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Monday Morning Funeral

Having spent the morning trying to imagine how dramatically my life was changing, I could equate the official end of my marriage to only a funeral. Everyone has come to my side, to offer words of encouragement and support. They have taken my side as I meander along this new path, offering to be there no matter what and to help in whatever ways they can. However, it feels like grief for lack of a better way to explain it…and only I can manage that emotion. I have cried, been angry, tried to logically figure out how this all went down. I’ve tried to reason him going to a place where my arch-nemesis is to become her roomie. I can’t process yet…the loss is too raw.  It is a loss that we knew was coming, but the departure was sneaky, underhanded, and cowardly…he slipped out like a thief in the night without saying goodbye to me or to our two sons. He waited until I left for work and both boys were asleep…what kind of man/father/husband doesn’t say goodbye forever to his family?

My response is to grieve the empty shell that was once my marriage. Twenty seven years is a very long time, but we had grown up together and grown apart. He left once, then me…it was never easy but it was always there. He wants to be 19 again whereas I am content with my 46 year old self. I have overcome many obstacles…three miscarriages, breast cancer, and reconstructive surgery. Each day to me is a blessing, a chance to start something new, refocus an old dream or goal, and continue moving forward. He never saw life that way and prayed for the end, ready to move on to a “better life” as he called it. In our 40’s, how can you be ready for that? We had become lost and floating separately…loveless, friendship gone, no physical intimacy, unable to bend, completely broken. It is a huge loss in my life, and I hope one day we can be friends but right now, it is too raw and my emotions and heart are just grieving. Sad. It’s hard to attend the funeral of someone still alive.

I talked to my therapist who told me that this equation of death and the end of a marriage is very common. That I will probably go through the various emotional stages of a major loss. I can hope only that his new life goes well, that somehow my sons can maintain their relationship with their father after the hurt has dissipated, and that my own path becomes brighter and clearer. I’ve always had a notion of where this path will take me, and what I want in this next chapter of my life. I now need to refocus my strength and put it into motion I suppose. Ironically, I still feel an emptiness where my marriage would normally be.

My youngest son’s response is indifference. He is as cool as a cucumber and never really gets ruffled. My oldest son immediately texted my husband, calling him out on a number of wrongs. The response he got was what we would expect…not ownership of his own misdoings but rather, a long poor me blame your mother. I know, in my life, that God gave me big shoulders, strong shoulders, and a level personality to carry the loads and burdens. If blame happens to be one of them, so be it.

I told my sons that the split was coming, and they are 22 & 24, so it is not as though they haven’t seen the toxic environment. I told them that no matter what, he is still their father and to not choose sides. Both sons responded with…we chose your side a long time ago Mom. It makes me sad for their father, knowing that unless he reaches out, they may not ever speak to him again. And it makes me sad for them that they don’t have a father to speak of…that he was ok with taking off without so much as a word to them, not even a final I love you or Goodbye. Heart wrenching.

This is my Monday morning…the end of my marriage officially, a sadness for my sons, a huge loss but the beginning of a new chapter. I feel like a prayer should be offered up, for me, my sons, and my now ex-husband. I don’t know if that is appropriate or, if it is equating this to a funeral of sorts. The coroner’s report will come in the form of a divorce decree. And the marriage will be laid to rest and buried along with so many others. I did not go into this marriage imaging that I would be another divorce statistic. I had seen the signs and been unable to breathe life back into a dead relationship. We gave it everything and finally, in a moment of desperation, pulled the plug. Cold, dead, lifeless…a corpse in a shell where my marriage once was.

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I’ve been called out!

During a visit the other day with my therapist…yes, I said it out loud… she challenged me to stop hiding behind corners and excuses and to put myself and my writing out there. While the blog counts, she still feels that getting out of my comfort zone is something I need to begin doing more often. That’s considered “growth” from what I have always understood.

That being said, I’m doing a few new things…they are small, but, they are new-ish for me. First, I have stopped eating processed food, leaning more toward veggies and meats. The goal is to completely avoid foods that do nothing for me. Second, I have joined a gym and plan to spend at least 3-4 afternoons a week doing some form of exercise. I’ve spent the last few years making excuses as to why I don’t have time…and now I do. Excuse is no more. Fish or cut bait! Finally, since I will be going to the gym with my niece…also a writer and photographer…we are going to embark on some kind of blog journey. The goal is to partner with my niece who believes that super auntie can do it all, and create a new space where she and I share a voice, perspective, photos, and writing. We can do this, I believe, and my niece is totally onboard.

So there it is…growth!

A challenge to myself!

I’m feeling lately like I have more going on than I do, maybe due to the personal and internal struggle involved in it all. In talking with a friend, I was forced to face once again how little emphasis I put on myself and what I want…how everything I do has a major focus on others in my life…how I don’t deal with my own immediate issues but help others stay on top of their own. In my life, I want certain things and a certain lifestyle. I find myself frustrated and disappointed in who I am, what I should be doing, and why it is I put off the things I love most in life – writing and photography.

I was asked, if knowing this, I had an explanation. The practical side of me says, I don’t NEED the new camera and computer to create more blog posts. I don’t NEED the fancy technology to do what I love. There are more pressing items that need repair or purchase ahead of my camera and computer. BUT – that money is not money going into my own household or life, so what makes it more important? I’ve spent countless hours lamenting the absence of writing and photography in my current life, pondering how my love of these two fields has been so quickly and easily pushed aside to cover the needs of others. Why is the absence of my passion okay?

Today I made the decision that I’m going to begin taking small steps to recover writing and photography in my life. I can use small bursts of time to get out there and take a picture or write a small piece. I can recapture a part of my soul that has been missing. I can rediscover a journey I stopped walking along to suit the needs of others in my life. And I love my family, don’t get me wrong, but right now…I need to get back to me and in doing so, stop focusing so much on everyone else.

That was my plan this summer…to buy the camera and to buy the computer I want. I don’t need to focus on photo editing but rather, getting back to having that camera with me at all times to capture a moment or image. It literally takes a few seconds to pull over on my drive home and capture that image…or, if a thought comes to me, to verbally capture it recorded on my phone so that I can get home and transpose the recording into writing. And in knowing that, it seems a little more realistic already to imagine integrating both writing and photography back into my life.

In accepting the challenge to write and photograph again, I’m going to need to commit time I tend to spend elsewhere, namely in front of my television. Being on the computer all day definitely crushes my will to get back online once I get home. Maybe, however, this will lift my spirit back to where it likes to be, instill the creativity to tear through me like it did a few years ago, give back the voice that I so willingly handed over, and provide an outlet and opportunity to grow my professional writing.

A morning minute…

After dropping my son off at work, I found myself wanting to be close to the water. He works in Wells but the sensation came on in Kittery. Being in Kittery provides plenty of opportunity for being near water.  I didnt want to pay to park or have to drive too far so I went to a new found favorite spot. (See picture)

With my McDonalds breakfast sandwich in hand, I rolled down the windows and took in nature. While the birds landing on the car mirror were a little close for my comfort, I couldnt help but enjoy the beauty before me. 

The calm water and bright green foliage brought comfort, taking me back to early mornings at the lake with my grandparents. I miss them, remember them, and know they would love this spot. The blue sky, so clear and clean, is like a fresh breath each time I see it. I feel energy and joy fill my soul near the water, feel refreshed and calmed. 

It was just a few morning minutes to carry me through the hours of today. It truly is the brief moments that speak to us, or at least to me. Sitting there I felt so at peace, and so ready for my day!

Try again!

After committing to the lunchtime diaries I missed day two! Life threw me a curve, on an errand! I have thirty minutes every day to break, eat, rest, write, read…whatever I choose. However we can now have 45 minute lunches by giving up a break…and that is exactly what I did. Running five miles into Portsmouth by car sounds small unless it is summer during lunchtime with the tourists! What should have taken ten minutes took close to thirty and I needed every second of it! After reaching the bank, cashing then depositing my check, and running for the car I had fifteen minutes left to grab lunch, put gas in the car, and write…well, I did make it back from lunch on time but did not get to write.

 Here I am today however, having started my day off at 5AM. My son made it to work, I got my meds from Walmart, I applied for my car loan, scrubbed my sister’s kitchen with help from Jada, steam mopped the kitchen, have my second load of laundry washing, and it is only just after 1PM! And to keep the momentum, I even found time to write a little bit! Who would’ve thunk it! God bless days off!!

I did want to share my epiphany! Yesterday after running around like a crazy person, I mentioned my writing goal to my friend. Her response was “oh that’s good!” I followed with how happy I feel taking time to write, making time for me. I then asked why, since I/we coach people all day every day to follow their passion and dreams, do I constantly put my own dreams and passion aside? OH BOY…EPIPHANY MOMENT! If I   encourage fulfilling goals, dreams, pursuing passion then what am I doing not pursuing my own? If I want to write I need to write, a schedule allowing myself that freedom dont I? Im not saying quit my job but maybe build in me time…commit to myself and my goals the same way I exprct my students too.

Thats what my lunchtime diaries are about, making time for me and my writing. So two out of three days, not so bad…

Cheers!

10 minutes left

  1. Being that I rarely have time to post these days, i have challenged myself to take charge of my lunch breaks and do a little writing. I aspire to be a writer or so i continue to tell myself and anyone else who might listen or have faith in me. I scramble for ideas and words, finding they often come to me as I drive and am unable to write them down. And then when i get home, the sound of the words just isnt the same as in the car. Its as if the ideas have lost fluidity and the details have lost description. Its as if the words that find a place from the drivers seat get just as lost in the daily chaos as I sometimes do. But i need an outlet for my thoughts, a place to get it down and reflect upon what is happening, to give me perspective somehow or to just give it all a voice. Im not really sure which of those it is or, if it is all or none. I dont get along well with absolutes so i have to believe “some” may be correct.
  2. Life has felt chaotic and hurried lately. Free time that i took for granted for years now seems invaluable and unattainable. In working two jobs now instead of one i find a repeating pattern…its not the same as writing. I love what i do at both places and the people in most cases, but where is my heart and what is this doing to my spirit? I help people define and chase what they love daily…its my job! So what is my excuse?
  3. For me the lunchtime diaries will hopefully answer those questions, get me focused, allow me to pursue what i love, and with any luck open up and create a new chapter. Is this a perfect solution..probably not. Is it better than not writing…indee!
  4. Cheers!

Struggling

I have to wonder if I am the only Gen X parent struggling with twenty somethings that seem to have no passion to move out. I read about my generation as parents, the way that we hovered and coddled our children, how we stuck up for them no matter what, and now, the way we all have kids still at home when at their age, we all had struck out to begin our own lives and find our purpose. I spend hours wondering if it is something I did wrong, some way that I failed as a parent, and what it is that makes them want to stay. Don’t get me wrong, there are obvious answers such as no bills, guaranteed food, and being able to spend their money where and when and why and how they choose.

I frowned on my sister who essentially gave my twenty year old niece the boot. I remember thinking, OMG I could never do that. Less than a year later, my niece is flourishing. She lives in her boyfriend’s mother’s house…so, kind of like still being at home…but works full time, pays rent, and is doing amazing. I am so proud of her overcoming where she was just a year ago, of seeing her doing so well, and shy of having her license, seeing that she really seems to have it together. Was throwing her out the right answer? I’m still not sure, but isn’t the outcome what we all wish for our children? That they are strong and successful and doing well out of our home…I would have to give that a resounding yes.

My husband spends time reading articles in the hopes of helping our sons make that transition. My youngest son has the fire and passion to work a second job if necessary to make things work. He already works full time, loves overtime, has his own vehicle, and is a chef. My older son works part time, has a vehicle that we do not have licensed, and seems content to live upstairs with his girlfriend…I really worry about this son. I love them both immensely but need to see some movement.

Here is my biggest fear though, that if I put my foot down, I will lose the relationships I have with them. Neither will move far away…on the contrary, it is me that wants to move down the eastern seaboard to Florida. I would love for them to join me but more as a neighbor vs. a housemate. I worry that this makes me sound selfish and self centered but I remember the feeling of my first apartment, the freedom, the sense of being able to afford my bills, and the immense joy I felt when I went home to visit. I knew that it saved my mother money to boot, as she was a single parent, and I was one less person she had to spend on and support. I want this for my sons…

Everyone tells me that if I step on their throats, they will move out and get it together. But what if they don’t? That scares me to death…so I’m struggling with my sense of obligation and my desire to reclaim my life. I struggle with the guilt i would feel if anything went badly with just being there, trucking along, until the light comes on. I struggle with wanting more from the money I earn with my responsibilities of being a parent. It’s terrifying…and I get frustrated…and angry..and then guilty again for thinking about this. I don’t know…maybe there isn’t a perfect answer.