This became another soul-searching post, my thoughts can't seem to escape that much anymore.
1/28/07 Something in me has to add, when I write of my marriage, this is my truth, my reality as I feel it now, today, my husband has his own story, and I am very sure it is very different from my own. (Am I still protecting him? Maybe, but I really just want those who read this to remember it takes two to make a marriage, as each come to it from a different perspective, different pre-relationship lives, memories, and demons.)
Standing in the shower this morning, surrounded by steam and warmth, enjoying the streams of hot water beating down on my body, my mind following the strangest tangents. Rather melancholy tangents, those thoughts meandering through my mind.
Thoughts of the heartbreak from a relationship ending that so many I know have gone through. Heartbreak? That isn't what they feel. It isn't heartbreak, that word is not strong enough to describe what they have gone/are going through. When I think of something broken, I imagine a crack that can be repaired, there may be a small line still showing where the repair was made, but it is in most definitions of the word repaired, fixed, usable.
These people I am writing of are not just heartbroken, they are heartshattered. They have fissures of pain in their souls.
So many I have watched, listened to, read. When I think of them, it is not a break that can be quickly repaired, the pieces of their hearts do not mend easily, it takes a lot of time, effort, adjustments, sometimes pieces seem to be lost, and long moments must be spent searching to find those missing pieces. Occasionally all the pieces are not found, and there is a small hole left. The attempt was made, and life goes on, but they can still feel that missing piece.
From these thoughts I moved to my own relationship, I am heartbroken, but not heartshattered. I am trying desperately to protect myself from that. I am trying desperately to protect my husband from that. Why? Fear of not finding all the pieces of me again, but mostly the fear of shattering His life. There are many other reasons, but that is one of the biggest of them.
Back to my meandering steam-filled thoughts.......it went something this;
"I could pretend, I could do it, I can, if I focus solely on pretending that I love Him, focus solely on working at this marriage, I could do it. I could save Him/myself from that heartshattering."
"Are you crazy?!? You tried that once before, it didn't work, you lost you. You suffered more inner anguish than you could contain."
"He would feel that it was pretending, He may accept it because He thinks that is what He wants, but He would know, deep in his heart, deep in his soul He would know. He would still be in pain. Eventually we would both be pretending. I don't want that."
Then I relaxed again, wondering why that thought even entered my brain. Because it would be the ultimate in cruelty, to him, to me.
But it is fear, that is what brought it on, fear of hurting, fear of causing such intense harm to another.
We are connected on so many levels, we have grown up together, our lives are interwoven, much of me cannot be separated from him, it never will be, even if from this day forward, if I never saw him again, never communicated with him again, we are attached. Not just through our children. It is much more than that.
He has helped shape who I have become, as much as my parents did, as much as my siblings and the other important beings in my life have. But more so. I have been with this man since I was 17 years old.
Within months I knew that we did not belong together, I left, or tried to leave his life then. Several things made me go back, our friends telling me how very unhappy He was, his family telling me, my family telling me. My own grandmother telling me. All of that, in addition to my age, my then fears, made me go back. I ignored my misgivings each step along our journey together. So much ignoring, so much burying away of the truth I knew to be. Eventually we had children, one more reason to keep us together, my beliefs for so long being that my children deserved to grow-up in a two parent household. Observing the lives of other children from divorced families only seemed to give weight to my theory.
So, I tried with all that was in me to be a good wife, an exemplary mother. I tried, at different points I would begin to feel lost, but I would always find a way to get back on the right path, almost.
Throughout the many years we have been together a series of events have occurred, several years apart that have led me to my now.
The first...the birth of my daughter. I was not supposed to have a daughter.
I never accepted the fact that it could even be a possibility.
(As an aside; during my pregnancies I dreamed. In those dreams of caring for my babies, when I carried my son, I always dreamed of a boy child, when I carried my daughter, I always dreamed of a girl child. I knew she was coming into my life, I just couldn't face it. Their features were always quite clear to me, it still amazes me that they both looked so much like the children in my dreams)
At the birth of my daughter, many things happened, mostly the inner rage I had buried so long was released. Thus, I had some healing to do, me to find, protecting to do, changing to do. I was not going to raise a daughter that was not strong, that was not able to protect herself. As I began to change back into the me that had always been deep within, He fought that, many times over He fought those changes, but eventually over time, we found a compromise. I became a halfling in a sense, as a mother I was all me, strongly me. As a wife I desperately tried to maintain that image He had/I had of his 'perfect' mate.
The next me-changing event taught me, all I had tried to do over the years to mold myself into the mate He/I thought He wanted had not worked, He said something to me one day, something that to anyone else would have been very innocuous, but to me, it was the first epiphany that as a wife for him I had failed miserably. I would never measure up.
I retreated, then I hid, I turned to my best friend in the world, he saved me from me with his advice, his love, his ability to listen to me. Things went on as before.
Then two things happened, a close family member took her life, and He found out how very close my best friend and I were (He felt betrayed that I would share my inner feelings with another). He then realized, or says He did, how important I was to him. He told me that life had no meaning without me in it. I could not reject that little boy within him. (we are such enablers of each other) He attempted to, or seemed to, change his lifestyle, an overwhelming change to become a part of my life, our children's lives, in the way He thought we needed. But it was too late for me, and for our son. I didn't realize it at the time, but my trust in him, in his love was gone. Many things happened to enforce that, mostly the fact that even though we can change, grow, we cannot change the very basic inner us, deep inside we are who we are. He is who He is.
Fast forward a few years, more changes, slow insidious ones that I had not seen, I had allowed life, daily living to blind me. But it was as if one day I woke up, really opened my eyes and realized that our relationship had changed. Changed in a way I could not grasp at first. He had closed me out this time, totally, completely, there was a wall of ice around his heart as I saw it. I was the mother of his children, but that was all. I had become a nonentity in the rest of his life, a helpmate maybe, but as a woman, as a wife, I did not exist.
A few more months go by, me hoping I can put us back together, melt the ice surrounding his heart. A question asked. His tone, the way he looked at me as he answered, broke something, only this time it wasn't me that was broken, it was my defensive wall. It came tumbling down in a thundering, earthshaking moment in time. On that day I cried, body wracking sobs, as I had not cried for many years, I had learned early in life to hide my tears.
As the months streamed by, I began to explore all of those feelings, emotions I had hidden from for so long, I explored all the facets of me, the ones I was willing to face anyway, I entered into a surreal world vastly different than any I had experienced before. In the time since, I have done some things that shame me deeply, but I have also grown, am growing, becoming more.
That brings me to my now. I am still here. We/I have talked of ending our marriage twice in that span of time. Each time...words, events have kept me here. People have kept me here. But mostly fear has kept me here. Many fears, financial fears, losing my family fears, the fear of being a failure, and some I am sure I have not yet faced. But the biggest fear has been that of having to live with a shattered heart, of causing Him to have a shattered heart.
I listen to my poor sister speak of the end of her marriages, I wipe her tears, I ache to mend her heart, her soul, I ache to see her eyes shine with happiness. I ache to see her accept herself, accept her life, accept that she is a crazy-wonderful-amazing woman, when she lets herself be. But she is shattered into so many pieces, she can't find them all, though she so desperately tries. Many times through the years, I have just wanted to say, "Open your eyes, you are searching blindly, please please open your eyes, open your heart, they are there, you just can't see them."
I listen to my brothers, each in his own way shattered also. They express it differently, one who was the most spiritual among us, lost that when he lost his family, and has lost himself as well. The other, he lost himself too, but he never began his search, he is walking a very muddy path, his boots are weighted so heavily with mud, he cannot move forward, the effort seems to great.
I think of them, and other's stories, and I see my fear.
New friends have helped me see this fear.
I am hoping that finally seeing it will bring me closer to acknowledging it, perhaps welcoming it out into the open will bring me closer to having the courage to face it.