Category Archives: Reflections

There are times

When you feel more divorced than others. Today, as I sat in the emergency vet’s office for 3+ hours waiting for them to do X-rays on my 13-year old border collie, was one of them.

And then, when the vet went over the results with me, recommending an ultrasound to see if what looks like an abdominal mass is on the liver or spleen, was one of them.

And then, coming home and sitting looking at these sweet dog who’s been with us – and now, me – for almost 13 years is one of them.

I have wonderful children and friends who are only a phone call away, but, in the end, the decision is mine.

And I’m not loving making it by myself.

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The tree stands straight

There’s a tree in front of my home that I really love. I’ve loved it since we bought the house 17 years ago. It provides a wonderful canopy over my front yard, shades the home and just makes a really pretty statement in front of the house (okay, my SIL did hit my daughter’s car while trying to maneuver around it, but we won’t quibble here).

As I looked at the tree this morning I noticed the spot on one side where a very large branch had to be cut away. Very large. It was literally pulling the tree down, making it lean dangerously toward the house. I remember watching them cut the branch away, wondering if that was all it needed to make it strong and straight again. Wondering if the tree would look the same, still be my favorite.

Today the tree is gloriously straight and tall. You can see where the branch was severed, but it doesn’t mar it.

I guess sometimes you have to make a drastic change and get rid of what’s weighing you down to be straight and tall again.

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Welcome to the sorority

I spent a few minutes on the phone tonight with a woman I met at the divorce support group to which I belong. We immediately connected, even though we’ve only met in person one time. We have a lot in common and – great icing on the cake – live in the same neighborhood.

It occurred to me how many women I’ve met and bonded with since separating from Mr. Ex. Really wonderful women with whom I’ve fostered some rich relationships in a relatively short time. And the irony isn’t lost on me that I would never have met these wonderful women, not to mention how close we’ve become, had I not become suddenly single once again.

Truly a silver lining.

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Whoa! Where have you been?

I know I’ve been MIA for some time. Seems I finally decided to get the work done on my house, and, even though I was paying someone to do it, having the house under construction just sucked the life outa me. Not to mention the bucks out of my checkbook…

Anyway. I tripped across a fascinating video today of J. K. Rowling giving the Harvard Commencement address in 2008. It’s just wonderful.

And it’s about failure. Interesting topic about which to speak to a bunch of people graduating from… Harvard.

Here’s a part that really resonated with me:

“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Here’s the video:

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

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Observations

Things I’ve noticed since being SA (single again)…

I pay attention to when parents have different last names from their children
I notice when I order a meal for one to go, and the person on the other end says, “will that be all?” Are they judging me?
I take a mental attendance when I’m in a group… am I the only one who’s divorced/single?
I look for wedding rings on other people

It’s like when you’re pregnant and it seems that every other woman is, too.

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On friendship, and support from unexpected places

If you ever read the comments to my posts (and it’s not like that should be overwhelming…), you’ve probably seen some from “Montreal Babe.” MB is someone with whom I’m ‘real’ friends – somebody I actually know in real life. She’s in hospice at the moment; the result of a combination of a terrible car accident and the lack of a seat belt. MB was not a healthy woman to start with, and now she’s in hospice.

As I wrote in her CaringBridge guestbook this morning I spent a little time reflecting on our relationship, and how it evolved over time and as a result of my divorce.

Although I didn’t count her among my closest friends, MB and I were colleagues for a number of years. Several years ago she became a widow. Mr. MB died suddenly, and it was a horrible shock to our entire faculty. MB had many health issues, including diabetes, and she needed and received a great deal of support from her husband. Mr. MB was pretty much an institution at our school – dropping MB off in the morning, helping get her scooter into the building (due to her many surgeries as a result of the diabetes, she quite often couldn’t walk), and picking her up at the end of the day. Not only did we know him, but many of our students did as well. When he died, it was a loss that was mourned by our entire community. Within a year MB had to have another operation, and ended up in a nursing home for a number of months. MB – childless, now a widow, with all her family living out of the country – needed people to take care of her.

The faculty stepped up to the plate. People visited her, covered her classes, made sure her bills got paid. She got phone calls and emotional support. When she came out of the nursing home she knew that she had friends to take care of her – physically and emotionally.

But, in the end, you’re still alone. After some time you still have to get used to the empty house, the Sundays alone and the quiet. There are times you love it and times you can’t stand to hear the nothingness. MB understood that.

When Mr. Ex moved out, I found a somewhat surprising ally in MB. Many, many of my friends came to my support, but, frankly, I didn’t find that surprising. These were people with whom I had been close for many years – friends who had been at my wedding, college friends, junior high friends, for heaven’s sake. Many were friends who had known about the ups and downs of our marriage for years and had been there for me in the past. They certainly came to my aid – I expected them to, and I was not disappointed.

But Montreal Babe was the one who really stunned me. She, above anyone else, understood the loneliness and the sudden disorientation of losing one’s partner. She knew how hard it was to navigate single life after a long-time marriage. While our circumstances were different in that her partner didn’t choose to leave, and I got dumped, she understood that I was going through a difficult time and needed some encouragement to get through it all.

And she was happy to provide it.

She emailed me; she called me. She arranged movie dates and offered theatre tickets. She religiously read this blog – and, even more religiously – pestered me to keep writing when there was too much time in between blog posts. She encouraged me to write, and the positive feedback from her meant even more because she was an English teacher. She commented here and she Facebooked me.

In short, she made sure that I knew that I wasn’t alone, that I would get through this, and that I have a lot to look forward to.

I am grateful and I will miss her.

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Reflections

As we enter into the last week of the year (and, incidentally, decade), some reflections…

Celebrity marital discord:

NEW YORK - APRIL 15:  (L-R) Tim Robbins, Susan...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

1. Jon and Kate. who cares?

2. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. I was saddened to hear this one. I always thought they were a classy couple who kept their private life private, and they seem to be doing the same with this. I just saw her yesterday touting her new movie on some show (thank goodness for winter break – how would I keep up with these things?) and I thought how wonderful she looks.

3. Tiger Woods. Elin says she’s done. I say good for her. What a disappointment – I think of all those kids who looked up to him as a determined athlete.

4. Governor Mark Sanford and his wife Jenny. She stood by him at the outset, but she, too, is now outa there. Why did she stick around at the beginning? Perhaps it was a desire to help him avoid impeachment; maybe that desire to just keep her life the way it was.

And, interestingly, what looks like a great movie is opening tomorrow – It’s Complicated. I’m planning to see it with my divorce support group – who better?

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