A Bitter Thing

It is a bitter thing to realize you are wrong.


You would think, by now, it being such a common experience for me these last months, I would be used to it.

I’m not.

I stood there, in my shower, (my thinking place) and the advice my mother in law gave me some months ago came back. Advice that I swatted away because it was ridiculous and showed that she did not know me at all.

I am over fifty. When, I ask, am I going to learn to listen to those older and wiser than me?

Okay, she has made plenty of her own mistakes. And yes, I blame her in some small part for what I am going through right now. But oh crap, she was right.

What was the advice that I did not even give five minutes of thought to?

“You should buy a condominium.”

Y’all, forgive me, I am of a certain age, and the word “condominium” conjures precisely two things: the end of the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special (“my grandmother lives in a condominium”) and every older divorced woman on TV who is trying to “reinvent herself.” Like an unbroken horse I bucked that word right off and trotted away, smug in the knowledge that it was not for me.

I am a homeowner. I have lived in houses that we owned for the last 25 years. I don’t share walls. I have too much furniture (at the time of the decision, it was all on storage containers. I could not even remember all that was there, but I knew it was a lot.) I like privacy. I have a dog. I had many many reasons why a condominium was not for me.

Now here I am. In the house I bought with all the naïveté of a twenty-something. It needs work. So. Much. Work. Every where I look, something needs doing. I am buying tools I don’t know how to use. Coming up with grand ideas that I cannot in the least afford to execute. Things my husband would have done. Easily. And enjoyed the doing. We were a good team, he and I. It was fun.

Now it all feels unbearable. A giant rock that I cannot move an inch much less push up a hill.

Spring finally came. Sunshine. Glory hallelujah. And then I turned around and there are weeds. And the grass is very long in places. I don’t own any lawn care tools. “I’ll just buy a lawnmower” I thought. And then the next thought: “Will it come in pieces to be put together?” Because y’all… that literally undoes me. I have the spatial abilities of a toddler. Scratch that. My older son was a freaking genius at puzzles when he was not even two. Of a spatially incompetent toddler. It was when I was trying to work out how I will deal with the lawn that I suddenly thought, “If I lived in a condo I wouldn’t have to worry about this.”

That was immediately followed by, “Oh. Crap. She was right.”

I should have shopped for a condo. Or even a townhome for goodness sakes. I wouldn’t have to do all these stupid home improvement projects that make me cry on the daily. I could do what I wanted. Yes, it’s not where I imagined myself at fifty-something years old. Yes, it’s a stupid 1980’s stereotype of divorced women. But there’s a reason for those stupid stereotypes. Me. I’m the reason.

The thing is, it’s too late. I own the house. I’m knee deep in the home improvements. And if you think that’s going to keep me from shopping for a townhouse online you are one hundred percent wrong. Because my brain is looking for the escape hatch and it just keeps banging into walls. Frankly, it still can’t believe this is all real. It just feels like one long drawn out nightmare.

When I was in high school we read Waiting for Godot and we teenagers thought it was hysterical. Bizarre as heck and utterly pointless and straight up comical.

“Let’s go.”
“We can’t.”
“Why not?”
“We’re waiting for Godot.”

That? Is my brain on the daily.

“Let’s put this thing together.”
“We can’t.”
“Why not?”
“We don’t know how.”
“Buy a tool!”
“Which one?”

… and on and on it goes… and it all really boils down to

“Let’s go.”
“We can’t”
“Why not?”
“We’re waiting for a miracle.”

It’s a bitter thing to realize you are wrong.


Starting Over

I’m starting over.

In almost every way imaginable.

After 29 years, my marriage hit an impasse. (Insert sound of screeching brakes and then the car hitting a brick wall at nearly full speed.)

I moved across the country. Lived with family for four months. Bought a house. Moved in.

Here I sit, at my folding table piled with tools and a bag of snacks and various things that have no place yet in this celery green house.

It is a project, I tell myself. It will be great when it is renovated. I know this from past experience. But then past experience was in another life, another world, another existence and here I feel like I am walking on a frozen pond in the spring.

I want you to know something. I am grieving. I am not empowered or strong or striking out on my own. I am lost. I pray every single day for the restoration of my marriage. Every. Single. Day. So God is very clear that I don’t want this new life I am living and yet I am trying to be mindful that He is here. If I go down to the depths… still He is there. Here. Now. I say this because the most common response to my sharing about the hard thing I am going through is to tell me that I will be surprised by how strong I am and all I can do. I appreciate the desire to cheer me up, but it is misguided.

Any strength I have is God’s. Any moment that I muster the courage to do the next thing is only because the Holy Spirit lives in me and He gave me a shot of spiritual adrenaline. And when I fall apart (usually right in the middle of doing the next thing) He will tell me it’s okay to cry. He is not uncomfortable with my tears. He is not impatient with my grief.

I just thought you should know. Where I’ve been. Where I am now. What to expect when you click over to this blog. I need to write. I haven’t written much of anything for months, because the circumstances made it hard for words to form on the page. But I need to try. Because I need to remember who I am. Who I was before I was someone’s wife and mother.

It’s going to be messy. I’m probably going to overshare and then delete the next day a few times. I might be goofy one minute, angry the next. I’ll understand if you don’t know what to say, or if it’s too much for you. God willing, someday I will write words of healing from the perspective of one who is healed. To be honest, I’m hoping to find that secret path through this dense wall of grief-tangled vines with every word that I type.

I’d love it if you’d walk a ‘ways with me.