Doing The Best We Can

 

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Without empathy, there is little to salvage.

My former husband, a good man, does the best he can. I remember mom saying the same about dad after their divorce. “Your father is doing the best he can.” I don’t believe my ex is a vengeful person. He added to the dynamics of our immediate family, as I had.

The sadness sits, as there is no more immediate family. What was once a foursome, has evolved into four individuals; each surviving in the aftermath of divorce five years later; splintered, though perhaps better off. Who knows for sure. Silence makes for unwarranted assumptions.

Thanksgiving was spent among my new family; this year different, as my husband’s former wife was included. Another story for another time, but it got me thinking that fractured families are a choice. Certainly, we are individuals. Divorce more than sucks and shatters the best of most. We make our own choices. Yet what I witnessed with my husband’s family is that indivduals in this family all decided to begin their own separate processes of healing – a choice for conserted effort towards healing. Healing has its own time, it can not be measured neatly. To have been a part of his family; his daughters, their husbands/boyfriends, his ex-wife, sit around a dinner table, reminising of childhood plays and current happenings in their lives….the strangest feeling. Anything….is possible. There is…..hope.

My ex shared some good news about our youngest daughter today. For the first time, I did not share the usual kind of enthusiasm as I always seem to muster. It’s easy to muster enthusiasm when you love a kid as much as I love her, though I couldn’t bring it today. And I realized it’s not my kid. I always love her. I’m always proud of her. I am numb about my ex, not how I feel about my kid. He cares, though doesn’t seem to grasp my pain, still, after five years. Thus, I think I can let go of this now. Finally. Gone are the times I’ve allowed myself to feel as if I’m the bad selfish egg, talking about my pain, as if that diminished his or our kids’ pain. Empathy is a game changer, only if brought to the surface and practiced.

For years I placed all the blame on myself. That if I hadn’t made the mistakes I chose, our family would still be in place. Oh, ye of little wisdom. How I see things more clearly each year. I see two daughters, whose disdain for their mother, their willingness to disassociate from me and most every mutual connection speaks of their hurt and anger. Watching my stepdaughters laughing with their mom, young adults who were all hurt deeply by their parents divorce, once again, I saw hope

I also realize how much I cheered my family on. Each one of them, their biggest fan. Not too many wives were more excited about their husband’s career accomplishments that this ex-wife. To have completely devoted myself to a family who was everything, to the fractured disconnect today, it is numbing. But it’s ok, too.

Maybe, on this day, we’re all doing the best we can.

We’ll find each other soon. ❤ 

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Alice and the Pearly Gates

Sitting in her studio apartment, steps away from her hospital bed, she breathes. Labored, unsteady, her body slowly giving way. Family members arrive. One by one, we hold her hands, caress her face, brush her short, silver mane, kiss her sweet forehead. We tell her how deeply she is loved, that it’s ok to let go. We sit in awe, in disbelief, for one is never quite truly prepared for death. We are aware of illness, our own mortality growing older, yet we end up taking time to live rather than focus on death. We are not God, nor do we understand why things happen as they do.

For this moment, there is hospice, comfort care, a caring assisted living staff and a family with love of such magnitude, hearts are full and entrenched with all things Alice. Mom, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister. How we adore all that she is, the comfort of knowing those pearly gates are in her midst. She will arrive in splendor. God’s love lives on, infinitely and she is almost home.

Walkers To Wheelchairs

The weariness awakens, then settles in such a way, I’m unsure how I feel.  

Exhausted? Teary? Melancholy? 

Caregiving takes a hold and I can’t seem to shake the heaviness. During the past three months, the cumulative effect of caring for mom; managing her home health to assisted living, from walker to wheelchair, the density in which all has taken place, I can barely absorb. It’s all so fast. Her physical decline, elevated fall-risk, third time in skilled nursing since early August, I find I am in a dream state of sorts. To stay ahead of mom’s health, it’s a race with little victory. 

If I sound hopeless, I am not. Caregivers learn the difference between hope and reality. There is something quite inexplicable in regards to ones reality. Mom is no longer able to care for herself, yet fights the help needed from others.  Her stubbornness is as grand as her mind: may her hope gravitate towards reality.

Tonight, more breathing. A respite.  Tomorrow, we move forward. 

We’ll find each other soon. ❤

Walkers To Wheelchairs

The weariness awakens, then settles in such a way, I’m unsure how I feel.  

Exhausted? Teary? Melancholy? 

Caregiving takes a hold and I can’t seem to shake the heaviness. During the past three months, the cumulative effect of caring for mom; managing her home health to assisted living, from walker to wheelchair, the density in which all has taken place, I can barely absorb. It’s all so fast. Her physical decline, elevated fall-risk, third time in skilled nursing since early August, I find I am in a dream state of sorts. To stay ahead of mom’s health, it’s a race with little victory. 

If I sound hopeless, I am not. Caregivers learn the difference between hope and reality. There is something quite inexplicable in regards to ones reality. Mom is no longer able to care for herself, yet fights the help needed from others.  Her stubbornness is as grand as her mind: may her hope gravitate towards reality.

Tonight, more breathing. A respite.  Tomorrow, we move forward. 

We’ll find each other soon. ❤

Thank You, Ms. Dream

Dreams can be haunting. Beautiful and touching. 

They were living with their dad. As if time halted, the same ages they were during the divorce five years ago. 

Only, that moment I saw them was today, at this moment. 

My older daughter, pulling into the garage in a BMW convertible (same one as I drive on occasion), upon seeing me, removes herself from the car, smiles meet and we embrace. The sweet fragrance of her freshly washed hair doesn’t go unnoticed. There’s not much dialogue, as if there needn’t be. That particular moment is us, mother and daughter, love combines. 

In my current life I am remarried, as I am in my dream. My former husband remains as if no time halted as well. While no specifics come to mind, I remember how I wanted to see the girls, choosing to avoid his critical tone. In those moments, not fearful of what he thought of me. 

I remember wanting to return to my husband, yet holding each moment watching the girls; their interaction with each other. My younger girl, funnier than ever, her humor far surpassing most people I know. She and I didn’t embrace, though her smile and shimmering eyes met mine at the exact same moment. Nuff said. 

Eventually, we awaken. We are blessed to live and breathe. We are blessed with dreams, their meaning, their comfort. We might analyze, question, do what we need to put some puzzle pieces together. Mostly, though, we feel. 

We’ll find each other soon. 💜

The Burden is Mine

Probably going out on a severe limb here, though my hope is you’ll stay with me long enough to listen. 

My daughters did nothing wrong. 

Yes, they estranged themselves from me years ago. They’ve written me harsh, hurtful and devastingly painful emails; judged, criticized and rejected my role as their mother. 

Let me say again:

My daughters did nothing wrong. 

Many parents of estranged young adult children don’t understand reasons their child pulls away. 
“We (parents) certainly weren’t perfect, but we provided a loving home, we went on vacations, they had everything they needed or could want for.”

“Where is their gratitude?”

“When I was their age, kids were taught to respect their parents, regardless of what the relationship was fraught with.” 

“Don’t our children see how wonderful they had it?”

For so long, I’ve placed much of the burden on my girls. As if expected, no matter how deeply my actions hurt them, they should somehow forgive and accept my mistakes. 

They did not choose the mistakes made. 

I did. Me, myself, I. 

Beating myself up subsided some time ago. Once able to see clearly, accept and acknowledge my f**k ups, clouds dispersed, crisp air entered my lungs, oxygen rekindled, I have discovered an epiphany like no other. 

“But you were such a loving mom. You always put your kids first.”

“They (my kids) need to grow up. They’re not the only ones who’ve experienced divorce as young adult children.” 

True. But that isn’t up for discussion. 

My girls did nothing wrong. 

There’s more to share as I absorb new thoughts. 

Burdens are to carry, only if we choose. Completing an intense five weeks of caregiving, my heart understands how burdens have the capacity to uplift, not drag down. 

May we learn to choose the former. 

We’ll find each other soon. 💜

Waking Up….One Jolt at a Time

A simple necklace raised the bar for me. Its symbolic nature, I did not see at the time it was given, now, its meaning transcends what I originally thought.

“We’ll Find Each Other Soon”, my penned name of this particular blog was chosen because of my late mama:

“We’ll find each other soon”, a phrase frequently used by my mom, has now become a moniker or sorts for me. I find myself using it with a great deal of joy and conviction, as relationships have new meaning at mid-life. They surprise, they are alive. Life has brought me here, or more accurately, I brought myself.

When received by Bridget, naturally my tears were met with joy, as she has been a champion of my writings and personhood. Encased in copper, the inscription caught my breath, made by hand from a local artist, I simply did not expect this kind of gem from my gem of a friend. IMG_4879Timing is always a curious tale. That I should receive this gift at this point in life, time to pay attention.

Each time I feel awake, another jolt strikes and I’m more awake than ever. Life is best felt when there’s emotional jolts. 

Bridget’s tender gift struck a chord thereafter receiving: We’ll Find Each Other Soon is about hope, that the door is always open, the heart beckons to be wider, that it’s never too late to begin again. 

May the jolts be with you. 

We’ll find each other soon. ❤