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Picture taken by my friend Cyndi Leos....thank you Cyndi.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

To The Moon and Back...

Image from Pinterest

Answering a question as to why he cheated on his wife...

"We evaporated.
We used to always be
in a good mood...
All the time
we were laughing, joking,
wisting and making up songs.
Then we started to impersonate
ourselves being in a good mood...
Eventually,
we started impersonating ourselves.
We stopped describing
our future to one another...
What we had just evaporated...
I saw my assistant
and just felt a connection...
I went with it...
I told myself I wanted
what every one else had...
but what I really did
was give up
on a love 
everyone else wanted."

Ray Liotta
in
The Comeback Season

I always tell my husband I love him to the moon and back...
and that I am in love for the last time in my life.  
He tells me he is in love for the first time in his life...

Last night we watched the movie I quoted above, and this particular dialogue from the movie made me think about the commitment and effort it takes to keep a marriage from evaporating...
My husband and I just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary... 
it zipped by, and we could not believe how fast the time went...
It made me grateful for what we have together in our relationship.

A big difference from my first marriage which ended after ten years and felt like it had been fifty.  
I always felt like my first husband spoke only Russian and I spoke English...we could not communicate. 
I always thought if I was open, honest and willing to discuss anything, we would have wonderful communication in our marriage, but I quickly learned, the one least capable of exposing one's feelings and thoughts, sets the tone of a couple's intimacy and communication.

I've lived long enough to realize no one is perfect. No matter how long we know someone prior to marriage or committing to live together, dynamics change and often it is not exactly how we thought it would be... but the stronger relationships, keep at it, adapt and work toward the bigger picture of becoming an "us". We are all unique and have our ups and downs.  The easier one can accept the differences between spouses, the better a couple gets along.  If one wants things 100% one's own way, all the time, then one should stay single.

My husband and I have different interests, preferences, moods and needs, but we have enough in common to alleviate any serious problems.  We both love to laugh and joke, which help us navigate through almost any situation.  Even when one of us is upset with the other, 90% of the time, it ends up with both of us laughing.

We never go through a day without telling or showing our love for one another and like I said, laughing.  We each compliment one another's strengths and weaknesses. My husband is very neat and tidy, which means I don't have to pick up after him.  Something I had to do constantly with my first husband, and I resented it immensely.  

Our home here is very peaceful and relaxing. It is our refuge. Our guests always comment on how well they sleep, how cozy and comfortable they feel when they come for a stay.  I always get a huge smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside when family and friends tell us this...

To be fair, I only knew my first husband four months before we eloped.  Nine months later, I was pregnant with my first daughter and then 9 months later, pregnant with my second.  My daughters were 18 months apart and kept me very busy.  In some ways, it was like having twins.  My first husband needed anger management classes, to say the least.  He had a very short fuse.  It was like living with a rattlesnake, I never knew when he would coil and strike with venomous words...

He wore a mask of calm and humor for the short time before we married; then shed it like a snake discards his skin quickly after, telling me it was all my fault.  Honestly, I married him because I wanted children.  My biological clock was banging so loudly, I dismissed all logic and reason because we both wanted marriage and children.  He wanted to be a good husband, provider and Father, but we had never taken the time to discuss what each of those things meant to each of us in any detail....only generalities and wishful thinking...

The reality of our differences soon became evident, but by then, we had two small daughters.  I worked nights and he worked days, so that helped prolong the marriage... but the distance between us were as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon...

Despite attempts at counseling, I realized I could no longer justify his behavior and allow my daughters to think it was OK for a man to treat a woman the way he was treating the girls and I.  I don't regret the marriage, for what it taught me, but more importantly, for giving me my two precious daughters.

I learned a lot raising my girls on my own.  I needed to know how strong and capable I was.  

When they were both grown and on their own, I met the man who is now my husband and the love of my life.  I had a home of my own and a good job.  All my friends and I felt I finally had arrived into the light at the end of the tunnel... 

My husband was divorced but still going through a nasty property settlement with a very angry, unhappy, ex-wife.  He was in debt and had two children under 18, with the older one repeatedly running away...  He had two other ex-wives and four grown sons with four grand children.  I needed a score card to keep everyone straight.  He jokes with me and asks, "Now what number wife are you?" and I always answer, "I am number 4-EVER!"

He had been through the mill during his twenty year marriage with his last wife.  She had kicked him out after meeting her new boyfriend, who she moved in to live with her and the two younger kids.  I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, it was like he had been through a war and had been emotionally  traumatized.  

I could see he had a good heart and was a kind, generous, family man. I really liked him and loved his laugh. We both needed and wanted a friend. I had disconnected myself from a fifteen year on again, off again relationship with my former boyfriend.  So we both were understandably reluctant to get into another relationship.  We were both looking for some fun companionship.

I had always pontificated the pearls of wisdom in starting a relationship with friendship rather than sexual attraction, but in my past, was too hung up on the attraction to follow through with my philosophy...maybe older and wiser, I was willing to pursue the friendship aspect.

We took it slow...so slow, we only hugged and barely kissed.  Both of us were extremely wary of reverting back to our prior mistakes...  six months after we met, we both knew we wanted to be exclusive and become a serious couple. We had taken the time to get to know one another and loved what we learned. A year later he proposed and we married one month after 911.
The day of our wedding, I never felt so calm and so sure of anything in my life...

Our biggest challenge has been our move here to Henderson, Nevada.  We came here for a better job opportunity for him in 2005.  Meanwhile, my oldest daughter had my first grand son and was pregnant with the second. Obviously, I did not want to leave them.  Financially, we needed to make this move.  He promised if I did not like it, we could move back... who knew the economy and and housing market would take a deep dive into a financial abyss....

I am happy within my marital relationship, yet I long to find contentment and happiness living where we live now...

Life happens, unfolding the cards it deals to each of us.  Our Pastor told me my place was with my husband, so we moved. Fourteen months ago, my younger daughter delivered my third grand son.  I know I still feel guilt in not being more available for both my daughters, helping with my grand sons... it haunts me.  Some times I attempt to take it out on my husband, who always tells me despite the financial loss we would suffer, if I really wanted to move back, we could...but we would both have to take jobs which would give us less time to spend with the kids.

One of the reasons I have not been blogging, is because I get tired of writing about this all the time.  I have convinced myself, because I no longer live close to my daughters and grand sons, I will not be happy and no longer have a purpose in life.  This attitude of mine is a burden.  It is not how I normally operate.  I have always done the best I could with what I had to deal with... until now...

I know I need to commit myself to making the best of it, rather than busying myself and feeling like I am  faking it.  Faking it is no way to live.

It seems everything I read, talks of warning the elderly from becoming isolated... and feeling isolated is exactly how I feel...

It would be easier for my emotional state to pack up and move back to California...but my husband and I are partners.  Being partners, we each look out for one another.  He is 72 and I am 64...definitely no longer spring chickens.  We have to be more mindful of our financial situation. We do not want to end up being a financial burden to our children... My husband retired a year ago last October after working in banking for over 50 years.  He has some health issues, so working again, may put additional pressure and stress back on him... I have a bad back which seems to get worse the older I get...besides, he deserves to be retired.  He has worked hard, raised six children and financially supported each one generously.

If we had not moved here, we would not be in any financial situation to retire.  In California, he had difficulty finding work which did not require a two hour commute time both ways.  We both worked full time with only the weekends to relax, making it also, the only time to see family.  

I sound like I am justifying.  Another reason I hate writing about this subject. Examining these feelings is painful and disturbing.  All my life I dreamed of having time to write and paint.  The blogging spiked my quest for realizing some of my creative endeavors and I did take some painting classes while my husband was working...Admitting I may be the problem for my unhappiness makes me want to pull the covers of denial tightly over my head...

Now I feel I have come to a dead end.  I make excuses for not being creative due to my loneliness for my family and the collection of stuff I cling to for sentimental reasons and from my attempts to busy myself faking my purpose...

I have stopped going to church.  I stopped my search to find some meaningful volunteer work after my disillusionment with Hospice training.  (I was being used more for my clerical talents than for the one on one patient care I had trained for.)  I don't pursue activities which would give us more opportunities to meet other couples or friends for each of us. More and more I stay inside, rather than going outside, doing things I enjoy doing. If it wasn't for my dog Izzy, I would rarely see the light of day... I spend too much time dwelling on feeling sorry for myself...

I could be pouring my pent up feelings into abstract art and writing my poetry more often...instead I have allowed it all to bottle up and dam itself, clogging my life like a storm drain.

My goal is to get it all out...expose myself for the weak, procrastinating, quitter I am... in hopes my inner strength and courage will rise, take hold and propel me in some positive, self healing, productive direction so I can relieve myself from all the guilt and unhappiness I feel.

Just like any good relationship, it is working through the good, the bad and the ugly. We are all selfish, but it means putting myself in my partner's position and seeing things from his perspective and visa versa.  It is realizing I have raised my daughters and now they continue in the circle of life, raising their families. It is my time... and why, do I feel so selfish in saying that?

Part of my problem is the fact I always saw my life purpose as being a successful full time Mother and Grandmother.  I only dreamed of pursuing my creative endeavors... 

Am I fooling myself?  
Are those dreams really important to me?  
By not trying to fulfill all my life's dreams, am I not living fully? 
Am I afraid of failing at my creative dreams? 
Am I making excuses to keep from moving forward?
Is it safer to cling to the more familiar pursuit of being a good mother? 
Why do I feel so guilty?
Why do I feel I have abandoned my family?
Is that why I feel so isolated?
If we did move back, where would we live? Other than our loved ones and the beach, there is no real attraction to California... 
Why do I hesitate in giving myself permission to be happy?
Is being closer to family the only way I can feel happy?
Am I selling myself short?
Have I really tried to make the best of it here?
Do I need some counseling?
Does any of this make any sense?

We have lived here six years the end of this coming January... I should think my "empty nest syndrome" should have worked itself out by now...if, that is what it is...

I shared my thoughts with a very dear blogging friend and she told me it took her ten years...  At least I live close enough to drive to see them and it only takes up to 4 hours...( here I go justifying again...)

I feel I have written myself into a corner...a feeling I have been having a lot lately...hence, the reason for my blogging break...I am not sure where this post is suppose to go from here.  Often, this is where I click on view blog instead of publish post and keep my feelings in draft for myself.  Keeping my feelings to myself will not help me get to where I want to go...which is, to the moon and back...

13 comments:

Mari said...

Oh Donna - Good for you for being honest with your feelings. It's not been an easy path and I wish I had some great advice for you. My only advice is to keep praying. Also, start reading the Psalms. When things are tough for me, I find a lot of comfort in them.
I'm praying for you.

Wanda..... said...

You write of your feelinngs well, Donna. It all makes perfect sense to me and is so similar to my own situation 25 years ago. Husband's company moved to the next state over, right at the time my daughter was expecting our 1st grandchild. We had always lived in our hometown, my mother was here, youngest son was still in high school and one just married. Long story short, I chose to stay in our home and husband would commute back on weekends. There were plenty of guilt feelings on my part! After 10 years, husband retired early.

Different outcome, but my point is whatever we choose, I believe we all come to a point of questioning our purpose. My mother passed 4 years ago, my grandchildren have grown, my days became empty, after always being a stay at home mom and caregiver for most of my grandchildren, while their parents worked.

Daughter introduced me to blogging, which helped a little...special friendships developed, but I think a mail art group that developed through my blogging has added the most to my life. It gives me a creative outlet, along with developing deeper meaningful friendships with several women around the world. Has opened my eyes to how others live in many different situations, all making the best of what their life presents them.

Find an outlet...for creativity and thoughts, as letter writing and mail art does for me. I use it to stay in touch with my oldest granddaughter, who has moved 2,000 miles away. Skyping too helps to stay in touch with loved ones we can't be with! Life is made up of moments... best to accept the moment we are in and enjoy it to the fullness. We all have things we would change, if we could though.

Hope

DJan said...

That was some outpouring, Donna! I read it all, hoping to find some way to help, but of course the only thing I can do is tell you that I've been there. I cannot tell you how much better I feel when I get some exercise (but you know that, I write about it all the time) so I'm glad Izzy is getting you outside.

I am hoping you will continue to use your posts as a way to vent, because if you do it long enough, I believe a way forward will emerge. I will hold you in my heart and wish you well.

Thanks for NOT leaving this in draft form.

That corgi :) said...

I am glad you put your feelings down on paper, Donna. It is hard. I understand some of what you are feeling (believe you me and you know that). It is hard when you want to be somewhere else and you are "stuck" where you are at. It is good that you are committed to the marriagc, committed to the relationship, committed to your husband. Yet I know your heart is also somewhere else too. It is a struggle.

I do hope you continue pursuing you and your thoughts, getting them down here, working through them, seeing how you can best make it work with what you have to work with. Believe you me, I understand that part.

The only thing that has kept me sane here and from literally bolting is God and also our church family. Without them and being part of a small group, volunteering at church, etc I think I would have been gone by now. So I do wish you would consider at least thinking about going back to church, when you are ready, and making yourself get involved with something there. I know it is tough. I'm usually one that takes a few years to warm up to getting involved in church, but I think God was prodding me to get involved sooner here. It literally has been a life saver and marriage saver, believe you me.

hugs to you Donna. I don't have any answers; will pray for you.

betty

Betty said...

Thank you for sharing your heart Donna! You have had a hard time, I can tell. I can´t give you any advice though, I just wish I could give you a big cyber (((HUG)))!

Kass said...

WOW!

You are feeling and going through a lot!

I love the way you put Ray Liotta's monologue in poem form. Very insightful and revealing.

"...the one least capable of exposing one's feelings and thoughts, sets the tone of a couple's intimacy and communication." - You are so right. I've been married twice. I've been single for 16 years. I really relate to so much of what you write here. I believe in marriage, that's why I divorced 2 times. One person can't hold a marriage together.

Is is possible you are suffering from a chemical depression? I'm not big on anti-depressants, but you sound a little chemically imbalanced. Perhaps some alternative, natural mood enhancers...

I've been to Henderson. I would be a little depressed too.....

Don't put your LIFE in draft. Do something. Exercise. Make your bucket list. Do one thing every day that is frivolous and just for you.

Holding positive thoughts for you,
Kass

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

A very reflective post to the moon and back Donna. Take Care.

Kass said...

I left a long message. It hasn't showed up yet.

Donna B said...

Hi Kass,

Sorry...I had not published any of the comments... just did now.

Maybe I was hesitating because you suggested I might be chemically imbalanced...wasn't sure I wanted that "out there", but it how you felt, your opinion, and I appreciate the feedback. I don't think I am chemically imbalanced, but I know I am unhappy. I need to reconnect with myself. I need to revisit all the things I thought made me happy or things I used to enjoy doing and see if it still fits.

Since I wrote this post, I find myself bubbling over with previously stuffed feelings. I have been very vocal and even reactionary...my poor husband. Today he came from grocery shopping and got the wrong teabags...and I went off on a verbal lashing of not knowing me well enough to know the type of tea I like.... (well, maybe I AM chemically imbalanced...LOL...)

Not sure if you visited the OLD Henderson, or the NEW Henderson, but the area we live in, is only six years old. The new Henderson is about 20 years old. Old Henderson is the area above Boulder Hwy and Water St is the main drag. The new Henderson, Green Valley, Seven Hills area is very family friendly and a beautiful area, 45 minutes from the Strip.

Thank you so much for your feedback and input about marriage and relating to some of my feelings. I really appreciate you and your thoughts.

I have taken myself to counseling several times during my life and have always found it rewarding and enlightening. If I feel myself headed toward that direction again, I will definitely embrace it.

Other than my cholesterol medication, vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, Vitamin C, fish oil, I am not a big pill person. I do take half of a .25mg tab of Xanax if I fly or go on water, other than that, my prescription usually expires before I use it.

Mostly, I feel out of touch with myself and feel I need to reconnect. I feel I need an internal purge...to get all the toxins and crap out of me so I can feel the real me again...

I am thinking long term, in the next 20 years, where I want to live to be my happiest self. Whether I would be OK to live so far from those I love when I am 80 plus years old...because, right now, I don't think I would. Right now, I feel like I don't care how much money we would lose on our current home to get back to CA, because there is no price too high for happiness and "if there is a will, there is a way"...

I don't want to put my life on hold or in draft form...I want to LIVE IT full throttle with a big, smile on my face.

Thank you for caring enough to nudge me and challenge me. I look for that in a good friend.

Donna B said...

Linda Lou: Thank you Linda...

Betty: Thank you so much for the cuber hug, it was wonderful. I know you know how difficult it is being away from your two daughters... Your continued support means so much to me.

betty (That Corgi) Thank you my friend. I know we share similar struggles. I agree 100% with you...not only is my relationship with myself lacking, but I have definitely allowed my connection with the Lord flounder.. I have no idea why I have allowed this to happen because it gives me such peace, calm and direction.

I have been re-evaluating thoughts about volunteering... I also have a friend who keeps inviting me to attend Bible Study with her...I know it is the Lord giving me an opportunity to come back to him.

I know I love to write, so blogging more regularly and staying in better contact with my blogging friends is definitely something I want to do. I am also exercising more and preparing for Christmas, so it does take up a lot of the time I was spending writing.

It sounds selfish, but church and Bible Study is also a good place to meet friends. I enjoy the communication with my blogging friends, but I need the one to one interaction to share a lunch and do things together....

I'm dedicated to getting to my bottom line...I plan to leave no stone unturned to reconnect with myself...

Thank you again for being such a good friend and confidant. Bless you.

Donna B said...

Hi DJan...I agree. Not a good idea to leave my life in draft form. Thank you.

I am exercising...not to the level you are of course, you are so dedicated! I am walking Izzy twice a day which is tricky since it gets dark around 4:30pm. Been doing some floor exercises and some yoga poses I remember from years ago. It does make me feel good...but ACTION is always a positive method to break free of inertia.

We need to make a date for some Face Time on our macs...when is good for you?

Donna B said...

Hi Wanda,

Thank you for sharing your story with me.

I agree...blogging and the friends I have met have really helped me and opened up a whole new world for me. I also need a creative outlet. Blogging has introduced me to various ways people express their creativity and reintroduced myself to my love of writing.

I used to think painting with acrylics was my outlet of choice... it let me to explore water color and abstract painting, where before, everything I painted in the past had to be "picture perfect" which is why I stopped painting. Too frustrating.

Watercolor was an exercise in learning to set myself free, trusting what I saw in my mind's eye was merely a starting place. I even explored abstract painting and enjoyed it.

I think now, I plan on getting back to painting to see if it still holds that special connection for me...if it doesn't, I plan on giving away my supplies and focusing in on my writing or wherever this quest leads me...but bottom line, I want my happiness factor back.

Part of that happiness factor has always been my family and being involved with their lives. All five of my sibling's are grown, most have grown children and busy lives. I am the only one with grand children. It's really an emotional challenge to be so far from my daughters and grand sons and still feel as involved in their lives as I did when we lived closer.

I suppose at this stage of my life, my purpose for being here is so much more pronounced. Sitting around thinking about it is not helping, so taking action to braille my way to the answers seems the best path to take.

I am determined to find it.

Thank you so much Wanda...I really appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Hugs to you dear friend.

Donna B said...

Mari...thank you for your prayers and I will read Psalms. I so appreciate the spiritual fellowship and guidance I get from you and from betty. Your support and friendship mean more than you know. Big hugs back to you...