Truthfulness Prevails

Be sure you want to know the truth. Truth can hurt. Yet, truth can also raise reality, causing one to face their greatest fears. 

Today I found out my youngest saw me at her graduation from community college last June. My ex and I were talking about our kids’ feeling abandoned by me. I shared that though she didn’t know I was at her graduation, I wanted to be there because I love her.  He corrected me and said she knew, that she had spotted me in the big crowd of proud parents, siblings and supportive family and friends. When I asked my ex what she said when she told him she saw I was there, he hesitated. I asked to please tell me. “What is she doing here?”, she remarked. Her dad said it was a public ceremony, no invites necessary and said her mom had every right to be there.

As stated, truth can hurt. 

A year ago that statement would’ve devastated me. Though a tear or two appeared, I remembered her truth differs from mine and the tears subsided as quickly as they came. My self-worth is not determined by the love and acceptance of my girls. It’s been a slow yet purposeful cycle getting to this point. How they feel towards me doesn’t affect my love for them. It simply hurts. And I’m facing my hurt head on.

I saw my therapist early this week. Been over a year since my last visit. Was compelled to reach out after reading my youngest girl’s blog post. Tough and meaningful session. Still absorbing and will share soon. Important lessons revealed. 

 

 

Name Change: The Last Acquiescence

What’s in a name? Plenty. It was stipulated in the settlement. At the time I agreed to change my name, didn’t give it much thought, being I was merely gasping for breath while staying afloat during those mediation sessions months prior.

He asked for 3 specific things in our divorce:

  1. That spousal support have a specific end date with no modifications.
  2. That spousal support end if I cohabit with another. (non-marriage)
  3. That I change my name.

Thing is, he didn’t really ask, he insisted, never inquired how I felt or made an attempt to actually discuss his reasons why this was so important to him. And to be fair, I was not in a place where I questioned very much at that time. I accepted his requests, albeit with quiet resentment. 

Why did I agree to change my name back to my maiden name?

Quickest answer: acquiescence. Changing my name was my homage – my last acquiescence of my marriage. And there were a LOT of them. 

That’s my responsibility. We all have a voice. Some use them more effectively than others. Being how I was raised, combined with genetic make-up, throw in deeply rooted self-esteem issues and you’ve got yourself a loving if not fearful woman, hesitant to speak her mind and raise conflict herself and others. 

My grieving would come much later post-divorce. There is no statute of limitations for changing one’s name in divorce. I found this out last year when I was so overwrought I wrote our mediator and copied in my ex. Our mediator assured me that though my name was legally changed, I would still need a notarized copy of our judgement for social security, DMV and all other government documentation. Thus it wasn’t until early this year, 13 months post-divorce I walked into a social security office one day and began the process. 

I believe the name change was important to my former husband because of his own hurt and pain. Perhaps he wanted to literally cut me out of his life, name and all. I was hyphenated during my marriage, as I never wanted to give up my maiden name completely. To him, all that was needed was to drop his name and go back to who I was. Yeah, not so much.  

For me, the grief continues, in parallel to grieving the loss of my daughters. Maybe I would’ve eventually changed my name, I don’t know. Maybe if not estranged from my girls, I would feel differently. Either way, I would’ve chosen to make the change during my own process, in my own time. Or not at all. 

Today I am proud of my given name, though grieve my married name, the symbolic moniker of my former life. I have worked hard to get here, to this place of serenity. I have had to let go of my girls and my married name. It is not due to any heroic triumph nor do I fall victim to letting go. I allow the pain when it comes and am finding my own methodology to all this, still, each and every moment.

 

 

Acceptance

The evolution continues, changes move within; slowly, at times with caution, that fine line between safety and protection, the other, new courage I feel to speak the truth about my current life.

Several short months from now it will be two years since I’ve been in the same room with either one of my adult daughters. Texting here and there on occasion, emails sporadic, the reaching out to connect… an email from my oldest last fall- her deeply anguished angry plea that I stay away, no more contact – to this past January, my younger daughter, her own separate anguished plea to please let her go, no more gifts, offerings or any sort of contact.

I am clueless. Both have told me so. I am a psychopath. Both have told me so. I am not well, I am a sick individual. I am a mom by blood only. They no longer know me or wish to know me as I am today. They have said their respective goodbyes.

Time for Acceptance

It is important to remember – to acknowledge their feelings. It is important to accept those feelings and move on. Closer now to acceptance, grieving feels different from before though its outcome very much still unknown. I can not change how my daughters feel. They see and feel what they see and feel. I have set them free to feel safe.

I am no longer clueless. Perhaps I say this a lot more than I realize but it’s important I continue recognizing this.  I am well on my way – a strong woman who has come to full-on grips of who she was, is now and who she is becoming. As I learn I share. No two experiences are exactly alike though there are similar threads of humanity. Falling into the dark hole, once as prevalent as each breath taken, now subside as I better understand the triggers I must watch out for.  A trigger can be as simple as a popular song on the radio or more complex like observing my friends’ beautiful relationship with their adult children. What I hope to do more than ever is to never see anyone go through the pain and anguish I have endured, as has my entire family.  Sacrificing my children due to the way my divorce played out is the last thing I would’ve ever expected. There are consequences to actions. Each decision breeds an outcome, some desired, some not so much. No longer do I feel the need to explain my actions for I’m at the point of forgiving myself and have learned the true nature of what self-compassion contains. Only for my girls do I need to express my remorse. If and when that day comes, I will be ready.

I will say this: unhappy marriages begin with unhappy selves. Contemplate deep within yourself before looking at the imperfections of your life-partner. Gaze into your own first. It will hurt like hell, pain you probably never quite felt before. Yet by doing so, you will have saved yourself  – your personhood – before completely drowning.  There is so much goodness in you. Look to that as well. You will begin to embrace and celebrate new-found insight and self-growth. You will begin to give back more openly, without shame or trepidation. Fear is real. You will combat it. It’s not easy but you can face it. Please don’t look to others first for validation. It’s useless energy and easily distracts from knowing the core of who you are. 

Wishing you peace as life’s journey moves onward….thanks for your continued reading, dear viewer.

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Letting Go

Like a nightmare, I awaken, reminded my life is in fact, quit real, indeed.

Last week I received an email from my youngest daughter; her goodbye, her request to please let her go. Holding on, even the slightest shred, gave me hope. And though it may be a long time until I see my girls again, I am finally willing to do so – no more small, random texts, short notes, birthday gifts. I wanted to show them I would never give up on them. I wanted to make certain they wouldn’t come back someday and say I never reached out, that I made no effort. The real effort is in letting go.

Feelings of self-pity, once so prevalent and unshakable, are now eroded. Replaced is self-compassion which helps in the journey of healing. The pain of which I’ve felt for so long has now shifted: practicing self-compassion, the pain transfers to my girls, the hurt that is so deep, I am able to finally feel theirs. Like a new-awakening, this brings new hope. I’m dealing with my loss. It is a death of sorts. A death of my former life. But they too, are letting go of their former life. Letting go of a mother they were once so close to, their family unit, their refuge, their stability, their certainty.

In Their Shoes

October 12, 2012, I wrote a blog post about what my girls must be feeling. It’s weird to read it now for it sounds as if I could’ve written it today. Yet there’s no way I was able to be in their shoes at that time. I’ve just begun now. After the last correspondence from my older daughter a few months ago and now the email from my youngest – denial is no longer an option. Time to awaken, look at life differently. Letting go, the loss, it is grand, devastating, leaves me breathless. But it is necessary. It is the greatest kind of love I can give my girls right now.

More to come….

Perseverance, Baby, Perseverance

About 2 weeks ago I thought my daughter blocked me on Facebook. She and I have remained ‘friends’ throughout our estrangement despite her choice to not contact me. For several hours, each time I tried to look her up I couldn’t locate her. I didn’t see her name on our 65 shared friends’ pages. I became quietly frantic. Then I got mad. And I unfriended her. Like a spoiled child – there, take that. Only not spoiled, simply hurt – the reminder that she and I are not in contact at all, merely the illusion through social media. Hey, I’ll take it. A few days ago, I saw her page. Just like that it appeared on a mutual friends’ page. My heart sunk. Had I not been as impulsive would she and I still be connected on FB? Did she intend to block me on purpose then reboot her page? Ugh. I can’t think this way for it will place me in the land of stagnation. I no longer live there. So yesterday I humbly sent her a friend request. 

Some days patience is like breathing. I feel it settle in my soul; peacefully it enters, scattered throughout my being, it feels as if I shall never feel the anxiety of what happens next in my life. It’s a wonderful feeling, so new. This – I have now experienced. This – I know happens. This – can change without precedence. 

Perseverance comes when inner peace is rattled. It is then I am uncertain when I shall feel patient once again. During this time, I feel stronger for moving forward, not remaining where I am today. The fact that any change happens is good in my Book of Perseverance. I’ve learned that perseverance is only a gateway to the future. One must persevere in order to experience patience. 

Though I have gotten through one of the most painful episodes regarding the estrangement over 3 weeks ago, mentally much healthier since, my body feels ragged and torn. Fighting a cold, perhaps, the Advil helps, though I can’t help but think body and mind are always intertwined. Two lovely women I know are sick. They may be very sick as they wait for test results. In the midst of my estrangement, I feel a new strength building within me. I bought these beautiful ladies each a coloring book. Silly, yet they color the world with their beautiful spirits. The pain I am enduring leads me to help others. I want to be strong in ways not yet discovered.

I may not get my friend request anytime soon. This does not diminish my love nor my patience moving forward, wondering what, when, if, how, my girls come back into my life. To persevere means pressing on despite obstacles. I am pressing on. Bring on more Advil please.

Transition in Feline Form

Death, its meaning, questions raised, the symbolic dance of it reverberates throughout my heart, mind, soul. 

Upon the death of my Mom, awareness of life quickly rose.  All that was within me, heightened, propelled me to think more clearly, look at myself and take action. I began questioning what mattered, what my true beliefs, values and purpose was.

Ok, maybe because I’m in my fifties now. Maybe because I’m that much closer to the senior menu at Coco’s or Denny’s. Maybe because I’m now divorced, a freer thinker, allowing myself to be. Whatever IT is, something stirs inside of me and there is a new shift taking place….again. 

My cat died this week. Well, she was my daughter’s cat, though again, whatever, I loved the shit out of that sweet old girl. She was 16 years old. 

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I write about her, as her death has changed me.  Just as with Mom, the cat represented love.  And like Mom, the cat is gone from this Earth, though the love continues through me. I can feel it. What transpired upon the cat’s death is what has caused me to take pause. I am listening once again.

To grieve a death, one must never be alone. It came to light, through my dear girlfriend, that upon the death of my mother, neither of my girls were there for me. Her celebration, six months after she died, a most glorious day for me, full of love, joy, loss and pain, that day brought me to another level in life, the beginning of what true legacy means. I have honored that legacy ever since.

The girls had come to know of their parents’ divorce only a month after the death of their Nana. They too, so close to the magnificence of who she was; we were all devastated by her death.  During this time, the estrangement was new. By June of 2012, all communication was gone. I had endured 2 graduations; one daughter from college, the other, high school. No photos taken with their Mom (their choice).  I rose above that, kept my public tears at bay and stood with grace during those joyful yet painful events. Then my Mom’s celebration within days of graduation. At no time did either girl come to me, embrace the loss of such a wonderful woman. At no time did they approach me, make eye contact, none I could see. I stood onstage with my brother, both he and I loving this night, a time to not mourn but to celebrate the wonder of Mom. How I longed to embrace my daughters that night. To let them know how much their Nana loved them, how much I loved them. My older daughter sang, like an angel, the purity of her voice so beautiful. My youngest, her humor interjected, balanced with poignancy, so expressive in sharing what her Nana meant to her. And yet all the while, no solace between the three of us.

At that time, I was unprepared to cope. I was coping, yet my strength had yet to emerge. Looking back, as my friend reminded me this past week, where were the kids when you were grieving your mom? I had not thought of this, never crossed my mind, in fact.

My cat’s death brings forth new feelings. If not for my ex, his email, phone call, I would not have known of her death. I do not see the as heroism on his part. He is far too pragmatic; our relationship far to emotionally disconnected for heroism to me. He simply does the right thing. For that, I am grateful. But I digress.

I will write more soon. I am coming to a new understanding of myself. I am coming to a new understanding of the estrangement, all it entails. New feelings are arising and I’m listening with more abandonment. It’s loud, becoming more pronounced.  I’m dealing with it head on.  I believe it’s called anger. 

Exhausted yet inspired by LOVE

The exhaustion comes from holding back. To love freely is to LIVE. To live is to freely LOVE. 

In the experience of estrangement, I now realize fear is exhausted. I’m not sure if or how much afraid I am of rejection anymore. I say this, right here, right now, knowing that if my kids were to again reject a phone call, letter, text, my heart would sink as it has many times before. I want to break free from this exhaustion. I want to inspire my girls as they inspire me from afar.

I’m just as uncertain if the pain shall continue as piercing. I want to call my daughter. I want to pick up my damn phone and make an actual phone call. What if she doesn’t pick up? What kind of message shall I leave? How careful should my words be? What if I completely fuck up any other chance of reunification by calling her? Why do I feel I need permission to call? Why am I still so scared?

Time and time again….this is not about ME. It’s about them. And again, I concentrate on me, my feelings. That’s my problem. To be fair with thyself, much of what I’m afraid of is making their life worse. They are on a path of healthiness. As am I. At the same time, here I am, now following them on Instagram, images of them, their lives, only a short distance from where I sit. There is something deep inside of me which longs to reach them. To let them know that no matter what, I AM HERE. FOR THEM. Whatever they’re going through, I will ALWAYS BE HERE. NOTHING diminishes my love for them. NOTHING. I love them FREELY. It is the way I choose to live. It is who I am. 

 

She Painted My Toes

Dreams can be totally wonderful. That’s the kind I had last night – simply wonderful!

Just as sure as tacit as this iPad, she smiled, we laughed, took turns, she painted my right foot, me, the other. Giggling, we spoke of favorite lines from her most loved television shows and films. Laughing hysterically, as in real life, her delivery made me laugh more heartily than the original show. Always that way. And at the end of the dream, one set of toenails, lighter shade of red, the other, brighter, more vibrant. We hugged, filled with joy.

She’s my younger daughter. We have not spoken in almost a year. Last I heard from her was last December when she emailed, asking I not contact her for another six months; no texting, emails, etc. unlike my older daughter, she has not blocked me from Facebook. We remain friends – bonded by wifi. As the six month mark approaches, perhaps my dream brings her to life.

My girls are different, both their own people. I love that about siblings. Beauty of individualism in the same family. And with that, my relationship with each daughter just as individual. Motherhood, equality in loving each child, the joy comes from each single relationship. As time moves on, I cope with estrangement differently than before, my ability to pull them apart, recognize that both relationships possess their own special qualities. Somehow I find comfort in this, more sense of peace, the unraveling of my pain, more focused, centered, less ginormous in scope.

The dream, so embodied in realism, brings hope. I need that for hope escapes me sometimes. I can feel self-pity continue dissipating, dissolving and I am glad. It’s taken time yet again, it’s happening. Life is happening. I’m living it, I’m learning it, I’m loving it. The pain, ever real as my dream, both reminders we all face our own journeys; each require the yin, the yang of experience. It is only then gratitude grows. I shall ever be grateful for my painted toenails. And I smile.

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Reality Speaks LOUDLY

Yesterday I wrote a semi-timeline, a quick (haha) synopsis of my experience since early 2010. There’s something to be said of visual cognition. For as I read and re-read, seeing those words, it’s hard – almost implausible to imagine why I did what I did. The way I am today, my core beliefs, once questioned, unsure, each day knowing believing in what’s right, what’s wrong for me, ever stronger.

With such a rough week behind me, I still feel numb. The sadness, still in the forefront, my love and care, never waning, flourishes and I am convinced my heart shall always be open to my kids. Nary a worry about that.

Question of estrangement came up on another post, a therapist from Portland, who asks, “Is this a relationship worth saving for you? Was there value before the estrangement?” Significant questions, easy answer, resounding yes! The pain felt this past week, answers remain elusive.

As of the moment, THIS moment, the loved supersedes any, all of the pain endured. And with that, again, disbelief I could of allowed my life to become so destructive and chaotic.

To much dwelling on the past? Not if under a mere few years, a blip in the big pic of fifty-something years. It is my belief that as I dig deep into the past few years, including what led up to certain behaviors, only then will I begin experiencing the freedom of self-forgiveness. There are no digital timers for this, no certainty of specified time. There is escalation, movement towards resolution, though I have not yet arrived.

My reality grows as do I.

Missing them

Trying to breathe. The tears, they are endless, the pain surges and I am alone. Good days and bad, moving forward. It’s been a very tough week.

More triggers, reminders of my girls. The slightest connection with one of them, now in question. Been reading more about estrangement between mothers and daughters. Write about that soon.

For this moment, I miss them, their smiles, laughs, voices. I miss their banter, singing, humor. I miss their heads on my shoulders, dancing in the car, watching back-to-back episodes of Full House. I miss their current lives, experiences, their friends and respective relationships. I miss the engagement, sharing, listening.

Reading emails from months ago, as painful as it still is, to think I may never establish a relationship again, it’s inconceivable. Then again, their hurt so deep, they have resorted to a mindset of no longer having a mom. My mindset is on my children.

I’ve lost energy this week, simply emotionally exhausted. It’s 2:00am as I write, so yeah, that’s not exactly helping my situation either. With that, time to sleep, awaken anew.