6 months of change

Six months are how long it has been since I have posted. Six months of complete change, but yet everything is still the same. Six months of that roller coaster ride of life that has now become so familiar to me. Six months of everything. rolled into nothing that would be meaningless at this point to share. Sure, I have many blogs rolling through this overactive brain at 1 a.m. tonight: but to be honest with you, I am here for one reason, one blog, one heartbreak I am struggling to overcome.

Last week, my youngest son came home for a visit, it was difficult enough given that I have not laid eyes on him in 10 months, but to make it even more difficult, he felt the need to visit my ex husband while he was in town. It is easy to understand why, this man was his step father for 12 years of his life. We separated a week before my son left for basic training, he came home for two weeks last year and has not been home since. In his mind, he has not seen or have any knowledge of the interactions and heartbreak between his ex stepfather and myself. I have hidden from him the tears, the loss of self, and the heartbreak of a failed marriage, for fear of destroying his hopes and dreams of any future for himself. After all, this is the same kid, who when his father and I separated when he was 5 reacted by ripping the skin off of his lips, pulling out all of his eyebrows and peeing in his bed until his early teens. The psychologist told us what we already knew, it was in response to the stress created by our separation and divorce. I was careful in my single years after my first divorce of who the kids met and how much they knew of my “single” lifestyle because of his self determent and torture. When my ex and I met, fell in love and married, it was for life. He was to be the surrogate father of my kids and we had many discussions before we married on what his role as step father was to be and how protective I was of my kids feeling heartbreak. The year before my son left for the US Air force, he and my ex become the closest they had been in years. With all of this knowledge under my belt, when my son asked if he should call my ex and request a visit, my stomach turned with nausea. I didn’t know how to respond, my first instinct was to ask if he was crazy! Why would he want to see a man who had made no attempts to contact him in the one year and a half we had been separated and had no outside appearances of being damage at all by our separation/divorce, I wanted to ask if he realized how many hours his mother had spent lost, dazed and confused, crying with bouts of anger, depression and the horrid feeling of losing myself and having no one to blame but me. How painful it was when the man I had married sent my kids and I packing and never looked back? How painful it was that he depleted every picture, memory, emotion that we had ever shared out of his heart and his home in one short weekend and walked away with full composure? I couldn’t ask him these things, because he wasn’t aware of any of them because of my protection of his heart. So I answered as calmly and maturely as I could by telling him he was a 21 one year old grown man, if he felt he needed to see his ex step father, then he needed to make that decision for himself.

The only time I have laid eyes on my ex since our separation was in February of this year. Keith and I were attending a hunting banquet/fundraiser for a local charity. My ex has never hunted a day in his life, never had a desire to, so imagine my surprise when he walks through the door with his brother and a young blonde in tow. How could I be jealous? I was with my new beau of over 4 months, but I found myself angry and feelings of rejection washed over me. In August, just before my 40th birthday and on our 10 year anniversary, I had composed a heart-felt email, begging for forgiveness for the affair, asking for a chance to make things better and a simple request to “talk” about it. He never responded. It was in that moment that I knew it was over and I wasn’t sure if I was hurt or relieved. The pain of him not responding, the jealousy of knowing in my heart he had met someone else only four short months after our separation was overshadowed by the guilt of my affair and the loss of self-esteem at wondering if I had made a fatal mistake. To see him walk in the room with his new girlfriend only brought about more feelings of confusion. I had been miserable, he was cold-hearted, mean and narcissistic during our entire marriage, but I was overcome with doubt ,fear and anger. I watched them uncontrollably at every chance I could glance that was without Keith or the ex realizing it. The comfort between them confirmed this was not a new relationship, the affection the ex brother-in-law showered on her told me that they had been together over the holidays and she knew the family well. I wasn’t jealous, I was hurt at being replaced so quickly: but how could I confirm these feelings when I was the one who had an affair and had ultimately chosen the path that ended our marriage?

The night passed, time moved forward and in April (my last post) I was anxiously looking forward to receiving the divorce papers in the mail. In my mind, it would be over. Signing those papers would end the heart-break, the despair, the frustration of feeling that I will never be the same. I was dismayed when the papers arrived in May announcing my 30 days to contest the divorce before a court date would be set. 30 days, seriously? We had been separated over a year, property disputes were settled ( I had signed a quick claim to relinquish it all to him) and now our lovely court system was informing me it would be another six weeks due to the “process”. I had nothing more to do than to move on with me life.

In May, financially falling to pieces and unable to pay my bills and maintain my lifestyle, I reluctantly agreed to accept Keith’s offer to move in with him for a while. It was against my will, better judgment and all I stood for, but I honestly had no choice but to be grateful I had this man in my life who was willing to open his doors to help me out. To add to the mixture of the feelings of heartbreak I was still experiencing from the affair and divorce, I now had the humiliation and embarrassment of failing to support myself and depending on another, something I swore I would never do again. This made a huge dent in my progress to overcome the horrid story my life had become in the last year. I put my big girl britches on, smiled through the tumultuous battle and trudged on.

July 18th was our court date, it was a Wednesday. I had images months before of the day being a celebration. I had false Posadas of a huge divorce party, with cheers of hurrah and surroundings of family and beloved friends telling me how happy they were that I was out of this mans clenches and proud of the woman I was today. Instead, I awoke to drive to the beach (in moving in with Keith I gave up my island life and returned to the mainland) and cried for hours at the same spot I had cried for hours the day I packed my bags and left. In my heart and my mind, I was no further along than I had been on that same day. I was still lost, dazed, empty, scared and alone, only now, I had a piece of paper to prove I was OFFICIALLY alone!

One week after our divorce was final, I opened our local newspaper to be dealt another blow. During our marriage, we both attended college and entered the same career field. It was our dream to begin our own family business and build it to pass on to my kids. We had both spent hours upon years pouring over statistics and gathering the information needed to create our dream. My accounting background in check, I had spilt blood in putting together the perfect business plan and we both had sacrificed much time in presenting this plan to banks, schools, grant and loan companies, etc. in pursuit of our dream. Seven short days after our divorce was final, I open an email from an old friend and colleague enquiring about my ex’s new business venture. She informed me he had quit his position with the company he had been with for 10 years and had opened a new business in our town: in that day’s paper, there it was in black and white. HIs smiling face, in front of his new sign with the logo I had created and the business I had helped form the image of. I was devastated. What should have been proof of this mans cold, narcissistic ego: only broke my heart more and damaged my self worth all over again. I have wondered on countless occasions how long this had been in the works and the obviousness of nothing being releases until after the ink was on the paper, only answers that question.

The embarrassment of losing my career over my affair with my co-worker, the humiliation and self contempt of opening my heart to a stranger who devastated not only my life but my soul as well: mixed with the realization of the uncompassionate, cold-hearted nature of my ex has only made me weaker. I felt like I am my own worst enemy and no matter what choices I make, the fates are against me. The pursuit of a new career field, the accomplishments and accolades I have achieved in that field since last January have been overshadowed and lost by feelings of abandonment, self loath and an over all feeling of failure.

That day was July 25th. Since then, I have once again pulled my pants up to my chin, refused to allow any of this to bring me down and made life changing decisions. I relinquished my position at the communication’s center and accepted a part-time on call status with them. I applied and received a year scholarship to return to school and pursue my Criminal Justice degree. I enrolled for five full-time classes for the fall quarter, accepted a full-time waitressing position and have continued to work at the call center 5-10 days a month. It’s not necessarily ambition that is driving me, its more of an obsession to bring my life to some level of normalcy. I have built my savings account, paid off/down several bills and recently had my eye on a new condo in the same complex I left in June. My relationship with Keith adequate enough to make it through, my hearts desire is to be back on my own two feet and not dependent upon another.

With all that in place, I was excited to learn that my son would be home for a few days before he deploys in a few months to Saudi Arabia. My protective nature kicked in, he has never met Keith, though he knows of his existence, I did not want it to be uncomfortable for him to return to yet another home, another man, a life for his mom that he did not recognize. So I rented the new condo for  two days (my lease does not begin until Nov 1). We were at the pool, enjoying a beautiful sunny day, when he asked the question of contacting the ex. Before the air had passed my lips in answer to his question he had his phone in hand dialing the number. I don’t think I breathed for the entire three minute conversation. He disconnected the line and seemed excited that Chris wanted to see him to and was happy to hear from him. My son was set to leave the next morning to visit his dad for  few days and on his way out of town he was stopping by our old townhouse for lunch with the ex. He was excited to see the “old home” and was anxious to see our mini daschund that I brought home as a gift for my husband before we were even ever married. Jake was his name and to date I would guess him to be 13 years old now. My kids have not seen our family pet since the day we drove off in disarray, April 22, 2012. His excitement only made me more nervous to what he would find on his visit. I knew from out side sources the ex had moved all of our belongings out the weekend after we separated and repainted thw hole town house, I was in fear for how stressful this meeting may be. I never once dreamt of the phone call I would receive from my son after his visit ended.

He had left our old home, en route to his fathers when he called to tell me about meeting my ex’s new wife. A week after our divorce was final , the ex released the news of his new business: two weeks after it was final, he remarried in a small intimate ceremony….at the same church we had been married. Least I fail to mention, their marital date is two days shy of our anniversary of August 17th. That call came in six days ago and I have not been able to move past it. I have cried, cried and cried: my appetite has waned, all I want to do is sleep and my heart has hurt as much as it did the day I realized it was over. The hurt is overwhelming and I embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. Again, I feel stupid, how do I explain to anyone that I was the one who had an affair, I was the one who didn’t fight for my marriage, but I am the one who is experiencing complete devastation. And that in itself is the statement of the year. How can he not hurt? How could he pack my kids and my items, move us out in one short week, repaint his home and move on with his life? He packed all of our photos in my hope chest, he gave back the two wedding bands I had purchased and he never looked back. He never asked how we were! If we were financially struggling, never called the kids, or appeared to miss any aspect of our life. All the while, I am struggling. I cannot move forward. While he is sitting in the home we owned, with a new spouse: I am living in a rented room in my lovers home. I own nothing, not a couch, not a bed, nothing. All the while, my son tells me of the new furniture in the home, the surround sound TV, the new hardwood floors. I am struggling to find my place in life with a new career: while has taken our dream and opened his own business with the business plan that I created. I am trying to find faith in the human race, specifically the male species while knowing in my heart I will probably never love again, Keith and I have an amicable relationship in that we have both been hurt and destroyed by marriage and we share a respect for each others space, basically we are friends with benefits: while he has a new wife, to replace me, obviously his trust in marriage was not wavered by any of our experiences in the last 12 years.

I am deeply hurt, lost and angry that this hurts! I have no knowledge how to move through it. I feel that I take 2 steps forward and 3 back most of the time. Are there any others with the same experience? Feelings? if so, how have you made it through or what is helping you battle the struggle?

Almost divorced

Divorce in dictionary

In 11 short days, I will be divorced. That brown manila envelope will arrive in the mail any day now. The one that includes the “official” papers that the government requires to announce to the world that I made a mistake and my marriage failed. I will open it with tearful eyes and hope the attorney doesn’t notice the little wet stains that remain by my signature when I send it back. I haven’t driven to check my PO box in days. The heaviness and fear in my heart forces my hands to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction and run for the hills.I find that reaction interesting, considering I have anxiously been wanting it all to be over. That is what scares me, it will actually be over.

From the first day, April 21 2012, that I fearfully packed two tiny bags of clothing, filled my car with the “important” things and hunkered in a motel room: to this morning, waking up to sunshine, birds chirping and a man who loves me laying by my side, it has been a journey. One that began with heart-break, desperation, loneliness and despair and will end with regret and fear but filled with a hope for a new tomorrow.

I made breakfast for my love this morning, shared a cup of coffee with him on the balcony, and watched with sadness as he drove away on his motorcycle heading to work. I haven’t shared with him the desperation that is in my soul, he knows nothing of the loneliness that I feel in my heart. It has nothing to do with him nor does he need to know. It has everything to do with the emotions and pathways that divorce carries you through. Those emotions, though felt by many, can only be understood by the ones experiencing them in the present.

When a person exits your life, its human nature to want to forget the bad memories and cherish the good. As time passes and the memories begin to fade, we tend to cling to the good emotions that were shared with that person, sometimes we clutch to tightly to the good memories and create a fictionalized character instead of remembering the person as they were. Once I was alone this morning, I stood on my balcony and I cried for the loss of my marriage. I felt guilty in participating in this new love in my life and I was overcome with fear, loneliness and a feeling of desperation: will these emotions ever end, was all that kept going through my mind. Will I ever stop crying?

As I sat there, overcome with emotions, a memory rushed into my mind of a similar day. My ex and I were in our fifth year of marriage. We had the perfect home, the perfect careers and the perfect little family, on the exterior: on the interior, my heart was filled with sadness, loneliness and isolation. The hubby was off to work, the kids were off to school and as I walked around my perfect little house, my heart desperately wanted to flee. I was over the passive aggressive nature of my husband, I was tired of the insults, the let downs and the control he had forced into my life. I dreamt of the day I could be out of his clutches, free to make my own decisions, trudge my way through life, and never have to feel the sting of his insults and coldness again. I sat on our front porch and I cried. I cried over the love I had dreamt of us having, the laughter and happiness I thought we were going to share, and the disappointment I felt in the emptiness in my heart. I watched the world go by and I longed for freedom. I longed to be the person I knew I was, the person who was not afraid to tackle the world.

I sat on my balcony today and I cried for many of the same reasons. The irony is, I have that freedom now, but long for that old known comfort of yesterday. It’s not so much that I miss him, but more that I miss the memories and comforts of having a life together. I watch couples together and I long for that comfort of knowing each other. The kind where you have been together long enough to know the favorite foods, favorite activities and moods of the other person. The kind where words don’t have to be spoken, it’s just being together that matters.

The last details of our 12 years together are drawing near and will soon be at the end. Where will I go from here? Who will I be now? Will I be strong enough to make it?

3redhearts

As we finish our property distribution, I clean out the storage unit that we shared together, and I mail the keys to our homes and cars to his attorney, I realize that its like burying the person you were and becoming a new person, one that you are meant to be. There is sadness, shock, isolation, and fear of watching that someone you loved, die. You stand idly by and feel the emptiness in knowing you will never see that person again, all that is left are memories.

Overcoming those feelings, looking to the future and seeing the doors and paths that have opened in front of you is the hard part. My wish for finality is coming true in a very short time. As I move forward in my life, making the way for a new love and new memories, I vow to not forget the person that I was. After all, it’s the person that I was that has made me the person I am today: a woman with hope, strength and most of all, love.

Try – My anaology of a song.

My favorite song, at the present moment, is Pink’s – Try. I’ve loved Pink for many years, even when she was struggling to become the kick ass singer she is today. Her songs are real, heartfelt and lots of times, speak about moments and feelings that I have experienced in life. Try makes sense to me; I always think of R., our affair, the ending of my marriage and my present relationships…through the few words of Pink, I find a bit of peace knowing someone out there may understand.
“Ever wonder about what he’s doing, How it all turned to lies, Sometimes I think that it’s better to never ask why”

I wonder what “he” is doing a lot. I think about R. often still, just not every day like I used to. I wonder where he is working, what his daily routine is and if he is happy. My heart is mending from the damage he caused but I am not sure if I will ever forget him. Time has put a distance between us, Feb. 26th will be a year from the date we started the affair. May 8th will be a year since he left my life. I always wonder what happened to make him decide to flee my presence. What words were said, conversations held or ideas ran through his mind that I will never know about. Then again, I don’t want to know. I will never understand the promises he made, the life visions that he gave me, and the love I thought “we” felt, and how quickly he forgot it all. If I knew why, it may just break my heart all over again.

Chorus
“Where there is desire, There is gonna be a flame, Where there is a flame, Someone’s bound to get burned, But just because it burns, Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die, You’ve gotta get up and try try try”
I’m not sure I will ever believe in love again. This statement is more profound to me than anyone can know. The truth is, when the heart is involved, it’s a promise that someone is going to get hurt. There is no perfect relationship, no perfect marriage, and even those that spend their lives together experience that heartbreak when the other dies. It takes effort, after having your heart broken, to put yourself back out there again. To place your faith in someone and trust they have your best interests at heart. For me, it’s a day to day process still. I have to remind myself, it’s not my first heart break, surely will not be my last, but my heart is not prepared to be hurt again, let down or disappointed.

“Funny how the heart can be deceiving, More than just a couple times. Why do we fall in love so easy, Even when it’s not right.”

Can I get an Amen? I fell in love with my husband, though the red flags were blowing in the wind. Things fell apart, but I didn’t want to let go, for fear of failure. By the time I met R., I was desperate and longing for affection. He was willing to give it, I opened my heart and fell head over heels, though we were both married and talked many times about the consequences if we were caught. Not even a year later, I am dating a man that I am telling “I love you.” I care deeply about him, but I’m not sure I LOVE him.

Chorus

“Ever worried that it might be ruined, And does it make you wanna cry? When you’re out there doing what you’re doing, Are you just getting by? Tell me are you just getting by”

More days than I want to admit, I think my life is ruined. I never expected my life to be like this at 40. I had pictured myself working hard at my career, owning my own home, enjoying the empty nest with my husband, planning exotic vacations, having BBQ’s and poker nights with our friends and simply enjoying the fruits of my labor. Instead, I find myself struggling to pay the bills, facing having to work two jobs this spring to get ahead, and there is no prospect in the future to be in my own home. I do not even own a bed or a couch, thank God for fully furnished rentals. Every day is a struggle. I am grateful for the advancements that I have made, but there is no relief on the horizon. I’ve been projected into a whole new world of solo responsibility and sometimes, I miss who I used to be, I miss the me I thought I would be today.

I am finally reaching a point of being able to hold my head up again. So many days I was embarrassed and ashamed of the affair with R. Everyone in my old work industry knew about it, my ex made it a point to tell as many as he could in the community and my life had been ruined over it. When I was in public, I would hang my head low if someone was around that had knowledge of it. Sometimes, I would feel so ashamed, I would come home and cry for hours. I wasn’t sure I would ever get over the guilt, but as time is passing, it is not so much of a burden to bear.
I have been afraid of love and emotions. So many times I have convinced myself I am not worthy of love that I am sure I have missed many opportunities to be happy. I also am fearful of trusting again. I don’t know if I can, I include myself in that equation. My heart continues to make mistakes, mistakes that cost me more and more as time goes on. How do I know I can be faithful to someone? Am I strong enough to make it when things begin to falter or damage myself by following my heart? I am not so sure it needs to be released into the wild, ever again.

I ran into my ex-husband Friday night, for the first time since our separation. K. and I went to a hunters banquet, we were sitting at the table and “poof” there he is. He is walking in the door with his new girlfriend. At first, it was awkward. I moved to the opposite side of the table and made a point to not be in the same area as him at any given time. Then it dawned on me, I was feeling NOTHING. Actually, I was feeling something, grateful that it was her and not me sitting by his side. I watched as he carried on his politicking around the room. Smiling, shaking hands, making her walk behind him as he put on his pretenses: and I felt free. He never held her hand, never walked beside her, and many times, left her awkwardly sitting at the table while he did what he wanted. I realized, though my affair was admittedly wrong and should have never happened, everything happens for a reason. A good friend told me after the separation and R.’s disappearance that maybe R. was destined to be in my life for long enough to give me a reason to leave my marriage. Maybe fate never meant for us to be together for more than we were, the end result was to guide me out of years of unhappiness that I had locked myself into. As my eyes grazed over my ex and his new girl, I focused on K. walking behind them. He was laughing with his friends as he was filling a plate with desserts for us to share. There were no pretenses, fake presentations or passive aggressive gestures with his actions. There was only my simple redneck boyfriend, bringing his girl some dessert, and having fun with his friends by simply being himself.

As my ex passed me by, he sarcastically looked right at me, with hopes of making me uncomfortable,  in his true passive/aggressive demeanor; he spoke and asked me how I was. I caught him off guard when I smiled a heartfelt smile and answered honestly “I’m doing great, thanks for asking.” The anger showed in his eyes, his cheeks turned red and in that moment, I think he realized he no longer held any power over me.

Maybe Pink’s words are true. I’ve experienced deep heartbreak, but I am still here. Maybe, soon enough, my heart will be willing, who knows, maybe K. and I will find “love” or maybe I will be in the right place at the right time and some non-expecting gentleman will give me a reason to get up and try. Time will tell, for now, my only regret is not looking at the new girlfriend Friday night and telling her “Good luck with that.” Life choices rid me of that unhappiness…..

Tis the season to be blah

Thanksgiving behind me, I began to look forward to the promise of a New Year and the hopes for healing and peace in my heart.

The sickness from Thanksgiving lingered for a few weeks, but life returned to normal. Work had become really busy, it was time for all the company holiday parties. I was scheduled to work six nights a week, every week, until New Year: my financial future was looking good, every party on those books had $$ signs shining through the pages. As the first of the parties began, it was to my disappointment, that my greedy boss and her daughter decided to hire a young man to help in serving food and busing tables, in lieu of having any of the wait staff help, and cut into their tip. This continued for the entire Christmas season. We would have parties scheduled for over 150 people, with an open bar and live bands. The bosses daughter was a horrid person, as time had passed, her true colors began to show themselves and this woman simply, was a monster. She was the type of person who everything was about her. If you cut your finger, she had cut hers worse when she was 7: if you were heartbroken, her life was horrid because her husband did not give her enough attention, etc. She was overweight, lazy, u un-compassionate and had not a bit of couth anywhere in her body. The nights the Christmas parties were booked, she would have the bus boy serve all the food and alcohol, as she sat in the back of the kitchen playing on Facebook. I would wait the tables that came in for the restaurant, unless a known big tipper came into the front door, and then her mom would wait the table for her and slip her the tip.By the end of the night, she was walking out with several hundred dollars, after paying the bus boy an hourly minimum wage and rubbing it in my face that she was making bank. Finances were not well and none of this was helping my mentality. Since I had left the first restaurant at the end of June, I had placed over 100 applications for “real” jobs, finally throwing in the white towel, I had decided to take a break for the month of December, regroup and begin again in January. Of course, I was depending on making enough money to place into my savings through the holidays, now everything just seemed out of sorts again.

The closer Christmas came, the more anxious I began to feel. Thanksgiving was horrid, the sadness and loneliness had almost consumed me for that short four day weekend. Christmas was due to be a 6 day weekend. No invites were offered my way for Christmas. Though I had not acted upon any of them, I had been invited to maybe 6 different homes for Thanksgiving, but nothing was looming for Christmas.

When my ex had placed my items into our storage unit over the summer, he had warmly and nicely packed every single Christmas decoration that referenced our past and had kept every single Christmas decoration that had not. I found this out after deciding one Sunday to at least decorate my balcony and condo door. Over the years I had acquired several nice door wreaths from Macy’s and Dillard’s and just last year I had purchased a few boxes of icicle lights and four crab pot Christmas trees. (only sold in our area for the time being, eastern NC) I had driving to the storage room, almost excitedly packed my car with the two storage containers and the 4 crab pot tress and drove home humming Christmas carols. Maybe this was just what I needed to put me in the mood! Upon opening the two storage containers and barely leafing through I quickly figured out the motivation to be so “willing” to set certain items free. The first container was full of CHristmas decorations, the decorations I did not want to see. Or first Christmas, our first home, our wedding cake topper, etc. The second storage container was filled with our entire families stocking, FAMILY stocking holders, even our puppy dogs stocking and Christmas decoration. (the puppy dog he still has). I threw the lid on the storage containers, through them in the back of what used to be my daughters room and sat in the dark, crying for hours. There were no outside lights, no door wreaths, no tree skirts, or tinsel: he had purposely gone through every single decoration and pushed them out of his home, heart and memory. I really did not know what to feel.

The days moved on, finally, I pulled up my boot strings and stopped into Wal Greens to buy some lights for my balcony and a tiny Charlie Brown Christmas tree for the condo. That was the extent of my Christmas decorations.

Two weeks before Christmas, Bryan and I still doing our thing, he told me his daughter would be down for a week before Christmas, he was going to his brother’s house on the opposite end of NC for the holidays and would not be home until after New Years. My only hope of entertainment now gone, my heart-felt sad, I have never felt so alone.

My youngest son, who is stationed in Macon GA phoned my just before Christmas. He was scheduled to have a ten-day holiday but didn’t want to spend the money to come home and was worried about being so far away from base for so long. A light bulb in my brain snapped on, my one mainstay financially has been my Marriot rewards card, I had enough points for a three day free hotel stay, why not drive to Atlanta and see my son for Christmas! GENUISE! I shared the idea with my son and he was excited at the thought. Immediatly, I hung up the phone, booked a hotel room, and that was it, Christmas was now back on. I phoned my oldest son and daughter to let them know I would be away for Christmas but back right after: they could have cared less. My oldest son even gave me a “Huh?! Ummm ok, why are you telling me this!”

I worked Saturday night, excitedly came home to pack and leave on Sunday morning. It was going to be an eight hour drive, but well worth it to make son happy for the holidays. All my life, I have always gotten great pleasure at making my kids smile. The entire nine-hour drive, visions of sugar plums, smiles from my son, dinners together, walks through the park amid all the Christmas lights and maybe even a nice Christmas lunch dance through my head.

I have to explain one thing to you before I go ahead with my story. My youngest son is ADD and suffers from EXTREME middle child syndrome.I had all hopes when he joined the Air Force, they would break these issues, but I think they have actually became worse. On the way down, I texted my son when I was half way there. His home base is only an hour from Atlanta so I had told him to give me three hours and then begin his journey to meet me at the hotel. Did he listen? No, do they ever? When I arrived at the hotel, I found my son sleeping in his truck, in the hotel parking lot, with a tow truck backing in beside home to tow him away. He had left Macon at 12:30 and had been asleep in the parking lot since 2, I arrived at 5. I had to rush inside, tell the clerk who he was, check us in, rush out and beg for forgiveness from the tow truck driver: all the while, my son is still sleeping. After the tow truck pulls out, I bang and bang and bang on my sons window, for a moment, I thought he may have been dead. He finally wakes up, clueless to the action that took place only a few moments before. I am livid. He explains that he “forgot” I told him that it would be a nine hour drive for me, rushed out to meet me, and then when he realized that I was still a ways away, he tried to check in and had an argument with the hotel clerk. (the room was booked in my name) He didn’t think to call me, he says!

We settle our vehicles in the parking garage, I open my trunk and begin to pull out my four pieces of luggage for our three-day stay. (a girl must be ready) My son walks over, grabs two bags and stands there. I ask is he going to make a second trip to get his bags. He doesn’t have any bags he answers. WHAT?!?! You have nothing, no toiletries, no change of clothes, nothing. Nope, he didn’t think he would need anything for just one day! WHAT?!?!?! One day, I told you we would be here from Sunday-Wednesday! Oh, he says! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN OHHHHHH? I think in that first ten minutes of arrival in Atlanta, I felt 100 new gray hairs blossom on top of my head!

How we made it to the room in one piece, I cannot explain, but when that door opened, and I saw that nice King bed and those beautiful shower stalls, I was in heaven. Nine hours in a vehicle, driving alone, in traffice, two days before Christmas, had not made me a happy camper. Then to arrive to that fiasco, Mama was ready for a nap, a shower and then a nice sit down dinner. My son was not having it. His ADD afire and well rested after his three hour nap in the parking lot, he was pinging all over the hotel room with franetic energy. I could not stand him at that moment and I began to realize, those visions of sugar plums, yeah, they were popping around like a little kid blowing bubbles out of a bottle.

I rushed to take a shower, rushed to dress, after all, this trip was to keep him entertained and make sure my 21 year did not spend Christmas alone. We drove over to one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta, Gordon Buersh. At least I could get a cold beer, a nice hot sandwich and watch Dallas in the division title game. Maybe that could give the relaxation I needed. There I went thinking again. My son was like a three-year old, non stop chatter, bouncing around in his booth seat, and anxious to make plans for that evening. I had found several things for us to do over the three days, his ADD was wondering why we had not done them already. He barely touched his burger and I could not enjoy my chicken salad for his constant bouncing. I gazed around. I was in Heaven, with the exception of my sons presence. Fresh ale was brewing in the window behind me, the bar was lined, I MEAN LINED, with nice looking gentleman sipping beer and watching football ALONE!, my salad was refreshing, Dallas was winning..I wondered how I could make my son disappear long enough to slip my single self up to the bar and begin a NFL conversation with this one gentleman that was catching my eye?

Again, my bubble burst, dinner was over, we walked out with 2 To Go plates and we headed to downtown Atlanta for a little ice skating in the park. The traffic was horrid, parking was expensive and the line to the skating rink was over three hours long. The rink closed at 10, it was 9. We walked through Centinnel park for maybe ten minutes and my son was out did. His excitement gone, his temper in full force, he began to whine like a three-year old. I was tired, my excitement gone, I began to whine like a four-year old and just like what normally happens when you have a whiny three and four-year old, you send them to their room for time out. A $30 dinner sitting in our hotel fridge, $20 parking lot fee, and one ill me later, we were in our room by 10 and lights out.

The next morning was Christmas Eve, there was a sad and cold cloud of rain over Atlanta and the weather channel called for it to settle in. It mimicked the coldness in my heart. My son was awake, depressed, irritated and not the person I wanted to be around at all. HAving battled the ADD the night before, it was now time to battle the middle child syndrome. My kids father was having his annual Christmas gathering at his home that day. Every year for 15 years, he has had a massive amount of people from his neighborhood come to his house, grill out, open presents, play games, etc. The kids have always loved it and that was where my oldest son and daughter would be. My youngest son felt left out. After all, the middle child never gets his way. You have to understand, when my son gets in this mind frame, it is horrible. He stomps, pouts, sighs, kicks, curses, you get the picture. The rain settled in and my plans for our Christmas Eve were shot right out of the water. The walk through the Botanical Gardens and the return trip to the ice skating rink were now off the options list. It was Christmas Eve, though we were in Atlanta we didn;t really have any options. Across the street was a huge shopping mall and one entire end was Macys. I decided to walk over and spend a few hours walking around, my intention, to get away from my son, but no he decides to follow me over. This lasted as long as ten minutes, after the 50th time of him walking ten steps behind me cursing under his breath and mumbling, I grabbed him by his ear and pulled him out the door, like I used to when he was 6. ENough was enough, this was not going to happen!

We drive to a restaurant, order lunch, and I proceeded to down four beers, just that fast too, gulp gulp. I think the waitress thought I was off my rocker….now that I think about it, I think I WAS off my rocker. By 2 p.m., we were back in our room. All I wanted was to come home, at least I would be alone, literally alone.  I feel asleep and by 4 p.m. things were at their all time low, my oldest son had texted photos to my youngest son of the crowd exchanging gifts and playing horseshoes. My youngest son was unmanageable. I called my ex husband, passed him the phone to talk to his son, and proceeded to listen to a 2 hour conversation between he and everyone else at his Dad’s party. I felt sad, lonely, and not enough. I had traveled nine hours to make this holiday a nice one for us both and all my son was focused on was what he was missing. I knew what I was missing and did not want to think about it! I stood at the window, on the ninth floor of our hotel and watched as 6 p.m. came, the stores turned out their lights, the traffic whitteled down to nothing and Christmas Eve settled in. My brain took me back to all of the Christmas Eve’s before. The ones with my first husband we spent with his parents, siblings and neighbors, opening gifts, eating lots of food and then packing the kids in their car seats to anxiously wait for Santa. The ones in my former single life where there was no father figure, I was Santa, Chef Du Jour, and entertainer all in one. We would bake cookies on Christmas Eve, make hot chocolate and my three kids and I would sit in the floor and unwrap toys and play for hours. Then there were the Christmas Eves with the ex: I would cook appetizers for us all to eat as we opened gifts and then we would drive to his brothers house for dinner and gifts there. I remember the 22 years of the kids excitement and energy over Santa. I remembered it all, this year there was none of that, and I felt sad.

My son gave me my phone back and when I turned to face him, tears streaming down my face, for one second, I saw the happiness in his eyes and I thought there may be hope for my Christmas Eve. True to the male gender, he never noticed the tears, never saw the sadness his mom was feeling: he had decided, as a gift to his Dad, he was not going to tell anyone but me….he was going home for Christmas to surprise his family, his family being his Dad and Step mom.  Just the thought of it, made him excited and happy, so much so, he was ready to leave right that minute for the nine-hour drive home. It was 8 p.m. Christmas Eve night. I talked him into waiting for the next morning, I never made mention that I had driven down just for him, I was the one who would be alone the rest of the holiday and how much it broke my heart that he didn’t notice these things. By 5 a.m. Christmas morning, he was gone. Excited and bouncing around like a happy three year old, he was gone. I ventured down stairs for a treadmill workout, informed the clerk we would not be needing the last nights stay, at my continental breakfast alone, packed my bags, and by 8 a.m., I was on the GA interstate making that long trip home. I was let down, heart-broken, and totally alone.

What felt like years but was really 7 and one half hours later, I pulled into my condo. I was achy, tired, and did not have much energy. I made it in the house, threw my bags to the side and passed out on the couch. The next morning, I woke up with the flu. Yep, you read that right. That nasty bug that is still dominating our country with fever, fatigue, aches and pains: that was my day after Christmas present. I thought I was going to die, literally, I have never been so sick in my life.

From Christmas Eve night on Monday, until Friday morning, my phone never rang, dinged or vibrated. No one called, inquired about me, or knew of my existence, not even one of my three children. At one point, my fever was 103.7, my chills were dominating and my achy body could not be still: I pictured the landlord knocking on my door in early January and entering the condo to find me cold and hard, dead for WEEKS. Headlines in the local paper

SINGLE WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN CONDO FROM FLU. AUTOPSY FINDINGS REVEAL SHE HAD BEEN DEAD FROM STARVATION AND DEHYDRATION FOR WEEKS BEFORE BEING FOUND BY MONEY HUNGRY LANDLORD WANTING RENT MONEY. Family attempting to be notified, if anyone has any knowledge of Jane Doe please phone our local Sheriffs office.

Oh the life of a single woman! By Saturday, I had survived. I was walking, more like the walking dead, but walking, talking and eating again. My kids, remembering they had a mom, decided to make a day trip down to see me that weekend. (how nice of them) They arrived around 12, the flu still lingering but ,as I stated, I was functional, we decided to ride around in my oldest sons new car and stop in at some of the local surf shops discounted summer sales. My daughter was involved in a text argument with her boyfriend, my oldest was engrossed in a text conversation with his new love pursuit and my youngest son was yet again, bouncing off the walls in anticipation of the nine-hour return drive to GA the next day: I stopped, watched them, and listened – at that moment, I realized I was not suffering from empty nest syndrome, I actually FINALLY understood why spiders eat their young! Not two hours later, boredom had settled in, the attraction of Saturday night dates and the lure of the opposite sex was too much to take, and just that fast, they were gone! That was their Christmas gift to me, not one phone call, not one gift or card, only a day trip to spend three hours ignoring me. Merry Christmas to me!

This was Santas gift to my kids this year!

This was Santas gift to my kids this year!

The Fall of 2012

Don’t misunderstand my last post, Newness surrounds me. I was far from being healed, and to be honest, I still am. It is now the middle of January, and though life is moving forward in all aspects, some days I still awaken with that “Alien” feeling in my soul.

September came, I was still working at the new restaurant, my daughter had returned home and was settling into a routine as a senior in high school and working at a local pizza restaurant. My job provided the financial support that we needed to survive, thank God for that, but after spending 10 years in a “professional” setting I never did adjust to being simply a waitress and longed for that feeling of stability that a 8-5 job provides. Every day, venturing into work at 4:00 p.m., I longed for those evenings of coming home after a long day, sharing a nice meal with my family, and settling in front of the TV for a football game or my favorite comedy. Life still felt out of sorts, though I was more adjusted to my routine and able to accept where life stood.

The cooler weather moved in, the tourists moved out, and the entertainment that I had found in the last month of summer was now gone as well. The security guard’s position was only seasonal, after Labor Day, I never saw her again. The landscaping crew was out less, the maintainance man was only scheduled 3 days a week and my neighbors began to come down only once a month as opposed to their usual 3 weeks here, one week at their regular home. LIfe was quiet again.

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Though the smooth sand is beautiful, there are no footprints with mine. There is a silence in the cold salt air that becomes one with the loneliness in my soul.

 

Once early September moved in, one of the gentleman that arrived at my home on my birthday begun to pursue my affections. He was 40, single for the last 15 years, had a daughter that was 18 and in college and was the supervisor of the landscaping company that he worked for. It began simple enough, after my birthday weekend, he would venture over to my condo to say “hi” on the two days a week they were scheduled to keep up our condo property. His affections were never doubted, he was not shy in knocking on my door or throwing pebbles at my balcony door to get me to come out and talk with him for a few minutes. We exchanged numbers and a few random text messages here and there. He was attractive, funny, and obviously enamoured with me (not to sound vain), but my heart, though moving forward, was not sure I was ready for even simple dating. After several attempts in asking me for a date, I finally gave in, and on my one day off in the middle of September, I agreed to an afternoon motorcycle ride. I arrived at his home and was impressed. He owns a beautiful home, immaculate without being OCD and the landscaping in his front yard could be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. By my own confessions, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a 40-year-old landscaper. The motorcycle ride was great, I previously owned a motorcycle that I had to sell to secure the down payment for my condo. I had missed the wind in my hair. He was polite, well-mannered and respectful to me. He never tried to touch me, hug me, or over step the boundaries that he knew I had placed around myself. The evening ended, I was flabbergasted. After all the energy he had put into pursuing me and he didn’t even attempt to kiss me good-bye. I was surprised that I had actually WANTED him to kiss me. Wow! This was forward progression.

Time moved on, we began to see each other on a regular, once a week basis. He eventually kissed me, held my hand, hugged me goodbye, etc., all the usuals of a new romance, but always with respect and off standish. It was a whole new world. For eleven years I had been with the same man. When the affair with R. began I dove in so quickly and gave so fully of myself that I was extremely guarded while entering this relationship, I was unsure if I liked this slow pace or if I even was enjoying the affections of this new man.

We gradually began to learn about each other. He was married in his 20’s, they had a daughter, she cheated with his best friend, divorced him, married his best friend, and they now had a son together and he had partial custody of his daughter since his wife left 15 years before. He was guarded as well: he spent the first 6 years after his divorce in the same isolation I had placed myself in. He trusted no one, talked to no one, moved in with parents to reestablish himself and even to the present, he had placed walls around his heart to never experience that pain again. This was a double-edged sword. On the one side, he understood everything I was feeling and experiencing: on the other side, he was difficult to understand and in moments that he did let his guard down, the walls would instantly go back up and instead of one wall, there would now be three, for extra protection. Getting to know him, was an experience that resembled looking into a mirror. Sometimes what I saw, I did not like, but I knew was a reflection of what was happening in my heart, in a way, it was helpful in my healing process to share the same stories with someone who surely understood.

One evening, in our once a week dates, I mentioned being fired in April. His response, “Yeah, I knew a guy that worked there. He’s a friend of mine. He was fired around that time too!” My heart stopped, my words were stuck in my throat and I was finding it very difficult to breath. To that point, I had never mentioned R. or the affair. I had shared with him discovering my husband’s affair at the end of August and I simply let him assume we had separated under amicable conditions in May. I never lied, I just let him assume. I didn’t know what to do. It was mid October by this time, we had been “seeing each other” for over 6 weeks, and though we were not serious, this was my opportunity to be honest with him. I took a deep breathe and explained that we were both fired for an “assumed” affair. He sat for a few minutes, quietly staring at me, taking it all in, then asked me to please tell him R. and I had not slept together, R. was an ugly man to him, who had participated in MANY affairs over the years and he didn’t want that image of me. I gulped a huge sip of tea, looked him square in the eye, and told him no, R. and I had not had an affair, we had just been friends and our boss had assumed there was more. I looked him in the eye, and lied! He laughed it off, sighed deeply and said “thank God, I would hate to think you were caught in that train wreck.” Tears welled in my eyes, and I excused myself to the bathroom. There it was, the truth. I was not the only notch in R.’s headboard, how could I have believed in him so easily? The pain tore through my soul but I knew I had to keep up my composer so as not to clew him onto the lie that had just escaped my lips. How could I be seeing someone who had been respectful to me and I was lying to him already? I felt disgusting.

In November, I posted about my daughters move out of my home and in with her Dad. That was the second hardest day of the year for me. I cried as I watched her brothers drive off with her belongings and her. I will not be repetitive and repost my feelings on that issue, but again, the emptiness settled in and my heart-felt cold.

The holidays were upon us. Bryan and I were still seeing each other every Tuesday night (landscaping supervisor), my job was existant and my bills were paid, but everything still had a haze to it. What would Thanksgiving be like without my husband and kids? For 12 years, I had spent Thanksgiving cooking for our family for days, gathering at the 8 seater kitchen table at 11 a.m. Thanksgiving morning and grubbing for hours, laughing and being a family. My sons were off for the first year as US Airmen: my daughter was living with her father, and I didn’t even own a kitchen table. I was terrified. Bryan’s daughter would be in town for a few days, I would not see him any that week.

Reluctantly, I agreed to spend Thanksgiving Eve with a girlfriend and her family and travel to my Dads for lunch on Thanksgiving day. I awoke Thanksgiving morning with an upper respiratory infection, a congested chest, iron lungs and a sad heart. My oldest son and daughter did meet me at my Dad’s for lunch, but it was not the same.My relationship with my Dad has never been worth mention. He and my mom divorced when I was 5 and I did not lay eyes on him again until I was 12 and he was marrying his second wife. During my teens, I traveled to PA to see him a total of three times, and would see him every other Christmas, when he and my step mom came home for a few days. After my first husband and I were married, the small contact we had vanished. In 1999, after the divorce from my first husband, my Dad phoned to tell me he was getting a divorce and moving back home. That meant nothing to me, he had been gone for over 20 years. In 2002 he married his third wife, she is nice enough, but we have never connected. By the time my Dad returned to the area, I was in my 30’s and not interested in building any type of relationship with him. He lives with my current step-mom and her two sons two hours from me. There is jealousy on my part, my Dad has never offered any help, emotionally or financially, ever: but is supporting and bonding with my step brothers who are in their 20’s. The tension is always in the air when we are together, there is always a lack in conversation and we are both unsure how to respond to each other. This past Thanksgiving, was terrible. Not only was I surrounded with “family” that I don’t really know, my heart ached for the past. I missed the horrid trips to the grocery store searching for the right ingredients, the three-day preparations and hours in the kitchen running my husband and kids out when they would come in for a quick taste, I especially missed my children and my husband and I sitting around the table, stuffing our bellies with turkey and gravy and taking turns telling what we were grateful for. Nothing was the same, including my soul. My breaking point came when my step mom, in her own form of ignorance, decided to bring out pictures of my ex husband and I, and pass them around the room for everyone (including me) to see. This is the ignorance that people have in their response to divorces. The last thing I wanted to see that day was a picture of my husband and I, in happier days.  I excused myself early from my Dad’s, drove the two hours home, and crawled into my bed, struggling for air as the sobs overtook my soul. For the three day weekend following Thanksgiving, I was bed ridden with a horrid chest cold, repiratory infection and broken heart. I still wondered, would anything ever be normal again?

Newness surrounds me

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It was August 24, 2012, a Friday evening. It was only 2 days before my 40th birthday and nothing in the world seemed “right”. I was working at the new restaurant, settling in to their evening routines. My daughter was due home from her summer break at her dad’s on the day of my birthday and I had yet to reach any calmness or quiet in my soul.

The few weeks of vacation I had granted myself had brung me out into the world to inhale the fresh salt air of the last weeks of summer. Instead of lying in my bed, hiding under the cover, begging the Lord to take my pain: I decide to lay poolside or ocean side, hiding behind a magazine or a novel, if my pain was going to diminish any, I needed to be tan right?

During my daily 22 feet walks to the pool, I begun to build an acquaintanceship with one of our condo’s security guards. She was 30, had separated from her husband in November 2011 and was raising three children on her own. We didn’t have much in common, but she touched my heart with her story and plight, reminding me of my former single life, when I was in my late 20’s raising three kids on my own. I would invite her over to my condo, during her breaks, or on her days off, what would it hurt to begin creating new friendships? Said security guard had a much different prospective on life than I did. She was angry over her separation, still desperately wanting her husband to return home: in turn, her anger was projected by placing herself, overwhelmingly, into the dating world. This woman had over 30 personal ads with internet websites: was communicating with so many men, she had code names for them so not to confuse who they were: and threw herself at anything that walked on two legs and was male. I, as you know, was her total opposite: I was a recluse in my misery, isolated by my choosing, I was not ready for any interaction with a man, ever a simple “hello” overwhelmed me. This boggled her mind. She could not fathom why I would drown myself in misery and began to encourage me to “put myself out there.”  Many times, without my permission, she would share my phone number or approach men and drop the hint that I was single. Her interference in my hibernation mode offered a much-needed bit of humor to my mentality, though I still was not ready. There was something in my heart that was weighing me down: a feeling in my belly that I could not rid.

That Friday evening, I ventured to work, and my husband’s affair was brought to my attention. (see The Truth is set free) After work, some of my co-workers encouraged me to stay and share in a few celebratory birthday cocktails since I would not return to work until after my birthday. The conversation was light, no one brought the husband’s affair back up that evening, and sitting with those women, it suddenly struck me, I belonged there. In that moment, that very evening, it was my fate to be in that place, with those women and just that quick, my soul began to let go.

I drove home, not looking forward to the weekend, but not suffering from the “Oh my goodness, I am going to be 40” doldrums either. I crawled into my bed, pulled the covers over my head and for the first time in months, fell into a peaceful deep sleep.

Around 3 a.m., I am awakened from my peaceful slumber by Kelly Clarkson‘s, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. my favorite ring-tone. I fight the sleep gremlins off my back, reach to my phone, and do not recognize the number on display. I do what any sensible person would do and pull the covers over my head looking for that peaceful sleep that someone just ripped me from. Again, Kelly Clarkson blasts through the sound waves, again, I do not recognize the number. After I ignore the call for the second time, my mind is not as foggy from sleep and I realize I have text messages. The first message says “Look outside your window”, then “We are here”, and lastly, “open your door”. What the????

I stumble out of my bed, gently pull my blinds open, enough to peer out but not enough for anyone to see in, and to my surprise, there are two men outside my balcony. I recognize them to be employees of the landscaping company that maintains our condos property. (My lady security guard and I had spent hours sitting on my balcony watching these gentleman break a sweat, in the summer sun, with their landscaping tools. You get the picture!)  I am afraid of what is about to happen as I peer out my window, but there is lightning flashing in the background, a summer storm on the horizon, and I simply cannot leave them sitting there.  I slowly open my balcony door, step out into the humid summer air and suddenly, my balcony is rushed with a horrid rendition of “Happy Birthday to you”. It is so terrible, I cannot help but squeal in delight and clap my hands like a kid.

Against my usual rigid demeanor, I invited these two gentleman in, the storms were moving in and the thunder was rumbling in the background.

That evening, brought an unfamiliar ease and peace. I sat with these two strangers, in my home, at 3 in the morning: there was a steady flow of conversation and laughter. Around 6 a.m., the summer storms passed, we ventured out to my condo’s over look deck and watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean. Reluctantly, after having breakfast together at the famous golden arches, I drove them home and our short evening ended.

Sunrise in my backyard

Sunrise in my backyard

It was my birthday eve, 8 a.m., and I could not go back to sleep. My mind kept going over the details of the last 5 hours. Two random men, at the urging of my security guard friend, had walked three miles down the beach, to come to my balcony and serenade “Happy Birthday” to me, JUST BECAUSE THEY COULD and wanted to make my day special. No one in history, had made me feel so important on my birthday than these two gentlemen. That was sad in a bittersweet way!

Around lunch, my son arrived and my girlfriend and her son showed. We walked to my old condo’s establishment (next door) and sent the afternoon lounging pool-side, enjoying the water slide and sipping a few beers. That evening, a group of other girlfriends were meeting me out at our local beach front tavern for a 40th party. That night, after returning home from a GREAT time, I came home to find my condo door and balcony decorated by my neighbors. What had I done to receive such attention?

My son crash landing at the bottom of the waterslide.

My son crash landing at the bottom of the waterslide.

My birthday morning came and the day was supplied with my children’s arrival home, we spent the afternoon lounging ocean side, and enjoying the end of August weather. Again, we arrived back at the condo to find gifts adorning my door handle: a boa, earrings, “fabulous and 40” pin and a princess tiara, all gifts from my neighbors. I sat and cried. Never had I been showered with such attention, at least not since my childhood when my Grandmother and I would share one birthday party and everyone would bring me a gift too! I could not fathom why these people found my presence special, why they wanted to celebrate my day with me. They were new in my life, not knowing anything about me, but yet they were willing to go out of their way to make my day a happy one.

Then, like an epiphany moment, it was the first time in a very long time that I realized….I am worthwhile. I am worth attention: I am worth being happy: I am worth living for. That day, my healing process began!

Suddenly Single – Who am I?

I believe in Karma and the old adage “Everything happens for a reason.” I also believe in the silly old saying “when one door closes, another one opens.” Sometimes, we spend too much time looking at the door that has closed to realize the one that has opened.

By May 2012, I awoke to find myself in shock and terrified. I had always prided myself on being a strong person, an independent woman, who had walked through many disasters in my life with pride and determination. Suddenly, I could barely find the energy to crawl out of the bed in the mornings. I had no desire to move, eat, sleep, cry, talk, or even live. Everything I had ever believed in was proved to be a faux pas, I had no faith in anything. I did not want to look in the mirror, I did not like the image that was looking back at me. My soul had been shattered, to the core, and I had no idea how to begin to piece it all back together. Surely, I had to be the only person experiencing this pain and isolation, which only encouraged me to isolate more. I was embarrassed, ashamed, I felt worthless and unloved, unworthy of love. I felt like a failure, period.

The feeling was one of being kidnapped by aliens and finding myself living on another planet, in another dimension, with no hopes of being returned home.

To the ripe age of 39, my life had been spent focusing on others and ignoring myself. I touched on my childhood in an earlier post. My parents divorced young and I was raised by my Grandparents. At the age of 12, my mother became tired of the badgering from her friends at not raising her own child, she removed me from my Grandparents home and we relocated a half hour away in a neighboring town. My mother was an alcoholic and has suffered mental issues since finding her Father dead when she was 14 years old. Most of my adolescence was spent sitting up most of the night, waiting for her to come home, so I could pour her into bed safely and run off any of the stray men that were lapping at her heels, hoping to take advantage of her in her drunken state. By 15, this had become a tiresome routine for me, I moved out of my mothers home, in with a friend and her mom. By the age of 16, I was living with my first husband and his family: at 17 I became pregnant with my oldest son, 18 with my second and at age 22 I was pregnant with my third and last child, my baby girl. Other than my brief time as a single mother of three children, I had always taken care of a husband and even in that single phase of my life, my children were small and offered a lot of distractions.

In an instant, I was 39, my two sons were both off into their adult careers with the United States Air Force: my daughter was son to be 18 and in her last year of high school, and then there was me. Who was I? Who was this person that I was waking up with every morning and spending everyday trying to get to know?

In my ten-year marriage, I was able to drown out the sounds of my thoughts and beliefs with a distraction of an orderly and daily routine. I would arise in the morning, get my children up for school/work, make the hubby breakfast, head into work, drive home planning dinner for tomorrow in my mind, arrive home to chaos, dinner needed to be ready, homework needed to be completed and there was ALWAYS something that needed to be cleaned: evening hours were spent tidying the kitchen, preparing everyone’s lunch for the next day and by 9 p.m. I would fall face down in the bed, exhausted. Weekends were spent with distractions as well, the usual motherly/wife duties of feeding everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner: laundry, cleaning: but my hobbies were home repair and working in my yard. The home we owned was nestled on a two acre lot in a beautiful sub-division, and it was with pride that my yard was immaculate year round.

Now, I was waking to an empty bed and teetering around an empty, much too quiet condo. Once I found the energy to muster out of the bed, I would find a cup of coffee and move to my balcony area for much-needed breathing space. The summer months were in full force and the tourism in our area was booming. I would sit on my balcony, watch mindlessly as the multitudes of families either arrived for their summer vacation or were awakening to spend another gleeful, cookout, yelling by the pool, “day in paradise.” unfortunately, for too long, I never noticed the breathtaking view from my balcony: I did not see the indoor/outdoor swimming pools on the property, along with the miniature golf course, the water slide, tennis courts, hot tub, etc. All I saw were happy families just out of my reach. I would stare, with tears streaming down my face, as the husbands/wives unpacked their minivans of their supplies for the week, as their lot of children ran gleefully in circles, squealing with excitement. I would watch the bathing suit clad couples, as they walked hand in hand, down the boardwalk for their morning/evening beach stroll and many nights, I would sit and listen as groups of people would emerge from their condos for an outdoor bar b que and a night game of volleyball. It never occurred to me that I could simply leave my condo and join them. At that phase in my life, I did not see the new world that was available to me and waiting for my taking. What I saw was a life that was no longer mine – I was a failure, the happiness that exuded from those families, used to be mine. Now I had nothing: nothing to offer, nothing to share. I was consumed with heartbreak and loneliness.

How was I going to make it? What was my belief system? How could I live my life with pride and integrity when I had participated in an immoral and unjustified extra marital affair?

Those were the big questions: the little questions were not simple either. What were my interests? Who was the person walking around inside this body called me? Do I like chocolate or vanilla ice cream? sweets or salty snacks? cats or dogs? What was my favorite color?

I can honestly tell you, I walked around for the entire summer of 2012 on auto pilot, stuck in this limbo. Nothing felt normal, or right, or human. Even the smallest activities, such as cooking dinner, created a large amount of stress for me. I began to wonder if anything would ever be “normal” again. Would I ever be able to spend a full day without crying? Would there ever be a time that I would find myself laughing? Would I ever awaken again, with peace in my heart?

It wasn’t until my 40th birthday, at the end of August, that life finally began to move forward and I was able to begin the journey of answering those questions.

 

The view from our balcony,

The view from our balcony,

The condo we rented. I never noticed the wet bar, until I just downloaded this photo off of the realtors web site. How did I not notice a wet bar?

The condo we rented. I never noticed the wet bar, until I just downloaded this photo off of the realtors web site. How did I not notice a wet bar?