Once upon a time there were two people who fell in love. They met, they kissed, and they knew the other was “the one.” Bride & groom walked down the aisle, had babies, and their life rolled on with good times, and a few bad times … but then more bad times. And more after that. Pain, hurt, and resentment grew. Then came separation and, 2 years later, divorce. 16 years, beginning to end; 15 years married and two wonderful children to show for it.
The bride … she often misses the good. She misses her best friend. She misses the man who made her laugh. The man who held her perfectly when she needed to be held, and often held her when she didn’t know she needed it. She misses his silliness, his kisses, and their shared history. She misses the man she still sees in pictures holding their babies. She misses that man with an ache that rattles her soul and makes her shake with pain, sadness & regret.
But then there’s the bad. The yin to the yang. The flip side.
You know the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde story? Dr. Jekyll was good, kind, benevolent. Mr. Hyde … well, he wasn’t. Mr. Hyde prioritized his hobbies & friends over his family. He willfully chose to live separately, and to live with minimal responsibility. Mr. Hyde shrugged off financial concerns, to be handled solely by his wife; he saw the burden this caused, the pain & stress, and increased it rather than trying to ease her burden. He ignored repeated pleas for engagement, involvement, for partnering. Mr. Hyde stayed up until all hours, raged with drunken belligerence, and terrified his kids & wife. Mr. Hyde was not a family man.
Nobody would ever guess that the public Dr. Jekyll was so often controlled by the narcissistic Mr. Hyde. Preening & posturing for his audience, selfishly focused on his appeal to others rather than any recognition of his loving needs at home.
Poor Dr. Jekyll, he missed out on so much; Mr. Hyde guaranteed that.
A sad story, isn’t it? The bride is sad, disappointed, angry & resentful … but she still often misses her Dr. Jekyll. The man he was before he allowed Mr. Hyde to guide his life.
Lesson learned, time to move on. A new chapter is dawning for Mrs. Jekyll, a blushing bride no more.
A former Mrs.
Short & to the point, my lovelies.
1. I don’t make friends easily & I never have. That’s why I tend to hold onto and treasure the friends I do make, going back to them time and again, even after they’ve broken my heart a little. Breaking with someone completely and willfully is probably the hardest thing for me to ever do.
2. Can I be blunt? I never cheated on my husband. In my marriage, I never had a boyfriend. I never met up with some dude for a weekend romp. To be even more explicit, there was no sex outside of my marriage. For anybody who thinks or has heard otherwise I’d advise you to open your mind to other possibilities.
3. This year, to date, has been the worst year of my life. I’ve lost 3 people I deeply cared about, my dream of marital bliss has seen the final nail in that coffin, and my work has been pretty damn brutal this year with no relief in sight. I’m exhausted from the constant loss.
4. I have nightmares now and I never used to. Most of the time they are nightmares of betrayal; seeing people who I thought loved me yelling, screaming, and humiliating me. Hurting me until I wake with my heart racing.
5. And yet …
I have hope, still.
I believe in love, still.
I believe I have a purpose.
I believe there will be light.
I’ll take equal parts of awe, some for me & some for him.
He’ll love me not for my svelte figure (because I don’t have anything svelte, except maybe my hair), and not for my money (duh) but maybe for the liveliness of my mind instead. (As Jane Austen says).
I used to call her sissy. I barely remember that, and it seems so improbable now, but I did.
This one thought keeps circling in my head: How do you mourn a sister?
I can’t imagine it. I can’t fathom it. But I’m doing it.
Last Sunday, June 15, my sister’s cancer journey came to an end. She was 53.
Charlotte was about 14 when my mom married her dad, he adopted me and he became our dad. I was just a baby. I didn’t have a childhood without her in it.
I remember her high school girlfriends all treated me like I was their little sis too. I’m even Facebook friends with one of them to this day.
I remember when I was 6 or 7 I thought of her with such awe. She was amazing. She was beautiful. She danced, performed, with big hair and gorgeous leotards, with a dance group and I wanted to be her. My mom tried to put me in dance but I was painfully shy. I quit immediately, except in my own living room … where one time I did a flip and fractured my wrist. I didn’t have her grace.
I was the flower girl in her wedding when I was 7. She was such a grown-up to me. She was only 20, but I was still in such awe of the beautiful, dynamic creature going through this incredible ritual. That’s MY sister?
And then these two: Years ago, when I was barely done being a kid myself, I’d babysit, pick them up from school when she couldn’t, and sometimes take them to gymnastics. I loved being their young aunt.
It was when I was a late teen and even more after I finished high school, thereabouts, when my sister and I became the adult (ish) version of being sisters. This is when her inappropriate jokes started to make sense. When I understood her “titty twister” threats. When I realized how she could say shocking things and get away with it because she did it with a laugh and a smile.
For awhile we did a lot of things together. Her family plus me & my boyfriend (at the time) went to Disneyland together, Las Vegas for dad’s wedding (where all 7 of us shared 1 cozy room!), and to the lake or camping together. We had the best time.
She lived her life fearlessly. She advocated for her children fiercely. In a lot of ways, she was a role model mother as much as my own mom has been. A younger, more modern mom role model (sorry mom) that I could compare my mom against – and I’d like to think I’ve healthily incorporated both of them into my mothering.
She was determined to live her life according to her desires. I really admired that in her. Whenever she wanted something she figured out how to get it. She managed, somehow, and she gave her kids a wonderful life with myriad experiences. They always knew how much they were loved.
Later – after our parents split, and when I moved to Idaho to live with dad & go to college, and then met my husband and got married – my sis and I had some conflicts. I’m not going to go into that, I’d rather forget it to be honest, but I really wish that time had been different. I wish my kids had known their aunt more. I wish she had known & loved my kids.
But I know I loved her. I loved her light, her positivity, and her bright soul.
Just a little love & positivity from me to you. Focusing on the good.
You don’t get to this age (in my case, banging on 40’s door) without having stories.
Your stories shape your life, your experiences, how you react, how you cope, how you LIVE.
I have tried to live my life in a cautious manner. It’s inherent to who I am. I don’t make snap decisions, I don’t “shoot from the hip,” and I try to retain my calm even when I’m screaming, crying, gnashing my teeth inside. Unleashing the anger beast doesn’t solve anything, and often leads to more hurt; hurtful words can often cause more problems than hurtful actions.
Lord knows I’m not perfect. I haven’t always been cautious. I have reacted emotionally. I have sought immediate gratification and soothing for my pain rather than thinking it out and processing it rationally. I’ve tried to keep those experiences to a minimum, especially as I’ve gotten older. As I’ve learned what helps long-term and what simply complicates things more.
I think that is where our stories come in. They illustrate our experiences in human nature. Experiences to learn from – learn from the people, learn from the emotions that resulted from that moment, learn from how we grieved or celebrated after.
Nobody ever knows your stories but you. Maybe they can ask? If they are curious.
You’ve heard that saying, right, that for every story there is your side, their side, and somewhere in the middle is the truth? Because our stories are skewed by our experiences and our emotions. What was minor to one person may have been major to someone else.
My experiences have brought me to where I am today. My stories have shaped how I respond and react to my experiences. I’ve tried to be cautious . . . . I AM cautious. I try to hold my tongue, not lash out, to react with love and understanding more than anger, frustration and betrayal. It’s hard. It’s hard to feel misunderstood.
My stories tell me that time changes everything. How I felt 13 years ago is not how I feel today. My experiences dictate that. Every decision we make, every deep conversation we have with a friend late at night, every argument, every resentment, every pure joy moment – all of these impact our future.
I was hurt one too many times. My experiences built on each other until I had the Berlin Wall of resentment nestled in my heart. I was trying to knock it down, brick by brick, but recent experiences have told me to shore it up again. And here we go again – more pain, more hurt, more betrayal.
Lady Justice’s scale is tipped to the negative right now, and I’m treading water to stay afloat, but I know the scale will tip back before too long. The positive will outweigh the negative. There will be healing. There will be joy.
These are my stories, built on my experiences. There is value (and weight & impact) to each one of them, the good and the bad. There is growth from every experience.
These stories will be be the sum of my life, but my novel is not nearly complete.
Peace, love and understanding. It’s the way to go, and I’m trying.
MORE HAPPY STORIES.
Horrible, awful things are happening
How are we to survive all of this?
I try hard but my spirit is dampening
I’m already mourning all I’ve missed.
My 40th year is the least of these.
My marriage dashed; dreams gone.
My sister in law taken by a disease.
My sister, same disease, can’t go on.
Full of love, memories, childhood
Blessed with warm hands and hearts
No pain, no loss; all sweet & good
Never learned how to dodge these darts
Endless days of endless sorrow
Please, let me live, survive, please
Build me up, strength I’ll borrow
There’s no net under my knees
Falling, always falling, stripped bare
Calling out, reaching, no one there.
I often get asked why a California girl living in Idaho would love the Philadelphia Eagles. This is not an easy question to answer.
3 years ago I never watched football. My husband wasn’t a football guy and it’s just not what we did. I do enjoy football, and always have, but with two kids & a husband with no interest it was easy to keep our football watching to just the Super Bowl. I watched the game, he watched the commercials.
Then … we separated and my life, our lives, changed forever. I looked for consolation and solace in things that were completely & wholly unrelated to my husband. I spent time with friends who didn’t know him, I leaned on people at work, on my online friends, anybody unconnected with my married life. Within this realm, I had a friend who is a devoted Eagles fan. When the 2013 pre-season started I heard about the Eagles constantly.
WhenI heard that the former coach of the Oregon Ducks, Chip Kelly, had moved to the NFL and was the new head coach of the Eagles it piqued my interest. Being a member of the Boise State Bronco Nation, that struck a memory about a story regarding Chip Kelly from when the Ducks lost a game to the Broncos. A Ducks fan complained to Kelly that he’d spent a certain amount of money to travel to the game and was disappointed. Kelly wrote him a check to reimburse the fan’s expenses. Dude. That’s class.
I was intrigued. I started watching the Eagles games. I watched the Packers, Ravens, Broncos, Cowboys, 49ers, Saints & Giants too. But I mainly watched the Eagles. I started re-learning the game. Learning more. Digging in. Trying to understand terms that weren’t clear to me. I started googling different terms, plays, positions. Just as I was really digging in, the season ended.
What do you mean I have to wait 8 months for the season to start again?? Noooooo!!
I kept reading. I started watching football movies. I loved Draft Day. I cried & laughed. I watched the actual NFL draft, noting the Eagles draftees.
When the 2014 season started I was so excited, so ready, so eager for the Eagles to get out there and do their thing. Every week, starting with pre-season, I couldn’t wait for the next game. I was lucky that a lot of the Eagles games were televised in my area. I briefly thought of mortgaging my house to buy the NFL Sunday Ticket just so I wouldn’t have to miss any games at all. But that’s just silly. (Right??)
The thing is, every week I had this wonderful, exciting thing to look forward to and it never mattered what happened during my personal life that week. The Eagles would be there. Just like they were there last season. This season they became even more. More to me, more to my life. I could be broken-hearted, exhausted, lonely, or whatever, and the Eagles would make it better, win or lose. (Mostly wins, except for effing December. Grrr.)
I love Chip Kelly & his philosophy. I love how he supports the team and his matter of fact, practical logic regarding wins & losses. I love Nick Foles, Darren Sproles, Conner Barwin, Cody Parkey, Shady McCoy, Ertz, Huff, Cooper, Peters, Acho, and just the whole damn team. I love their heart. I love their ambition & spirit.
Eagles for life. I owe them a big part of my life. My sanity, at least. Thank you, Eagles.
Counting down to August …