyed at the snowy silence in a forest. That surreal reaction that feels so other worldly because it makes your ears hurt with the nothingness that fills them. That is kind of what leaving your children to get away from your cheater “I’m in love with our tour guide who is 20 years younger than you” feels like when you finally put your foot over the threshold. All the remains is a vast and unending silence. And while I am glad to be away from B’s constant lies, the price I am paying for doing nothing but believing in him…in us… in our family… is a heavy price to pay. He cheats…he has our kids. She cheats…she walks into my life and I am replaced. Everything I have poured my heart and soul is gone. Everything I loved into since I ran out my door at 15…never to return…gone. There was nothing to return to then and nothing to return to now…but emptiness…vacant hearts…desolate times in which I could not compete with the forbidden kiss of a woman across the world. A love, once whole but now dried up… falling apart… flaky and hard… like a day old biscuit.
Yet, every morning I put my feet over the side of the bed refusing to give into grief and pain that pulls at the roots of my insides, snapping like a rubber band against the skin…a wince coming just prior to letting go of the stretch. And so I stand, taking my first steps just like I did 58 years ago when first steps were exciting and everyone squealed in delight. Not terrifying as they are now. Falling when you are one = bandaids and kisses whereas when you are my age it can mean broken bones and even possibly death.
I feel like I should be grateful…I have a place to land unlike so many others in this world. But I feel no gratitude. Only the emptiness of once abundant touches…gone. “Hey, mom…I’m home!”…distant dreams. I miss my kids. I miss my life. But most of all I miss me. Who I was when I was their mom? When I was someone’s wife? When I thought I knew what I was and what I wanted. Now I look in the mirror at a stranger. A person’s whose eyes flash like a loud neon sign, ” Vacancy!” There is nothing here because I don’t even know the place that I am at, the language that is spoken, or the resources available to me. Life on this side of the aisle is so different and full of unknowns. Like being dropped off on a desert island with one match and being told, “Okay, now go make a life for yourself!” Does striking the match guarantee fire? Where to I even begin?
I have been reading Joan Didion’s book The Year Of Magical Thinking in hopes of reacting to grief in a normal way, yet, there is nothing normal about this. Grief when someone leaves you alone due to death protects the mind. While all encompassing you know that the person who left you didn’t have a choice. They didn’t want to leave you. Grief when your husband is in love with someone else is different. They had a choice and they choose someone else. They wanted to leave you or wanted you to leave. Either way it makes no difference. You are rejected for who you are and all you ever hoped to be. You are not enough…never will be. This kind of grief doesn’t allow for “what if’s.” It just allows for the coring out of your heart and soul…all that is left is dry dusty bones held up by pieces of your life that fill in the joints making it possible to remain upright like a medical skeleton hanging in a med school dorm. Something hanging there that no one even notices anymore in the age of the digital life. Something regulated to the obsolete.
I will be okay. I keep telling myself this because if there is one thing I have learned in life it is that it will be okay…eventually. It always gets better…eventually. And when my eventually comes I will kick up my heals and dance celebrating who I am and all that I have created. But for now I sit quietly contemplating the same life questions I did when I was 15, 20 and 35. Who am I? Who will I become? What do I want? How do I go about achieving this? The devil is in the details and the details have yet to be revealed.
If I had to name all the occasions that lead up to the moment of my leaving last week; it seems as though the list from the past five years might be endless. A small part of it might look like this:
Maybe it was the fact that you told our tour guide (TG) the second day you met her that “you will be my second wife” contributed to the demise of our marriage. For you have worked very hard to make that statement come true by putting TG on a pedestal while you wiped your feet on me as you dusted and shined your Vietnamese FANTASY. You know, the fantasy whom you have spent five whole days with over the past five years. Maybe that led to my leaving.
Or maybe it was the fact that you sent her so much money that it was the equivalent of 20 years salary in Vietnam. With that much money she began living high on the hog…fancy dinners, beautiful clothes, fixing her father’s home… while I bought shirts at TJ Maxx for $14.99 to which you would comment, “When did you get that?” as if I had done something wrong.
Perhaps it was all the time and care you took into ensuring her needs were met and picking out gifts for her. Necklaces, perfume and oh yeah,,,that engagement ring that she wears on her wedding band finger.
Maybe it was all the lies…thinking that you had ended it so many times after your assurance that you did…only you didn’t. The phone call you had me witness and participate in telling her it was over. The letter you wrote to her saying the relationship could never be.
Although it might have been the daily “I love you’s”, the hugs, the great sex, and the kisses that were so faked (according to what TG told me) that you could have made Vivian Lee swoon.
Maybe it was making me feel “less than” while you struggled to choose who your heart would belong to….a competition that I could never win. Making me feel as though I could never do enough…and I couldn’t… because in your mind TG would always do more. Or the fact that you were hiding a quarter of your take home pay in a private account and couldn’t understand why I would wonder if you were sending money to TG and then getting upset when I mentioned her name.
Yet, another fact could be the day that I opened an envelope from J.P. Morgan stating that you changed your beneficiary of your investments with it going half to your sister instead of taking care of your kids. You said it was so she could divide it among your siblings because they had been left out of your father’s will 15 years ago but if that were true why not divide it with 33 1/3% going to each? Instead I believe that she was instructed to give it to TG. Frankly, doing things like this without discussion with your partner seems kind of suspicious and slimy to me.
But it really boils down to was a few days in which clarity arrived like a freight train as it plowed into my ears through my mind…its horn loud and piercing my heart until all the blood from my body seeped out of itself, spilling onto the tracks, along with all of the love that I once had for you. And like a bullet train, my love was here one minute and gone the next and I was left standing, suitcase in hand, on the platform of life deciding which direction I wanted to take. And now I am here ….alone….without my children….my heart breaking. Yet, I have been wise enough to put that suitcase down along side those tracks and refuse to drag it along behind me for the rest of my life. For you and your lies are packed in that suitcase and it is has been a heavy load to carry around with me the past five years. Now, I never want to open that suitcase again.
But really what drove me to leave were these few things that all happened within the past ten days. The first was the night that I told you how I had been working with my therapist to come up with what a needed to feel that we were working towards healing and that our new life together was on track. You know, that night I told you, “Honey, I need a new symbol of our commitment and would like for us to go on Sunday to pick out new rings and re-new our vows on our anniversary.” And you said something along the line of “I am not sure that I can do that because I don’t know that you can change to love, honor and OBEY me. ” That was definitely the beginning of the end because if you loved me you would have said, “Whatever you need to make you feel safe in this relationship. I will do whatever it takes.” Yet, you had never, once, throughout these two years of me knowing about the affair been willing to do whatever it takes. And you should have. I deserved no less.
Finding the love letters between the two of you and the naked pictures of your time in Singapore didn’t help the situation especially as I ran through my head the number of times you told me that you had nothing left from the affair.
But really it was the butt-dialed conversation I heard between you and your sister that drove me away. Hearing the distain you have for me in your voice just about did me in. Hearing the two of you laughing at and about me was one of the most painful things I have ever heard. You know that conversation:
“…I asked her what she was seeing her therapist for and she said PTSD.”
“…from my affair?”
“and she said yes.” (chuckle, chuckle, laugh. laugh)
“…oh that is the new diagnosis. Everyone has it. But if anyone should have PTSD it should be YOU from living with her!” (chuckle, chuckle, laugh, laugh)
Or maybe it was hearing her say you were lucky to be living in Texas now… for the divorce and hearing your answer. Your words made me finally realize that there was a strong possibility that you had brought me to Texas with you in order to get the kids with you (since they were with me in CA) so you wouldn’t have to pay child support nor spousal support. If that was your plan it was so deliberate and cunning that it sacred me and shook me to my very core. It was that moment that I also realized just why you didn’t want me to come to CA to work on my house until after the 30th. Texas law required that you be a resident six months to file and in just a few more weeks you could file against me for divorce and try to get the jurisdiction of our pending CA divorce changed to the State of Texas; a more favorable state for you. My heart started bleeding with that realization because my intensions to start over and be with you and our family were true while yours were not.
Hearing how you made yourself out to be the victim of the housecleaning wars was also interesting as was when you asked your sister how the TG was doing and it became obvious that your sister was in contact with her for you.
But it is conceivable that what really sealed the deal was how, when the next day arrived and I asked you if you had talked to your sister you said, “No, I haven’t talked to her in at least a week” while looking directly into my eyes.
“Really, you haven’t talked to her?”
“No, not at all.”
“Stop lying to me I know you talked to her yesterday.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“You butt-dialed me (or did he…maybe it was intensional?). I heard every word!”
“No, I didn’t.”
How…how can you stare into my eyes and continue lying? And at the moment I realized the price I was paying was too high and I didn’t want to pay it anymore. That my sanity was worth more than I could ever lose remaining with you.
So I have left your fantasy land. Mine too. Our “trial” reunification in Texas is done. I have been stripped of everything I thought was true about you, about me, and about our life together. I no longer know what was true the past five years and what you made up to appease me and to protect your guilty self. In fact, upon reflection, I don’t know what was true EVER. And that makes me angry. I am angry that I was so stupid and trusting. I am angry that you set me up. I am angry that you and your girlfriend fucked up our lives and that now I am left alone…our kids living with you because I loved them enough not to just take them with me.
Well, Paul is in his senior year of high school. He will graduate in four months and is finally doing well in school. His high school has worked hard to help him succeed and feel good about himself despite all the challenges his disabilities present. No…I could not pull him away from that because of my own needs. And Gracie? Well, she has two more years of high school and loves her new coach. Finally, she is getting great coaching which is paramount for a kid wanting to go to college on an athletic scholarship. No, I couldn’t do that to her either. And Andre…well autism serves him well. He doesn’t care if we divorce or who he lives with as long as he gets to remain in his room.
I am back in my house in CA. It had not sold while I was in Texas. Unfortunately, about six weeks ago it also flooded due to a sump pump failure which insurance would not cover. So I am spending close to $50,000 to repair this house and living in at at the same time. This week I am going to try my hand at tiling a bathroom floor as well as get back to studying my textbooks so I can have a “career” again after I divorce at 59 years old. (I mean who starts a career at almost 60…let’s be real…it won’t be a career like you have had rather it will just be a job). And with it my lifestyle will go from vacations and having to worry much about money to cutting coupons and shopping at Good Will while you wine and dine your fantasy.
We haven’t talked since I left except for 40 seconds about a crisis occurring at the rental house. Thirty-two years of marriage and we have sent less than a half dozen texts. And while I hurt like I have never hurt before it is also incredibly freeing not to be living with a narcissistic liar anymore. Knowing that what I see and what I hear everyday is the truth is calming my brain and helping me to experience a sense of peace that I have not known in many years.
My friends are concerned. They are afraid that I will go back. But this time I won’t for it is done. I am done. Forever. Just hearing his laughter and distain did more to drive me away than the past five years that he deliberately tried to get me to leave. And because of his warped thinking he can now tell himself the story that he is innocent….that I left him…that I am the bad one….in order to feel good about himself. Yes, B, you’ve won but so have I in a way that I never imagined…I am acting with a sense of purpose and Dignity and Grave. I am treating myself well.
In fact, the other day I bought myself something very nurturing for my re-birth. It makes be feel very safe and cocooned-like. It also brings relief to my set on “high alert” sensory system has been under attack for the past many years. This gift to myself is contributing to my sense of feeling grateful, peaceful, and calm.
So friends….don’t worry about me… I am cocooned…I am safe… And B can no longer touch me or my heart. I am GONE. And one day I will feel safe and happy again. It can only get better…and it will….one day at a time. Wish me luck.
Something has not been sitting well for a long time. For the past year and one-half or so B has mentioned that he needs me to obey. This conversation has come up more than I care to count. It goes something like this:
“What does this mean to you to have me obey?” I ask.
“That I am the man of the house.”
“That you listen to what I have to say.”
“That you respect me.”
“That you respect the authority that comes with being the head of the household.”
“That I have the last and final word about everything.”
And then out comes the bible verse that he starts quoting:
22 Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.
23 The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.
24 Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.
And that is where is all goes to shit.
I am an almost 60 yo woman. Children obey. Dogs obey. Not women who are my age. They explode with vitality and life. They laugh. They explore. They are adventurous. They drink wine. They don’t obey.
Frankly, this discussion has gotten old. It has been going on so long that I can’t believe it continues. It is now November and it’s not the cold weather that is getting the inside of our home a little frosty. It’s this point of contention.
“If you want someone to obey you then I am the wrong woman for you!!!”
And, frankly, I am. The wrong woman. I suspect, Nhi, the Vietnam tour guide has assured him that she would be his submissive and obedient wife. That she would ask his permission. Iron his underwear. And agree with everything he says.
And you know what? There is no way that I can compete with this fantasy that he tells himself about her and their “perfect relationship.”
I have tried.
“Okay,” I suggest.”I will obey Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You obey Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays and Sundays we will take the day off.”
My suggestion does not go over well.
These days I often ask myself where did this OBEY thing come from? Why the sudden need to control me, your equal partner of 30 years, and your loving wife? What does it say about you that you think you need this and what does it say about me that I even listen to this crap?
Sometimes I go through a list of things that could be causing this OBEY thing to resonate so deeply in his head. What is it that can change a man into someone that is not even remotely recognizable? The only thing I can come up with is a brain tumor. Yet, there are no other signs and symptoms to suggest such a thing.
So here goes:
Sorry, but if you don’t feel like the man of the house I cannot give you permission to be the man of this house for that permission is granted to you from within your own head. You have to believe it and nothing I can say or do will convince you of it unless you decide to see you as I see you. Your insecurity about your manhood has nothing to do with me.
And so we are at a stalemate but what we are really at is the end. If you need me to submit to your will and to hold yourself above me then your mental health issues are getting much too serious for me to contend with. I am feeling mentally unsafe with you.
Yet, if I am honest with myself part of me understands this whole obey kick. I have done everything you have asked of me and hung in there when I should have left long ago. The only thing that I could never agree to, and you know it, is to obey. And so you use it against me to force me out because I have too much integrity to lie and agree to something I could never do.
You, sir, are behaving not like a mature adult man but instead you are behaving like a coward. Grow up and finally be the man you want to be…just be that man with the woman you really “love” and not me.
I wrote this in November. In the next few days I will let you know the changes that have occurred in my life since this piece was written. You won’t believe it…because I still don’t!
So I have been wanting to write something all week but just haven’t had the time. Right now I am on the coast having an Open House to try and sell my house that needs to be sold due to the divorce. This is my heart and soul place. It it where I come to rest and rediscover myself. It hurts that this beautiful place will no longer be mine sometime soon. However, at the same time I do know that everything is transitory in life and it is all just on loan to us anyway while we are here on earth. Therefore, I am grateful to have had stewardship of this little slice of heaven for the past eight years and will wish the new owners as much peace and joy as I have had owning it.
The other day I read an article that literally changed my life and how I see myself. It pretty much explains why I have behaved as I have during B’s affair. After reading it it has allowed to me see myself as optimistic rather than stupid…a nice thing after four years of BS. Still, just about everyday B says he will give up HER IF I promise never to divorce him. I tell him that I already had committed myself to our relationship but had not even though I was under the impression he did. They deserve each other and I deserve better…so much better.
Anyway, here is the link. I hope it helps someone else as much as it has helped me. Also you will find a few pics from my soul’s resting place.
For the wonderful people who have followed my blog for so long….I apologize. After I moved and had the SECOND NEW START I decided not to blog because I wanted to only put positive vibes out and go into my marriage (AGAIN) whole hearted. I was afraid that if I blogged it would in a sense be returning to possible doubt that what I was doing was right for me.
So here is the thing. Yes, I have wasted precious moments on a marriage that was essentially over the day B started communicating with our Vietnamese tour guide in April 2015 unbeknownst to me. And all those years he tried to make me small so he could make her big in his mind, where he made me feel less than, when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong; well they were not totally a waste, because I learned more about me and who I wanted to become. Yes, this was damaging to my self esteem, but with my therapists help, I have overcome what he tried to make me believe about myself so he could feel better about himself. But now, nakedly exposed, he doesn’t feel better about who he is for now he is forced to examine himself/ his actions and he is puzzled and embarrassed and in general feels like the shit he has been. He has to live with himself and it will be a struggle.
When I found out about the affair in January 2018, after he was fired for his job as president of his company, in part, I suspect, for sending naked pictures of him and his “true love” over company computers; I decided to continue to try to work things out because that was what I needed to do for me. For our family. We still have three children at home, two with autism, so ours is a challenging household at times. I also found out that he had sent her approx. $30,000 and that during his two years in therapy he never told his therapist about his affair. But I decided that it was best for all involved to give our relationship another shot.
And then when we were getting ready to move for his new job in July, at the end of June, I found out, due to his hysterics at 2 am in the morning, that he had unprotected sex with a hooker three days prior and HAD TO GO to the hospital right then to be sure he didn’t have AIDS. Yet, I still stayed; although I protected myself by putting the new house in my name only and by having 1/2 of the partnership distribution put in my own private account. I did this because he had talked in January about moving to Vietnam to be with IT and I wanted to be sure that I was in the position that I could take care of myself and the kids. (He also talked about having considered having two families one knowing nothing about the other…fortunately… I am not sister wife material.) WTF
So everything seemed to be going well. Every day he looked me in the eyes and told me he loved me…acted like it too. We had a ritual of sitting on the sofa together every morning while holding hands and he would thank God out loud for me and our wonderful relationship together. Our marriage felt new, on track and very loving. And all this worked until April 9 (Last month) when I went into his office and he started acting crazy. Off his rocker. Totally Nuts. He insisted we leave the office due to “thin walls” and took me to the conference room where he told me he wanted to quit his job. How would I feel about that and how would we manage? he asked. I told him we would figure it out and that “I would rather have you alive than dead due to stress.”
And then I went back into his office where I discovered why he was acting so crazy. This :
“What is this?”
“We got it when we were in Vietnam”
“No we didn’t. First of all I wouldn’t buy something like that and secondly every refrigerator magnet we have ever bought is on our refrigerator.”
“No, we got it in Vietnam.”
And all of a sudden my heart knew without a doubt and I said:
“I think it we are done. You need to move out.”
And there is was. Done. The door closed. Forever. That line had been crossed and there was no going back. EVER.
In the weeks that have followed, I have since discovered he has sent IT and her sister even more money. More gifts. And that he started to communicate with her when he went went to work at his new job in July. Which means that his relationship with her was never really over but the one with me was.
Later the day that I found all of this out, a friend sent me the following shots from her Facebook. Funny thing is I had not looked at her Facebook since May of last year because I truly believed in my heart his affair with her was done. Had I looked I would have realized that it was not.
Here she is holding the leprechan we bought for our grandchildren in Ireland on our 25th Anniversary celebration.
Talking about “the groom” (my husband) on Facebook with others
And celebrating her birthday with flowers, presents and a cake with a picture of my husband and her gracing the top of the cake in frosting with the words THANK YOU lovingly written across the top for him to see.
He has moved out at my insistence. Our kids are doing the best that they can. We are trying to split assets without it getting ugly. Everyday, he tells me he loves me and wants to stay married. That this time he will go into it 100% committed to me and our relationship. (Excuse me….isn’t that what you promised before.)
I have a good lawyer and papers are being filed today. I should be divorced in about 6 months.
Yes… to many I have wasted time considering the inevitable happened. But my truth is this:
Too many people give up too quickly and then always wonder:
Was I too impulsive? Should I have keep trying?
And they have regrets. Unfinished business. And they can’t move on.
But I don’t. I know in my heart I gave it all I had. I tried my best. I grew from the experience. I became a better me. Further, we started with nothing and came together because we truly loved one another and my saving grace is that he will always have to wonder if his 20+ years younger girlfriend truly loves him or if it is his money she is really after. Karma is a bitch and I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
So now as I step away from this 31+ year marriage I have no doubts. Time has given me perspective and the ability to step away somewhat gracefully. I know that this is the right thing for me and I am in a place of acceptance with little bitterness. I believe that had I stepped away sooner, I would not have been in this place of acceptance that I find myself in now. And now I have regained my sense of self… myself…I have…and I like what I have found… during this “maybe divorce” of the past four years. I feel complete, satisfied, and most days I am ready to move on. And I welcome with wonder and an open heart all that awaits me in the future. Because anything is better than living lies spoken with such sincerity by a master liar.
After all that has happened in my life I decided I needed to take a break from blogging. I needed to center myself and become really grounded so I could do the work that I needed to do.
The first thing I did (we did) was move. That said, the new house is in my name only and is not part of community property. I felt I needed to do this to protect myself and my children should B go off the rails again. It makes me feel secure and I am proud of myself for insisting on this safety measure. I also put some other measures into place that has ensured that I am taking care of myself and kids. All in all a good deal and I came out ahead of being divorced. A 30+ year marriage is not something I wanted to leave behind especially with the dynamics of our family. Besides I do still love the big lug and I know he loves me regardless of the past. Doesn’t mean that everything is hunky-dorie but it does mean we are both still trying and that is something!
Needless to say, moving involves a lot of change which all have managed fairly seamlessly and with a few tears. Change is hard but also it shows you what you are made of. It offers new possibilities and allows everyone to “reinvent” themselves to some extent. Honestly, reinventing your life reveals surprises that you never considered before and I welcome them with open arms. Come on world…show me what you’ve got!
I have been working hard with my therapist’s help to decide who I want to be and what I want from these coming “golden” years. Not there yet but getting close so it is time for me to plan. I feel stronger and more confident now and am able to go with the flow without anxiety. I am settling into myself and it feels wonderful like a warm sweater on a crisp fall day.
I am enjoying making this house my home and am happy that our old house just sold. Good riddance to the pain and sadness that I felt in that house. I am infusing my life and likes into every corner of the soul of this place. I am putting in a garden again and even though the “dirt” is hardpan clay and rock upon rock, I find a wield a pickax with the best of them.
The wildlife is expansive. Deer take bread from our hands. Fox run amuck. Opposum waddle through. And the skunks reek havoc. The first week we were here, the dog, who was protecting our son, grabbed a skunk by its tail and shook it, twirled it around and around and then threw it against the stone wall. Needless to say the entire time he did this he was being sprayed. Then he was bitten by it after cornering it. We tried everything to get rid of the stench but even 5 weeks later there is a slight after-smell on our brave pooch.
I have been stringing up hummingbird feeders and I now have great friends who visit everyday. In the morning when I water, these mystical creatures stand behind the spray so now they are getting a daily shower. I never knew you could see joy on a hummingbird’s face but I swear you can!
Our relationship is much better. Sitting on the deck watching the sunrise over the mountains together drinking coffee helps. So does watching the boats ply the waters, laying in a two person hammock and taking time to explore this new land around us together. Less stress also has contributed to a greater sense of well-being.
One of the things that I have decided to do as an act of faith in my relationship is not blog about it anymore. I have so many more wonderful things to write about…so why beat and dead horse to death. I want more positive vibes in my life and in order to have them my mind has to be in a place that welcomes and honors them. Talking about my “almost divorce” only serves to fixate me on the past and does not allow for me to be open to a future full of promise. And at this point in my life I want to be open to everything that might come to me.
So I leave you with one of my feathered friends enjoying a shower. (Okay…I haven’t figured out how to do that yet! Some other time!)
Peace to all.
We own a rental house. It is where I will be moving when we separate. I could stay here but why? This is a bigger house with a pool and upkeep costs that I will just not be able to afford.
I will miss this house. I have painted every room and hung things just so. I have stood on the roof and painted the shutters. I have planted grapes, tons of multi-colored lilies, and some very unusual plants. I have a lot of memories here and have put so much of myself into our family and home. Yet, it will also be a relief to leave it and have a place that is mine alone. A place that I can re-do just like I have re-done myself in these past two-and-one-half years trying to avoid the “maybe divorce” that appears now to have been inevitable.
The other day I “visited” where I will be living. I snuck up to the back fence (which is falling down) and looked through. It brought back a few memories of when we lived here previously and as those thoughts appeared I smiled with happiness and appreciation of what was. But as I was standing there I mostly dreamed of what is to come.
That playhouse we built in the backyard…well I am going to paint it violet…or maybe candy apple red… and I’ll add an upper porch on which I will drink my coffee in the morning and swing in the double swing that will hang beneath it in the early evening. I may also add a small studio in which I will do my writing undisturbed except for the call of the birds and an occasional bark from the pooch.
It is a large yard so I will plant more David Austin roses, construct pathways and vegetable boxes, and place a fountain or two. This backyard will become my haven and an expression of who I am today. It will take a lot of work but getting to this place in my life has too. It has taken getting my hands dirty, tossing old ideas into the trash, and doing a lot of weeding of my soul in order to bloom. And bloom I will. For dreams, like gardens, can come alive if they are given the proper care and nourishment. And because I have been sifting through the soil of my soul I am now ready to plant new ideas, new people, and my kind of beauty into my life once again. Sure, things will be a challenge as I go forth as a single person nearing 60 yo and you bet at times I am scared out of my whits but I also know that sometimes you just need to get a little dirt under your nails and drive a few nails to renew both yourself and your garden. It is my hope that we can both thrive.
I have to admit I am still searching for the light that is missing in this box into which I have crawled. Sadness seems to be the one emotion that I still feel. I am weary of being with a man who no longer loves me. The weariness lives in the marrow of my bones sucking them dry the richness of life squeezed out of them.
This weekend I was suppose to have a girls get together at my house on the coast. Everyone bailed. There was one reason or another and with this; I realized that there was not one person I could depend on. Not my husband, not my kids, not my friends…and I vagely thought about how I had better start depending on myself alone. So I headed up to the house. Me, myself and I.
As I got closer to San Francisco the air became thicker, filled with the smoke of the fires burning in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Rosa. Some of my favorite places in the world up in flames. You could smell charred houses, burnt grapes and the bodies of those who were unaccounted for. Lives once vibrant and hopeful now trying to figure out what they will do without their homes,without their jobs and all their earthly possessions gone. Ninety six thousand displaced people all living in survival mode.
I took the back way on Hwy 1 instead of my usual route through Santa Rosa knowing that the I did not want to witness all the devastation. Nor did I want to get trapped on a highway that could become an inferno. So I drove along the blue waters of the coast, skipping all the unpleasantness except those kinds of thoughts rattling around in my head.
I arrived here in time to watch the sun set on the ocean with bats dancing to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in the nighttime sky and the waves of the ocean beating like drums as they broke against the rocky shore. I grabbed a bottle of vodka and drank to 30 years of marriage that is in the same predicament as Thelma and Louise hitting the gas and driving off a cliff into uncertainty.
The next morning was beautiful and as I walked the cliffs I started to feel like myself again as the mist in the air washed over me, cleansing my soul. As I ambled on, the winds began to pick up and I thought about all those firefighters 50 miles away who would soon be battling them along with the intense heat of the ash as it rained down from the sky.
Soon an old lady came into view. I judged her to be about 80 and she was carrying a jet-black cane over her head. We passed one another with a smile and a nod; each continuing our own way with our own thoughts. A mile later we met again as we retraced or steps but this time I asked her “Why are you carrying your cane over your head?”
“To remind me how strong I am,” was the answer.
“Why do you need reminding of that?” I asked “you look strong enough to me that I wouldn’t want to take you on in a back alley somewhere.”
She chuckled as she began to explain that she was a fire evacuee staying with a friend. On Sunday, in the dead of night, she was awakened by the fire fighters from the station two doors down who were banging on her door.
“You have got to get out. You have got to leave now,” they ordered.
She wrapped a house coat around herself, grabbed a pair of pants, a shirt and her shoes, went into the bathroom and grabbed her toothbrush. Then she picked up her purse, called the dog and left her house.
“It’s all gone now,” she tells me with not an ounce of pity in her voice.
“Why did I get my toothbrush?” she looks at me and asks the question as if I might provide an answer that would satisfy her.
“I needed my medicines but left those behind. Yet, I took time to get my toothbrush. A $1.50 toothbrush,” she says with a shake of her head and a laugh. “Crazy isn’t it!”
She tells me that her Grandmother’s china is gone along with her deceased husband’s favorite books, her wedding dress, and everything else she owned in the world. Pictures of her children on their first day of school, her collection of salt and pepper shakers, all her clothes and her piano at which she sang to start every morning.
“But I will sing again,” she assures me with a smile. “For I am strong and I am happy and I am ALIVE!!!!” she says with a great belief in herself and sense of joy that literally takes my breath away.
“I will begin again and who knows what I will become? Opportunity is banging at my door just like those firemen did,” she says with determination and grace as she heads off down the trail.
“It’s never too late to re-create yourself,” she yells back at me with a smile.
Later that day I offer my house up to any family who might need it. I talk on the telephone to a man who skirted the police blockades just to return to his house and sift through the ashes that now contain the contents of his entire life.
“I found my son’s bronzed baby shoes,” he informs me along with a few other trinkets of a life that felt meaningful and alive to him.
“We will just have to start over,” he tells me a sob stiffelled in his throat.
And although he cannot see me I find myself nodding my head at his words. For many times in our lives we are forced to start over, not of our own choosing, but because of forces that intrude unexpectantly. We can choose to see sorrow as an opportunity or we can wallow in our own misery until the end of time ultimately robbing ourselves of our accomplishments and the ability to morph into something we might not have expected… Someone better. Someone Kinder. Someone Wiser. And Someone who depends on themselves for their own happiness and to create a satisfying life no matter what is thrown in our way.
Today I met so many amazing people…. survivors and volunteers alike. And in these meetings I came away blessed. I hope they will be too.
P.S. Thank you to all the fire fighters, healthcare workers, inmates, sheriff departments and all the volunteers who have saved lives while risking theirs.