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…

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning to Breathe Again…

Breathing. taking air in and expelling it.  An involuntary action that sustains life.

Sometimes this process, in the figurative sense, gets suppressed. And it kills you on the inside.  For me, this time, it wasn’t until I felt I was breathing again, that I noticed I had been being suffocated for some time.

From an outsider’s point of view, my just under two year relationship seemed fairytale-like.  And it was in some form.  I was swept off my feet.  I was grieving and had no intention of sugar-coating that when it started.  I fully intended to keep my grieving process going…both with Matt passing 4 months before…and Mike 3 years prior.  He seemed to respect that and allowed me to weep, reminisce and pay tribute to them when I needed.  He anticipated every need I had…even before I recognized my own needs.

I was greeted, after work surprisingly in my car, with photos of my grandbaby that I had taken that he had printed and framed…because I mentioned when I took it that it was worthy of framing.  My hair dryer broke just before work one day and I found a brand new one in my vehicle after my shift.  It seemed every time I turned around, a want or need was fulfilled.  I can honestly say that it stayed that way until almost nearly the end…at some point he checked out the last few months and I felt myself starting to have needs that were unfulfilled and slowly started to stand on my own two feet.  I hadn’t had to do that in a while.

It happened so gradually and subtly that I did not notice…I no longer had to worry about things.  Rides for kids…trips to the grocery store……laundry…keeping the pool clean. You name it.  If I mentioned it, he made it his job to do it.  I found I had to be careful of thinking out loud of a want because it became a mission for him to fulfill it.

Sounds like a dream come true, right?  I thought so, too.

You feel what you focus on.

This came at a price, though.  There was an anger there.  Not all the time.  And there was no telling when it would surface.  The in-between times were fun, adventurous, romantic, sexy. Nothing is perfect, right?  No one is perfect.  He loses his temper sometimes.  He gets jealous.  He looks through my phone.  He spies on my facebook messenger…at communications long before him.  He hurt me.  Physically.  But I was assertive about these things…I addressed what I felt was wrong and forgave. I demanded resolutions.  Counseling, etc. I focused on the positive and let the shortcomings go.  I was strong, spoke my mind and carried on.  He was to fix what was broken.  And all along there was a plan of action to take care of that.

What I didn’t realize, until removing myself from the situation (at the demand of the local police…which is still in effect) was that I was being controlled by a person that never told me to “Do this” or “You cannot do that”.  I was controlled due to my empathy.  I could see reactions to certain situations.  Going out with friends, talking or texting on the phone…sometimes weren’t met with favorable behaviors.  So, I learned to act in ways that had more favorable outcomes.  Like staying home.  Which was not a punishment for me…I LOVE being home with my family, playing games and such.  It wasn’t a sacrifice to do this.  It’s not until now I realize how isolated I became.  I wasn’t even going to the grocery store anymore…I would start my list and he would insist on getting everything for me.  I could do something for me…nap if I wanted.

The first bit of anger scared me.  It was out of jealousy.  Of a dead person.  It confused me because the reason I opened him into my life was due to his understanding of this part of me.  Slowly, I was stifled of my openness with my grieving.  Pictures even eventually became a problem and I dealt with it the best way I could.  I have picked up where I was in that grieving process and am continuing my journey.

The next bit of anger scared me more…and left me bruised.  This was not my first rodeo with this type of behavior.  I explained I knew how these types of situations escalate.  It’s like building blocks.  Stacking one situation on top of another and it always gets a little more extreme each time.  This relationship was no exception.

I did not just lay down and take it. Well, in the heat of the moment…I did whatever I could to de-escalate the situation. But when heads were clear, I made it known it was unacceptable…demanding he get help…and now I see I tried to see what behaviors I contributed to and tried to not duplicate it.  Even innocent and unassuming actions.  I became hyper-aware of every step I took to not aggravate any situation.  Not fun.  Not easy.  I wasn’t breathing.

I became stifled.  I was walking on eggshells.  I was me and enjoying what I chose to focus on…my beautiful family and the positive sides of a dysfunctional romance.  But, I was left broken on many occasions…physically a few times.  I was left shattered, eventually.  And so remorseful that I subjected my children to another loss.

It’s hindsight that has me shaking my head that even though I was trying to be strong and fix problems when I saw them arise, that I still let the abuse and control continue.

I am beginning to breathe again.  I am no longer having to pull into the drive way not sure what mood I am about to encounter.  I am taking care of me and the children and not worrying about being scrutinized.  I am emerging from my home and meeting with friends and am communicating, innocently, with people I had cut-off, so to make life easier.  I am self reflecting as to how I let myself get to where I was…and how to never return.

I am breathing.  I am healing.  And every day it’s feeling better and better.

 

 

 

My Purpose

I have grown into believing that in every situation there is a lesson…and all that happens to us has a purpose.  Actually, if I think back…maybe I am just wired like that. I do distinctively recall a lot of eye rolling from my best friend through high school on when I would sputter “everything happens for a reason” whenever something adverse happened to her.  It drove her crazy!  Maybe it’s that those of us believing in this theory are just eternal optimists that are spinning each situation into having a silver lining to make ourselves feel better…but either way, it works for me that bad things don’t just happen for no reason at all.  I get to learn and evolve as I go.

Well, when someone you love dies it makes you question this theory.  Especially when it is someone who hasn’t lived a full life yet.  Someone who has children…and small ones at that.  Someone who was loved by all and fought as hard as he could and that made no difference.  He went through a hell of a year fighting and being sick for no difference in outcome than if he didn’t fight at all and just gave up.  He is gone.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  He had plans, WE had plans.

This isn’t an “Everything happens for a reason” situation here.  If that was said to me a month ago…you’d get far more than an eye roll!!  However, I am beginning to look at things a bit differently as time marches on and I get further into the healing process.

I am beginning to believe that we all weren’t meant to be on this earth for 90 or 100 years.  I believe we all have a purpose…some have many purposes. Babies right through to those living 100+ years. When we are taken…our purpose(s) were served.  I’m sure Matt, over his 38 years and especially in his last year, inspired, motivated, healed, loved and impacted many.  I can’t say that there was a reason for him dying, but I can certainly say there was a reason for him living.

So many said to me over the year I was with Matt that I was an angel sent to him and then even more so just after he passed.  It made me uncomfortable because I wasn’t with him to be a saint, out of pity or for whatever reason some people thought (it was nastily said to me by a certain someone after he passed that I liked the “show” of being with Matt!!  I say prayers for that person!!).  I actually fell in love with him and he helped me more than I could have ever imagined in my own grieving process at the time.  Odd that I am left in albeit another time of grief by the one who helped me heal!

I, now that I am moving through my stages of grief and through starting a new relationship, am actually embracing being told that I was his angel.  That was MY purpose for him.  It wasn’t a cruel twist of the universe…as I first felt when he died…to give me love, healing and hope and then snatch it away like a greedy crook.  I look back and know how many times alone we spent cracking each other up.  Rides to the hospital flew by and I swear people thought we were nuts at the laughing and goofing off in the waiting rooms when everyone there was in the midst of a dire situation.  I brought him smiles, laughter and love.  And he brought me the same.  He was my angel, too.  My tears of grief that would arrive in those alone times (especially in the car!) lessened and finally disappeared because of him. The pain in my chest that I held for so long that I didn’t even realize was there…was replaced by feelings of love from and for him.  The grief never goes away, but Matt helped me live happily with it there.  A purpose he had was to help heal me and show me I was able to love again.

It’s nearing five months since he’s been gone.  I am lucky enough, and unlucky enough, to have met someone new to care for so soon.  Grief and a new partner has it’s own set of challenges for both parties.  But I see when starting a relationship without a sickness…which is all I have really known in the past decade…I was missing out on so much…even though I didn’t realize it then.   I didn’t feel like it was lacking anything…it was perfect for what it was at the time.  We were fulfilling a purpose for each other.  Just as this new man in my life is in a role of helping me heal, he is serving a purpose.  I am not sure if this is his only purpose with me and we will part ways tomorrow or next month or next year…or never…or how I am helping him, but he is making me smile and drying my tears (like literally drying them…hence the “unlucky enough” said previously).

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I am now taking comfort in all the roles people past and present have played in my life.  I am embracing all the lessons, love and healing and trying to let that take precedence over what’s been lost and gone wrong.  Eye roll all you want.

And Grief trickles in…

Grief trickles in. Yes, it does.

Unexpectedly, I have a night alone with Brayden. Jamie (my oldest) invited DJ (my next oldest) to his home for the night…and Mackenzie (my only daughter)was invited over a friend’s house for the evening. There go my sitters for my tentative plans…and here goes a night home, just me and my littlest.

Cool. We will do dinner and a movie. Done. Bedtime lasted about two hours longer than the norm…but he’s sound asleep…finally.

My goal, after Bray’s bedtime, was to put in a movie and pour a glass of wine. The chick flick I planned on was more of a “get your tissues ready and have a good cry” kinda flick.

Grief trickled in. I have been so worried and consumed with what is going on with Matt and his battle with cancer, I’ve allowed no time for worrying about anything else. It felt good to let it go. I actually forgot the grief was there. It’s there, it always is, bubbling at the surface and it unexpectedly started boiling over without warning.

When you lose someone you truly love, the grief is always there…I am learning it just comes out differently and at different times. I am happy I am with someone who is willing to stand by me with that bit of instability as a part of who I now am. Who shows no fear or jealousy of that past love.

Thanks, Matt, for getting me through when it “trickles” in. Now, off to find a happier chick flick…

It’s that time again…

It’s September 9th, 2014.  Two years ago on September 9th it was the last time I had a conversation with Mike. It was a Sunday morning and I had just pulled into the driveway after going to church.  The kids all got out of the car, except Brayden…he stayed in his car seat until I let him escape after my phone call.  The conversation went pretty much the same as they all did at that point.

Him: “Wendy, I want to come home”, “Why are you doing this to us”, “The kids want me there”, “I love you”.

Me: “No”, “YOU did this”, “Course they want you here, they love you”, “I love you, too”….”Get sober and you can come home…like a year sober”.

Sometimes it ended there.  That Sunday it got a little heated, not yelling and screaming heated, but I was angry.  He wasn’t visiting.  He wasn’t paying any support.

My last words?  “If I wasn’t around, Brayden would just die in his crib, you are doing nothing to care for or support your son”. (Yes, pretty extreme, I know.)

His response? “I love you, Wendy”.

He hung up.

That was it.

I went about my day.  Went to the grocery store just before dinner time.  Upon leaving the grocery store…at the lights in front of what is now Domino’s…my phone rang.  It was Alyssa.  I answered and had to tell her to slow down because I couldn’t understand her.  “Daddy’s at the hospital, he wasn’t breathing when they got there” she was finally able to get out enough for me to comprehend.  She was referring to the ambulance and paramedics. That’s all I really recall of the conversation.  I am sure I comforted her and said I’d be right there.

That sentence “Daddy’s at the hospital, he wasn’t breathing when they got there” was a chant that I heard over and over and over.  All the way home.  While I was home getting care for the kids.  All the way to the hospital.

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The rest of September 9th, 2012 was spent at the ICU…as well as the 10th…and we said goodbye on the 11th.

This is the second time I am recognizing this anniversary of the 9th, our last conversation.  A hard pill to swallow when they are words like that.

It’s not easy, but it’s definitely easier.  I am so thankful that I am in a much better place in my healing.  I thank the person responsible for that on a regular basis.

We miss him and it hurts to know he can’t experience everything I get to about the kids growing and see all that they are doing.  It’s hard know they won’t experience his goofiness or sense of humor anymore.  We will just keep doing what we are doing and that’s continue to re-tell his funny stories and antics, keeping his spirit alive. That always brings smiles and laughter.  Peace, Mike.

 

“No one who coo…

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
― Laurie Colwin

Wow, is that true or what??!!  Funny, in my “about me” section, I never once mentioned that I love to cook and that it is a passion of mine.  I think it’s just such a part of me that it’s the same as me not saying that I breathe air or that I have arms.  But, anyone who knows me…or is a facebook friend of mine…knows I LOVE food and I LOVE to cook.  (Yes, and I love to take pictures of it almost as much as I love to eat it!  Don’t hate.)

There are many different reasons for my love of cooking and many different ways I like to cook.  Some days it’s experimenting skinnying up a traditional dish and others it’s cooking for comfort with savory, rich sauces.  No matter what, though, the way I feel when slipping off my shoes, throwing my hair up, having a great soundtrack in the background and a glass of wine going while mixing it up in the kitchen is completely at peace…no matter what life is throwing at me.

…Someone toss me an apron, would ya?