Friday, July 19, 2013

Tonight I was at a local yacht club volunteering for a charity event.  The boating world is one that my ex-husband loved and desperately wanted to be a part of.  He bought a boat before he even bought a house, way before we even met.  He loved boating but he loved fitting in with that exclusive community of boaters even more. The image was important to him.  I think he thought if he could look the part, then maybe he would feel the part.  If he felt the part, maybe he wouldn't feel all the other not-so-good stuff that comes along with severe mental health problems, social deviance, lies and deception.  If he looked the part and felt the part, then maybe the bad parts would just go away.  But we all know how this ends.  The act lasts for a while, starts breaking down and the truth comes out.  The truth always has a way of coming out.

But, back to the yacht club.  There are some parts of that life that I miss:  the gentle waves lapping up against the side of the fiberglass; the calm of the lake at night; the sunsets.  But I do not miss the exclusivity of that world.  The people who think they are better than others because they have more money.  The ones who look at the size of your boat as the measure of your life.  Not all boaters are like this, but I certainly don't miss the ones who are.

So spending a night at a yacht club transports me back to another life.  Sometimes that other life feels like something I was cheated out of.  The husband and two kids.  The financial stability that was supposed to come with having a two-income family.  But as I reminisce and imagine the life that might have been mine, I quickly come back to the life that IS mine and I am reminded that I have a choice.  I can choose to be sad about what was lost or I can be grateful for what I have.

On my way home I heard an interview on NPR with Beverly Donofrio, author of Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace.  The phrase that caught my attention was, "The trick is to live joyfully in an unfair world."  These words resonated with me.  They motivated me to blog for the first time in a long time.  What true words she spoke.  The world is not fair, but living joyfully is a choice that we can all make.  Not all the time, but we can certainly strive for it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Feelings I Should Not Feel

Today I miss my husband.  I miss the man I loved.  I miss having him to come to.

I know the facts.  The man I loved was not who I thought he was.  But today I miss the man I thought he was.

It's something I feel that I shouldn't feel.  But I do.  And I just needed to say it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Unexpected grief

I am pretty educated when it comes to grief.  It's a side effect of working almost 20 years in a career that faces death and dying every day.  But when it is your OWN grief, it is different. 

The loss of my husband came in phases.  First was the loss of trust, then the loss of my marriage and the person I thought I know, finally the loss of his life from suicide.  It has been 3 1/2 years since he died, but this past week I was overcome by a wave of grief that I did not see coming.

I was a a professional development program that included discussing death and dying rituals of different religions/culture, a tour of a funeral home and a tour of a crematory.  Interestingly, I have experienced all of these things before.  But as we walked towards the crematory, I felt the anxiety set in.  I thought I could handle it.  But as the tour went on and we saw the inner workings of the crematory I felt the tears surfacing.  I bit my tongue (a practice I have long used to keep from crying when I need to hold it together) but the pain did not keep the tears from overtaking me.  I had to walk out.  I held on long enough to walk out with my colleagues and make it to my car.  The tears took over for my 20 minute drive back to the office.

My husband was cremated.  I was not involved in any of the funeral proceedings and did not even learn of his death until afterwards.  I have appropriately dealt with my grief...but that does not keep it from coming back in waves when I least expect it.  I know it does not mean that I have not dealt with things.  It's a reminder for me of how complicated grief can be and how it changes over time, but I am not sure it ever goes away.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A new challenge...

I have struggled with weight throughout my life.  During stressful times in my life, I eat.  When I am anxious, I reach for a cookie (or seven).  When I am lonely, ice cream fills the void.  You get the picture, right?  The result has been that I gained 40 pounds since my divorce.  There are certainly other contributing issues including changing from an active job to a sedentary job and turning 40, but I believe that emotional eating is the major culprit.  In 2009, I challenged myself physically and trained for a 100 mile cycling event.  I did it for many reasons, but one was to prove that the divorce had not broken me.  I also had hoped that I would lose weight.  I completed the Seagull Century Ride in Salisbury, MD and was probably in the best physical shape of my life - but I did not lose weight.  Last May, I challenged myself again and successfully walked a half-marathon - but again I did not lose weight.

I feel like my weight is the last thing that is sticking around from the emotional trauma of my divorce.  I have tried bunches of things and have not been successful.  The time has come for me to challenge myself again - and work to lose this weight!

 So, I joined Weight Watchers.  I have done the program before and I know it works.  My first meeting is tomorrow night.

It is lose the find new ways of set a healthy example for my prove again that he did not break me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The meaning of Christmas

Seven years ago, Christmas marked the beginning of the end of my marriage.  Ever since then I have struggled with the holiday season.  It is a season of joy, family, giving and peace, but for me, it is also punctuated with feelings of loneliness, pain and thoughts of what "could have been."  I love the holidays but I also find myself looking forward to January 2, when the pressures of the season dissipate. 

I know I am not alone.  There are many who have suffered loss in their lives and the holidays are often difficult for them.

This year I will try to give myself the gift of acceptance.  The acceptance that the peace and anticipation of Christmas Eve will also likely bring me to a place of darkness; a place in which unpleasant memories come flooding back.  The acceptance that the holidays do not have to be joyful all the time.  I will try to give myself permission to feel those not so Christmas-y feelings and move through them.  Because allowing yourself to feel is truly the only way to get to the other side.

I hope that if you find the holidays difficult as well, that you will give yourself permission to do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ms. Clean

As children, when my sister and I would ask my mom what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas she would always say, “A clean house.”  We would roll our eyes and sigh and try to figure out on our own what kind of gift we were going to buy.

Now that I am an adult and a home-owner and a mom…I get it!

There is something to be said for the calm and serenity that a clean house ushers into an otherwise chaotic and busy life.  The clutter is put away.  The house smells of lavender and Lysol.  The sink shines.  And with all of that, my soul feels content.

It does not always last long as the clutter reappears…sometimes slowly, other times in one big ka-boom.  The bathrooms will again show signs that boys with not-so-good aim often spend time there.  Crumbs will soon be seen on the kitchen floor because, for some reason, cats have not learned from their dog friends, that eating crumbs off the floor makes your family really happy.

But for now, I am just going to take a deep breath and enjoy my surroundings.  And when my son asks me what I want for an upcoming holiday, maybe he won’t roll his eyes when I say, “A clean house!”

Friday, July 22, 2011

The written word...
Writing is something I have always wanted to do better.  In fact, sometimes the fact that I want my writing to be better actually prevents me from writing.  Ironic, since the best way to improve your writing is by simply writing more.  Every now and then I resolve to write more…on my blog or in a journal or on the computer.  Then I get busy or unsatisfied with what I have written (or both) and I lose whatever minuscule momentum I had.

So this time I kicked it up a notch.  I moved from thinking about improving my writing to actually reading web-based articles about how to improve my writing.  Lo and behold they all said to WRITE MORE! 

But a little gem of information was sparkling in a corner of one of the articles I read:  Download a program/app that lets you write in full screen with no cluttered menu bars or formatting rulers.  Now THAT sounds like a good idea.  I always love the idea of writing in a nice journal…with an appealing cover and crisp, white pages.  But writing is harder for me now due to my pesky carpal tunnel syndrome and typing is much easier.  After all, nothing deters you from writing more than your fingers and hand going numb!

So now I have a “journal,” courtesy of WriteRoom, on  my trusty Mac.  It does not satisfy my love of all things paper and does not have that wonderful tactile feedback of feeling the ink flow out of a pen and lie beautifully on the page.  But it does have the ability to use fun fonts that fit my mood as well as whatever color may speak to my soul at the time.  It’s not perfect but maybe it might provide that  bit of momentum that I need.