I wrote this year about June 10th passing with barely a notice from me. Sophia commented and something she said really resonated with me. It turns out she was in an automobile accident 19 years ago and it has fundamentally changed her life. This is the comment that grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go: I had to throw out every plan, schedule, routine, hope and dream and make a new one for the new life I had to live. Most importantly I had to stop thinking of how it was before so I could be happy where I’m at, because that was the worst of all.
I struggle with that to this day. I try hard to let it go. I try to focus solely on my own life and the things I can control, instead of thinking about CF and all the horrible things he has done and put us through. I try to count my blessings and be thankful for the good things in my life.
Yet, I vacillate between daydreaming of karma and justice, and resigning myself to eating a giant shit sundae by dropping the rope and doing my best to let all the injustices pass me by. I can’t control it so I may as well accept it.
It is still very difficult to look back on past memories and see pictures of my house, my pool, my furniture. It’s hard to see me back in Utah, celebrating our return, hanging out with friends, having a great time, completely oblivious to the carnage that was happening. It’s still painful when I see those stupid, inspirational signs, like the ones I hung up all around my kitchen and throughout my home. It is still very hard to hear certain songs or to look back at everything my kids lost due to their father’s poor choices. Some of those memories bring on a shot-in-the-gut, stabbed-in-the-heart, heart-in-my-throat, shortness of breath type pain.
It’s been almost four years since I found out my life as I knew it was over. Four years since that message popped up on my phone, letting me know I wasn’t crazy. Letting me know that my husband of twenty years was spending his weekends with Harley, instead of visiting his mom and his best friend like he claimed.
It’s been three years since that fateful day he completely immolated my life and the lives of my children. I remember only too clearly getting that text, letting me know he had lost his job and he wouldn’t be sending me anymore money. And then silence. No need to let me know what was going on.
I have tried writing this post a few times but I always seem to get stuck. An earlier version focused on why I thought it was so difficult to move on.
No surprises here- it’s a combo of CF never tiring of fucking with me and not doing what the court order tells him to do, not being financially secure on my own, and still mourning the life I left behind.
As I wrote about CF in an earlier version:
It’s always something; I can never settle down into a comfortable, boring existence. He’s always in the background doing something. It’s been over a year and I still don’t have child support modified. He still has not paid the legal fees he owes. And he’s now decided to modify spousal support. Each time I think I’ve finally got that sonofabitch up against the rope I’m told, nope, he gets away with doing what he’s doing. It’s exhausting.
I would love to no longer have to deal with him. I would be ecstatic if the man paid what he was legally required to pay on a timely, consistent basis. But that’s not happening. So, I keep fighting the good fight. I keep insisting upon holding him accountable. That’s a choice I’m making because God knows I could throw up my hands and just say, “Do whatever you want, Jackass! I’m not coming after you anymore. I’m not going to fight anymore. Pay whatever you want, whenever you want to.”
I can try to minimize his effects as much possible. I can be miserly. I can refuse to spend a penny. I can figure out how to survive on the whole $200 I have left over each month. I can make sure I’m never looking to the current month’s support payment to pay for the current month’s expenses.
Eventually I am going to have to find another job or I’m going to have to get a fantastic promotion at my current job. I do realize I cannot rely upon him. He has absolutely no respect for the court order. I will spend the rest of my life chasing after him.
In many ways that pisses me off. If I decide to forgo any of that money I want it to be because I decided to tell him to fuck off, not because I’ve finally given up fighting him on it.
The above also plays into point #2, which is not being financially secure. A day or two after I wrote my post about almost missing June 10th I realized three years had passed and I had not made the progress I had hoped for. As I was voicing these concerns to the mobster he commented that I couldn’t expect to be where CF was in only three years, maybe not ever.
Here’s the thing- I don’t expect to ever make as much money as CF does. I do think I should expect to be able to make enough money to support myself and my kids in my own home. I’d like to make enough money to live in a house of my own and still have enough money after paying bills to go out with friends, travel, see the mobster, buy things for my kids, go out to dinner, help my daughter with college, go on a vacation or spend a weekend away.
Again, I know I’m going to have to find a new job or get a fantastic promotion because $14/hour is not going to do it for me. Not without CF’s financial aid.
Point #1 and Point #2 are small fries compared to Point #3- mourning what I have given up.
When I tried writing this the first time I focused on the fact that I don’t mourn him. I don’t miss him. I don’t want him back.
I don’t mourn the house or the new furniture. Sure, there are days when I’m looking around for something I’ll think to myself, “Damn! Why did I get rid of that?” But it’s not like I tell myself that if only I could move into another 4000 sq. ft. home with brand new furniture and a pool and a hot tub and a game room, everything would be great.
Because I didn’t focus on the man, or the house, or any of the other tangible elements I could delude myself into believing I had let go of that old life.
It wasn’t until many paragraphs into it when I wrote:
In many ways I am still mourning and grieving everything that was taken from me. Mostly I mourn what was taken away from my kids.
I know I should let it go. I’m sure that my kids have already done so. It wasn’t that long ago that Rock Star told me not to worry about it; she loves her college and her sorority and she realizes she wouldn’t have any of that if her father and I remained married and/or we hadn’t moved. Picasso seems to have a great group of friends and he has no interest in moving out of Indiana.
Maybe that’s the downfall of being the grownup. I know what they lost, and for me I didn’t get to replace it. My husband cheated and left, and we were forced to move out of our home. That was the end of my normal life as a mom. I became a working mom and was no longer around for my kids like I was. There was no more hockey, no more gymnastics, no more kids ringing my doorbell and staying at my house for hours on end. There was no more car pooling, no more driving kids to practice and games/meets. It just all evaporated and was replaced with… nothing.
I re-read it and realized, “Holy shit! I’m not mourning what was taken away from my kids! I’m mourning what was taken away from me!” Talk about your epiphany! This was exactly what Sophia was talking about!
Don’t get me wrong. I do definitely mourn the fact that my kids had to leave behind not one life, but two. What has me stuck though is everything I left behind. My kids are doing fairly well, all things considered.
It was a double whammy, really. Hell, some could consider it to be a triple whammy. I still mourn the life I left behind in Utah when CF convinced me we had this great chance to start all over in Virginia. More money. Bigger house. A pool, finally. Job satisfaction for him. A fresh start away from where he began his affair with Harley. I barely had a chance to catch my breath and begin to acclimate to life in this smallish southern town before I found out the last twenty years of my life had been a lie. This whole move had been a setup. My husband was cheating. This time there would be no reconciliation. I was heading full steam ahead towards a divorce. I was suddenly on my own- cut off financially and left to deal with the kids, the pets, the house all by myself. And then the following year I was forced from my home and had to uproot myself and my kids once again.
That’s what has me stuck. Money and memories. Financial insecurity.
I’d like to say that knowing that I am finally on my way. I have a plan. I’m embracing all the new aspects of life today. That would be a lie. When you are financially insecure your life is in turmoil.
I can say, however, I am slowly letting go of what was. It’s gone; it’s over. I’ll never get it back. Time to stick it in a scrapbook. Log it as a chapter in my life. Instead I am doing my damnedest to look ahead, to believe that eventually I will be self sufficient and that everything will work out in the end.
Sophia, your words resonated. Now to put everything into action… hmmm… easier said than done.