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. 

 

 

One Year and Two Days Later

Wow. I see it’s been a year and two days since I last posted here. Soooo many words to share, so few blogs in which to say. After the process of putting myself in an angst mode for too long, asking questions such as, should I start a new blog on divorce, should I add posts to my public blog (Though I do take a more philosophic view on real estate, I think not) I finally came to the conclusion – begin here, again. This is where my story began, here’s where it shall continue. The angst is not so much what to write, it’s where to share.

When I began this writing journey, going public was never on the horizon. No way. Like I would be THAT brave, honest or stupid? Yet, here I am, years later post-divorce, healing quite well and it comes to this: I want to share myself, as I may help others. One goes through the pain, feels is like nothing else, finally allowing its dissipation, leaving space for joy to reenter, allowing a healthy spirit willing and able to touch others and let others touch them. The shame of divorce and estrangement is lifting and I’m ready to carry forth what I’ve learned.

About going public? I’m closer. I may save several of my earlier posts for later. They are raw, honest and an important part of my journey. They are also extremely intimate and personal. I care about my children and do not wish to harm them further. Estrangement is a huge part of the story and still is. It is a complex and complicated subject. Though it is also one of the least talked about issues in our culture, if not others.

Thanks for re-joining me. I’m glad to be back. 

The Stranger: Part Two – Familiarity of Self, of Love

Towards the end of the marriage, husband and wife became strangers to each other. How can this be when for so long we were the best of friends? As I dismantle the numerous knots, new insights emerge – at times, repeating myself, only because I am beginning to cope and live through the aftermath post-divorce. I like this feeling. It feels liberating, at the cusp of more empowerment I desire and need moving forward. All of these feelings, fairly new, learning to sit with them, allowing myself to simply feel.

At the same time, it is Christmas Day. Many sweet memories of our Christmases together, husband and wife as well as la familia. Time moves on, those memories etched in sync within balance of my new-found joy today. I am grateful for those memories.

The ability to change fascinates me as I learn to connect with myself.

I’ve changed, yet not into a new person – I’m now emerging into the person I’ve always been. Did it take something as monumental as a divorce to do complete this? Why now? Why, post-divorce do I feel more familiar with myself and not during my marriage?

The mind is magnificent.

I believe we are all capable of change. I believe we are all capable of acting upon choices. I believe we must learn to trust ourselves long before we love another. I believe in committed relationships. I believe in self-care, self-responsibility and self-compassion, self-forgiveness.

The more tolerant of others, the less judgmental I become. I do not ask or expect others in my life to uphold my beliefs nor look for their validation as I once did.

How my children will know their mother now, I don’t know. I miss them more than can adequately express. What I do know: I am the most complete I’ve ever felt, yet so much more to come. All the years loving, supporting, caring for my girls – immensely real, genuine, truly who I was – am. The other part which now emerges is simply the discovery to allow myself to be. This part was squelched the last years of my marriage. Not his doing, just mis-matched. I tried so hard to fit…into him. Yet I’ve let go of my gatekeeper to my girls – their dad. Letting go of their dad, healing continues as I don’t need him to reach the girls. This will happen in its own time, its own way. I’m learning I love my girls in ways like no other. A mother’s love is like no other. As I nourish self-love, my love for them feels healthier, more grounded.

On this day, the second Christmas spent without my girls, while they may see me a stranger, my love for them flourishes. I’m learning there is more to life than simply loving. It is in giving, actual LIVING one prevails. It is what I can do – the only thing I can do for my girls right now. As I live more authentically, the person I am, so too – eventually, will they begin to understand my reasons for leaving their dad and not them – no longer a stranger, rather, the loving mother they always knew, only now in her entirety.

Grieve Divorce, It’s Real

Is it the family times I miss, all of us together or do I miss my former marriage? I’ve thought a lot about this and have come to a semi-conclusion.

I miss the hell outta my family.

My kids are older, young adults now. The great memories of my family, kids growing up, far supersede the negative. While that’s a beautiful thing, thereby the grieving so deeply entrenched as I continue moving forward.

Does estrangement make a difference?

If I were to talk, connect with my kids now, how much of a difference would it make in terms of my grieving process? I think a lot about this as well. Interestingly enough, ex (I really dislike that term – perhaps former…) and I still communicate, mostly about our children. At the same time, there was a time, he truly was my best friend. Which begs the question:

What the hell happened?

After almost thirty years together the reasons are endless. Well, the small ones anyway. More pertinent reasons involve love, acceptance, tolerance and respect. Pretty heavy shit. And somewhere along the road of my marriage, I began feeling very little of this from my former. This is not to say I held no responsibility on my part. Our demise is much greater than behavior alone.

A side note…

I have purposely decided to not write about the man I now love. He is his own man, has his own life and I am not quite ready to share. I’m discovering the further along my own journey continues, so are our lives intersected. That is its own story I will share soon. His story is a familiar one very much like mine. Grieving is a process that must come at its own time on its own terms.

Let the grieving continue. I don’t know where exactly I am in my own process yet I know I’m still grieving. Fighting it is moot. The sad feelings will never dissipate until/unless I allow myself to feel.

How does one know if they are wallowing or merely grieving after divorce?

My answer lies in healing. Awareness is part of healing. And I am acutely aware of who I am now, what my family means to me and where I want to go. And so I carry on, write here, share myself, listen to others. An open mind leaves room for more healing. As painful as this process continues, so am I able to help others. I think that is where I long to be.

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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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.

More Awakenings of Divorce

Divorce simply by virtue – a piece of paper, a judgement, a settlement, does not so much make one divorced. Legally, all complete. Mentally, emotionally – stop right there. 

Not so surprising when I consider how long I’ve known my ex: met at 18, dated at 19, married at 24, divorced at 52. That’s a helluva long time to know someone; their dreams, desires, fears and joys. Come to think of it, never gave much thought to my dreams, desires, fears and joys. Never occurred I could attain what I wanted. Did what needed to be done, ever the diligent and pleasant person, conflict was a stranger and I wanted no part of mingling with it. Thus, off I went, merrily along, many years of happiness, though lo and behold, not the most alert of the stay-at-home-Mom bunch. It is little surprise it’s taken me a while to let go of him, our roles, what I’ve known for so long.

To speak up, have a voice, I’m still learning to use both. This is especially challenging with my ex though not for reasons they once were. Fearful of his disappointment in me, the possible conflict of disagreement, I learned to shut down, was rather adept at looking the other way, my main concern keeping peace in my marriage, in the family. It’s what I knew.

Now I find myself not so much fearful,  just having difficulty letting go of old patterns. Amongst all the growth, pain and turbulence, there is still comfort in old behaviors. Or is it I don’t wanna let go of what he and I had, or what I thought we had? No. I think I’ve had this wish, this hope, he would be different with me, how he treats me, put himself aside long enough to see how passionate and determined I am to reconcile with our children.

There was a time not too long ago I approached him for help – to work with me in terms as parents, show our kids what unification is, stand together in our love for them. I sent him a link, how to help young adult children when upon learning of a parental affair. Our marriage, the lack of emotional connection took little from our desire to be awesome parents. He turned me down, said nothing he could do, that I was on my own.

Divorce, no matter how amicable, it just plain sucks. It’s painful, rocks one’s world like nothing else, an alteration of such magnitude, reconstruction must be done with tremendous care, at everyone’s own emotional pace. One can not force another when, how, what to feel. Truly eye-opening for everyone involved. 

I care. I must learn I can still care about my ex though remove myself from old roles. This has proven challenging more than willing to admit. I empathize with his own difficulties relating to his daughters.

Much of what I’ve learned about myself has been on my own. I’ve shared some my own progression with my ex, holding back yet allowing for expression of who I am now. The feelings of isolation from estrangement take me places I never thought existed. When there now, I don’t allow myself to stay too long, the recognition I’m a person who made bad decisions does not equate to a bad person. I can’t help my ex-husband anymore, not like I used to. This is a hard to face. It is not for me to judge how he is with his daughters or make things better for him. Allowing to keep an open mind, I desire nothing more than both he and I come to our own resolution within ourselves and who we are. Only then, I am willing to work together, the intention of being here for our girls, that our family, though dismantled as once was, never broken completely for there is something greater to behold – love, respect and forgiveness. 

 

Steps Toward Reunification Begins

New energy has taken a twist of late. Despite my ever-dreaded insomnia the last week or so, life has new meaning: steps towards reunification with daughters has begun. 

It Starts with an Email…

Ok, so I copied and pasted it to 3 separate therapists. Spark notes for long-term marriage and divorce don’t exist, hence, the splendor and usefulness of bullet points can not be over exaggerated. Tonight, off they go, into the iCloud above the heavens, my first step in seeking help and support in reconnecting with my young adult children. Conclusion to the story, while evident in finality of divorce, what remains open is the relationship with my kids, no such ending in close sight. Be that as it may, there is a renewed sense of empowerment, optimism in the air. I help to create that. Optimism – it’s a choice.

But, what if….?

Letting go of doubt is not easy. Both kids clearly do not want to see me, this I know. What else they are feeling, thinking day-to-day, pure speculation. Tiring of assumptions, next week, more change as I venture ahead. Pain yet still deep, I am determined to do what’s necessary for them, just as much as for me. I find myself constantly justifying that the kids come first, as if putting myself before them is somehow selfish on my part, that it’s all about me. This is about me. This is about them. This is about family, love, connecting, understanding, forgiving others, forgiving ourselves. This is about peace, gratitude and doing what’s right. Mistakes, oh how we let them dictate behaviors…moving beyond reactionary, I now see a future of reunification, of healing. I simply can not do it alone. And that’s OK. No need to. Just gotta reach out and ask.

The Road to Resolve

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” ~ William Shakespeare

Seven days until dissolution complete. A most incredible experience, the journey carries on, each feeling absorbed more deeply, each thought a snapshot of the past, the here and now. The future, uncertain, though isn’t this true for most? Uncertainty, once feared, ready to embrace, seize opportunities, continuity of exploration, new mistakes to be made.

Leaving myself, not my family…

When asking when it was I left my family, how it really happened, he answered “When you said yes to your lover.” Like the pierce of a steely knife, my heart sliced once again, reminiscent of my past, what brought me here, my own resolve still an evolution. While I don’t necessarily agree with my friends’ assessment, the point is clear: had I truly thought of my family, I would never have walked through that door. I did not put my family first. More importantly, I did not put myself first. For those looking in from the outer rim, their vision; a self-serving individual merely interested in her self. Yet, the irony of it all….there was no self. Nary an excuse for such decisions, I continue coming clean with who I am. I chose that door, yes, not realizing the ramifications; rather a woman making a break for it, running away from herself, her pain, her SELF. No sense can possibly be made for the consequences of these actions. I think the main point to share is that as a woman of much greater strength, I now see the person I was, the person I am becoming…my desire for authenticity and  genuineness, greater than ever and a new awakening on the threshold of resolve.

Doubt, no doubt, truly are our traitors. My inner voice, faint in the past, I listen more closely. More audible, visual, I am learning to pay attention. No more time for unconsciousness. Or doubt. Time is of the essence. It must be nurtured, appreciated, harvested and embraced. Not for what was but for the gift of what time allows: grieving, crying, anger, hurt, inward and outer pain, sadness, gratitude and unlimited love. It is up to each to make a difference in our lives. My inner voice, she does not scream, she simply nudges. Nudging is good. Good to pay attention. Paying attention leads to the road to resolution. I am on my way….

Unconventional Traditions of the Holiday Kind

Thanksgiving, like most American rituals, not so much a conventional holiday growing up, this year, new meaning, a yearning to embrace tradition of the most unconventional way.

Greg Brady’s fabulous student film aside, his version of what Thanksgiving means, those other Brady pilgrims, Indians, Carol with her hideous haircut, my vision remains as always; family, friends and tradition of the most untraditional kind… Hey, Christmas was all about lasagna in my house, Mom’s closest tradition of a Christmas feast consisted of red (meat and marinara sauce) and green (spinach and mozzarella cheese) lasagna, nothing close to poultry of any kind.

Cut to my own marriage, children and traditions take on new traditions. My husband, his version similar to Greg Brady, I felt complete those many years of conventional tradition. My girls longed for a bigger family, the thought of a boisterous, loud and sprawling dining experience at Thanksgiving, instead, our small nuclear unit, though loving, humor always injected somehow, the day never felt quite normal to me.

Thus, on this Thanksgiving Day, the first without my precious Mamma, daughters, soon-to-be-ex-husband, I find new traditions, visions of what means most. A day of reflection, sharing, cheesy Facebook status’, great friends, sumptuous eats, another year of good intentions to participate feeding the homeless without actually doing it, writing blog posts, life is what one makes of it, holiday or whatever day.

Carpe diem, baby. Grateful to be a whole person, figuring shit out, longing to be with my girls a better person and simply loving others as much as I love this wonderful life I see in front of me.