Having been married for 39 years and divorced for only two, I'm not sure if the date the marks the thud of a judges gavel, should be acknowledged like the date that marks the sound of wedding bells. I'm pretty sure it shouldn't. Either way, both dates cast a shadow on my calendar.
Two full years into a life gone solo, I have learned so many things about myself. I don't wish anyone the pain of a divorce, but I hope everyone gets a chance to understand the "me" in their selves and not just the "us". I believe now that in the end, it would actually make a better coupling, a better "us". If I can get passed the hesitation of offering up my heart again, I will definitely remember this.
Admittedly, when I was married, I wanted to be Olivia Walton, making applesauce cake when company was coming. And then, defer all difficult situations to my husband, John, who would look at me and say "I'll take care of it Liv." So it's rather surprising that my marriage lasted three times longer than that show.
But what is even more astonishing to me is that I had, within, the ability to handle the hard stuff the whole time. Just never felt the need to own it. I don't feel that way anymore. Am I tougher? No. My heart is always firmly on my sleeve. Stronger would be a better word. Like a piling beneath the bridge, I can handle the weight...so far.
During the weekend of the second anniversary of my divorce, Pope Frances was visiting Philadelphia, just 15 minutes from my home. Now, I'm a Methodist by baptism, and not a very good one at that. I am, however, a believer. I have prayed more in the past two years than I have my whole life. As I watched hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make the journey to see this man, I felt solidarity. I may be alone in my prayers, but not in my beliefs. In my heart I knew that, but it was sure good to see. Maybe that is what church is for. A celebration of common faith.
So, two years in and I'm not only standing, I'm still moving! For the first time ever, I purchased a car! I know women do this everyday, but it was my first time. When the transmission on my large SUV started racing, I started researching! In the end, I downsized my car, my payment and my gas mileage. And then refused to sign the paperwork until the dealer offered an extended 5 year bumper to bumper warranty. Not too shabby!
I've become my own accountant, handyman (um..handywoman) and care taker. I'm also a slimmer version of myself. Not thin, by any means, but I eat healthier than I ever have. Egg white omelet with spinach and goat cheese is usually dinner once a week. Or, grilled chicken and a salad work too! I seldom cook a starch...potatoes, pasta, rice, items used to fill the three males in my former life. (If truth me told, after a long day, a bowl of cereal can be dinner.) Plus, I prefer to save my carb consumption for really great bread - anytime! Cooking is different now. Not bad, just different. And, when I feel the need to open up the kitchen a little, I arrange a family Sunday dinner!
Family has always been, and remains, my catapult to a life well lived. And now, a grandson who actually makes my heart beat faster with each step I take toward him, is the realization that all of those silent prayers have been answered. The love surrounding me as grandmother, a mom, a mother in-law, a sister, and aunt, is more than enough.
If there is a scar left from the dissolve of a 40-year marriage, it is my inability to trust. I stumble every time in this area. Sometimes in the darkness of the night, I think back on all the signs I missed, and think, "what an idiot I was." The inability to trust someone new in my life hangs around my neck. Until I can break free of this albatross, I can't bring it into a new relationship. If time truly heals all wounds, this one needs a little more time.
And, until that time comes...I must admit to enjoying the "me" I've become.
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