Friday, October 23, 2009

Drowning Again

I have been pulled under the waves of despondency again. I am grappling with the major decision of remarrying and moving-out-of-state. As the new school term there starts Nov. 30th, this move would be in the upcoming weeks - and I haven't even finished unpacking for this apartment yet! I agonize over transferring my sons out of their high school where they are accepted and popular. One is a Junior, the other a Sophomore. Since my husband's death, all I have focused on is what has been best for my boys. I am trying to save them from more uncertainty, pain and instability. If we move, yes, the financial situation will be better but one will not be able to play boy's volleyball because they do not have that as a high school sport there. He is supposed to be playing varsity volleyball this spring and he has also been asked to try out for the male lead for the spring musical. Not to mention being deprived of completing his Senior year with his class, just a year and a half away. My other son ran varsity track as a Freshman last year - our concerns are that he might not be able to compete athletically coming in as a transfer student. We need to verify that because he is hoping to obtain a college track scholarship.

The community we would be moving into is a larger town surrounded by farmland four hours away. Yesterday, Guyfriend and I battled the relentless rain to look at rental homes. They were rundown and shabby. In fact, the entire town looked that way - tired and sad in the rain. We have been spoiled living in this beautiful community of quaint towns and showcase houses all these years. The need to move is because Guyfriend lost his job and has only been offered this one out-of-state. He does not want to sell his small home because of the terrible market so hopes to rent it out for the time being. That necessitates us living in a rental. When I showed the boys some photos of the homes available, they were less than impressed. "I thought moving was supposed to improve our situation," my oldest remarked as he looked at the homes with disappointment.

There is no question of my feelings or love for Guyfriend. My therapist said that in a way he was a blessing that came out of my divorce. And he and I are well-matched, we get along, we are sexually and physically attracted to one another. No major problems anywhere except for the fact that I have two boys smack dab in the middle of their high school careers and I am worried about all the what ifs that may occur if we move. As if I can even control the future, anyway. We all know how impossible that is but I think that I have been so focused on keeping the boys in this school district because it was about the only thing I could control.

Today is the 18th anniversary of my marriage - married 12 years and now widowed six. On Sunday it will be the anniversary of my husband's death. I wish I could talk to him to ask him what to do. Do I go with the love and financial/marital stability of a new life even though it scares the bejezus out of me? Do I continue to try and protect these boys from what I perceive as pain and suffering? Do I continue to slog along on my own and at least give my boys the stability and predictability of finishing high school here?

My therapist says there is no right or wrong answer here and that is what makes it so difficult. She reminded me how fortunate it is to have met a man who has virtually all of the qualities and values that are important to me - kindness, sense of humor, flexibility, tolerance, optimism, honesty, loyalty, communincation skills, courage, responsible, intelligence. His father died days before his 16th birthday so he has dealt with grief and loss.

I do suspect that if my husband hadn't died, I wouldn't be struggling with all of this. But having faced so much loss, I've gone into some kind of mode where all my devotion and energy has been so centered on my sons. Yes, I do know they'll be gone in a couple of years so I have to consider that. I guess deep down I feel like I'm failing them or selling out for my own gain if we move. When my husband died, all the care and responsibility fell on me. Coming from a neglectful/abusive childhood,I embraced protecting and mothering my sons with even more duty and responsibility - it became a mission of love and devotion.

It helps to write this all out and get what is really inside me. I don't want to hide from this. Life hasn't been easy or fair but so what? That reality doesn't make this decision any easier - maybe it even makes it harder. I so want just a little bit of life to go my way for once. To let the boys at least finish out their high school years in one piece instead of having to face more change and turmoil.

One of the widowhood obstacles I've encountered has been the lack of compassion for my sons. It is like everyone has expected them to bounce back and be resilient. It is like everyone sees past them but not into them. Enough years have passed by now where the loss of their Dad is somewhat overlooked or forgotten and some people don't even know (if we've just met them). But they are still struggling, maybe even more so because they are older, more mature and understand how much they have really lost.

I guess life is just a bunch of trade-offs. A new dad (stable, kind, dependable) but losing one's friends. Guyfriend says he will be able to help me drive the boys around to all their events - but they won't have any (at first anyway) to participate in! What if they don't make any friends or worse off do so with the wrong crowd? Am I being silly for thinking of these things? Wouldn't I be a worse parent if I didn't? It is easy for Guyfriend to reassure me and tell me everything will work out. But these are not his kids - nor have they lived with a dad the past seven years. It has just been us facing some pretty stormy seas together, tossing and turning together on our life raft, hanging on to each other for dear life. We've made it this far...

When I started seeing Guyfriend he had a job and his wife still lived in the same town with their son. She remarried and moved out-of-state, he lost his job. Life's twists and turns played out full force. I am so tired of always having to think and plan and figure out what to do. I want to lie in bed and go to sleep and somehow turn off the turmoil in my head for at least a little bit.

Today I am grateful:

1. Well, I suppose I should say that I even have another option to consider (moving), right?
2. For Guyfriend.
3. For the anniversary of this day and what it means - a marriage that resulted in the creation of two fine young men.
4. For all the love and hope I embraced when I married 18 years ago on this date - I so wish some of that could be more fully restored so I could believe it again.
5. For Husband #1 - everything I have done has been in tribute to him and for the benefit of our sons.


  1. Have you considered asking friends in your community whether they would be willing to give the boys a home base for the next year/couple of years so they can finish high school where they are currently established? The details might be difficult to overcome initially, but you've mentioned that your friends are like family. Perhaps one of them would step up and help out...assuming your boys would be okay with this and you can afford to kick in some financial assistance for them to live away from you. Just a thought.

  2. Debra - Thanks for the suggestion. This one has briefly crossed my mind. My two closest friends are single divorced moms and living in small quarters. I know how hard it is to care for one's own kids on your own, I just don't feel I can even consider adding my own to their mix.

    I'll continue to mull over the idea and any other brainstorms that come in.

  3. What about talking to a counselor at their school? I've heard some stories of schools being able to help find a family or even a teacher willing to let a kid stay with them long enough to graduate. Plus, they play sports and schools will do a lot to hang onto good athletes.

  4. You have someone who seems to care about you and your boys, and is willing to give you the family your posts show you have been missing and needing; yet you are still making excuses not to take him up on his offer. To me it sounds as if your not moving is based more in YOUR fears regarding things working out and not concern for your children. If you move into a stable family environment your children will flourish.

  5. Vanessa - Thank you for your suggestion. I will pursue it.

    Anonymous - Of course I am aware that my fears are all wrapped up into this. I endured a terrible childhood which I do not elaborate on much in the posts since I am focusing on widowhood. I am trying to ensure my kids get the childhood I didn't, despite their losses. So I do struggle with adding another loss to their plate - leaving a school they are very comfortable and happy at.

    Moving is a tough issue for anyone. However, I believe it is more challenging for those who have faced significant loss. It is taking someone who finds great comfort and security in the known and familiar routines and flinging them into everything new. I do have to consider my kids. Sure, we'll be moved and they'll have a stable home environment. But if they have no friends and cannot participate in the school activities they are used to, they face depression and other problems.

    I think many families struggle with moves whether they are intact or broken by death/divorce. I know there are families who create elaborate arrangements to keep their kids in the same school districts so I don't consider my concerns unusual. Just more complicated and harder because of all the loss. Add personality types, ages of kids, location of the new home, employment considerations, family involvement, your new partner's children, etc. and you have a can of worms.

    Kevin Lehman, PhD. who writes about birth order doesn't even believe that people should remarry until their kids have grown because of all the issues that occur when blending families. But most of us do. And, I already have a failed marriage on my plate besides my widowhood. I can't afford to take this lightly and just plunge right in.

    So, my hesitations are based on a combination of my own fears and consideration/love for my sons. And that is the way it should be.

  6. Anonymous - I did want to say thank you for your comments and I appreciate your insight/opinions.

  7. Hi - I too am facing a similiar issue. My husband died of pancreatic cancer in May 2008. Married 13 years with two wonderful boys 12/10 now. I met someone in April. It's been a wonderful relationship. I've had many similiar experiences that you have with his kindness, generosity and love. I feel blessed by his prescence. His company is based out of Dallas and has offered him a promotion. It means we'd have to move from Northern Calif to Dallas. And eventhough I do love him, I'm not willing to move my boys.
    It's too much of a transition and they're sorta getting their feet back on the ground. And to move my life when we don't know what the new job will hold or if he will even like it, is too risky for me and my boys. I proposed that he work in Dallas for the next year and find out if he is really committed to this company and what their parachute exit plan looks like. After a year, if it looks like the job is a keeper, I will consider the options. Have you thought in these terms for your kids? I mean if he/you really love each other, waiting for your older son to graduate is really not that many months. And for a senior athletic, this year can be a defining time in his life. Your boys have been through so much, just as you have... I always feel that pausing on BIG LIFE decisions is a good option.

  8. Christine - Bless you for responding! I feel so grateful and not crazy that I have my reservations about such a move. Just to know someone else out there is facing a similar situation makes all the difference in the world. If it weren't for the boys I'd move in a heartbeat. But they have to be my primary consideration. Thank you for sharing your situation. You also make a good point of the possibility of jobs not working out in today's business/economic climate. That makes it something else to think about before uprooting kids who have faced a lot.