Thursday, August 20, 2009

Eroded Foundation

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.


  1. people will never be what you want of them. only rarely do you find one who connects with you wholly and completely. family, friends, spouses; all can fall short of what you wish. having said that i will also say, never lose hope. keep clinging to your illusions. you never know when they will become reality. you never know when a dream will come true.

    i hope in packing things up you don't let it get you down. easy to type. hard to do. but you always have your "i'm grateful" list and that is more than i have been able to gather together. be kind to yourself. know that you can and will endure. i hope for a better day for you tomorrow. and the next day. and the next.

    always, peace

  2. I used to have the dream that I was walking a very narrow road with deep ditches on each side. I had to walk the road blindfolded--that was what my life was like at that time. I didn't want to walk that road...I wanted to turn and go back to the way life had been, but that was I had to keep foot in front of the other, step by step, trying not to fall off in the ditch. Not much support as my family felt people had to make it on their own to be stronger--(thanks a lot).

    It is hard and it is tedious and it is damn scarey, but YOU WILL MAKE IT AND YOU WILL BE EVEN MORE GRATEFUL AND STRONGER BECAUSE YOU DID IT ON YOUR OWN!!!

  3. I am totally aware that we should not rely too much on others because so often they fail us and it is just not fair to expect people to always be completely there for us. But I cannot excuse those who can't even provide acknowledgment of someone's hardship. It costs nothing to pick up a phone or dash off a quick email saying you are thinking of that person and wishing them well.

    I struggle with handling everything on my own. I have reached a point where I can no longer hold everything in my hands - I'm dropping things. I need help. I want help. I would be more grateful for a helping hand or words of encouragement than the knowledge I've handled it myself.

    Thank you both for your insights, encouragement and kind words. You help me see things in a different light. The dream of walking on the narrow path is so vividly frightening. A perfect example for how I'm feeling right now.