Sunday, May 6, 2012

Still struggling...

I smile at the world, pretending all is OK. I go to work. I take care of my business. I move through the days like any other seemingly normal human being doing what I have to do. I laugh and have conversations with friends and acquaintances. And I appear, to the world at large, to be a happy, well adjusted divorced, single Mom. In reality I am broken inside.

It was his weekend with the kids so I was forced to interact with him, albeit in a limited capacity. It's inevitable when one has six kids with their former spouse, but it's not something I look forward to or enjoy in any capacity. No matter what I say out loud? I'm still hurting something fierce inside. It's an ache that starts somewhere in the pit of my stomach and radiates through every part of my body. It is very much physical and I pray, begging and pleading with God, for relief from it. I don't want to feel this way. I mean, no one wants to feel this way. Unless their some kind of masochist. But I am fed up with feeling this way. Enough is enough already.

I read self help books, I listen to friends sage advice and stare at web page after web page about grief and moving on and letting it all go. It all sounds like fabulous advice. But all of the books and web sites are missing one vital piece of the puzzle. Clear cut directions as to HOW one “let's it all go” or “kisses it up to God” or whatever cute euphemism you want to use. HOW do I make myself stop feeling something? Something that is so engrained in me that it's practically part of my DNA?

I can admit that I have moments when I forget it all. When I'm engrossed in a book or captivated by a movie. Unfortunately I can't read or watch TV twenty-four seven. I have to work, deal with children, household chores, etc, etc, etc... It's during those moments when memories often come flooding back at me. A young couple with two small children will come through my lane and I'm instantly transported back to a time when it was just him and I and the two oldest boys. We were happy. We were usually broke, living in a rental house and didn't take family vacations. But we were happy. Or I thought we were.

I wonder, more often than I'd like to, if even back then he had these feelings of wanting out. I was literally pregnant every other year for ten years. Was that the only reason he stayed? Because leaving with six small children would have been financial suicide for both of us? Was my entire marriage a joke?

All of these things flood through my head at the most inopportune times and I've often found myself fighting off tears while taking care of a customer or speaking with a co-worker. Bursting into tears at work is not on my bucket list, I assure you. I'd prefer to keep the fact that I am an incurable cry baby under wraps. (Yeah, I know... too late.)

I have the urge a million times a day to shake myself and scream, “Snap out of it woman!!! He's moved on! Now you HAVE too!! He doesn't DESERVE your tears.” And in my head I'm doing just that. The scene plays over and over and over again. After awhile, the feelings get squashed back down again and I'm ok for a little while. Is that how I “move on”, “let go” and “kiss it up to God”?? Is it just a matter of every single second, of every single day fighting the feelings?? Because I have to tell you... it is emotionally and physically exhausting.

And how long does this go on?? When is my sentence up?? Because I'm starting to dislike the person I've become...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

His final gift and milestones...

It was a warm spring morning when the kids clamored up the steps to my third floor bedroom to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. It was like any other Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed, cute handmade gifts crafted by small hands, sappy and funny Hallmark cards and a gift card for so I could add more eBooks to my Kindle. Their Dad stood in the room watching the scene unfold while the tension in the air could be cut with a knife.

"I'll be leaving soon.", he said.

"Ok...", was all I could muster in response.

Leaving. Not to go to work or to the store but for good. He was leaving me. I suppose some would find the choice to do this on Mother's Day a rather crappy move on his part, but the reality was that I saw it as just another Mother's Day gift. It was time. No matter how much I tried to wish it wasn't true, to pretend there was some hope, the truth was it was definitely time. The year prior had been sheer hell trying to exist inside the same space as him. So, in a sense, by leaving that day he was giving me a gift. One final gift.

He left without fanfare less than an hour later. I stayed on the third floor while he said good-bye to the kids and then watched his car drive away from a window. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. I felt a complete sense of... nothing. At that moment I was simply numb. I turned away from the window and went about my day on autopilot.

That was nearly a year ago. Back then I assumed (foolishly) that this year I'd be doing oh so much better. And I guess, to a point, I am. It's less intense than it was then. But I still feel a sense of loss and pain, though not as acute as before. I still cry, often at the most inopportune times. Sometimes there's no reason for the sudden welling of tears in my eyes, other times it's a song or sound or a smell or something that sparks a memory and I'm settling in for a good sob fest. But these episodes are fewer and further between as time goes on. Maybe next year I'll be over it all together.

Someone told me that they'd heard or read that it takes four months for every year of a relationship to "get over it". I have no idea where they found this tidbit of information nor if there is any merit to it but if it does hold any merit I have a good four years of this crap ahead of me. That doesn't exactly make me feel hopeful.

I think there should be a period of time after a couple with kids splits up when they don't have to see each other. At all. Beep at the curb when you arrive to pick the kids up and I'll send them out. Make sure I get child support every month and leave me alone. Don't call me, don't look at me, don't text me. When I come to get them I'll do the beeping and you can send them out. Don't come with them. I want to pretend you don't exist. Because each time I'm forced to interact with you I feel like it all comes rushing back at me. Then I get in a funk and it settles in for several days. If I could just have, say... a year during which I never had to be in the same air space as him I'd be fine. Actually I'd prefer I never had to lay eyes on him again, ever, but I realize that, with six kids, is unrealistic. So I'd take a year. With minimal contact after that.

Logically I know I won't always feel this way. But for now it's my reality. I don't expect anyone to understand it but I do expect that my feelings be respected. He seems to think that because he doesn't understand where I'm coming from he shouldn't have to cater to me. Personally, I think he owes me that much. I'm not going to tell you he's been a complete ass for the last year. He's been an occasional ass. As most men will be from time to time. Just like women are bitches from time to time. He does what he's supposed to do most of the time. He screws up some of the time (as do I). And he tries to be a good Dad. We have moments we get along so well I wonder, to myself, "Why are we getting a divorce???" And there are other moments when I could cheerfully smack him across his smug face. I'm betting he's felt the same way. Touche'.

I've survived the first year. They say that's the hardest. Right? Let's see what the next year brings...