I keep going over all that I could have and should have done since my husband's death. Of course, in retrospect this is always easy to do. Basically, I am struggling with the choices I made to care for my parents at the eventual expense of my myself. I was so mired in care-taking duties to my family that I never stood back and cared for my own personal emotional, financial or social health. I didn't have any choice to care for my kids but I didn't exert any limits around the remaining time and energy I had. And so today I am without a second husband (who felt I chose my kids over him) and in a financial tailspin because I never took the time out to handle my own affairs. I am also painfully estranged from my only sister for reasons that I am unsure of because she won't talk to me. I think it has something to do with our family-of-origin issues that were triggered with the severe illnesses of our parents and then death of our Mom. But I am guessing.
It is hard to recognize or acknowledge all this. I did have a hand in what has resulted. I have to say that the Universe sure threw me some tremendous curve balls to navigate through. And in all honesty the forest was so thick I could not see through the trees during the years following my husband's death. But now that the dust has settled and my divorce is final and I have gained a little perspective,I do see that there were things I could have done differently.
I never had a chance to grieve as a new widow and I never made the time to heal myself. Maybe the time is now, five years later. So sadly, it took me losing everything to figure this out. I'm not sure what the eventual lesson or life plan is for all of this. I only know that there wasn't anything left to nurture and care for me.
I am currently struggling with trying to forgive myself and at the same time become more attentive to my needs so I can heal and move on. Some part of me knows that it does no good to keep kicking myself down for what I could have done. Those days are long over. And would I even have done anything differently? Could I have? My Mom was dying, my father was in another hospital also sick - not real conducive for packing up the house, dragging two resistant teens and moving into a new community with a less than supportive husband. Bad, terrible, unfathomable timing to be sure! Almost as if everything was set in motion to prevent me for not moving.
I set out to write tonight and had no idea what would come out. As I finish this post (because I have a scowling 15-year-old wanting to get back on the computer standing over my shoulder), I guess the clarification I've gained from this rambling is this - life is a combination of fate, timing, and circumstances, as well as choices. And sometimes that combination proves too daunting, too complicated to navigate out of without some casualties. And I suppose that as in all things too, there is a balance between forgiving oneself for what was impossible to do, while learning the lesson of seeing the choices that could have been made but were not.
Today I am grateful:
1. For the beautiful moon I saw tonight in the sky, all misty among the clouds.
2. For being able to have my rear view blinker light fixed for only $8.10.
3. For having my girlfriend inform me that my rear view blinker light was out because I didn't know that.
4. For the peace, perspective and clarity I am gaining (although it is not without pain).
5. For having enough possessions to give away to others who can put them to good use.