Monday, February 3, 2014

Tiny Things

It has been almost two weeks without anxiety, something new to me.  I thought that the grief and the trauma of last year would never subside.  I thought it would rule me forever, such was its power.  We talked about grief today in the truck:  he is being invited by family to attend fall-related festivals and the like, and he wants nothing of it.  He's not trying to be rude, it's just that so much goes on in the aftermath of a divorce or separation, that it is inordinately lonely in its execution. Your child has left, and even the absence of your spouse, can leave you with such uncertain feelings that it is hard to share your time, especially that time that is supposed to be entertaining with others and feel even remotely part of the whole. It is those times I believe, that you have to make the decision to be on your own for your own sake.  You're not being selfish, you're within your own. 
I have always said that no one can ever see inside someone else's marriage. And there comes a time when only you know what happened within the marriage. If your soon to be ex had a clue, you wouldn't be getting divorced in the first place. Divorce can be about infidelity, addictions, abuse, but in my case is in many others, it was about a lack of understanding. I know that I would have stayed if I had felt I was understood on any level, most importantly, the essentialness of the domestic to the life of our family and the fundamental principle that building a home, with furniture, sheets , clean windows, decorated walls, nesting bowls that measure out milk for oatmeal, salt for bread , handled cups just right for bowls of chili and soup and even the arrangement of plastic containers in a cabinet (although most of the time severely cattywampus)  was one's life work and not to be discounted but to be understood as an accomplishment and the height of craft. It was truly hard work to assemble a household with sparse funds through hand me downs, curbside luck, clever bargaining, trades, goodwill finds, saving and scrambling to make sure that me and my children didn't take a single piece of clothing out of a plastic drawer.  To have discounted this effort, to have sent us packing off to Richmond with less than we started with was sheer madness. It cost my ex's children, his wife and loathing that he has trouble comprehending.  I too, like John, was in no mood to face congenial events in the light of my losses.
And no one understood.
If no one understands where you are and what you have lost, and you feel the need  to just not join in, well then... I'd say come sit by me but the truth is you really need to sit by yourself.
And when you do, take whatever comforts you no matter how silly it seems. This does not include alcohol of course or recreational drugs, but tiny momentos you can carry around in your pocket that bring you comfort. Mine is a clothespin.  when I first came to Gulfport, I had a uncomfortable job as a secretary at a construction company where the boss refuse to send out any invoices that were completed. It made me nervous, and I was was in such a state battling the feelings that I had for my man and trying to deal with the persistent belief that I had lost every single bit of value in this life that truly wasn't fit to be employed.  Hell-- I didn't even have enough clothes to show up decently dressed. It was a Friday and at the end of a particularly rough week when I pulled up in front of the double wide to find a beautiful set of chrysanthemums with a postcard attached to them with a clothespin. The Man had driven 200 miles on his day off to leave me flowers on my front porch. I carried that clothespin with me everywhere until I lost it after too many beers at a friends house.  The Man replaced it carving into the tip the ellipses that had come to symbolize our relationship...   it represented the silence that could pass between us and yet we both knew what the other was thinking.  I have it still. Its been chewed by dogs, and slicked smooth by the oil of my hands. It is proven time and again to be the thing that I needed to allay my anxieties and my fears whenever necessary and believe you me-- that was a lot.
If its a folder that picture of a child's drawing, the petals from a flower you received in love , a tiny Buddha or ceramic frog that fits in your pocket, take it with you. Hold on tight to the physical evidence of love. And come sit by me but only if you feel like it.

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