I am working on packing up the house and keep reflecting on how the beliefs I once held so strongly were just illusions.
- I believed that when you marry and take the wedding vows, that it does mean forever. I stood by my husband's side during his three-year battle with cancer. Never would I have even considered for a moment leaving him because of "hard times." Yet that is exactly what my second husband did. And he made the decision to divorce me without even discussing it or saying goodbye to either me or the boys. So much for that speech he gave during our wedding about being a real "Father" to "Our" sons, as he referred to them.
- I believed that family stands by you (emotionally) through thick and thin. That if you are ever in need of a warm embrace, place to stay, forgiveness, support or hot meal that your family will not turn its back and pretend/ignore that your life is not falling apart.
- I believed that if you are a good, kind, caring, decent person then good things will come your way, not "excessive" hardship and challenge. All of us have to face difficulties, but it just seems that it gets worse and worse for me. My husband dying was enough. I don't want to bear any more grief and loss.
- I believed that a strong, college education could always be relied on to support oneself - there would always be decent jobs if you have a master's degree. But try looking for a job when you haven't done so for 10 years, you can't seem to get the hang of applying for jobs online, you have been a full-time "only" parent the past five years, you've lost touch with your professional contacts, you're not up to speed in your field professionally and THERE IS A RECESSION GOING ON so the only jobs you've been offered are for part-time hours without benefits.
- I believed that in middle-age, I would be financially stable and secure not on the brink of bankruptcy and contemplating taking a certificate program of some sort to obtain relevant job skills in today's economy/market.
- I believed that having grown up in a middle-class childhood home that I would never face foreclosure or having to live in an apartment at the age of 50.
- I believed that I would not have to start over from the bottom, 25 years after graduating from college, in worse shape financially, emotionally and physically.
20 years ago, I would never have believed that my first husband would die leaving me a middle-aged widow with two school-aged sons to raise on my own. Nor when I remarried three years ago, would I ever have believed the tragic and agonizing outcome of this marriage. This whole period of my life seems surreal, like a nightmare. I almost feel like I am being sucked down a whiling drain in a bathroom sink. I can almost feel the physical sensations of going down that drain opening. Or I can also picture it as being eaten alive by a prehistoric monster of some sort. Or being sucked into the undertow of the ocean. Or how about the analogy of waking up one day to a world that you're unfamiliar with. All of what you've believed and held to be true no longer exists. The foundation of your soul is shaken. You don't know what to expect anymore. The rules changed without your knowledge. Suddenly you've lost your footing, fallen and you honestly don't know how to get sense of security and safety back.
After this rather dramatic and unappealing ending here I have to go now into my list of what I'm grateful for. Today I hardly feel like compiling my list. And it seems so abrupt to go from negative to positive but I've been making an effort to keep this list up so won't stop now.
Today I am grateful:
1. For the drops of rain I saw shimmering on the bushes in front of my picture window this morning.
2. For the cooler autumn like weather we are having again.
3. For my hanging baskets of flowers in the front lawn. They are full, lush and colorful.
4. For the fact that I have possessions to move into a new residence - some people lose everything in natural disasters.
5. For knitting, which provides me with such a creative and comforting outlet.