On what might have been 8 years

IMG_7638I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

I’ve fallen out of love and back in since last year, just not with the same person. Occasionally, I really shake my dirt off and rise. More often, it seems as though Im sitting in my fallen hole, waiting to see if someone dares attempting my rescue or at least if anyone really notices that Ive fallen at all. That is partially my own fault though. I make-believe that Im ok when Im not. Perhaps, doing the same  thing…waiting to see if  someone dare look behind the curtain, or at least notice there is a curtain.

Maybe that’s all I have known love to be…a waiting game.

I just needed to change my perspectacles to see that maybe, just maybe, love is delicious ambiguity. An adventure, not a destination. Not anniversaries, but instead always  attempting to collect every possible experience we can together. It’s not the years in love, but the love in those years.

Im willing to take the risk. There will be times when it all falls apart at the seams, no doubt, but I’d just really appreciate, if just once, and once is all I need in this lifetime, if I could have a partner that will tug just as hard to bring them back together, over and over and again and again, as many times as it takes. That’s what I want. Not perfection, but a flawed human, with more heart than ego, willing to admit “I fucked this up and I need your help to fix it”, and follow through. Ah, the follow through. 

If anybody is wondering what the reality of remarriage is for me, that’s the only vow I want or that I ever wanted for that matter. 

Love without betrayal would be heaven, but Im not sure it exists. 

That’s what I’d like from the current love I’ve fallen in. I’d like this guy, who’s still a little stuck in the middle, as am I, to build a partnership with me. I’d like to fill in our newfound foundation with substance. I’d like us to brush the dirt off the other’s shoulder. I would like to constantly rotate the heavy pulling and lifting, equally yolked, so as one tires, the other bears more and vice versa. I’ll bend to  give him a boost and when he reaches higher heights, he doesn’t look down on me, but instead bends to pull me on level. Always give and take. You might think that’s 50/50 but you’d be wrong. It’s 100/100. When you give 100 you will inspire 100 to be given back. Never dictating it, but inspiring it.

Despite the fear of abandonment and the raw vulnerability, these are the contents of my heart’s desires laid bare. After everything, that’s no small feat and Im really proud to hold such confidence in being capable and ready and worthy of that kind of love.

If it took being broken open again and again to arrive at this capacity, I have no regrets.

 

 

 

 

Somedays

I heard someone say, “Somedays you eat salad and exercise, somedays you order pizza and binge on Netflix, its all about balance.”

That stuck with me. 

Like…somedays you feel top notch and sincerely dont give a shit what anyone says or thinks about you, somedays the wrong glance brings you to your knees. 

Somedays youre certain your dog is the best dog that ever existed, somedays your dog takes a shit on the floor right after you take him outside because he’s a prick. 

Somedays you believe that marriage is a beautiful, sacred bond that will last forever, somedays you finalize your second divorce and feel like you dont have enough middle fingers to shove in love’s direction. 

Somedays you leap into the dating pool while throwing caution to the wind and are optimistically surprised when you meet a nice guy, somedays youre left questioning your sanity after finding the “nice guy”‘s multiple dating site profiles. 

Somedays you think family is a precious gift to be cherished above all other relationships, somedays youd like to pack your shit and move into a vast wilderness…forever alone. 

Somedays you are in awe of your children growing older and wish you could slow time down, somedays youre certain there is no way you will survive your spawn’s teenaged years and wish death would find you. 

Yes, balance. 
Whatever. 

Letters I meant to send

 Dear Husband, 

I may not understand what has or will happen between us right now, but I will remain thankful for you having been a part of my life.

I am thankful that you made me believe in love again when I had lost all faith in it ever being possible for me again. I am thankful that despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, you chose a single Mom with three kids to forge a family with. Ill always be thankful for the many ways you stepped up in the kids lives when you didnt have to. I will always be thankful for the ways you proved to me that I was worthy of being loved just the way I am. Because of that I wont ever settle for less for myself or our children.  

That’s why I can’t stay. 

In spite of everything that has happened, I will remain thankful for what once was. 

 

Things to Expect before Calling it Quits

 As my marriage was ending, I struggled with shame, feeling alone in my own personal hell.
However, as my journey continued and I started to heal, I connected with others who had walked a similar path, and I discovered that I was not alone. Many voiced similar feelings experienced during their divorce, and more than once I heard “if only I had known what to expect.”

As homage to those that have split from their spouse, as well as those currently on their own divorce journey, I offer this communal list of what to expect:
1. We will doubt ourselves, and feel so afraid of the Unknown that we will reason that even though we are miserable, we are at least comfortable, and that we can endure an unhappy marriage.
We will try to convince ourselves of this, even though in our hearts we know that it isn’t true. But we will tell ourselves lies and reason with ourselves that we shouldn’t split—for the kids, for the finances, etc. We will bargain with ourselves because we are scared. Know that this is normal.
2. The roller coaster we feel when the decision is made to separate is unlike anything we ever experienced.
The regret, the grief, the pain, the confusion, the overwhelming, the fear, the desperation of wanting to be loved after our spouse is gone.
But even though we don’t know it, there is a weight that will slowly start to ease from our shoulders—the same weight that we denied all this time when we told ourselves nothing was wrong.
3. Our self-esteem may shatter, and we will be desperate for love and validation.We will think that nobody will ever love or want us again, and we may be tempted to date immediately and latch on to the first person who pays attention to us. We must resist this urge to attach ourselves, even if we have not had that romantic touch or intimacy for a long time. Trying to fill that void with another relationship robs us of the chance to heal.
4. Although we may tell ourselves that we’re fine, we will need a support system.
A therapist, a support group, good friends, or the non-judgmental anonymity of online forums. Whatever combination of systems we choose should help us attain two objectives: creating a safe place for venting, and helping us find constructive, healthy ways to cope with the divorce.
5. We will feel like we are getting sprayed with an industrial fire hose.
The number of “to-do’s” and “should-do’s” regarding emotions, finances, legal issues, custody and other logistics will come with incredible urgency. We will feel paralyzed and overwhelmed.
Understand that splitting is a process. Like any process, there are things to address immediately (safety, shelter, income), things to address a little bit later (understanding legal and custody issues, finding an emotional support system) and there are things to address longer-term (ensuring our separation agreement is something we can live with, making sure we and our children are adjusting). We will need to remind ourselves that divorce is like a marathon and it requires patience and persistence. We must save ourselves the stress by accepting that not everything has to be done right now.
6. We will have no control over our spouse’s behavior.
For serious offenses (threatening harm, cleaning out our savings account or wracking up debt on a joint credit card), we will absolutely need to take action. But there will also be annoyances that may not endanger us, but will anger us. It may seem like they are trying to make our life as miserable as they possibly can, which could result in a long, drawn-out, expensive, soul-sucking divorce—if we let it.
We will need to remember that although we can’t control their behavior, we can control how we react to it. Our decision to take the high road despite how they act is entirely up to us. Like most things during the split, it will be easier said than done.
7. We will be tempted to make decisions based on emotion, rather than logic.
We will forget that divorce is a business transaction––a splitting of assets and incomes. The logical part of us will understand this, but the part of us that is hurt may spend months fighting over things that have nothing to do with business at all. During the legal process, we will be forced to choose our battles. Choose wisely.

What to say?

My words have been stuck in my head for awhile. I’m half dead inside my mind. It’s definitely not a lack of things to say.  I could scream for days and there’d still be more but it feels very futile. 

Then this time of day rolls around. The time of day I used to look forward to getting into bed with my husband about an hour before falling asleep just so we could talk. We’d lay in one another’s arms talking and laughing.  Im a girl who enjoys sex but this type of intimacy is beyond that and I cherished it. But now I try to sprawl myself out to cover as much of his empty space as I possible.  Another act of futility. 

The tears well. The thoughts race. 

How long has it been since he held me here? More than that though, how long since he wanted or needed to just be next to me? 

How long did I pretend we were being sheltered and cared for by piecing together the scraps of attention and affection that were haphazardly tossed our way? Why was that acceptable to me? To him? When exactly did I accept this shell of the man, husband and father in place of the genuine? How did he keep turning up less accountable and proactive yet more burdened and resentful? And why? Always, why? All we wanted was him. He was gone. 

The environment became too toxic, the stakes too high.  It reached a boiling point. The kettle screaming and by that time too hot to handle.  We were burned and my reflex was to let go and guard the wound.  

I told him he needed to leave and I didn’t care where he went. An obvious overshot released venomously, with teeth and claws bared in perceived threat to child that has since been labeled “unacceptable” and even “unforgivable” that I am struggling to wrap reality around. I question things that I actually witnessed happen which leaves me feeling untrusting of myself and because he’s taken all of this and made them into logic and reason to stay absent from home and family, untrusting of him as well. 

I mean it can’t be both something that didn’t happen the way everyone perceived it and the reason for a realization that you need to step away and work on yourself to have any chance of us being a family again. 

There’s so much more to say.  So much to be done.  And here I am.  Just me.  

  

You know Ive been in this bed before, 1000 count and not a single thread of truth 

  I went and woke jer up and I told him. 
I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore. 

I told him that it’s been more than a year since I went to him and laid out all the issues and he made promises to fix things and make efforts

I told him its been all talk and no follow through. 

He said he thought he’d been doing better and if it made any difference he had planned to call and set up therapy tomorrow 

It doesn’t. 

I wont let him hurt the kids anymore. 

I told him so. I told him that I  didn’t know who he was anymore. He’s not the man I fell in love with. By always having my EX to compare to …well that’s a pretty low bar and  I can’t stay married to you because sometimes you pay attention to me and it’s nice when you’re hurting my kids. I said I never imagined Id say this to you but I don’t like who you are and Im watching my son turn into you and it makes me sick to my stomach. I said that the kids are an extension of me and when you hurt them it hurts me. It’s selfish of me to consider anything else. 

Then I came back upstairs, climbed into bed and now Im laying here with a million things going through my head and tears … so many tears. 

Everything is going to change but it has to. 

Open letter from my husband 

If you know my wife you know that she is very caring. The kind of friend a friend would want to have. She does everything she can for the people she loves even when she is struggling and thats one of the many reasons I married her. 

Im a simple man and usually have few words on social media but in the last 24 hours Ive watched my wounderful wife be truly broken up and I need to say something. 

My wife got pregnant before she was married. According to the Bible that’s a sin. Even though she did everything in her power to make her 1st marriage to a abusive alcoholic work she got divorced. Again the Bible says this is a sin. She married me -TECHNICALLY adultery in the Bible, another sin. A broken commandment. Right up there with murder and taking the Lords name in vain. 

Even so we were allowed to get married, I adopted the kids, we get to be a family, we get tax breaks for all of this, I can provide insurance for my family, I am able to hold her hand in the hospital and we can legaly make decisions for each other and our kids if we need to. We attend church. These are our rights despite our sin. She said all this to me today. Then she asked if we were undeserving of our rights. She asked if she was less deserving, if I was less deserving, if our kids were less deserving of these rights. Then she asked if we were deserving of Gods grace and love. 

My wife has taught me more about Gods grace and love then I ever learned from church. She acts in love even when its uncomfortble Because of her faith and I think thats exactly what a christian should be. 

Maybe our other actions make us sinners according to the Bible but I dont believe that they make us or our kids less deserving of freedoms, rights, privleges, love or grace from the government, society or the church. 

So when I see her reading things from “the church” and “christians” discussing how sad it is or against Gods word it is when rights are extended to gays because of sin and how christians SHOULD feel and think about it with tears in her eyes, when I see how it effects her hope and crushes her faith, I wounder if its really the message of Gods will.

If youre saying that gays should not have these same rights because homosexuality is against Gods word, then you’re saying the me and my own family do not deserve our rights. I have to ask if this is the message you really want to convey because if it is I think everybody is gonna need to take a minute to look in the mirror and at friends family and congregatons to realize how many of us have or are acting against Gods will and commandments. 

What do we all deserve? 

Let those without sin throw the first stone.

In case you don’t understand what marriage equality is all about …

My husband John died 20 months ago, so we’re unable to celebrate together the Supreme Court’s decision on the case that bears my name, Obergefell v. Hodges.
Today, for the first time, any couple — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender — may obtain a marriage license and make their commitments public and legal in all 50 states. America has taken one more step toward the promise of equality enshrined in our Constitution, and I’m humbled to be part of that.
John and I started our fight for a simple reason: We wanted the State of Ohio to recognize our lawful Maryland marriage on John’s impending death certificate. We wanted respect and dignity for our 20-year relationship, and as he lay dying of ALS, John had the right to know his last official record as a person would be accurate. We wanted to live up to the promises we made to love, honor, and protect each other as a committed and lawfully married couple.

Couples across America may now wed and have their marriage recognized and respected no matter what state they call home. No other person will learn at the most painful moment of married life, the death of a spouse, that their lawful marriage will be disregarded by the state. No married couple who moves will suddenly become two single persons because their new state ignores their lawful marriage.

Ethan and Andrew can marry in Cincinnati instead of being forced to travel to another state.

A girl named Ruby can have an accurate birth certificate listing her parents Kelly and Kelly.

Pam and Nicole never again have to fear for Grayden and Orion’s lives in a medical emergency because, in their panic, they forgot legal documents that prove both mothers have the right to approve care.

Cooper can grow into a man knowing Joe and Rob are his parents in all ways emotional and legal.

I can finally relax knowing that Ohio can never erase our marriage from John’s death certificate, and my husband can now truly rest in peace.

Marriage is about promises and commitments made legal and binding under the law, and those laws must apply equally to each and every American.

Today is a momentous day in our history. It’s a day when the Supreme Court of the United States lived up to the words inscribed above the front entrance of the courthouse:

Equal Justice Under Law.

Thank you,

Jim

An open letter to my little sister on her day of marriage

I don’t remember the first time we met, whether it was at the hospital or at home, but I do remember the first time I held you like it was yesterday. I can clearly recall looking down at your little perfect face. You were a magical wonder to me. I had no idea how you came to be. I just knew you were growing in Mom’s belly and then you were there in my arms and I was your big sister. I remember trying to help you not to be scared at night in our shared room. Telling you stories and singing you songs, like Lionel Ritchie’s “Ballerina Girl“, after we were tucked into our bunk beds. Decorating the underside of the top bunk like the night sky with puffy paint so that it didn’t look like spiderwebs anymore. Fighting every fiber of fear in my body to get up and throw the creepy clowns in the closet so they didn’t scare you. Teaching you to tell time on the wall size wristwatch that hung on our pepto bismol pink bedroom wall to distract you from things I didn’t want you to hear. Taking the blame so you didn’t in get in trouble for your experiments and inventions. Growing up fast so that I could protect your innocence when heavier things surrounded us. Looking over my shoulder to make sure you didn’t follow my own path.

I know you had some trouble as you forged your way into adulthood, attempting to navigate life and love.  It hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies. There’s been hurt and bitterness. You’ve learned some lessons the hard way. But I hope today as you leave life alone to join together with your husband, that you can look back and see that EVERYTHING that has happened, good and bad, has led you right to this point in your life and made you the woman that he fell in love with.

When you love someone, you can see all the things that make them wonderful very clearly. I know that you see your husband-to-be in that light. But I think you struggle to realize that all the things that are wonderful about him, that you love with all your heart, that you are willing to sacrifice for, willing to give everything you’ve got without thinking twice … finds it’s equal in you.

You are just as wonderful. You are just as magical. You are just as real. You are just as worthy.

As I sit here, with tears of complete joy for you streaming down my face and words failing me, I just want you to know this:

Sister, you are a beautiful, one of a kind, fully deserving of every happiness. Today’s the day. The day you are marrying the love of your life. Please allow yourself to be completely vulnerable. Let everything that has come before go and move ahead and risk it all.  Because you have to in order to fully experience the complete joy and love that is waiting for you. Know that love is the answer to most questions in life. You are ready and he is “the one”.

Go ahead and jump into the great unknown, holding his hand, with your beautiful smile and laughter.

I’ll be right here … always.