Sunday, February 10, 2013
Half empty, Half full
But, in fairness, we both were. It is an unavoidable trend for a person who is unhappy...even if they, themselves, can't see the unhappiness. It leaks out. Like when you try to pour 8.2 ounces into an 8 ounce travel mug. Not a lot leaks out, but what does escape stains your clothes and often burns your hand. Unhappiness colours everything in your world to the point you don't even notice the grey filter over your lens.
When "the worst thing that could happen", happened; followed by the "even worse thing that could happen" within hours, I got a wake up call from the Universe. Did my negativity attract the bad stuff? I doubt it. Bad stuff happens in everyone's life. Mine just decided to all happen in the space of 48 hours.
In my journey to where I am now, I made a conscious decision to look for the positive. And believe me, there were many days there was not a lot of it around. At the start I spent most of my time accepting condolences on the double whammy life had handed me. After a while I realized I had to reframe those events or they were going to pull me irretrievably into the Pit of Despair.
The easiest reframing was dealing with Mom's death.
Don't get me wrong, I miss her ever minute and wish I could not just ask her what she thinks about the things going on in my life -- work, parenting, romance -- BUT ALSO hear the answer clearly.
But Mom and I had talked about death. Not hers specifically, but that is what we were really talking about. She spoke to me of friends who were taken to the hospital and who had lain, somewhere between alive and dead for weeks, months and some even years. She talked about, Glenn, a distant cousin of ours who was a fixture at our house when I was growing up, hiding out from his religious sister, drinking coffee and playing cards. Glenn slid into dementia before he died and spent a period of time in the local nursing home before being released to the next life. To Mom both of those fates were much worse than death. Mom did not want to linger.
She also did not want to move into a 'care home'. My sister and I had broached the subject of maybe moving into a seniors' apartment complex the summer before. Suggesting perhaps Mom would be more comfortable in a place where she would have people around to socialize with and where the day-to-day chores would be taken care of by someone else. She was pretty adamant: "My next move will be out West on the hill next to your Father."
Yup, that pretty much said it. After decades of caring for others, she was totally happy in the small, but comfortable ground floor apartment where she lived for the last 14 or so years before she died. She did not want to end her days dependent.
When she died . . . at 85 after a year of less than quality life caused by a bout of shingles that had started almost a year earlier . . . I knew she was at peace. She had the good death she had wanted.
The end of my marriage.
Well it was harder to find the silverlining in that event. I still loved my husband. Part of me wanted to believe he was just 'going through a phase' and that he would end up back on my doorstep asking to put things back together. Let's just say I wasn't ready to process that particular loss yet . . . it took another year, at least, before I not only accepted that the marriage was over BUT also that it had not been as blissful as I had wanted to believe. At least in the last few years.
Once I made that paradigm shift, I realized that while Renfrew and I had continued to inspire growth in each other (for me helping the other person grow is a big part of what defines a marriage), the ONLY type of growth we had been encouraging was negative. Instead of bringing out the best in each other, as well we did for many years; we now brought out the worst. Renfrew's growth is his to tell. My growth was in the areas of sharpening a nasty tongue, prolonged pouting, sarcastic comments, ice freezing glares and generally bitchiness. I now acknowlege that for about the last year or so, I wouldn't have wanted to live with me.
Now I realize the real death knell to our marriage was simple: We stopped being KIND to each other.
I can also now frame the loss by what I have gained.
We get along . . more than just being civil to each other . . . we are able to participate in things together and to be a part of our child's life. She sees us laugh together and cooperate.
The end of our marriage did not negate the good years we shared or the love. Love (as I've said before) is the true content of ALL relationships. The form of our relationship as 'marriage' was no longer working for either of us. The form of our relationship as dear friends who share a history and a child is what IS now. It is still one of love.
From the end of our marriage, I learned I could forgive and make peace. I cannot emphasize what a true GIFT this is.
The end of our marriage brought a new friend into my life in the form of Renfrew's new wife. Some people marvel that I like her. Well, why on earth wouldn't I? Renfrew is still basically the same person he was when we chose each other. Stands to reason that he would chose someone similar to me. And that she is. He always had phenomenal taste in women. In fact, there are times I think Renfrew gets a bit nervous when the Pumpkin, she and I are plotting together.
The end of our marriage has brought other people into my life. A new career and new co-workers. A move and new neighbours. And last but not least a new man who is becoming part of my life.
Yes, my glass is more than half full these days. It runneth over.