Tag Archives: divorce

With every goodbye, we learn

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Saturday night.  I’m painting, with music in the background.  Finally got to town to get a few groceries, as we’re going to get another 12-18″ snow tomorrow.  The scraping of the windshield is old.

Have been reflecting today on many things.  For one, how the gift of age brings you knowledge.  Important knowledge.  Unfortunately our bodies wear out as we become brilliant!  But seriously, I’ve been through enough in my life to know, it may be dark now, but it won’t last forever.  One day I will feel better, and before you know it, that which caused me angst or grief becomes background flack.  Nothing you really miss over time, but you always remember the lessons.   Pain is a great motivator for change.   Pain is much of the reason why people change themselves, their lives.

I’ve also been thinking how grateful I am that I have good, sound, (well, somedays!) intelligent parents.   I’m grateful for the upbringing I had, and while I’ve skated in dangerous territory, I have the strength of my parents morals and standards, to hold strong too, as they are now, mine.

But youth, and I’m talking in your teens or twenty’s, depending on what you’ve been through, you don’t necessarily know at that age that things will fade, things will improve.  That doesn’t mean you stay laying in “wait” of it.  Because I think we were granted “free will”, and that gift can destroy us, if we let it.    But the strength of experience, that can sustain you for much.  It’s so unfortunate that at the toughest parts of your life you learn who is and isn’t your friend, who is loyal, who is worthy of being sent out to sea, but this, too, strengthens us.  We come wise.   The trick is not to become bitter.

I also see how things were prepared for me, to “get strong”.  What I mean by that, a divorce that I didn’t want but that a couple decades later I AM SO GRATEFUL it happened.  My life has been so much better than it was then.  But I was afraid, and I was young.   And while I didn’t know if I would get through it, I did, and I met someone else, and I worked on myself, and worked through the crap of it all.  I became a better person for it.  A person who at that time learned, I CAN accept, I CAN get beyond, I CAN grow, and learn, and start anew.  Then, when cancer starting ravaging my family, and the loss of my kid sister, that was so much larger than any divorce for me.  But I saw how going through the divorce years before had strengthened me.  So when my sister took ill, I could be there for her, and I was.     And then months later, her passing, the strength and wisdom I gained from that helped me, once again, start over, and say goodbye to someone I needed to say goodbye too.  And it took every bit of me to do that.

This is not to downplay loss.  Not at all.   In the end I had to accept the loss of this person, not just to booze but to death.  So, I can look back and see the times that brought the most growth for me.    And I’m a pretty strong chick!  Gotta tell ya!   But even in this, there are days I could easily fold into the arms of a trusted, and surrender myself in tears.

I’m thinking all of this because of a place where someone I care about is.   Man, he’s getting thrown a lot of lessons, and pain.   But I believe he will make it.   Once he starts building HIS life again.  I will be praying for him, and asking my faithful prayer friends to do the same.  He is a survivor of sorts already, freed from people that the average person would not even know exist, and trust me, I hope you never do.   But there are some pretty sick, ignorant people whose very ignorance is a bit scary to someone who follows rules and works for a living, and for everything they have.

So, that’s it for tonight.  I need to get back and finish the fifth rooster I’ve painted this week.   It’s been enjoyable, and I’ve regained some confidence with the brush.  Just have to do it, and say no to the negative.

Happy night!  Hope yours is, too.

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Happy Birthday, my friend

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We were so young when we met.  My God, were we ever that young?   The first time I met her she came to my house with my brother.  Dressed classy, wearing a very wide brim hat, my brother introduced her as his date.   I laugh when I think of this, because I know her very well know.  She has this one look where she puts her head up in the air, as if daring fate to come get her.    At first I thought she was a snob.  I suppose that is why I laugh when I think of that face.

A disastrous marriage to my only brother, two sons that have brought so much joy to my life.  A friendship that has spanned over broken relationships, deaths, 30 years.    She was more than my sister-in-law, she was my friend through so much.   The laughter, the tears, the fears.   We have helped each other walk through some very painful parts of life.   And more important than that, we have LAUGHED our way through it.   Things that you never thought you could joke about, become humorous with someone who knows you like a book.

As years came to be, and she shared of her childhood, struggles, I grew to respect her more each passing year.   It isn’t easy for someone who has been walked over, to stand up and fight back.   But she has.   Stereotypic essential relationships that should have gifted her with confidence, esteem, and overall sense of self respect delivered exact opposite, or was meant to.   I witnessed things over the years that made me so sad for her.   But also, made me love her all the more.

After the divorce, and a bitchy evil “step mother” stepping into the scenario, I was summoned more than once to cease my relationship with her, after all, we were no longer related!    But that only served to set my heels in deeper.  Why would I sever a relationship that was essential to me?  Why would I sever a relationship based on lies that were being told about her?   More than once, more than a handful, I got into shouting matches with my family.   I was the bad one, for keeping up the relationship.   Shaking my head.    Yet it was this woman who stayed up with me ALL night, for months on end, playing Literati, helping me walk through some of the hardest times of my life.  No, I guess we were no longer related, but we were friends.  I know we will always be friends.

I have seen her shape from a broken uncertain soul, into an amazing woman.   Now a grandmother, she and her husband took a plunge and moved across country.  I encouraged her.  It was time.  Always a mother, she would still be available as she was when near, and this day and age of technology, a phone call can now be face to face, expressions inclusive.   But it was time for them to do for themselves.   I don’t think it was an easy decision, given the level of family commitment they have, but it was a good decision, for all.

I’ve watched my nephews mature.  They are GOOD human beings.  I’m proud of them.   Was she a perfect mother?  Why YES ( 🙂 )…. who EVER is perfect?   It’s impossible.  We are designed to be perfectly imperfect, she, no exception.    For whatever she would do differently today, she taught her children to NEVER GIVE UP.   It is okay to take a couple day sabbatical, but then?  Then you get up, and you start over.   Defy the powerful forces that had great potential to tear flesh, break your spirit.   Put your head up high, and walk however you must towards self love, acceptance, success.   Stick that nose up in the air if it helps you walk through fire, whatever it takes!    This is why I smiled at the beginning of the blog.  That snobbish look she can give, I know what’s behind it.

She has walked through fire.   She has taken my hand and walked with me, through fire.   I am in awe of her strength, and the person she has become.   I’m proud of her and what she has done with her life.  She is courageous, intelligent TO A FAULT.   I don’t care if her last name has changed, or where she is in the world, she will ALWAYS be my sister-in-law, and she will ALWAYS be the mother of two beautiful souls that I love dearly.   I am grateful for her existence in my life.

As typical, I sit here with a sign from above.   I am laughing, because I smell birthday candles.  I have actually gotten up and looked around my house to make sure there is no flame anywhere.   I bet you I know who is sending you birthday wishes from the other side!   The same person you drove 3-4 hours in bad weather to say goodbye, who adored your boys, too.  Or maybe?   It’s the person who I know loved you deeply.  The woman who I know you loved dearly.   I know when she died you were broken, felt like the truest form of love you had ever experienced had all been lost.  But it wasn’t!   You passed on what she taught you to your boys, and I know will, your grandchildren.   She exists in you, and no doubt, is very proud of you.

Thank you for all your love, support, friendship, hours spent listening to me.  Thank you for loving my art, for caring about my family in spite of all the difficulties in the past.   Thank you for sharing some of the BEST belly laughs I’ve ever had.    I am grateful for your existence in my life.  I am grateful for you.

On this day I want to wish you a very happy birthday.  You deserve the best.  You have fought your way through much, and you are still standing, as beautiful as ever, with the best looking legs I have ever seen on a real person!    Have an awesome day!   I love you, and I look forward to many more years with you and our “boys”.

No longer is there a sense of hopelessness…..

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As U2’s “With or without you” is playing in the background, I am thinking about a conversation I had with a friend earlier.    It takes incredible courage (in my opinion) to open up your heart to love.   As with anything, there are absolutely no guarantees, and I have learned the hard way that there is no security in a relationship, in a marriage.   I remember when that “trust”, that “innocence” was broken with me.   10+ years into a marriage for him to end it with a woman 16 years his junior.   Today I could not care less, he did me a huge favor, but at the time I dramatically felt like my life was over…. far from it.

Sometimes when I am lonely I think about what it would be like to meet someone, to fall in love, after all, single life has it’s ups and downs.   I remember a line out of “When Harry Met Sally”…..forgive me if I don’t get this correctly, I’m rusty…  Sally and her (old) boyfriend don’t want children or commitment because they could have sex wherever they wanted… in the kitchen…etc., and then one point in the movie she said “But the thing is, we never DID have sex in the kitchen, or any of the places we said we could!”   Ultimately learning that he didn’t want to marry her and her probably not being fully honest with herself.   At any rate, single life, I can do whatever I want, when I want.  I can paint until the wee hours of the morning, I can leave messes and clean them up later, on and on and on.  While these things are true, and I enjoy the freedom of such, it doesn’t make up for someone holding your hand, sharing time together. 

One seminar I taught this year I asked a group of approximately 20-25 women how many were single and lived alone, and was shocked to find 3/4’s of the room raise their hands.  I guess there is nothing special about my singlehood!  

In a conversation with a friend recently I shared about loneliness.   I shared how I have to keep myself busy, or my mind heads to dark places, places in which I shouldn’t nor can allow myself to go.   Just like years, decades ago when I thought my life was over when my marriage ended, today I shake my head and laugh at that.   Of course it didn’t help that he was threatening to sell the house on me…believe it or not, I was a sliver of the person I am today, experience gave me that.   But then I would sit in my spot, like a good wife, waiting for him to decide if he was coming home or not.   My girlfriend, Janice said to me one day “How long are you going to do this, Donna?”   My answer?  “As long as I need to do this”.  It was only a couple months after that when I stood up for myself, realized he couldn’t sell the house out from under me because my name was on it!   Fuck you!   I started to fight back, to fight for my life, I didn’t know which direction I was or wanted to go, but I had valuable knowledge.   I knew where I DIDN’T want to go!   I was done being a door mat.   I remember very well the day I went to my ex-husband’s employment where both he and his girlfriend worked.  I asked to speak to him.  He came out, looked at me with anger, an attitude of “how dare I come to his place of employment?”   The only words I had to say to him were…. “I want a divorce!”   Man did that feel good!    Well, after that for several weeks he started finding excuses to stop by the house, etc., but it was too late.  Go with your little girl, go away, leave me be.   I started to be proactive with my life, I quit my job with reasonably good pay, went to a job at minimum wage which was $6 an hour.  I didn’t care.  I was starting over and I wanted to entertain, to try my hand at living a creative existence, believing in the talents that time allowed me only to do a few hours a week, or month.  After all, married life is different from singles life.   Now I eat when I want, then that wasn’t “allowed”.   Yes, when I think about how controlled I was, allowed myself to be I can no longer identify with that person.   As I started to break outside of his “safe circle” the marriage started to disintegrate.   I started to design in needlecraft for Leisure Arts & McCall’s and because I was working full time, too, and the majority of our marriage carried the insurance, I was tired of being told that I didn’t need television, although when he wanted to watch a football game I can remember how he went out of his way to fix the antenna so it came through for him.   My first royalty check was $2,400.  I took it upon myself to go and order, buy, a large satellite dish.  (Remember them?)   Eight years living without cable surely wasn’t the end of the world, but it was something I wanted….. so I got it!  This, however, was the beginning to the end.

When I think back on that time I cringe.   Poor Jim, the next and last serious relationship I had, paid the piper for the “sins” of his predecessor.    No one, particularly a man, was going to tell me what I could or couldn’t do!   He caught on quickly though and now as I look back on that, with a smile on my face, I realize he used reverse psychology on me.  Too funny.

I used to worry about what would become of me?  Where would I end up as I age?   I am already feeling physical limitations on what I once was able to do in taking care of my house.   I never planned to be single in my 50s, but hey, there are much worse things that could happen.   I think about the Golden Girls, when they first started the series I believe they were in their 50’s.    My best friend and I have a pact that we will live together, perhaps her sister, and whomever else.  The plan is to get a house big enough where each of us have our own bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, and we would share kitchen quarters.    Hey, futures have a way of falling down in midflight, perhaps that will never happen but I do know, wherever I end up, I will be okay.    I have “started over” a couple times in my life, I can take care of myself.  That doesn’t mean I am anti men.  Truly not, but I believe in myself today in ways I never thought I could or would ever. I pursued a career in teaching decorative painting.  While I cannot and will never be able to say I am the most paid, or the most popular, that is okay.  I have accomplished what I had set out to do and that was to be a national teacher.  I knew I could do it, and I did it.   I am not only a strong woman, a survivor, but I am a determined one!    I will be okay!

One positive about having some crappy painful things happen is that you learn what is and isn’t important in life.   I no longer live in the fear that I once did.  I no longer worry about what tomorrow will bring, as I know I will do my best, and what will be, will be….. Okay, sing with me “The futures not ours to see….”     I will be okay.

So, the point of this share today I guess is to start believing in ourselves.   Drop the fear, the nervousness about the unknown, pick one thing you want to do for yourself and do it.    I have chosen my next journey which I will begin in January with a girlfriend and frankly, I’m excited about it.

Hey, I may have a small home, drive an older jeep, but I love my jeep!  And I love my home!   I also love (for the most part) what I do for work, when I am able to work.  I’m a pretty fortunate woman.  God has been good to me, but it didn’t come easily, nor without hard work.   This year I started to look at my accomplishments and realized… Wow!   I did what I wanted to do!  When exactly did that happen?  It just happens with perseverance, baby steps.   Jeff Olson speaks of consistency, this man has made companies trillions and trillions of dollars with that one principal.  Keep showing up!  

I shall now retire to the warmth of my bed, fight with my animals for a comfortable spot to sleep.   I hope I get a good nights sleep, but if I don’t, I will survive.  Tomorrow I will get up and do the best I can of what is in front of me, that is all anyone can ask of me, that is all I can ask of myself.    It will be more than good enough because I will give it my all one more day.   Gratitude, that I can, mentally, physically, gratitude that I am where I am and unlike many New Englander’s tonight, I have power, heat.   Many are without due to an ice storm.  Gratitude, gratitude, it truly is an attitude!

Sweet sheeps!

Relationships

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Prince Pasketti  Day, April 7th, 2010

Though very slow to show it’s pretty face this morning, the sun has finally blessed us with its presence today, thus automatically painting a smile on my face!

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“There will always be lovers with borders of their own, and you may charge across in a golden chariot, but you will never be home”  – Patty Larkin “Good Thing”

As a woman with two failed marriages, and a long term engagement behind me, I’m currently single and truthfully, enjoying it right now.  It’s fairly interesting, however, to be single at 48, and in this time, complicated only by living in a very small town in Vermont!  MOOOOOOOOOOO

It’s been said that the key to happiness, to wholeness must be found within self.  I agree.  But getting there for me has taken me thru some rough terrain.  First of all, a person only shows you what he/she wants you to see.  Only over time and experience do we get to know someone else, and for me, myself.

The first boy I married was my high school sweetheart.  I was too young, too immature, and I married him to escape circumstances from my home life.  Did I know that then?  Hell No!  Hence the “too young, too immature!”  Amazing how honesty with ourselves and our perception changes with maturity.  Aging has brought to me a natural state of slowing down, but maturity has and is bringing me clarity, and hopefully vision to make better choices for myself today.  The second man I married, I loved him, but I didn’t know myself, so I was willing to become who he thought I should be.  (Rolling eyes, shudders)  Any idea why he left me for a woman 16 years his junior when I started to come into who I really was?  When I started to go outside of the security circle that was nonverbal but clearly defined nonetheless.  This was the beginning to the end.  (Laughing now)  After two years of being on my own, and just when I started really enjoying living alone, in walks the love of my life (to date).  I fell and I fell hard.  In this relationship, I started genuinely as myself.  Within this relationship I grew, and I believed I would spend the rest of my life with this man.   The problem here was, he was an alcoholic who went back to drinking.  Enough said. I’m sure I’ll write on this at a later date.  After 9 years, I said goodbye.  Still miss the man to this day, some 5 years later, but truth be known, I missed him long before we parted.  And with his departure, went the couch!  The more I loved them, the more “things” that went with them!

I have done self help work, and will continue to do so.  I recognize that in my younger years I used the men in my life to “fill” me, to actually define me.  (gasping).  Thank GOD for maturity and personal growth!  I have dated players, a man who is addicted to the “newness thus LUST of relationships”, and more.  It has been quite an interesting journey.  I am no longer looking for anyone to fill me, complete me, or whatever.   I step up to plate now a stronger, wiser woman with less expectations from what a relationship will bring.    I am quite content with my life, I do not need attention from the opposite sex to validate my existence or my worth.   I work hard at not comparing myself to others, and to forgive myself for the lousy choices I made in my past. I wish I had “gotten this” earlier in life, but I didn’t…. so therefore I have MANY interesting stories to share!  (grins)  My life is unconventional, but it is mine, and I am grateful for it.

One huge change in me is that  when I date men now I am looking more at the man, who he is TODAY, not his “potential”.  I’m getting too old for potentials.  And I’ve learned to invest in my own potential, or the potential of a child.   This line isn’t quite defined however, as if you believe in a “soul mate”, aren’t you willing to invest in him?  YES!  But, not in his “potential”.  I think the investing comes to play in trust.  Awww, but that’s a blog for another day, now, isn’t it?  (grins)

I’ve witness people hanging onto relationships that ended long ago, I am guilty of same.  We have stayed out of fear, perhaps fear of being alone, fear of financial devastation, fear of abandonment, fear of pain, fear for their children, fear of the unknown.  Some stay because they made commitments and through hell or high water, they will honor them.  But I ask myself, and I am asking you, is this healthy?  One thing I will say, however is… every relationship in my life presented itself with lessons and growth, sometimes long after the ending of each!

The childhood fairytale in my head was, you grow up, you get married, and you live happily ever after.  That didn’t happen for me, nor did the children or grandchildren.  I am not one of the “lucky” ones who found their life partner early on, and shares the rest of their life with the one they love.  But please don’t take that as I’m looking for sympathy (or hell, even a date!).   It is what it is, and I feel fortunate in many ways that my life has turned out the way it did.  There are times of incredible loneliness, a longing for human touch, but I’ve filled my life with good friends, family, hobbies, and if I’m really feeling blue… I just visit my 6 year old niece.  All challenges from that point on are long forgotten.   Oh the joy that children can bring us… And I’m grateful to be mindful of my time with her.  She brings immense joy to me.

I’m learning to accept that, perhaps there isn’t one man for me, and not that I believe in cheating on your partner, or that I’m polygamous.   Do I WANT to find my soul mate and settle in?  Of course!  Who doesn’t?  But I wonder, is that really possible for me?  A woman who not only physically travels much of the time for work, but also is on a constant  journey of discovery?    I want to believe that this doesn’t rule me out of the arena of “love”  (said to the same pronunciation as Bruce Springsteens Tunnel of LOVE!  Time will tell..

I believe deep within all of us, is this natural and basic longing and desire to mate.  It doesn’t matter how much work I’ve done on myself to improve myself, how strong I’ve become, how much wiser, richer, or more successful I’ve become.  If I am being true to myself, in my heart or hearts, I desire to find the man or men to which I’m to spend my life with.  “What will be, will be”. My life lessons has proven to me time and time again that to acquire something you really want, you have to let go of it completely first.  And I’m doing a pretty good job at letting go of this.  Life is good, full, colorful and joyfilled.  Sex?  Um, what is that? 😉 winks

My relationships with my family is very important to me.  My relationships with my friends is as important, but they do take the backseat when it comes down to family or friends.  I have a career which gifts me with meeting new people continually and introducing me to new friends who have the same interests as I.   This is very cool.  As I hear from some newly single friends that it is difficult to meet new people, new friends.

But I think the relationship with self (myself) and with a higher power that I am calling God today is of the highest importance.  To be true to myself, and in alignment with my higher powers will for me… then all the rest of these relationships fall into place.  At least that is how it has worked out in my life.  You just never know who will be around the bend tomorrow, or who will drop out of your life by choice or one of the certainties in life… death.

I get much joy from my relationships.  From some I get grief, (laughing)  but that is part of relationships.  And as I grow, some of my relationships grow with me, some of them stay the same, others fall by the wayside… and that too is okay.  Each day, as the sun sets another page turns on the story of my life, and sometimes a chapter of my life unfolds.