Sunday, May 18, 2008

Re-imagining my life

My husband and I were separated for over a year. He came back home before last year's holiday season, and we were making efforts at changing things. They weren't succeeding too well. I have a lot to wonder about now. Learning some things about his health and behaviors away from home, I don't know if he was physically or mentally able to make the changes we needed. Not being able is not about not being willing. I know he was willing. He was trying so hard, but it just wasn't working.

I felt so stuck, and that's a big component of my grief now. I loved my husband. He loved me, but ours had not been a good marriage in years. However, when I took my wedding vows, I took them as Vows, to be treated seriously, a sacred part of my faith, a commitment not just to my husband, but to my Creator. It's one of the reasons why we never moved on to divorce. I always wanted to see if we could work it out. If we could be happier apart, better people apart, so be it, but every effort had to be made. Besides, when we were good together, we were really, really good. I'm grateful that those memories, gone for so long, are now coming back, even if only in bits and pieces, a flash here, a moment here, followed by a breathtaking pain.

I had both an image and a memory of what our marriage, our life, should be. I invested a lot of energy in making that happen. I often handled it badly. I frequently failed. I wasn't the wife I would have liked to have been. That image remained however. It wasn't the dream of a newlywed. It was a realistic image forged from the daily pressures of over 20 years of marriage.
It accommodated our decidedly unusual personalities, our weaknesses and our strengths. No matter what I do, no matter how good I am, that life is never going to happen.

I have no choice but to create a different life, and it's scary. I feel so detached from so many things. What I know is in the here and now -- the dirty dishes in the sink, the stack of thank you cards I need to write and mail, the to do list hastily written on the front and back of a piece of notebook paper folded in quarters and tucked in my purse. I know my chores.

What I don't know anymore is really what I want. That feels like I'm missing a big chunk of myself. I can't get my husband back. I can't get the life back that I had or the one that I had imagined. I have to get myself back, and for all the so called self-knowledge I've acquired in over thirty years of journalling, I'm a little clueless about what I really want that's possible for me to have. How can you get your heart's desire when you don't know what it is?

I have to be honest. I'm scared.

8 Comments:

Blogger Lisa :-] said...

And why wouldn't you be? You life will go forward on a completely different path than anything you had previously imagined. It has to be tremendously intimidating. And yet, it is an amazing opportunity...one that it will probably take at least a few years to jump upon.

Take your time, look around you, and don't rush yourself. And if you should spin your wheels several times in different directions....well, been there and done that. Eventually, you will go somewhere, and you'll be surprised at how different/wonderful/challenging it is.

It's life.

May 19, 2008 3:12 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Listen to Lisa.

Your heart's desire wil emerge. Just not overnight.

May 19, 2008 5:20 AM  
Blogger Jul said...

After holding my sister's hand for a long time after her husband passed away, I understand from an outsider's perspective what you are going through and it is all very normal.

Try not to think about everything all at once because everything is not going to start it's new paths all at once.

Please don't be afraid to call on friends and loved ones to lend a hand helping you get things organized. They want to do it but they don't want to rush you into anything you're not ready for, they are just waiting to be asked.

When you are feeling overwhelmed please just take a moment to clear your mind and breathe. Find the stillness inside yourself for a while and then go back to what's most important on your to DO list. Everything you need to know will come when you are ready.

Take care
~Jul

May 19, 2008 5:45 AM  
Blogger Songbird said...

Remember the classic advice after any life change is to weight a year before making major decisions. I think that's quick!! Be gentle and patient with yourself.

May 19, 2008 6:25 AM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

You've been through an awful lot, Cyn. I understand and respect your fear. And not a day goes by that I don't think of you.

May 19, 2008 11:35 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

Cynthia,
The irony is that this is probably the way you would have felt had you chosen the divorce. This is much of what I felt. I often told my friends that a divorce in some ways is a chosen death. You mourn the loss of that relationship and it is hard to let go of the dream that you would make it work. If you were not scared I would be worried. You will get through this. You have started another chapter in your life...one that you did not choose. I have faith that you will find yourself again and that in time you will be at peace. I pray for you and hold you close in thought.
Hugs,
Nelle

May 20, 2008 9:34 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

There's no easy part of this. Going through the divorce, I felt as if I was a total failure, as if I had done everything wrong.

Now, I know better. I did plenty wrong, but it takes two to tango.

I hope that you can soon reach the place where you can put aside your guilt, ignore your perceived shortcomings, and ultimately, remember without recrimination.

May 22, 2008 12:10 PM  
OpenID sunflowerkat321 said...

This is something you just have to give time to. It may feel like inertia, but it's not. Little by little your options will become apparent to you. I think this is something you cannot force and you certainly can't fault yourself for "not knowing" what's next. You have been forced down a road your didn't anticipate taking. It's going to take time to get your bearings before you can move on. Be patient with yourself.

May 25, 2008 9:42 AM  

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