Forgive, forget not.

For those of you who have read my blogs over the past year you would be familiar with all the various challenges and stages I have walked through or rather at times moved at snail’s pace to get to the next day. You yourself may connect with my blogs as perhaps you have or are experiencing truly tough life circumstances, which is one of the reasons I decided to start writing in the first place. To not only help myself to process life with all its challenges but to use my pain and growth for good purposes. If it helps someone it is all worth the effort. In no way do I profess to have all the right answers and we each go through different situations.
What works for me may not work for you!
It’s not so much that I write to give the answers, I write to share my journey with life so others don’t feel alone. I write to breathe hope. To shed light. To let individuals, know that if I can get through it, they can too!
Today I am writing about forgiveness. ♥
This past week has been another one of those very trying and difficult times. Not only have I been battling some sort of virus in my body which has put me out of work now for four days, last weekend I had to meet with my ex-husband for the first time in over one year.
The shear thought initially had me very vulnerable and sensitive. The week prior to seeing him I was experiencing all sorts of emotions. It didn’t seem to make sense. Why was I experiencing so much emotion when I had thought it was already dealt with?
Perhaps it was the unknown.

How was I going to react seeing him especially after everything that has happened?
Was I going to react angry? Sad?
The reality is I was with this person for 27 years and had five children.
It was a special family occasion that put me in the situation of having to see him again.
No amount of psyching myself up was going to help me.
Prior to seeing him as I mentioned I was very sensitive. I went through a series of thoughts, emotions, worries and even regrets.
The moment arrived in which I was in the same room as him. It was perhaps one of the most surreal and awkward times of my life. It was as though a dead person came back to life and they were now in the same room as me.
As I was in what you can call my own ‘safety bubble’ at the time I was unable to notice my young son’s reaction to seeing his own dad after having had no contact with him for the whole time. Prior to the day I had encouraged my young son in coming along as he too was apprehensive. It was not my young sons fault that he hadn’t had contact with his dad nor was it mine. I explained to him that another year on and it will be virtually impossible for him to meet up with his dad. Not the ideal situation by any means.
Amongst family in the same room I stood there with my ex-husband breathing the same air as me. At first, I found it difficult to look his way. Slowly I got braver and could take short glimpses of the man I was married too. Each glimpse was confronting. Each glimpse brought back pain and hurt. Each glimpse touched on sad places in my heart. Each glimpse reminded me that our marriage was over.
WOW!
Then the time came for our first conversation face to face.
It was during our conversation that the reality of our marriage being over was hitting me. We were such separate people now. Any connection we may have had was completely broken. We were like old friends from times past who were having a conversation and catching up on each other’s past year.
There was no topic off limits. We talked about everything.
While in the back of my mind I remembered everything that he had put me through I was able to come to a place in which I told him that ‘I can forgive him’. I choose to forgive him. In the next sentence, I had to let him know that while I forgive him I won’t be able to forget. That as a person I have grown so much and recognised what I want and what I don’t want and what is healthy and what is not.
This sequence of events has helped me heal some more.
Despite the harsh reality of a broken family something has shifted in that I can talk to him without animosity or resentment. I can talk confidently. For the sake of all our children and especially the youngest there is now room for Dad to be in their life if he chooses to be.
This past week I have learnt to FORGIVE.
To GRIEVE again.
To ACCEPT what is.

 

Advertisements

Unfriendly **Reminders**

Life keeps us busy filling our minds to full capacity. The fuller the mind the more we start scribbling onto our calendars important reminders of events or errands which ensure we are sticking to our commitments. Those of us who are tech savvy like to use our computer calendars! Whichever way we choose to set up our all-important reminders the pressure to REMEMBER is lessened.

Events and errands chop and change from one week to the next yet the yearly all important dates we have celebrated every year are generally not put on the calendar as a reminder but rather a HIGHLIGHT of that day which builds anticipation. Families get together and celebrate birthdays!!! While couples take time out to remember anniversaries.

Having experienced a marriage breakup some seven and a half months ago I thought I would share about a confronting reminder that pops up particularly in the first year. Clearly the first year is the hardest for any difficult situation, whether a break up or a death in the family, both situations share in common GRIEF.

When a good or bad relationship falls apart significant reminders within that first year can be very confronting stirring up unwanted and painful emotions.

Not too many weekends ago it would have been our 28th Wedding Anniversary. During the week leading up to that day I experienced moments in which sadness overwhelmed me for short periods of time. It happened at work sitting in front of the computer while focused on doing my job. Background music in the office penetrated through my work focused brain and reminded me that my marriage was over! Sitting at the usual coffee spot for a bite of quick lunch a few days later set me off into fighting back tears of sadness, the tears lost their fight as I tried hard to compose myself in order to make my way back into the office.

The night before that dreaded DAY I spent a fun evening with my sisters. Waking up on the first broken anniversary I felt positive, I was convinced that the day was not going to get to me.  After all I had spent some tears already the week prior.

The day turned out beautifully as we visited a lovely country café with my gorgeous parents. The anniversary topic surfaced on several occasions that day, it seemed that I was doing well and I felt some relief thinking there was not going to be any emotional torrents of sadness anymore.

Despite all of my positivity a sudden flow of unexpected tears erupted later on in the afternoon as a large wave of sadness hit me, washing me over once again with GRIEF.

What would have been our anniversary was one of those REMINDERS that my marriage was finished. I felt similar emotions as we experienced our first Christmas after the break up.

It seems all the FIRSTS of special occasions pop up as reminders of what once was….

The intensity and frequency of grief changes, in the beginning it is as though you are out at sea helpless amidst natural forces as sadness and anger are relentless.  As time moves on the intensity softens as does the frequency. Daily sadness shifts into random moments often weeks apart.

Letting go of what once was can be one of the hardest experiences we face in life. When we have spent decades with someone whether it was good times or bad it’s impossible to simply move on instantly as though that person never existed. I often hear people say that dealing with the loss of a loved one who has passed is far easier to handle than a break up. People that have passed are physically gone forever. A partner no longer in a relationship with you is still out there living life. If you have kids with them the opportunities of having to interact are increased. In my situation while I have five children to my previous partner four of them are grown up adults living their own lives. While I do have a 9 year old to look after unfortunately his dad hasn’t been interested in keeping contact.  In some ways I can count myself lucky that I haven’t had to see my previous partner as I’m still under one year of break up and unable to comprehend having to see him any time soon.

I’m more than happy for additional time to pass before I need to cross that bridge. My hope is that  for whatever reason I have to face him one day down the track my heart will have healed enough that it won’t affect me anything like it would at this time.

That is possibly one of the worst parts about our break up story. The unhealthy marriage was dragged out for far too long which meant that the break up was extremely intense and painful. There was no adult discussion or mutual agreements.

Life is going to bring us unfriendly reminders. Breakups are painful. Anything that reminds us of pain is what we all want to avoid particularly in that first year! I’m more hopeful than I have been in a long time. The more my life moves on the less last year’s break up affects me.

Pain and hurt start falling behind like a competitor competing in a race only to find themselves coming last while your LIFE moves on and starts WINNING!!!

 

 

Holding hands with the future

Our lives are marked by significant events that eventually begin blending in with the ticking of time. Significant events tend to go from one extreme to another. There is the gift of new life and the death of a life lived. There is the excitement of the first kiss to the reality of becoming a responsible adult. A mum experiences the joy of nurturing her newborn baby only to grieve when it comes time for them to leave the nest while a dad painfully walks their daughter down the aisle handing them over to another man.  There is the Joy and celebration of the “big wedding day” to the unfortunate event of a broken wife and husband who must pick up pieces of themselves after their marriage falls apart. Naturally we all much prefer the “happily ever after” versions of significant events.

We often live for significant events!

The “buzzing excitement” of events glues us to our calendars as we do the big countdown. Those types of events couldn’t come around fast enough. They are distinguished with milestones in age, education or career promotion.  You will often see people counting down their much anticipated holiday of a lifetime on social media. All around the world a countdown begins before midnight on New Year’s Eve which signifies the beginning of a New Year finalising the previous one. Most people hold close to their heart dreams and hopes that the New Year will be much better than the last.

On the other end of the spectrum we may find ourselves counting down the days that have marked a very painful significant moment in time.

We may be thinking to ourselves “this time last Thursday” such and such happened, desperately trying to grasp at accepting the reality of how life has changed. It continues into the next week in which we vocalise the fact that now two weeks has passed. The pain keeps us focused on the ticking of the clock from one hour to the next day and the next week!

The realisation that the painful event is heading to the three month mark leaves us surprised. How could it possibly be that long ago already? You may feel a mixture of sweet and sour. On one hand you are grateful that the event is nearly three months behind you. Then on the other hand you may feel afraid. The fear sends you revisiting the past in an attempt to stay with the painful event so that you have something to hold onto as to completely let it go is unthinkable and frightening.

To completely let it go means to move on.

The more time that passes the more the days begin blending into each other. You stop counting the days, weeks and months. That painful day settles in your memory as something that happened in 2016.

Personally I have yet to experience the death of a loved one and I have heard it said that as time passes the person left behind is scared to be happy again. They don’t want to forget their special person but rather do anything to keep the memories alive. To allow oneself to live again means letting go of that special person and moving on with life.

I’ve experienced moments as a mum in which memories of my children being small had me wishing I could go back to those days. The trouble is that the ticking clock kept going. Before I knew it one birthday blended into the next and suddenly four out of my five children are grown up adults. They no longer need their mum in the same way as when they were younger. It takes time to move on from being a fulltime mum and that in itself is a grieving process.

Unlike remote controls that are capable of rewinding, pausing and fast forwarding, as humans we can’t turn back time. Time doesn’t stand still nor can we escape the current moment and just bypass into the future. As each ticking of the clock passes we live through each minute and hour.

Remote controls give you a menu button so that you can choose which movie or t.v. show to watch. Life doesn’t provide us with menus to choose. While we have some control over our decisions we have no control over other peoples. We have no control over life’s tragedies.

While we have no menu to work from there are definite certainties about life. Everyone on planet earth will at some point experience the joy of a happy significant moment in time which is forever etched in the depths of one’s memory and heart.

Unfortunately each of us will at some point experience painful and tragic events.

However,

each person is provided with a brand new day. When one day is finished the next day arrives. Each new day can be a fresh start! As one day blends into the next the painful moments disappear into the past. We may forever remember them yet the pain attached slowly disappears. The sadness fades. The grief fades.  Each new day arrives fresh and new, we have the opportunity of having a better day, month or year. Smiles return to our faces as strong as the sun shines in the morning.

Life hurts there’s no doubt about that!

A new day always arrives there’s no doubt about that!

We each get a fresh start and an opportunity to smile again.

 

In the thick of pain it is very hard to let go yet eventually as each new day comes and goes with the ticking of the clock you will be able to hold hands with the future and let go of the past.

Mixed emotions…..

Mixed emotions can feel like pieces of you have just been cut up and put into a blender to be made into some kind of smoothie. Only this smoothie is bitter and tasteless, it’s one of those drinks you wouldn’t make for your worst enemy.

It sounds like a harsh recipe but life can be harsh sometimes!

When living through an extremely harsh time it can feel like you are slowly sipping that bitter tasteless smoothie by force. You don’t want to drink it but somehow it feels as though you’re being forced too.

While you are drinking this horrible drink you can see others enjoying their chocolate smoothie and you just wish you could swap with someone for just a moment and have a taste of something better instead of bitter.

The mixed emotions start to have a voice and all you can hear are the words “Why me?”

It’s difficult when emotions are skipping from sad to angry,  all the while hoping for  some happy every now and then.

The sad and angry emotions can feel like they are taking over and turning you into a different person. A person you never thought you would  be. You can feel scared of becoming  lost as your usual self isn’t around so much anymore.

When it comes to these mixed emotions you realise after sometime that you don’t get a switch to turn them off. There is no timer. There is no telling how long they are going to last.

Other questions begin to surface such as; what if, why was I so stupid, how can this happen, how is it possible to hurt so much.

When you are living with these mixed emotions it can feel as though strangers can read your private story because you feel so raw, vulnerable and broken.

Life takes on a sort of frozen state. You try  hard to get life back to normal but the sad and angry emotions have become your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You begin to remember life as it used to be when you didn’t need to deal with these emotions with such intensity. No amount of remembering brings you out of the current situation. It remains like a bad nightmare.

You realise after sometime that there is no quick fix through, any shortcuts or super heroes that will come and rescue you from this pain. As hard as we may fight against it, there is no winning until you get to the other side of it.

This my friend is  the story of grief……♥