in the way
a soaking rain
pours down so steady
and fills up
the thirsty soil
but a necessary
where one without
quite as much
in the way
a soaking rain
pours down so steady
and fills up
the thirsty soil
but a necessary
where one without
quite as much
Not too many of us get to travel back in time. All the quotes say: live for today, forget about the past, don’t think about the future. Blah blah. But there can be something said about revisiting the past. About taking a peek down memory lane or even a good long walk, or better yet staring it right in the face.
This is exactly what I did the other night when I met with my ex-husband (well one of them) at a local restaurant. He was in town (living in a different state) visiting a son in college. Now, I have to add, this isn’t so odd because his sister and I are still very close after 30 years or so. She came to live with us as a child, along with her brother. So there is still this partial connection to him, and we do occasionally communicate. But I have not seen him in many, many years.
We both had remarried. I have been divorced again, and his wife sadly died of cancer. There were many years of no communication between us while we were both otherwise engaged in our other lives. But for me, at least, he remained somewhere on my radar screen I suppose.
One day a few years ago, as I was putting away Christmas decorations, I found a letter he wrote as we were in the process of divorcing. It was very old–probably close to 25 years. It was on New Year’s Day that I found it. His number was easy to google, so I called it and left a message. I didn’t hear back…right away. But eventually did, and this was what officially started our conversations.
They have been sporadic over the years, but his sister is our bridge, so I keep informed.
So recently, when he suggested meeting, I was fairly stunned. I never expected it, but welcomed it. As part of my whole self exploration/healing path, it seemed like another piece in the puzzle.
Of course it was fairly awkward for us both, and we looked A LOT older! But as the course of the evening wore on, it felt pretty comfortable. Funny how easy it is to lapse back into patterns, or at least notice them. The discussions we had were interesting, cleansing, weird and normal all at the same time. It was an odd little dance.
It’s like a mirror to see how much I’ve changed, who I am now, who I was then and to say I’m sorry for the dumb things I did (there were plenty of those). It was also good to hear him articulate his mistakes (whoa!). How often are we blessed with that gift? Yes, it truly was a very empowering evening.
I’m not sure where it takes us from here. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are all slated to be together again. It seems it’ll all be fine. That feels pretty good to me. It’s another rung on that ladder of life where you know you are taking the right step. That blast from the past sets me clearly in today and helps me to feel that while I am surely much older, I’ve gained some wisdom along the way.
Looming large is my trip to Colorado to see my oldest daughter graduate from college. It’s next week and with it brings mixed feelings. This is a huge milestone for a kid that suffered many troubles in the not distant past. She fought some major demons and won, becoming an honor student while working full-time to boot. These difficult years has made for a rather estranged relationship between us, but it’s slowly healing.
With the visit comes anxiety on multiple levels. First off, I’m not a great traveler. I hate leaving my pets and home, even though I trust my neighbor and dog watcher implicitly. We also have a new puppy arriving the Saturday we’ll be gone. Long story, but I agreed to let my youngest daughter have her own pet. It was supposed to come this Saturday, but unforeseen circumstances happened and it changed. That makes me even more nervous. Plus a change in routine whacks out my OCD nature. The fear of missing workouts or being uncomfortable in new surroundings is always daunting for me.
And then there’s the odd fact that I will be traveling with my ex and his wife. My two daughters will be going also as buffers, but it still feels strange. The whole family, but different. It’s been many years since the divorce, but hard feelings still seem to swirl under the surface for my ex, occasionally popping up now and again. His wife and I do OK, but as traveling buddies could be another story. Plus flying has simply never been my thing. If I was a bird, then I would be fine with it, but now, with all the fuss that comes with air travel, I would rather walk.
Finally, there is the actual relationship with my oldest daughter. I haven’t seen her for some time, and we rarely communicate. When we do, it’s usually because she wants or needs something from me. It’s not the way I would want things, but I take what I can. I’m suppose to be staying in her apartment, everyone else in a hotel. This could end in disaster or a miracle. She is often critical and harsh, so I’m preparing myself for the worse and hoping for the best.
I’m still a proud Mama. Not just that she will be graduating college, but with how she pulled herself out of the quicksand of addiction to move onto the shores of solid and fruitful life. She is not perfect, nor am I. But together we continue to try to carve out our love for each other. Hopefully someday it will be luscious and sweet.
So I will take a deep breath, venture forth and hope it all turns out as well as her life is doing now.
Recently I’ve been communicating with my second ex-husband via emails. It’s helped me look at the past, myself and some fond and not so fond memories. We have reconnected in a bigger way recently because of my sister-in-law, his sister.
His sister and I have always been very close, even though I was divorced in 1986. She came to live with us when she was 11 years old–many, many years ago. Because of this, I played multiple roles in her life: mother, sister and friend. She was young, but so was I really–only in my 20’s. My relationship with her brother was volatile, but my relationship with her (and her younger brother, who also lived with us), was magical. To me, that was the relationship that was meant to blossom from my marriage.
She and her daughter hit a rough patch in their lives as of late. We talk a lot, as women do. She is now a grown woman–a wonderful woman actually, and her daughter is about her age when I first met her. So these conversations around what’s going on actually opened up dialogue with my ex.
It’s been so interesting and extremely cathartic! For both he and I actually. I did contact him myself a few years ago just to see what was up. He lost his third wife to cancer sadly a number of years ago. We had a good talk then too, so I knew he would be receptive now.
During our married years, while we had many amazing moments, we also had moments of deep despair and fighting. This was the roller coaster we continually rode. He drank too much and I was very needy. We both had our demons, and were both young enough not to recognize them for what they were.
But life has played out for both of us, each of us marrying again. He lost his wife and I divorced my husband. We both had kids. I wanted children with him, but he didn’t at the time. It broke my heart. I loved him dearly, but somehow we could never seem to be on the same track at the same time.
I admired him, looked up to him, got so incredibly angry at him, found him attractive, was embarrassed by him, was proud of him and confused constantly by him. But ultimately the love I had for him could not outweigh the pain I felt because I knew it wasn’t returned.
In speaking with him now, so much is being revealed! We are being very honest and open about the past. It’s hard to speak and hear some of things, but it’s also very freeing. We’re not sure why we are doing it, but we both agree it feels good. We also both are sorry for the mean things we did and that happened, and are able to recall the good stuff. And we’re both old enough (I hope he is), to forgive ourselves.
Once again I am admiring him for the man he has become! For him to say he is sorry for the pain he caused me was something that meant so much. It was probably one of the most heartfelt things a man ever said to me. More than saying: I love you. It made me cry when I read it.
So where it will go from here, I have no idea. But I know I feel a peace I haven’t felt in a while. Sometimes I feel regret, but I know, as he said, you can’t go back. But hopefully we can go forward, and maybe take the good we had with us and build something better.
I’ve been divorced from my last husband for about 12 or so years now. He’s remarried and I’ve been single this whole time. The paths we’ve led these years have been completely different, although I think in the beginning I would say we probably wanted the same thing.
I was the one who wanted the divorce. Feeling emotionally unfulfilled at the time, I felt it was best to set out on my own hoping that my white knight would come charging my way. It was very devastating for my husband. He was happy and had hoped for a long marriage. He came from a family that had a history of staying married and believed firmly in the institution. Plus I think he probably just didn’t think as deeply (at the time) about these soulful emotions as I did. We had small kids, but we both vowed to co-parent well. Luckily this has been the case, but the divorce took its toll on everyone.
My ex met someone within a year and they dated for quite a while, then married. They have been married ever since. She is the antithesis of me. I’ve never understood it really. Until recently. I, on the other hand, have dated at least a thousand men (well maybe not that many) in the course of this time, but nothing has come of any of these relationships. The one relationship that lasted the longest was the one right after my break-up, but he was considerably younger and I simply could not wrap my head around it for the long-term.
So here I have been all these years, looking, longing, searching and wondering. Until the last year or so. And things have begun to change. It has always puzzled me how different his wife is from me. I have noticed and the kids were keenly aware. At first it bothered me to a degree, making me feel somehow inadequate. The only things I can really see alike is that we are women, we work and honestly are both nice people.
Today my daughter came back for the holidays and I picked her up at my ex’s so we could go shopping. I don’t go there much these days. It’s pretty easy to make small talk and I genuinely get along with my ex. But today was the first time I really understood at a soul level why he’s been married all these years and I’m not. His need was to be married, share a home/space, have a partner. This was very important to him. My need was completely different. Mine was to be emotionally fulfilled, to find my soul mate, to find true love. And if I didn’t, then what was the point?
Apparently I haven’t yet. I’ve had fits and starts–thought I did, or at least wanted it badly enough to have created the myth in my mind. But I know better now. I’m not even sure it really exists for many. But more importantly, I discovered something even more critical: I found myself under it all. In all the looking, exploration, wanting and yearning-what I really discovered was the love of myself. This sense of peace and emotional fulfillment is not anything anyone else can pour into me. And because of this, the need for someone else has ebbed.
I’ve often wondered if I could have ridden the wave of unrest in my marriage long enough, that maybe we could have made it? Maybe I would have come to this place of peace and the marriage would have remained in tact. My ex was a perfectly fine man really. As fine as most. I was just impatient and had this internal longing that was swirling around inside of me. Only the wisdom that comes with age makes one retrospective.
I asked him not long ago if he was happy. He didn’t really say yes, just skirted the issue. He said something like that we make do with the life we have chosen. I suppose….but I think I wanted more than that for myself. I could have settled many times into relationships that were adequate. But for me, after I sacrificed so much for my knight, why settle for less?