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Windows, doors…all ways in and ways out, and important in our lives both physically and metaphorically. I have seen doors not just slam shut, but implode before me, leaving me left to pull pieces of splintered wood and glass from my heart, but no matter how hard it has been, there has always been a window, albeit one I might have to smash with my bare hands to get through. The doors and windows in my life now are welcoming and clear, and that’s a very good feeling.

And A Door
St. Elmo, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller

Daily gratitudes:
Tattered Cover’s broccoli-cheese soup
MKL
A strange tinge of fall in the air
Surprises
The sunlight on the wings of wheeling flocks of birds

It is a lovely day here. No rain, not even a drop. There is still debris in a lot of places – trees, boards, roots, and parts of people’s lives. But those lives are moving on, forward, ahead, and towards the next thing.

In the case of my half-house, the next thing is how quickly ex-Pat can get a new water heater, because apparently, when he has to scape the mud off the top of the water heater, the insurance adjuster considers it a total loss. And that’s one of those important things for doing dishes and showering. They cleaned out the last room yesterday, and I have lost a lot of photos and slides, which makes me very sad, but I’m hoping there is some way of salvaging them.

My anxiety levels are still super-high, but a little bit better this morning. The eye doctor, much as I love her, didn’t help by telling me that I have some pre-cataract thing in my left eye (seriously, body, how old do you think you are??????), so that added to the anxiety-cold-sweat-o-meter today. MKL says he will still love me if I go blind, and he has fabulous descriptive powers, and cataracts are surgically fixable. So. Yea.

I think I will try one of my newly prescribed Xanax before bed.  As I say, a beautiful life goes on.

IMG_1135

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Loss carves out a deep, hollow pocket. There’s no magical way to fill it, no medicine or Band-Aid or surgery to cure it. I suppose that over time you get used to it, but the feeling never totally goes away. And the more time you spend on earth, the more pockets you’ll collect. But it’s part of living. It’s life.” — Suzanne Selfors

Daily gratitudes:
Improvements
The little girl with the “Where the Wild Things Are Umbrella” as big as she was
My fluffy Mr. Man
MKL’s support
Peace
The sound of the ocean waves

 

 

My Mother once told me a brief tale about my grandmother.

A friend stopped by my grandmother’s house one day to visit. In the course of the visit, this friend told my grandmother that one of their friends had passed. My grandmother said, “Well, why didn’t she stop by? It’s not like her just to pass without stopping.” Oh. Duh.

Monday was the seventh anniversary of my Father’s passing. I didn’t really think about it on Monday, but I have had a dim recollection of roses all week. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? Part of it stems from my resolution to post images that I’ve taken of flowers in order to hasten spring along. Tied into it are recent dreams of my childhood home, and memories of my Mother’s garden.

Many mornings in the spring and summer, she would cut a red rose from the big rosebush outside the kitchen window, wrap the cut stem in a damp paper towel, wrap that in tinfoil, and give to my Father to take to work with him. It would stay on his desk, greeting visitors and staff, until it was time for a fresh rose. We never talked about it, but it is one of those little gestures I recall that showed the love between my parents.

The  year after my Father died, the anniversary was very hard. The whole year had been very hard. I had been grieving in ways I didn’t even know about, but suspected. One evening, I went to a lecture put on by our local Hospice folks about grief, and halfway through, it was all I could do not to put my head down on the table and try to sleep. I realized then that I was still experiencing some deep grief, and that this desire to sleep was the way I was expressing it. And that it tied into my depression. I worked very hard to get through that time.

The next year’s anniversary was still hard – but it was a tiny bit easier. And then the next, a bit easier still. Last year was the first year that I did not deliberately dread and thus remember this anniversary. I felt guilty when I realized it had passed without my marking it, as if I had somehow forgotten my Father and his importance in my life. But I was rational enough to dissuade myself of that notion.

Remembering today that I had not attended to the exact day this year did not spark any sense of guilt. I have not forgotten my Father. I don’t know that a day goes by that I don’t think of him (and of my Mother) in some way, on some level. It might be a memory, or the sight of something he would have liked, or an experience I wish I could have shared with him. It might be a few tears of missing him, or wishing he was here to advise me. It might be  quiet contemplation of where he is now, and what he might be doing, and when we may meet again.

Yes, he has passed. He stopped with me for a long while. And now, time is passing, not leaving him or his memory in its wake, but simply moving on. As time does.

I am extremely tired tonight, and that means I can get teary for no reason… but there is always a reason somewhere in the heart, isn’t there?

My heart and dreams have been rejected, nay, stomped on, but I am turning my face back to the sun, and starting to trust again.  That makes me happy.  It has taken a while.

Tonight is a perfect example of why I do not have smoke detectors.  I cooked a steak.  If I had smoke detectors, they would all be going off. All of them. Seriously. Way, way off.

I love the long way home – I don’t even think it’s any longer than the other ways home.  But the roads are winding, and I get to pass my one of my favorite trees.  And horses.  And a little old abandoned farmhouse that I would love to call my own. And have amazing views of the mountains and the clouds.  They matched tonight, with just a band of lemon sky in between them.

The earthquakes disturbed me last night and today.  Not physically. Well, not exactly.  I got home right around the time it was happening, but I wasn’t aware of it, though I think we were close enough to feel it. But the cat…aaaarrrrgh.  She was feeling  the “disturbance in the force”.  She would NOT leave me alone.  Lick my eyelids, sit on my head, bite my feet.  Sounds like a porn movie gone very, very wrong, doesn’t it?  I finally got her to settle down on the other side of the bed, so that I was not inhaling cat hair all night long.  But I still didn’t sleep – I might have had two hours of half-sleep, in which I had dreams I didn’t like or  understand.  And something was missing from my recessed brain.  I’ve had a presence that makes me happy in the background of my dreams for the previous five nights, and its absence was noticeable.  So between the dreams and the missing connection, I tossed and turned, too hot, too cold, all over the map.  Ugh.  I’m so tired I HAVE to sleep tonight, or it will be like Oban all over again.

I haven’t had a random post in a long time.  I had a lot more to say that I thought of when I was driving home, but after the near-fire and whatever, I’ve forgotten.  Which means they’ll show up for another dose of randomness sometime soon.

Today’s guest poet  —  e.e. cummings

maggy and milly and mollie and may

maggie and milly and molly and may.
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly
she couldn’t remember her troubles,
and milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:
and may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone
for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

Coastalcity

I have no beach to walk on
like Lucy did
but I have as many ghosts
or perhaps more.

Still,
my feet leave invisible prints
on waves of pavement
at the edge of a concrete sea.

Regardless,
the passage of time
and the healing of hearts
follows the same course
despite disparate shores.

And the ghosts –
the companions of a solitary soul –
well,
they just

follow
footprints
only they
can see.

Choix du Coeur

Shall I wear widow’s weeds?

Drape the mirrors in black crepe
so I cannot see the age and pain
in my reflection?
so my soul
does not get trapped
within the glass?

Shall I pad the carpets
so my footfalls
are silent?

All in mourning for
years of dreams
cast aside
by a callow
sleight of hand?

Perhaps so,
on chilled and rainy March days
when it seems the warmth is lost
forever.

For the remaining days, though,
I will wear the colors of the Caribbean
and hope my eyes reflect the sun.
I will trace my fingers through
imaginary sand
and watch as light falls
into remembered seas
growning new again.

The day my Mother died, my brother and I packed up all her remaining things, dividing them between us and the donation people.  We then loaded her car and I drove off to Colorado.  Most of the boxes went into the shed.  And there they’ve sat.  I’ve opened maybe two of them, and that was two years ago – it was too painful.  Now that I’m in a better headspace around losing her, I am determined to start going through the boxes.

I brought two of them home yesterday and opened them.  One contained a narrow, metal, three-sided filigree rim that looks like it might have come from a tray or a shelf.  In other words, I have no idea what it is or why I wanted to keep it.  Hmm.

When I opened the second box, a wave of my Mother’s scent wafted forth.  It was wonderful.  Everyone has their own scent, and you don’t even notice it sometimes until that person is gone, but I always loved the way my Mother smelled – it was  a combination of subtle perfume, lavender, and just mommy.  It swept me back, so far back, back to when I was a small child flopping on the laundry on my parents’ bed, back to laps and cuddles, back to looking through her closets and trying on her shoes, back to hugs when I returned as a young woman, back to the last time I cried with my head in her lap.

Back to a good place.  A sweet place.  A poignant place.

The box itself contained silver candlesticks that I don’t remember and four silver-plated goblets that I had forgotten, but that instantly transported me to standing before the fireplace looking at them on the mantel.  Amazing that a box that contained household objects and not personal things like perfume or clothes, could still hold so much of her.  But the few things she kept when she sold the house all held so much of our family, our history, our love for each other.

I am not yet ready to open another box, even though it was not a bad experience.  It did leave me doing that thing where you think, “I need Aunt Ene’s sugar cookie recipe.  I’ll call Mother.  Oh….”.  So I guess I have to take it one little step at a time.

Over the course of the last year, I have read several blogs written by women who were the “Other Woman”.  If you’ve followed me for the last year or so, you’ll know that I was one.  I’ve wanted to write, wanted to respond, but I know that some of my ex-MM’s relations still read my blog, and don’t want anything I say to be misinterpreted by them.  I hestitated to post this, but I feel I must speak my mind.

I spoke with my ex-MM the other day.  It was a nice conversation.  He’s doing well.  He’s in a relationship – he and his wife actually did get divorced.

When you are the OW, you are consumed and enflamed by your own feelings.   As I read what these other women are thinking and feeling, I can feel the pain that they are going through.  I remember conversations with my ex-MM that sound exactly like the ones they are having with theirs, after their affair was discovered.  I remember thinking, in the heat and darkness of my broken heart, “How could he have turned on me like this?  How could he have said those things and then gone back to her?  Was it all just lies?”  After the affair, every OW thinks that it was all just lies, all those sweet words he said to her, all those promises never to hurt her, never to leave her.  Maybe those words are lies for some MMs.  But not for all.

The words OWs use to describe their affairs are similar in every account.  The actions are similar.  Texting dozens of times a day.   Calls when alone and in transit.  Stolen moments meeting in various places.  Soul-level conversations that go on for hours.  The things the two of you feel together are magical.  You are soulmates.  You’ve never felt so intimate with someone on every possible level.  The sex is spectacular, magnificent, breathtaking, otherworldly.  You both feel that way.  You practically read each other’s thoughts – sometimes, you actually do.

Truly, you are both feeling these feelings.  But when the shit hits the fan, women can sometimes prove to be stronger than men.  I think, when it comes down to making that choice – which, let’s face it, for most men means losing everything – EVERYTHING – they have worked for, and their comfortable lifestyle – they panic and become paralyzed at the same time.  Their heart wants one thing, but their brain wants another.  Men are so much more used to acting on a rational than an emotional level that they are, unbelievably, able to put the emotional part aside.  They are able to lock those feelings of being truly alive with someone back up into a box in their souls and put away the key, and try to make their semi-dead life tolerable again, so no one in their immediate surroundings is making them uncomfortable and they are not faced with the daunting prospect of trying to rebuild their lives at a stage of life where they should be thinking of retiring in ten or fifteen years.

Women seem to be able to fight through it and come out the other side – often alone, sometimes with their MM, but rarely remaining in a stale, convenient marriage for the sake of keeping the peace.  We cannot acquiesce to a living death.  It seems some men can.

I never thought my ex-MM was horrible (well, maybe once or twice in the throes of the endings.)  I always saw the conflict within him, the agony and guilt he was feeling on so many levels.  It would have been easy to just focus on my own pain, but I couldn’t do that – I knew how real his pain was. I knew that ending it was just as painful for him as it was for me.  Just because we weren’t talking doesn’t mean I didn’t feel his pain.

In my case, our affair was a jumping-off point.  I discovered that I needed his support to take the leap away from my own bad marriage.  I came out of it alone, but it worked.  Perhaps he needed something similar, as he got divorced as well. 

While I struggle with visions of my future, which right now is particularly bleak due to money stuff, I would not go back to my old life.  My marriage was literally killing me slowly.  I am happier now.  My daughter is happier now.  And my ex-husband and I are actually getting along better than we have in years.

I regret the pain that all of us experienced due to our affair.  It certainly wasn’t planned, though it feels as if it was perhaps destiny.   I loved my guy madly, truly, deeply.  I will NEVER be the OW again.  The whole experience has taught me (again) that sometimes the only way out is through.  That doesn’t mean that it’s easy – it just is what it is.

About two weeks ago, one of Kelsea’s friends had a brain aneurysm.  A beautiful, healthy 12-year old girl.  Kelsea had just been at a sleepover birthday party with her two nights before. 

Kelsea and her other friends were broken-hearted, worried, sleepless, tearful.  The counselors at her school have been exceptional, pulling in Kelsea and her other friend who were closest pals with S to talk with them individually, instead of with the rest of the 6th grade.  And they’ve asked her to come back several times to check on her.  Kelsea’s been taking it well, talking with me, with her friends.  One of the hardest parts has been not knowing.  S’s family has been very quiet, not divulging much of S’s status until there was something more definite to divulge.

On Friday, there was word that S was awake, out of her post-surgery drug-induced coma, and wanting to see her friends. That was wonderful news.  So today, Kelsea and I and one of her friends and her friend’s mom drove down to see S.  It was hard, wonderful, poigniant.  She is still on some pretty serious medication – I don’t know what.  The scar on her skull, partly hidden by her hair, is harsh.  One eye is drooping.  She is  barely able to walk and is exhausted.  But she loved seeing Kelsea.  It was a little awkward, Kelsea not quite knowing what to say, so I gently encouraged her to hold S’s hand, give her a hug, tell her about the choir concert.  Once S realized Kelsea was there, she kept saying her name, asking to be next to her, reaching for her hand, almost to the exclusion of their other friend.  And when S reached over and said to Kelsea, “You are like my sister,” I think we all got teary.  S was asking about all her friends, about school, telling the girls that she was having to learn to walk like a little baby. Her cognitive functions seem to be very, very good for all she’s been through.

S’s dad, two grandmothers, and small sister were there, with her dad being positive, helpful, brave and treating S just as he always has, which is just as it should be, and just as I guided Kelsea to do.  I couldn’t ask him anything, as I didn’t want to put him on the spot, perhaps being unable to say something in front of S.

Kelsea wants to go back every day, and I’ve promised we’ll go next week.  I can’t help but feel for her family.  I won’t even imagine going through that experience with Kelsea, and I’ll say a small prayer to the gods to protect her, and ask that this challenge never be to proposed to her – or to me.

But it is strengthening to watch injuries, whether they be of the brain, the body or the heart, heal.  Faith plays a big role.  The future can be bright regardless of the circumstances of the moment, if you just keep your hopes high and your faith in the universe strong.

July 2019
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