I’ve been absent for awhile.
Not just the complete dearth of posts over the past several months, but even before that. My blog is a labor of love, a place to be genuine, and if I can’t write from my heart, if I’m just dialing it in, then I feel like I fraud. And I couldn’t write from the heart because my heart was hurting. Rather, it was hemorrhaging.
My marriage collapsed.
Time of death: December 10, 2013. 11 years, 1 month, 1 week, 1 day.
It’s been collapsing for a long time — I’ve told all of you that before. We separated in 2012, for three months. And I had high hopes when we reconciled after that. But that, apparently, was short-lived. This time, the separation is permanent. We are divorcing.
I’ve had difficulties writing here because of course the premise of the site had evolved to being about having fun as a family and I felt like a complete fraud at that. How dare I write a word about doing anything to maintain a happy family when my own family seemed anything but. In fact, going through old posts made me sad as I realized how much we had strayed from the family we used to be. Or at least thought we were.
When your marriage fails for reasons other than the obvious ones (there was no cheating, gambling, addictions, etc.) you find yourself grasping for any explanation. Even dumb ones. “Should I have been more like those women who makes everything so Pinterest perfect? Is that what went wrong?” No. Pinterest would not have saved this marriage. Nothing would. We fought a valiant fight.
When you believe in marriage and it still doesn’t work:
You go through the classic seven stages of grief. (This by the way, goes on for quite a while and is still going on.)
You fear rejection from your friends and peers. (Divorce is a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ve been pleasantly surprised more than I’ve been disappointed.)
You want to curl up and die. (I never opened the Christmas cards. I have a backlog of emails I just never looked at. I couldn’t — I had to turn inward for a while and only focus on the kids and I and just live day by day. Day by freaking snowed-in day.)
And then you realize you have to just pick up and move on.
I am reminded of a story from my own childhood. The minister of my church was going through a divorce — I was too young to know the details, but it is my understanding he had not initiated it. Broken-hearted, he turned in his resignation, feeling that if he could not make his marriage work, how could he stand at the pulpit each Sunday? But the church board rejected his resignation. They surrounded him with love, and reminded him that he was a child of God, imperfect like the rest of the flock, and that his experience would only make him even more compassionate to those who were facing similar struggles. They knew he had done his part in his marriage and that the circumstances causing the divorce were beyond his control. I heard this story years later, when I was older, and I’ve always loved the church for the grace they showed in that moment. He was a wonderful preacher who later remarried and has always been devoted to his wife and kids.
We are all flawed human beings. I write this post in the hopes that my readers will forgive me for the past year (or longer) of holding back and disappearances and will bear with me as I get my feet back under me again. I love my blog and my readers and want to return to it, renewed and refreshed. I couldn’t write about my failing marriage as it was happening for many reasons. Embarrassment. Denial. Hopes that it would turnaround. And… because it wasn’t only my story to tell — there was another party involved. But what happens from here forward, that is my journey, and it is okay for me to write about that if I want to. There are some people who are not going to be comfortable with that, but there are always some people who are not happy with what I do. (Anything relating to the kids is shared with their permission.)
I’m rebooting my life. Even prior to the actual separation, I’ve been working on a new degree, which was another reason you haven’t seen much of me on this blog. I’ve been taking pre-requisites in order to apply to nursing school. Something I’ve wanted to write about, but I just haven’t. It’s been quite a journey for me to go from not having had any science classes since my junior year in high school to taking Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, and Microbiology!
Other changes include finally putting some of my personal needs first — following up on long-delayed doctor’s visits and such. And then far simpler things such as getting rid of things in the house and rearranging things to my liking. I bought a $16 terrarium at Home Depot simply because it made me happy. Little things like that.
It’s a strange time, learning how to go from being a wife to a… well, I’m in limbo. I’m not an ex yet but I’m sort of “not a wife.” I remember how odd it was for me when we first got married as I tried to learn how to become an “in-law.” I guess now I’m trying to figure out how to not be one. How to be just the “mother of the grandchildren.” Disentangling lives is complicated stuff.
The worst of it, frankly is that I have had to make all of these changes during the seemingly endless winter — trying to establish a “new normal” when there was absolutely zero chance of a routine was pure hell, not just for me, but the kids as well. But I have walked through the fires of hell and have come out stronger and so have they. And yes, there has been a LOT of caffeine and a LOT of prayer through all of it.
So, if you’ve managed, to stick around with me long enough to still read this post, I appreciate your loyalty. Like the rest of my life, this blog will go through some changes. And yes, it’s probably going to be neglected a few more weeks as I wrap up the last of my pre-reqs for school. Middle-aged brains are not as great at all-nighters as twenty-year-old brains!
I don’t have all the answers to having a happy family and I hope I never gave the impression that I did. I’m just on a journey like you, but sharing mine publicly and willing to laugh at my imperfections quite publicly in the hopes that it will make other people feel okay about their own trials and tribulations. The kids and I are learning to be a “happy family of three.” (They will also have to learn to have to be a happy family of three with their father.) That hemorrhaging heart? I’ve stemmed the bleeding a bit. Yes, I still hurt, yes, I still “go there” and wonder where things went so very wrong. But I also look ahead and I am making the best of the life I have now. The uncertainties are a bit daunting, but aren’t there always uncertainties? The only certainty is uncertainty.
Like most of my life right now, I’m really not sure what happens next for this blog. But the backbone of it — the part about being strong no matter what, embracing imperfections, facing fears head on, and finding humor whenever possible, that will remain. That part will never change.
So if you are willing to bear with me, I promise to come back, more consistently, and not hold back any more. Life is a full spectrum — highs and lows, but it can be lived with zest and vigor, as long as you have a cup full of caffeine and some prayers in your heart!
Thanks for sticking with me! Your loyal readership is a blessing in my life and I hope to be a blessing in yours.