Up the driveway and home once upon a time.
“Time! The corrector when our judgments err.” –Lord Byron.
It is the most natural thing in the world for the wounded party in a broken relationship to want to exact revenge. I think that on some level it is probably a good thing to think up ways of getting revenge. It helps the anger to dissipate. Notice I said think, not do. I had almost equal parts of hurt and anger. It was the anger that made me think of ways to get even with D and his lover. I’m grateful now that I didn’t act on it. Well, at least not any of the violent, crazy, dangerous things I thought of. Maybe in some snide, verbal ways I did. Well, okay, I’m sure I did. No maybe about it. I had a long mental list of ways to get even with them, especially her. After four years, I am just now blaming D at least as much as S. I just couldn’t make myself believe that he could treat me as badly as he did, so I blamed her.
Whenever I felt tempted to actually do something horrible to them I would remind myself that it wasn’t up to me to correct someone else. All I could do was try to change my reaction to them. I heard and read at every turn that one way or the other justice would be served. But not by my hand.
When I saw the Lord Byron quote above I understood exactly what it meant. Time has taken care of it, of D’s horrible errors of judgment. D is broke. His business partner has tied the company up in the courts. The beautiful home in the mountains is apparently going in to foreclosure. D may have to file for bankruptcy. Some would call this revenge. But I would never call it sweet. It is so very, very sad.
Green is for Go, Pat, Go!
I have a birthday coming up so I bought myself a new cell phone. When D and I were married he gave me wonderful gifts for all occasions, especially birthdays and Christmas. Now that I don’t have a husband to take care of those things I have decided to take it on as a way of taking care of myself. For this past Christmas I bought a lovely handmade necklace. And now the phone. Not just any phone but an iPhone!
A little background is probably in order. I have had a cell phone for years. I have always thought of it as a convenience. My convenience. Something I could use in case of an emergency. I almost always left it in my car since that was where I would be most likely to need it. Now, as my grandchildren have grown up, I am starting to feel a bit out of the loop. Youngsters don’t really care to talk on their phones. They prefer to text. So do my adult daughters for that matter. So…I spent yesterday afternoon and last evening learning to text and to send emails.
I know that texting won’t take the place of hearing their voices so I may have to call them once in a while. And most important of all I must see them on a regular basis so I can get my hugs. I remember worrying about my mother when she was living alone–that she didn’t get enough human contact, enough hugs or even the touch of another person’s hand. Now I find myself in a similar situation. This morning as I was leaving church, I was shaking hands with the pastor. Spontaneously, I said, “I want a hug.” So we hugged and he was kind enough to say, “Thanks, Pat, I needed that.” Well, so did I, Preacher. So did I. And I feel sad for those who are too timid to ask.
From my fall garden.
Pushing up daisies: Euphemism for dead. Syn: Six feet under.
I took this photo of my backyard daisies in October, I think. Every time I look at it the expression pushing up daisies comes to mind. I’m not sure why. But I have finally decided to take it on as an analogy for my divorce. Let’s face it. My marriage is definitely six feet under. Dead. Finished.
I have always loved daisies. When I was a little girl I would walk over the hill to my Maw’s house and I picked wild daisies on the way. “He loves me, he loves me not.” And daisy chains. And daisy crowns. What fun my sister and I had collecting them.
When D and I got married I chose daisies for my bridal bouquet. They were big, beautiful versions of my little childhood flowers. Wild ones are smaller than the cultivated ones we get from a florist. When D and I were leaving for our honeymoon his mother asked me if she could keep the bouquet. She had read about preserving flowers and wanted to preserve it for me. I thought that was very sweet of her. Alas, when we got home a week later she informed me that the preservation project was a disaster and I was left without even one daisy to press in my favorite book. It’s a good thing I’m not overly sentimental about that sort of thing. But I did feel a little sad about it. I knew my new mother-in-law wasn’t real crazy about her son marrying a woman with three daughters so I have to admit that I wondered if she did it on purpose. Fortunately I didn’t dwell on that notion. And I don’t think that was the case.
OK. So the marriage is pushing up daisies. But I’m not. I’m very much alive and I still love daisies. I think that says something about my optimistic nature. And today I’m glad for the good times we had together. I’m letting my backyard daisies remind me of those times.
“Baby you don’t thrill me but you put off body heat.”
I was on my way to my favorite market yesterday when I heard this line on A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION. I laughed so hard I thought I would have to pull over. There was a group singing familiar tunes with new, funny lyrics. I would love to give credit but I can’t as I don’t know the singers or the writer of the lyrics.
I spent Martin Luther King weekend with a group of girlfriends. We’ve known each other for 30 years or more. I explained to them how my PJs have changed since D left. When I was sleeping with him I was always in something sleeveless or short-sleeved. Now I wear long sleeves, long pants–really cozy warm clothing. The reason being, in addition to what you’re thinking, that he was like great big heating pad. I could feel his warmth without even touching him.
I think I’ve started to realize that it is the comfort of him that I miss most. Yes, I loved him. Yes, I still love him but perhaps in a different way. When I talked with him recently my heart didn’t race. I didn’t feel all gaga over him. But when we went our separate ways that day my angst over not having him as my companion and confidante was great. I don’t know if that ever goes away. Thank God for warm pajamas and good friends.
The Clock by Philip Guston. A MoMA ecard.
“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”–James Taylor
The painting on the left is called “The Clock.” I understand that Philip Guston stopped painting abstracts around 1960 and started doing more realistic works. I was initially attracted to this abstract because I love strong colors. I have also been, most of my life, intrigued by clocks and the passage of time. Imagine my surprise when I realized the title of the painting. So I started really scrutinizing and trying to figure out why it would be so titled. Try as I might I cannot see why he called it “The Clock.” The more I look at it the more it looks like a devil. A fiery devil. I admit that I know next to nothing about painting. Could the artist have intended it to look like what I see? I have no idea. The only correlation I can draw between a clock and what I see here is: The devil makes me do it–waste time, that is. Those of you who are old enough will probably realize that I borrowed that line from Flip Wilson. Those of you too young to remember Flip, you missed a delightful comedian whose alter ego was a woman named Geraldine.
The clock is ticking. In my last post I was asking, “Who am I?” Today I think how I spend my time is far more important. Whoever or whatever I am, I can enjoy the “now.” That really is all I have.
“Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”–Annie Dillard
Marc Chagall--"I and the Village"
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” —Dr. Seuss
Ah, the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. Some part of me has always believed a version of the words above. So why am I trying to re-embrace them? Even as a teenager I didn’t often feel the need to be who someone else expected me to be. So why am I now feeling uncomfortable with myself and even with other people?
I know we all go through life passages. And that there is no particular age or order or set of rules that we can follow. That would make the passages easier maybe but also pretty boring. And even if we had rules, a profound experience such as divorce would certainly upset the apple cart. I think it has for me. But I don’t know how much of my current stress level to blame on The Divorce. I just know that I’m stressed and I don’t understand why. I’ve been analyzing for days.
I know that the rejection of divorce changed who I thought I was. Certainly it did some damage to my self-esteem. But I thought I had that under control. Then I started thinking (again!) about what I’m here for, what I want to do with the rest of my life. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have done a number of positive things to get back on track. I think I made a good start. Now I feel stagnant again. Will Rogers once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Whenever these sad and confusing feelings come over me, I start to think I’m not moving forward. I’m sitting here. Or I’m not moving fast enough. That begs the question: Fast enough for what or whom? Maybe I’m too hard on myself. But I don’t think that’s it. My days are too disorganized and casual. Every day is R&R if I decide it is. I’m chuckling as I write this. My older grandson was doing some painting for me this week. He told me he had found a book when he moved some furniture. When he handed it to me I looked at the title: Organize Now! I started to laugh and said, “I know why I have this book. Because I need it now!”
I know myself well enough to start slowly. I’ve made a commitment to myself to declutter my house and my life. I’ll keep you posted. Pun intended.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” –Martin Luther King, Jr
I think I know a good bit about MLK, Jr., and I have great admiration for him. I know that he preached and strongly believed in nonviolence. So do I. I have long admired and tried to follow his advocacy of love. And his apparent ability to love, not hate those who would do him harm. I suppose it is only natural that I would try to figure out how all that “love, not hate” theory applies in my life and to those who have done serious emotional and financial damage to me.
Sometimes I think I’m trying to convince myself that I can love and not hate D and S. Maybe I am. But the truth is hate is a huge burden. I don’t have time for it. I have a birthday soon. I’m not getting any younger.
Hermann Hesse said, “If you hate someone, you hate something in him that is part of yourself.” If that is true, then I must be getting kinder and more loving with myself. I’ve done enough research on divorce now to know that the person who suffers an unwanted divorce loses huge chunks of self-esteem. With all those holes in her self-image, she starts to think of herself as somehow unlovable. At first my rebuilding was slow and I couldn’t get past anger and distaste for the two who did this to me. Gradually I have become kinder to me. I have stopped (most of the time) quizzing myself on what I might have done differently. I have finally gotten out of my shell and started to think about what I might do for others and I am acting on it. I have pampered myself when needed. And in the process of loving me, I have started to feel more kindly toward D and S.
I’m a work in progress as we all are. And I am seeing progress. That’s gratifying. Sometimes progress seems depressingly slow but that will not deter me. I am moving forward. Sometimes by inches. Sometimes in great leaps. I believe that the only way I can move forward is to continue to cultivate love and to phase out hate. And I don’t believe that I can give away adequate love unless I love myself adequately.
Hope this mosaic table will tide me over until Spring.
“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents can do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle star dust over little children.” —Alex Hailey
I certainly hope that is true. I often get the feeling that the opposite is so.
Yesterday afternoon I spent several hours with my 9-year-old grandson F. Every time I get one grandchild to myself I’m amazed anew at the innocence and awe they still have for life. And at the renewal and hope that I feel for having spent time in their presence.
I picked F up at his bus stop and brought him home with me. Of course I fed him and let him unwind with a little TV. But then he wanted to talk and he was happy just to spend time with me. (Does it get any better than that?) We talked about everything: God, siblings, science, mental telepathy, how we all have different gifts, how we should treat others, feelings and so much more. I’m happy to say that he has a good heart and admirable morals.
He asked me if I wanted to go outside. I told him it was really cold and asked why he wanted to go out. His answer: “Because nobody has walked on any of the snow in your back yard.” Perfect answer. How could I refuse? We bundled up, well, I bundled and he put on a jacket, and we headed out. We proceeded to step on every square foot of it in about fifteen minutes. What fun! I never would have considered doing that on my own and I would have missed all that fresh air and exercise.
I remember this same child about four years ago. He was even more innocent then. I had gone to his house to get my “grandchild fix” because I was terribly distraught about the pending divorce. Try as I might I couldn’t always keep the tears away even in the presence of F and his sisters and cousins. He was sitting on my lap and saw my tears. He put his hands on my face and said, “Grammy, are you sad about the divorce?” I told him I was. And he told me that D was “very happy” with his new girlfriend. Then he added, “Why don’t you get a new boyfriend?” I told him, “I might just do that.”
I still haven’t found one. But I guess I haven’t looked either. And I’m doing very well without one.
Hot soup and coffee weather. Mmmmm.
“Love is taking away the feeling, the passion, the romance and you discover you still care for that person.” —Anon
This anonymous quote expresses my situation very well. How I feel about my ex-husband. I’ve been thinking about my conversation with D. I’ve had a few days to process it. We both talked a lot but there was a great deal we didn’t say. If tears are words our hearts can’t express, then we both had heartfelt messages that we weren’t ready or able to say. I won’t try to put words in his mouth, nor would I want him to do that to me. But I could see that he was sending me a message when he stopped talking, took a deep breath, had tears in his eyes and seemed incapable of continuing. I have no doubt he regrets a lot of his actions over the past several years. He said he did. He understood how inadequate “I’m sorry” sounded. In fact he told me it wasn’t enough but that he didn’t know what else to do. And the truth is, I have wanted to hear those two little words for a long time. Sometimes a little goes a long way. I’ll take it.
I read somewhere that forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. I told him that I had forgiven him a long time ago. And I did. In the beginning I wanted him to feel some of the pain I was feeling. But I haven’t felt that way in a long time. I have no desire to see him hurting the way I did. The thought of it makes me sad.
I don’t know what kind of relationship we will have in the future. I think it is improved as a result of our long conversation last week. I told him I wasn’t ready to be friends with his fiancée. (I may never be.) I told him it was probably because of the way he mishandled the situation early on. He acknowledged that he had been insensitive. Well, insensitive is my word but he got it. For now, I feel better. And I appreciate his effort.
Back yard at 12:30 today.
No sorrow. No pain. No sadness. No enemies. No resentment. No problems. No sickness. No shame. No worries.
No ex-husband. No divorce. No war. No violence. No aggression.
I’m trading them all for the joy of this beautiful winter wonderland I have outside my door. And for the joyful squeals of the children playing in it. Amen!