Work in Progress…

Here we are.  Looking at September approaching.  As usual, with sadness and not knowing exactly how I will handle my emotions.  This year I add to it that I am coming off the heels of a 2 1/2 year relationship break-up.  I am not sure if it’s an astrological thing or what, but when bad things occur in my life, it usually happens right around this time.

As I get acclimated to my new relationship status, instead of reeling over “what he did” or “what he should have done”, I am self-reflecting.  The fact that I have had four different men under this roof over the past twenty years…would lean to the idea that it is not all their fault.  I am the common denominator.

Under this roof has been one divorce, one death that happened six months after we separated (trying to force his sobriety), the separation didn’t lessen the blow, though.  We all loved him deeply.  Add to that, not one of the four under our roof, but another loss of a boyfriend to leukemia after dating just over a year. Then a catastrophic and abrupt ending of a relationship that hurt us all…one physically, everybody emotionally.  And lastly, being just recent…a peaceful, yet much needed ending to another relationship.

As far as the deaths, I have had people jab at me jokingly, sometimes not jokingly, the “black widow” reference.  Hell, I have even said it.  My last relationship actually had me watching the same scenario almost unfold again.  I was in an ICU watching my boyfriend almost die just eight months ago…I couldn’t fathom how this could be happening again in our world.  I was scared and it made me angry and bitter as it was lifestyle choices and not taking medicines required to keep him healthy that landed him there…that and just plain stubbornness.  I was just recently informed (unnecessarily, mind you…I could have existed not knowing) that during his month long stay at the hospital there was questioning if I had something to do with the sickness by at least one family member…likely more.  Seriously folks?  As if losing two people I loved already isn’t painful enough (to the whole family), let’s add “maybe she has had something to do with them and with this”.  I guess I understand no one knows what goes on behind closed doors, but jeesh.  That was a punch to the gut.  Just to assure every one out there, I do not possess the super power to impose esophageal varices, leukemia or kidney failure on another human. End of that rant.

reflect

Now those two, almost three, endings were out of my hands.  Now about my choices.  Who have I chosen to welcome into my family?  As far as the marriage to the older children’s dad…I was younger.  I didn’t know who I was yet and what I wanted.  I know that much.  I have no regrets getting into or out of that relationship.  We grew apart over the eleven years we were together.  I grew apart, mostly.  I knew I needed more.  I can’t blame someone for being the same person they were over a decade before.  But I wasn’t the same.

When I immediately got into my next relationship, I still didn’t have a sense of self.  Looking back, I would have never entered into that relationship as I am today.  It was dysfunctional right from the start…I would see that a mile away now.  But with that relationship I found what real unconditional love was for another human, other than for a child.  And we did have a child in our seven years together.  Losing him changed me. Watching your children lose their father/figure changes you in a way that without experiencing it, you will never understand.

I got myself into counseling to help me deal with the grief.  I learned a lot about myself…undoubtedly I am still learning.

The last couple of multiple year relationships are what I am trying to draw from now.  I know I have the fault…to not see faults.  I see the best of people, which can be considered a good trait…but in selecting who to spend your life with, you need to be able to see the “bad”s, as well.  I see the potential.  Not the now and what’s in front of me.  And that leaves both people unhappy.  One feeling like they never live up…and one feeling like they’ve been let down.

Next, I hold a lot of grief for obvious reasons, and guilt for allowing my children to go through another loss…and another.  That has to be difficult for anyone pairing up with me.  There are anniversaries and heavenly birthdays that are recognized…I gather it would be a lot for some to handle (I maintain that if you weren’t equipped to handle it…you should have never stepped into it).   I have always tried to be sensitive and balanced between making sure the family is getting to reminisce and my partner is still getting attention…but looking back, it might’ve been too much for some.

Honesty.  Another good trait, right?  I think so.  But I am REALLY honest.  I grew up with that not being a focus.  I was sneaky and it wasn’t until I was a young adult did I learn how good it feels just to be honest with yourself and those around you.  What I don’t realize sometimes, is that sometimes people don’t need to hear the WHOLE story (like I do when blogging?).  I am a sharer.  I will share just about anything.  Whether I pooped today, what goes on in the bedroom…with others or myself…how I felt for others in the past, things that I have done that am ashamed of.  Open book.  Too much for some.

Being right.  My apologies to those in the past…bad trait and something I continue to work on.  I try so hard to do the right thing all the time, I don’t always see that I am not…and then try to justify things and then…Let’s just say I am learning to simply say I was wrong.  And listen to the other side.  Work in progress.

Going forward I need to not only work on honing in on that little voice guiding me, I need to actually act on it.  I’ve learned to hear it, I now need to learn to LISTEN to it. I need to figure out how to give it a megaphone!!

So in conclusion…I guess I am too much for some.  I expect too much.  I need to listen and admit my wrongs.  I need to make sure my audience is prepared and equipped to take in what I share.  And I need to move slowly and listen closely to my inside voice.

I will continue to self reflect while getting through the anniversaries of Matthew and Michael’s death next week and the week after with my family.  I pray to travel through the next month with strength and grace while we celebrate their lives and mourn my past.  I welcome anyone who comes across this writing to pray as well.

Blogging is my way of figuring things out, thanks for being a part of my therapy session with me.  Until next time…

“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
― Marianne Williamson

 

Closure

I’ve been tossing around adding an entry to this blog for quite a bit, but haven’t felt the usual surge of emotion that usually inspires me.

I decided earlier today to re-post an older entry and then take a nap (which I half did…I posted…I didn’t nap).  And then…I just kept thinking about what’s been going on.  In my head and in my life.

Last week was rough. Like REALLY rough (insert needed emotion!).

I  say this a lot, but if anyone knows me knows…that I have dealt with loss.  Grief.

I still do.  The pain is real.  My other half is amazing when it comes to understanding and caring for me during me “down” times.  I try to keep it real, but the rest of the family is pretty protected from my spiral.  I try to be fully there for them when they do their spiral.  Which for the youngest, it has happened more recently lately.  I think it’s just the time of year.

Anyhow, I got stuck in some memories.  Some pretty bad ones.  It involved a boyfriend who I adored, Matthew, who passed from leukemia.  His last days, as you can expect, were extremely hard.

So F-ing hard.

There’s many layers to that.  Not only for the obvious reasons…of him dying. But (as I have written about before, yes, I know), there were so many other situations that were happening at the same time.  There were some of his family members who treated me unjustly.  In so, so many ways.  From being denied a last good-bye…to items in the home…to the obituary (and so on…).

For whatever reason, though, I was catapulted to just before that.  The week before that. For really one of the first times.  I haven’t talked much about the before.

The week before….this poor man’s chest was filling up with fluid,  he needed chest tubes.  First one lung…then the other.  Then he needed a home nurse to drain them.  I stepped in to help (I then realized nursing would never be my career… maybe it would be different if I wasn’t in an intimate situation with my patient?).  Judging by my struggle to not pass out, it worked out okay that the hospital staff were the ones that tended to that task.  But when going back to the ER, he looked at me.  I am not sure why I forgot that look.  And I forgot that moment.  Until last week.

“I don’t want to do this any more”.

He looked at me and said this.  He was done fighting.

That moment was front and center last week.  Like it was yesterday.

And I got the very last look from him…a bit later,  when the doctor told him he was being intubated and put on life support before being transported to Boston. It was just us. Because I was there…not just at the end…not when it was convenient…but because I was there every second I could be.

I’m still not sure why I was treated so badly right after that moment…I welcome the family to reach out to me to explain.

But, now looking back, I did get the goodbye I needed.

Closure? I think so.

 

 

 

God Bless My Broken Road

I sit today to write with a burning question in my heart.  I write not because I have the answers and I want to share my knowledge…but because I don’t.

I have been abused.  I have been emotionally abused.  I have been verbally abused. I have been physically abused.  I have been sexually abused.

I have not been abused by strangers, but men I chose to be with…and chose to stay with.

That’s a hard pill for me to swallow.

I am talking about it…and I encourage others too, as well.

Recent happenings have had the dust kicked up and has me self-reflecting, more than usual anyway.  My first husband, father to my oldest child, was arrested last week…for domestic assault, no less…and highlighted in the local news pages.  This man has been MIA for over a decade.  And even then it was a one-time encounter after many years of no contact.  He abandoned his child, physically and financially.

His arrest, and him surfacing, has me recounting the details of our past history.  My son has no recall of any events while we were married (Thank God) being that he was just over a year old when we separated.  And when I say separated…I mean that there was the final and scary act of violence.  Leaving me with some haunting memories that I haven’t visited in quite some time.  There were a few violent encounters in our relationship…the last one involving a lot of bruising, weapons, police lights at our house in the middle of the night and restraining orders…not unlike my last relationship finale.

This has me asking…how the hell…why the hell…have I had myself in relationships with people like this!!??  I find myself to be somewhat intelligent.  Emotionally grounded.  Rational.  And I wasn’t stuck.  I read a lot of articles of women who are afraid to leave.  That wasn’t me.  I was NOT afraid…I was pissed off and hurt (Well, in the moment of violence…I was afraid…but when the dust settled and I was no longer being dominated…I held my ground!).  I demanded a solution.  For them to fix the problem.

And they agreed.  I have been to more couples counseling than I would care to have…and seen people go to on their own.  Regardless of the help that was being sought…the result has been the same.

The cycle of violence that’s published on the internet is a real thing.  Even if I don’t have the answer as to how I got into those relationships yet, I understand why I stayed.  For a time anyway.  The honeymoon phase.  I remember in one relationship that was going through the intense and rocky phase…that I would just wish for it to blow-up and for the fall-out to happen so we could get to the point where he would be sorry and doting.  Totally messed up.  However, I know I am not alone.  At least I don’t think I am.

I can thankfully say that I am now in a non-violent nor abusive in any manner relationship.  It’s not perfect, nor should it be.  Two personalities coming together is bound to have some conflict and growing pains, but it’s calm and respectful and loving.  Hallelujah.

I speak openly in my relationship about my past and my hurts and questions about my decisions.  I am still trying to sift through how I got into the situations I was in…but if not for anything…I am glad my path was the way it was (I was reminded of this over the past few days by both my oldest child and my boyfriend).  I have four beautiful children (and the wisdom gained) that are the result of my road traveled.

So, while I haven’t answered my question as to why I chose some men like I did (please note…not all were abusive…my longest relationship to date, albeit high conflict at the end with husband number two, was not abusive)…I know this was the journey I was meant to have.  And I am more than okay with the family that was the product of that journey.

God bless this broken road.

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I urge those in these types of relationships to speak up, get help and get out.  Just get out.  In my experience…it gets no better.  Progressively, it gets worse.  I am lucky enough to be here to talk about it and no further damage or injury was experienced. Speak up.  Get out. ❤

 

 

 

Time to Heal…My Own Way.

Healing is a process.  It doesn’t look the same for any two people.  There are “stages” that are outlined for how people usually deal with loss…and I agree with that.  But it’s not an even flow from one to the next.  And sometimes you get stuck in a stage.

I feel like that I am genuinely happy…but even still, I am stuck in the anger.  I am very angry about the closing, and content, of my last relationship.  Not with every waking breath, but it’s there.  I can easily feel pleasure and I smile almost all the time.  That doesn’t mean that right under the surface I am not enraged.

At the risk of pissing off a few people…I am choosing to write about it.  I am getting more and more angry as the days go by instead of it dissipating.  While I am settling into a very amazing new relationship, I am still reeling about the former one.  It’s not keeping me from enjoying one ounce of romance and excitement…but in those quiet moments…I slip to where I just came from.

The letter came in the mail this week dictating to me the outcome of the hearing from the County House of Corrections from last month…the last incident.   The sentence he should have served is suspended with two years good behavior, but the fact that there’s Domestic Violence charges read loud and clear to me and just resonates.  It has snapped me into a bad place.

Shhhhh…..

Right?  I am not supposed to talk about it?

I am supposed to move on and heal…but just don’t say out loud what happened.  It’s not fair to him.  He was wronged growing up.  He’s not a monster.

Guess what?  I think differently.

I think I let a man into my life hesitantly.  One who gave, gave, gave.  “Too good to be true” is what I kept saying about the way my needs were tended to.  Of course, the immaturity here and there and what I considered obnoxiousness at times were smoothed over with the constant doting…for me and the family.  I always worried, though, about the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Sadly, I was correct.

I gave him me.  An already wounded me.  And the biggest part of me.  My family.

My family was treated well by him.  No denying that.   I gave him this family that has been through a ton.  Kids that have lost their father figure.  A little boy that lost his one and only father.  That looked to this guy as his potential Step-Dad.  The only living Dad he would have.  I gave him that.

I am so unbelievably angry that he was so careless with this gift.  That because he had a crappy upbringing, he used that to excuse his violent outbursts.  He used that to excuse laying his hands on me.  Slamming me into the dashboard of his truck. He used that to excuse biting…yes, biting me…like an animal in a fit of rage.  I am still marked from that incident…from over a year and a half ago.

Shhhhh…

It’s not fair to speak of these things.  It’s not fair to him.  He’s not a monster.

Guess what?  I still think differently.

If those things were okay to do to me at the time, I feel they are okay to speak of today.

Why the hell do people think it’s better for me to keep it quiet to protect him?  Protect his feelings.  His honor.  Where the hell were you at two a.m. when he was in a rage and I was doing everything I could to de-escalate a situation that I had no idea how the outcome would be…fearing the worse.   The last one ultimately damaging a lot of people.

Just SHHHHHH!

Right?  I should just be silent and deal with it quietly?  We don’t want to embarrass anyone?

I am not trying to piss anyone off, but I am the one that is pissed off now.  Pissed off and hurt.  Pissed off and trying to heal…

I speak in hopes to heal some of this resentment.  I refuse to purse my lips to protect those that were so careless with me and mine.  I speak to let some of you that are stuck in a shitty situation, whether like the one I speak of or something different…that although there’s this process to go through…and sometimes you get stuck in for a bit…there’s another side to that life.  A decent one. A happy one.

I am holding tight to the hope that this is another step in my healing and I release some of this hostility by opening up more.  I honestly hope that the person that caused me this anger is finding their own way of healing to help them get healthy so they don’t do this to another family, and themselves, again.  I hope his family finds their way to forgiving him for doing and me for sharing.  I hope that if you are reading and you relate and you hurt…you find your path to safety and mending.

Bring on the next stage…

 

 

 

 

 

Grief

Miek Bray

Grief. Something I thought I understood.  I thought wrong.   Until about a year ago.

I write about it now, because it’s front and center at this moment.  For whatever reason I fell deep into it last night…did the whole photo book scanning with a box of Kleenex.  I never know when those random times are coming or why, but I embrace them when they do and move on.

It’s true what they say, there are definitely phases of grief.  And it’s not just moving forward from one phase to the next…it’s going from one to another, and then you get to go back and visit them…fun, huh? Yea, I don’t think so either.  It’s also true what I’ve been told, that after that magical year it gets easier.  It truly does.  However, at any given moment, without any warning, you can be zapped right back to grief, despair and pain.  Raw pain.  Brokenness. Thankfully, those times are getting further apart and they don’t last as long.  Sometimes it’s a few days of being blue…but usually it’s just for the length of the song that brings you there, or for as long as you look at that picture, or…well sometimes is just because and just for a moment.  But for anyone just newly suffering a great loss…trust me, it does get better.

When I first lost Mike, I was already in counseling to…well, cope with the loss of Mike.  We were separated and I was having a terrible time with it, so I sought therapy to help me cope and be strong with my decision.  Little did I know how much harder it was to become.  I kept asking when the pain would lessen and when I would feel normal again.  That’s when I was told there was no magic amount of time, but after about a year, most people seem to agree that’s when acceptance usually settles in. A year??!!! When you tell that to a person days, weeks and even months into it, it sounds like a life sentence.  A year??!!  I can remember panicking.  I couldn’t wait that long to be ME again.  The unbroken me. Thankfully, I have enough kids and chaos in my life that kept a healthy amount of distraction for me to eventually make that year go by…and I even was able to enjoy a good portion of it.

Now what I also didn’t realize was after that year and things are getting easier…it’s not that I was getting back to being myself. That old ME is gone and will never be again.  And that’s okay.  There’s a part of me that’s broken now. Like when someone loses a leg…it doesn’t grow back and they miraculously are healed. Most times they eventually do learn to walk again, but not quite the same.  They walk with a limp.  Sometimes I don’t even notice the “limp” in my heart…and other times it’s so heavy it feels like my heart weighs 200 lbs in my chest.

My heart has a limp.  But it still works. That’s good enough for me.