“You know, a heart can be broken, but it keeps on beating just the same” Fannie Flag – author of Fried Green Tomatoes
It has been quite some time since I’ve posted anything. My reasons sound more like excuses now that I think about it. Sure, I could say that work and school have rendered me unable to do much else. I have been working many hours for the past year and a half and also working towards my master’s degree. The thought of writing one more word started to feel like just more work. Yet there is something more to all of this. In reality I have been stuck in some kind of emotional limbo, not wanting to think about the struggles I’ve been having since splitting with my husband of 30 years. This is not what I planned for when I took my vows. I wanted the dream, and I hate how it has impacted my entire family as well. Although I know it was the right decision, in the end I feel like nobody really wins. As if winning or losing is what it was all about. It is simply a loss that has left a hole in my heart the size of the grand canyon.
I have dealt with my share of losses over the years. The loss of a mother who in some ways I never really had due to her illness. The loss of my dear brother, the only living soul who shared my childhood memories of what it was like to grow up with a mom who was mentally ill. We were so close in age and he was there during every painful experience I had with my mom growing up. He was my protector of sorts. Bringing me food when she banished me to my room, sticking up for me when she harmed me physically, and always there to console me when she wouldn’t let up on me during her delusional moments. What I cherish the most were the times after we reached adulthood and could sit and process what it was liking growing up with a mom with mental illness. Only we really knew how far we’d come and could offer each other words of encouragement that went beyond the usual sentiments.
The other day I was talking to my dad and he became saddened and dismayed when I mentioned some experiences of abuse at my mother’s hands. I was shocked that he didn’t remember and wished desperately for Scott to be here to corroborate with me. I felt bad because my father said I must have thought he was a terrible father for not being there to protect me. I reassured him that most of the time he wasn’t around when it happened because he worked so many hours to take care of his four children. Nonetheless, it left me missing Scott terribly, and a cascade of other emotions about this most recent painful loss.
I have been off work for the past week, taking the advice that I often dispense to my daughter when I see her slipping into a depression: “take care of yourself”. Only this time it is me that has slipped into a depression. Thinking I could juggle everything without slowing down to take care of myself has been a foolish choice for me, and I have found myself trying to climb back out of the hole I have fallen into. Thank goodness I scheduled this vacation. At the time I had no idea how much I would need it. I have slept many hours, read, cried, and tried to regain my balance. It is slowly returning and I have had to make some tough choices to let go of some things until I am able to experience true healing. I don’t know how long it will take but now I am willing to move beyond the denial stage of grief into the next phase. Everything else must wait.
I have been reading a book this week by one of my favorite authors, Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, called Traveling with Pomegranates, and I came upon this paragraph that describes how I am when it comes to life.
“At times like this, I feel the small curse of my introspective nature and its obstinate demands, how it wants to be allowed, wants my unhurried and undivided attention, how the moments of life insist on being metabolized and given expression. As usual, having failed to stop and tend to this unmitigated part of myself, it has stopped me.”
That paragraph sums up where I am right now — needing to stop and metabolize before I am able to put one foot in front of another again and move forward.