Friday, September 29, 2006

My Exclamation Point


I was panicking the other day in my boss's office and saying, "What am I doing? Grown women don't leave their husband but first go to Montana. This isn't happening? Who does this?" And my dear sweet boss said, "Montana is your piece of punctuation at the end of the first paragraph of your life. You need this exclamation point to end that paragraph and before you start the next one." Well, this English major just ate that up.

Montana is my exclamation point.

Now if I could just start packing!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Do I need this now?

We cannot go back and make a new start,
but we can start now to make a new ending!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What Do I Do With Them?

What do you do with 5 boxes of birthday cards? Yes, I have saved every card I have ever received over the last 7 or 8 years. I have to say I saved them since eternity, but I do remember weeding them out at the turn of the century. In cleaning out the closet, my husband plopped the boxes on my bed. I started with one box and was a mess and had to close up the others. Seriously, what do I do with them? Some cards are easy to throw out. If I can’t remember who “Chris” is or I don’t recognize a handwriting, why keep it? But it’s not those cards I’m talking about. Yes, I will keep all the Mother’s Day cards and handmade birthday cards from the girls, but that means I have to go through every card to find those. It’s the cards from him that I can’t throw out, but I can’t keep. It’s the flowery ornate Mother’s day cards where he writes that I am the most wonderful mother and that the girls are so wonderful because of me. It’s the anniversary cards the say “Grow Old Along with Me.” It’s the birthday cards that promise foot rubs and dinner. All empty because I never got that. He could talk the talk, but he couldn’t walk the walk. I do believe he thinks I am a wonderful mother. I get that. But the rest is empty. So do I throw them away? And if so, would someone come over (with a big friggin’ bottle of wine) and help me?

UPDATE: After crying over the boxes the first night and leaving them alone the next, I started in on weeding them down the next night. (Trash day the next day) I remembered two things. First, married or divorced we were thinking about moving and would have to be cleaning up such things. And two, if you looked at the stack of cards from my husband, you would think I was a heinous bitch because there were no cards from me. Is it because I didn't send him any over the years? Noooooooo! It's because he didn't save them. So why was I saving his? In the end, I saved a box of Mother's Day and Birthday cards from the girls and a box of letters from very dear dear people (godfather, teachers, students). I used the remaining hat boxes to hold my other stuff I need to move with me next month. And I feel great.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Angels Unaware

Do you know how we often find ourselves surrounded by angels when we need them?

The Sunday of Labor Day weekend I attended church and sat with my friend. As I started to go to communion and looked out at the people before me, I started to sob, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” I heard myself say. My friend held my hand as we went to the aisle and up to the rail. We knelt down at the corner as I put my sobbing face into my hands. “I can’t do this.” I wasn’t sure what “this” was, but my dear friend pressed her elbow into mine and said, “Push. Push. Push harder.” As our elbows pressed into each other and turned white with effort, I was comforted to know she was there by my side. Eventually, I held my hands outward to receive the Body of Christ. The priest tiddley-winked the wafer into my hand, all the time looking outward instead of at me. He could not have missed my sorrow if he looked at my face. He moved on past me. The chalice bearer offered me the cup of wine. And as he brought the chalice to my tear-stained face, he held it with one hand, and with the other he held my hand for a good 30 seconds, way passed what they are taught to do in chalice bearer school. Afterwards, I could not stand, so my buddy helped me up and held my hand as we walked back to our pew. While there, she continued to hold my hand until we risked injury or breakage. It gave me strength and much comfort. It was, truly, one of the most touching memories, one that I will hold in my heart forever.

As I relayed my plans for divorce to my former priest, I told him this story. Because our current priest is truly out of his league and incompetent, I said, “One of the saddest things in all this to know that we have no priest to go to. We have no one to turn to who will listen or comfort us in our time of need. We have no minister.” And he replied, “Yes, you do. Becky and Ron were your ministers. At Grace you are always surrounded by people who will minister to your needs.”

So the other night my soon-to-be-ex husband and I went to a social gathering together with church friends. We can do this. We will remain civil. We have the same friends. Some people knew. Others were floored by the news. Many were saddened. No one wants to see me go. All were supportive. With some there was chatter. With others, there were details. Towards the end of the evening as I was mingling with my camera, I stopped in a small passageway and made idle chit-chat with a friend who I don’t know well simply because I know his wife well, but we’ve never had cause to get close. Never been on a committee together. He drinks his liquor hard and he smokes obnoxious cigars so we don’t often get within range at social gatherings. We are kind and cordial but our relationship is mostly from being parents of kids the same age. He stopped me and expressed his sincere sorrow at my news. I assured him I was fine and that our main concern was selling the house. As I have said 100 times to others when discussing the details, “Our top priority is selling that house. Neither one of us can afford it by ourselves. And we are sick with worry.” And he looked at me and said, “Let us know if we can help you pay the mortgage.” He did not know if my monthly mortgage was $25 or $2500. And yet he offered the greatest gift I could have been given: his love and support and comfort. I leaned into his bear-like body and sobbed. He wrapped his arms around my shaking tearful body and said, “I mean that. All you have to do is ask. You hold a high place of honor in our home, and we would do anything for you.” I could not catch my breath. I could not look up at him. I was determined to be strong at that party, and for the most part, I was. No one, not one thing had reduced me to tears that evening in the telling of my story until he ministered to me. I will never forget what he did for me and what he said to me. I will hold this man in my heart forever.

We are often touched by angels unaware. And I have been touched by many.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lean on Me and Breakaway or the other way around...

So many people are trying to keep up with me and not pry so they're replying on more frequent visits here. Sorry I have been remiss. I meant to tell you about my Tuesday. I had my annual ob/gyn exam, and no I'm not going into detail. Someone had warned me this weekend that I would start (?) getting spacey. I'm usually not that way, really. But I was writing a fax for my boss and forgot his title. Then I drove to my doctor's and forgot his suite number. I got back into the car to find a place for lunch, and when I decided (and by that time had gone 5 miles out of my way), I missed the entrance. Of course, in order to circle back, I turned left from the right lane. Don't worry, no one else was around. I couldn't even eat what I ordered.

But several things have occurred. For instance, on the way to the doctor's, this song came on. Oh man, did I need that.
Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

On the way back to the office (after having missed my turn off for lunch), this song came on. Since when is God a DJ. Little signs. No coincidences.

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget all the ones that I loved
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

We are doing fine. Thanks for all the caring and love I feel from everyone out there and nearby.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Word to the Wise

If you're separating from your spouse of 27 years, do not read 3-year's worth of journals from 17 years ago. In 1989 I told our priest we were heading toward a divorce, and luckily, he had a pastoral counselor up his sleeve for us to go see. So we spent 3 years in once-a-week separate counseling to save our marriage, and I kept a journal. While you remember that you've been here before, you also remember that this man held you when you had night terrors, were lonely and scared, and didn't think you could move. That man who held you then would hold you again if you asked.

Last night I sobbed at what I had done, knowing it was right, knowing I could take everything back. Knowing that my husband would wrap his arms around me and pretend this never happened. I think that hurt and scared me most of all.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Why didn't I ask for luggage?

If I had been planning this great escape (which I wasn't), why didn't I ask for luggage for my birthday last month. Now I have to ask my daughters to use their suitcases so I can run away from home.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

It's over... I'm on my own

Told my husband last night that the marriage was over. It's something we've known for a long time, but neither one of us had the guts to say it. I told him he had to know on some level. Details to come. Sometimes gory, sometimes joyous. I'm heading to Columbia in October on my own. Just hang in there with me, k?

We promised to be civil and kind and thoughtful. It's easy when we have very little to separate and the kids are grown and gone. We just need to sell the house. The Band-Aid was finally ripped off and now the healing can begin.

I may be blogging more often. I will need to get a lot out. Come along for the ride and be there with me and for me.