Divorce, Grief

When A Blast From The Past Feels Like a Punch In The Gut

Something happened last night that I need to share. I need to share because one of the ways I feel better is to write, and quite frankly I need to feel better.

I have an upcoming trip to the Philippines and I’m looking into buying a new camera to take a long. For the past 4 years or so I have only used my iPhone for pictures but I figure if I’m going on a 2 week vacation to somewhere half way across the world I should probably take better quality pics.

I remembered that during my move a little over 2 years ago I had packed away an old camera and video recorder I used to use when Anna was little. I found them tucked away in a box in the back of my down stairs closet. I grabbed them from the box and charged them both.

At the end of the evening as Anna is brushing her teeth I start watching video. It’s a really cute video of her when she was 4 opening her gifts from Santa. I told her that tonight instead of books, we’ll watch a few of these home videos before bed. She is very excited to do so.

We are snuggled in her bed viewing a video of my ex, Anna and her brother on a camping trip in May of 2013. I remember that weekend well. I didn’t want to go for the entire weekend. This was when my ex and I were really having issues and, so as a compromise I met up with them for the day. The video is fun to watch. Both kids are so little. Anna is 3 and my step son is 11, still a young boy.

After about 5 minutes of watching them by a camp fire, Anna eating and my step son widdling a stick the scene moves to the kids playing at the local park located at the camp site. I recognize another little girl immediately. It’s Fugley’s daughter. My heart starts beating out of my chest and my hands start shaking. I haven’t felt this much rage in over a year. I could have won an Oscar for how calm I seemed to Anna. She quietly states that she knows who that girl is and tells me her name. “That’s right.” I say, as calm as can be. I then tell Anna that this will be the last video we’re going to watch and that she needs to go to sleep.

I shut her door and I am seething mad. That mother fucker was so arrogant that the not only invited his Ashley Madison mistress to join MY family on a camping trip, but filmed her daughter! Just a reminder he and I were still married at the time and he had just started this affair.

I call him and cool as a cucumber I ask if he wants the video to watch with Fugly this weekend to commemorate their love. He declines and tells me he is getting ready to go to bed. That’s it. No apology, no embarrassment, nothing.

But then, what should I expect? I haven’t gotten a sorry in the 2 plus years since the cat’s been out of the bag. Shame on me!

Today, I woke up and still feel a little stung from what happened last night, but I’m about 90% over it. Thank God for two of my best friends that spent time with me on the phone last night.

I am pissed more than anything. What a huge slap in the face and reminder of what a POS I was married to. I didn’t expect that as Anna and I were preparing to reminisce and view old memories.

I need to finish up now. I have to hop in the shower to get ready to chaperone my daughter’s field trip. Today I will only focus on the good. The sun is out and I get to spend all day with my favorite person in the world.

 

 

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Divorce, Grief, Life

What Being In Therapy Has Taught Me About Life

Today I made the difficult but right decision to let my therapist know that I would not be coming back after today.  The last 6 months with her have been so helpful and empowering. She gave me tools that I will use forever to succeed in my journey of healing and self-discovery.

This decision also makes me a little sad. I really like my therapist. We just “clicked.” If I would have met her randomly at a party I would immediately like her. I could tell she really “got” me and what I was going through because low and behold she had gone through the same thing! I think it was fate that I found her when I did. Every single time I walked out of her office I felt lighter, refreshed and ready to take on what life was ready to throw my way.

I’ve been to therapy many times in my life, but never for very long. After a few sessions I felt I got what I needed or didn’t get anything at all so I would stop going. The last time I was in therapy was with my now ex-husband. He was in the midst of his affair, but forgot to mention said affair while we were in counseling. But, that’s water under the bridge and I have moved on. For the most part anyway.

Here are a few things the last six months of therapy have taught me.

  1. When on a journey of healing from a painful divorce and dealing with the residual anger that comes with that experience, be easy on yourself. You’re going to fuck up and go to crazy town once in a while. And that is ok! You just want your visits to crazy town to become further and further apart until eventually you never have to visit that place again.
  2. Self-healing is a lot like training for a marathon. You can’t go from chip loving, pizza loving couch potato to running a marathon in one day, just as you can’t go from damaged and angry to peaceful and loving in one day. It takes time, work and reconditioning to get where you need to be. Whether it is physically or emotionally. When I get mad at myself because I fucked up and behaved in a way I shouldn’t have I remind myself of this. You can’t go to the gym one time and walk out with six pack abs. Boy would that be nice though.
  3. Life is hard. Really hard. For all of us. We are all fighting or have fought battles in our life that we wish we wouldn’t have. Therapy is something that I think is still taboo and people are afraid to talk about.  Therapy has been a life saver for me. Truly. It has been worth every single penny. I think everyone should have a therapist just as everyone should have a primary care physician or a dentist. Mental health care is just as important.

The last few weeks have been the best I’ve had as far as talking myself off the ledge when I start to think about my ex and what he did. A year and a half ago I would text and/or call him and berate him, scream and cuss at him all day long. Now I remind myself of all the reasons I’m so happy we are no longer together.  This replaces my need to go harry carry on him. A few of those reasons are:

  • I live in a house where I no longer have to walk on egg shells.
  • My stomach doesn’t turn when I hear the garage door opening knowing that he is home.
  • I don’t worry about getting micro managed in the kitchen and being told what pot to use to boil water, or god forbid how to properly load a dishwasher. I now get giddy when I turn on a half full dishwasher. Why? Because I can, damn it!
  • I spontaneously decide what to have for dinner each night instead of having meals pre-planned. God forbid we go out to eat when it’s taco night! No more of that. If I thaw out chicken in the morning but get a hankering for Thai food. Guess what? Thai food it is!
  • I no longer have to deal with a fuddy duddy who never wanted to go anywhere unless it was within a 5 mile radius of the house. I can do what I want, when I want and don’t have to deal with a wet blanket while doing so.
  • My daughter now has a happy Mom who is redefining herself every day. And that is a beautiful thing.

 

My journey is not over, not by a long shot. I will keep working on my healing and self-discovery until the day I die. I now have the tools in place and the mind set I need to keep trudging on no matter what life throws my way. I have my therapist to thank for that.

 

 

Divorce, Grief, Life

When Can I Have That Breakdown I So Desperately Deserve?

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“When Life serves you lemons, make lemonade.”

“The glass is always half full.”

These fluffy, positive life sentiments are my life mottos. Or perhaps I should say was my life mottos.

I’m getting a little jaded as I get older. Life just sucks sometimes and life can be really unfair.

In the span of a year and a half I found out that the loving, sweet, poem writing, compliment giving husband I married was actually a sociopathic, cheating liar.

In May of this year my upbeat, always optimistic, happy, always smiling dad got diagnosed with Lymphoma and died two months later.

An ex-boyfriend I loved so madly and deeply at one point in my life many moons ago suddenly reappeared and just as quickly left my life once again.

Sometimes an ubur positive, living a life of gratitude woman can only take so much before she’s ready to have a breakdown. That someone is me.

I have always loved life and always looked on the bright side of every situation, no matter what was thrown my way.  Before my divorce and death of my father, I had been through a lot of setbacks and heart ache. My mom died when I was 12, I’ve had my heart broken by ex-boyfriends. Like really heart broken. Like five years to get over heart broken. I’ve been dirt poor more years than I haven’t been dirt poor. I’ve always had self-esteem issues and feelings of inadequacy.

But still, I managed to pick myself up and live my life. Live a life full of joy. People always compliment my smile and say that I smile a lot. Well, truth be told that smile as of late is fake.

Melissa Etheridge has a song called Breakdown, which is my theme song that is constantly playing in my always “on” brain.

When in life do we just have to surrender and say “enough is enough?”

I think as women we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders because we have so many people depending on us. This could be our kids, our spouse, our boss, or friends. I was talking to my therapist and I told her that I feel like I’ve been holding up this brick wall for so long, that right now my arms are shaking so bad that I’m about ready to let that wall fall down and crumble right before me.

How do I exercise that muscle so I can continue to hold that wall? Or do I need the wall to crash, so I don’t need a wall to hold onto at all?

I do know this. I have a little person depending on me. She needs me as much as I need her. I may have given birth to my daughter but she has actually saved my life. If it weren’t for her I probably would have drank myself to death after I found out about my husband’s affair. I would have not been able to find the strength to move on and find help to rebuild my life. It was because of her that I did find help and work on rebuilding our new life together. A life that up until a couple months ago was a good life. A life of love, peace and laughter. The death of a love one will put a damper on the peace and laughter, at least for a while.

As they say, “The show must go on.” But there are times that I just want to close the curtain and call it a day.

I don’t know if that will happen. I’m too busy living my life to have the nervous breakdown I so desperately want and deserve to have.

Ladies, I want you to know that it’s ok to be weak once in a while. It’s ok to cry and not want to get out of bed in the morning. There are a lot of us out there, but some too proud to admit.

I am one of those proud that is finally ready to admit it.

Grief

I Need to Apologize

I need to apologize for something, and I’ll tell you why.  My mother died when I was 12 years old, which was 30 years ago. Since my mom did die so early this means she missed out on a lot of my life. She missed going to the mall to buy me my first bra, she missed being there to experience my first period, she missed attending my high school graduation, she missed my college graduation, she missed my wedding, she missed the birth of her only grandchild, she missed staying with me after I brought my daughter home from the hospital, which is when I really needed her the most. She also missed being there for me during my divorce, which would be the second time I needed her the most.  Those events are the big events.  She missed out on so much more. She missed out on dealing with a moody, angry teenager who would turn into a kind adult that would cherish a friendship with her mother. She missed out on being there when I got my heart crushed by a boyfriend. She missed out on the mundane of my life, the new careers, and funny stories. All of it. My mom has missed every single thing that has happened in my life for the past 30 years!

And this is why, as I got older , when I would hear of someone losing a parent when they were an adult I would get sad but I was also kind of resentful and had the mindset that they should just get over it. At least they had their parent for the graduations, the weddings, the grandchildren. They had their parent for all of it!

Well, now the tables have turned and I lost my father at 43 and I need to apologize. The loss of my father has been devastating, soul crushing and at times unbearable. And you know why? Because he was there to buy my first bra, he was there to buy me pads when I started my period. He was there at my high school graduation, he was there when I graduated with my Bachler’s Degree and many years later he was there when I graduated with my Master’s Degree. He was there for me every single time I needed him. Every single time. He was at my wedding, he was there when my daughter was born, and he was the one that stayed with me the weekend after I brought her home from the hospital. He came to every one of her birthday parties. He was there for me when I was getting a divorce. And now he will never be there again. And this is what’s unbearable.

I get it; I get it why it’s so sad and horrible to lose your parent as an adult. It’s because they were there to experience it all. Your parent, the person who has known you the longest was there for every milestone you ever had.  Sometimes in life one fully doesn’t grasp something until one experiences it.  That is true for me in many instances, but especially true when it comes to the loss of a parent. It’s never easy, I always knew that. But, for some strange reason I didn’t think it would be as hard to lose a parent as an adult. I thought losing a parent as a child would be the most soul crushing loss one can experience. I am here to tell you that it’s not. It’s not easy, not by any means. But it’s as if you’re comparing apples and oranges. One loss isn’t harder than the other. When my Dad died suddenly after a short illness, instead of being able to grieve I had to work on his obituary and schedule a Celebration of Life. I had to go through pictures and create a slide show, I had to order food for his Celebration of Life.  I had to figure out what  decorations to put on the tables, what belongings to place on the viewing tables. This is not something I wanted to do while I was in shock and such sorrow after losing my dad. What I wanted to do was crawl into bed and not get out for days.  I wanted to curse and scream and ask why my dad, who was the most amazing, positive person you could ever meet, had to die 2 days after his 69th birthday.

When my mom died when I was a child, I didn’t have to worry about the obituary, the service or the food that would be served there. I had to worry about how I would manage without such a prominent figure and role model, while I entered what could be some of the most difficult years of my life, even with both of your parents alive and well.

There is no comparison, absolutely none.

They both hurt like a mother fucker.

Divorce, Grief, Holidays

December, why oh why do you hate me so much?

Oh December, why do you hate me so much? Thirty years ago you decided that December 20th would be a great day for my 39 year old mother to die, leaving a 12 year old pre-pubescent seventh grader with buck teeth and a mullet left to figure out life on her own.  Fast forward 29 years and you decide that December 27th would be a fantastic time for my husband’s mistress to call me to let me know about their year and a half long affair. Why, why must you hurt me so?

I have hated the holidays ever since that fateful December day in 1985, when my family decided that even though my 39 year old mother’s funeral was on December 23rd we should move on like business as usual and celebrate Christmas Eve as we had in years pass by eating an amazing meal my Aunt would cook and all the adults would drink too much while all of us kids waiting eagerly for the large sum of money waiting for us in a card from our generous Aunt. I remember that particular Christmas Eve as if I was watching it from a dream. I was 12 years old, and my life as I had known had been turned upside down.  Everyone was acting as if nothing had happened even though just the day before they had attended my mom, their Aunt’s, their daughter’s, their wife’s funeral. But, that’s pretty typical of my family and so many others. If you don’t talk about your hurt/anger/frustration it’ll magically go away. Isn’t that how it works? Not so much.

It’s three days before Christmas and I’m STILL waiting to get into the Christmas spirit. But, having a six year old little girl who loves this time of year means that I need to suck it up and put on my happy face. I am so grateful that in the first holiday season since my divorce I get to spend it with my daughter. I am not sure how I would have survived this holiday alone. But, I don’t know how I’m going to survive next year, or the next. It seems that no matter how great my life is, as soon as December hits all I want to do is lay in bed, pull the covers over my head and not get out until January 1st. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.  I have self-diagnosed myself as having PTSD. I believe that as soon as December hits I morph into a confused, naïve, shy twelve year old girl who’s life is about to change the course forever.

I feel guilty when so many people are gushing and shouting from the rooftop how magical this holiday season is. I feel like a scrooge and I want to tell these people to fuck off. I can’t even muster up the energy to listen to Christmas songs in my car. I bit the bullet one day while my daughter and I were in the car and I asked her if she wanted to listen to any Christmas songs and by the grace of God she didn’t want to.

Whew, got out of that one.

What’s strange is that as miserable as I have felt all month, on the actual anniversary of my mother’s passing, I didn’t feel anything. Nothing! And this was the 30th year she has not been in my life. Isn’t that weird?

I  guess the beauty of life is that in order to truly enjoy the good moments, we need the bad in order to feel true happiness and be grateful for those amazing moments.  As I have come to realize life is a roller coaster. And when push comes to shove, I’ll take the bad because I know how good the good can be.

Divorce, Grief, Life

My Husband’s Affair Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me

Yes, I know that sounds strange, but here’s the deal…I was very unhappy in my marriage. Miserable is another word that could be used to describe how I felt.  I was so unhappy that my unhappiness consumed me 24/7. I would spend all my time trying to convince myself that no, I hadn’t fallen out of love with my husband; it was just a rough patch that all marriages go through.

I would lie in bed every night telling myself that in 13 years when my daughter would turn 18 that I could finally leave and be happy. My husband and I had talked about getting a divorce a couple of times and inevitably I would chicken out and tell my husband that I didn’t want to go through with it.

The reason was that I had so much guilt about ripping our family apart and having to tell my daughter that the reason she has two homes is because Mommy was bored. I had also helped raise my stepson from the age of 4-12, and he was at the age that our divorce would really impact him and not in a good way. He and I had a great relationship and both loved each other.

My husband and I tried marriage counseling, but that didn’t help either. We didn’t have a friendship, and to be honest, my husband bored me to tears. He had no friends and only had one interest, which were sports. We spent most of our free time on the couch vegging in front of the TV. Not a healthy or productive marriage to say the least.

It was December 27th, 2014 when I got the call from my husband’s mistress whom he met on ashleymadison.com to let me know about their year and a half long affair. She proceeded to tell me that they would fuck in my bed while I was at work; she spent the weekend at my house when I was out of town attending my aunt’s funeral. She spent a week at my house when my daughter and I were visiting my sister in California.

The kicker was that she had met my daughter!!!  Ya, that’s right! My husband was dumb enough to have his mistress meet up at a park with my daughter and her daughter for a playdate.

Once I heard all of this, as heartbroken and pissed off as I was I realized that this was my “get out of my marriage guilt free” card. I made my husband stay in a hotel the night I found out about the affair and I moved out of our family home a month after.

Our divorce was final 3 ½ months later. It has now been 10 months since the bomb hit. I am happier than I have been in many years. I don’t have someone micromanaging my every move, telling me what pot to use to boil water, how to load a dishwasher and what we were having for dinner every night.

I still have days of sadness and anger, but those are dwindling as time goes on. I have forgiven him, not for him but for myself. Every day I try to find ways to better myself spiritually, emotionally and physically. My goal in life is to be the best mom, person, friend, sister, daughter that I can be.

My ex?

He’s still with his ashleymadison lover living in their complete dysfunction. I’ve yet to get an apology from him, but that’s ok. In hindsight he did me a favor, I am now living the life I so badly wanted 13 years before I ever thought I could.