Friday, October 19, 2012

A Reminder From My Child

My kids don't usually read my blogs. My younger kids never do.

I know my 11-year-old daughter didn't read my post from earlier this week The Leaves Are Dying. And So Am I. 

So when she brought me this picture she made tonight, it took my breath away. And made me cry. Except for the first time in three months they were happy tears.

Tears that when I am weak my kids are strong. And their strength secures me and holds me up when I am falling down.

Last week I wrote "The leaves are dying. And so am I."  Tonight my daughter reminded me "The leaves may fall, but we don't."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Leaves are Dying. And So Am I

It's been almost two years to the date that I was awestruck by a beautiful tree changing leaves and wrote a blog about it.  Two years ago I was full of grief over the impending death of my mother. Today, I am full of grief over the death of my marriage.

Today iswas, I hoped would be, would have been my 23 year wedding anniversary. Maybe it still was since the judge hasn't officially stamped the marital dissolution papers yet. (Isn't that such a polite term for such a horrid thing?) It doesn't matter either way, the marriage is over. I have been told it many times. It's just taken me almost three months to believe it myself. Almost 23 years of believing we'd be the old people telling our kids and grandkids to just love each other and make it work vs three months of being told it's over and can't be fixed. The cruise we'd been planning to celebrate 25 years is never going to happen.

Here, sign these papers and walk away.

I haven't been sleeping well these past few months and I refuse to take sleeping pills. Mostly because I still have six kids depending on me and I need to be alert for them. But also because there have been a few times I wouldn't trust myself with those pills in the house.

Last night was no exception. I was exhausted from another round of bronchitis and an extremely busy day, yet I woke up at 4am with a version of a recurring bad dream I've had since the beginning of all this. And I sat there in the dark and cried. I finally fell back asleep, and woke up at 7:30am still crying. A couple of the younger kids crawled into bed with me then and their love calmed me down enough to help me face this day.

As the rain cleared later this morning, I walked outside and saw the tree in our front yard. Obviously I see the tree everyday and it must have been changing colors for the past week. But today it really hit me. It really was beautiful. And it really is dying.

I remembered the dharma talk from two years ago where I learned that a tree changing colors is really a tree that is dying for the winter. And once again I started to cry. I feel like that tree. I, too, am dying in preparation for this winter.

Logically I know that no matter how brutal a winter we have or how difficult an adjustment I will have in my new life, I do know that spring will eventually come again. New buds will bloom and life will return.

Many around me have told me eventually I will also re-bloom more vibrantly and colorful than before. I believe them. Mostly. I just can't see it myself yet. I have no idea what my new life will look like or even what I want it to look like. I've been focused on one vision for 23 years. I don't yet know how to change that vision.

Right now I'm dying inside and instead of dropping leaves I'm dropping tears. I don't feel beautiful like the tree. I feel ugly, sad and unwanted.

Spring feels like a long time away.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Love Forever?

Karen & Charles Williams
married 42 years
My mom and dad
This picture of my mom and dad was taken Christmas of 2010, just a couple months before my mom died and a month before their 42nd wedding anniversary.

I'm not naive enough to think it was 42 years of bliss and perfection, but I know without a doubt they were hoping for much longer than the 42 years they had together. I'm sure over the years there were fights and threats, but when push came to shove they loved each other literally till death they did part.

Merton & Jennie Everhart
and baby Maggie
my grandparents
married almost 60 years
My grandparents were married almost sixty years. They were married in an era when you didn't just walk away when things got difficult. I've heard whispered stories of some hellish years my grandfather went through with my grandmother due to her mental illness. But until the very end he would say "I just need to stay alive one day longer than her." He was true to his word. He died about a month after my grandmother.

Don't all marriages start with hope and promises? And then the years go by and something happens. The hope fades and the promises are forgotten or sometimes outright broken. In today's throw away society, it's easier to throw it away then it is to do the hard work to fix it. Pay some court fees, sign the papers and be done with it.

I remember when my husband asked me to marry him. I was young, naive and thought I was oh so sophisticated at 20 years old. So I told him I was keeping my maiden name after we married. I've never forgotten his response, "but then we're not a real family."

And now, 23 years later, I have to make the decision whether to keep my married name or go back to my maiden name. Does it even matter? A name doesn't make a family. Hope, faith, kept promises and hard work keep a family together.

My name may or may not change. My family has been forever changed.  I have been forever changed.

Forever doesn't last as long anymore.