Friday, August 31, 2007


Forgiveness is extremely liberating. It appears I've never truly had to forgive before now. I've written about the difficulty of being married to an abuser and the subsequent divorce. This past week-end I was looking for pictures of landscapes to paint. This involved going through myriads of pictures I've taken over the last 30 years. While doing so I relived a lifetime. The life I lived with Ronnie.

I didn't find a lot of landscapes, even though we had been all over the world, what was there was pictures of a life. There were pictures of us before going to a formal event, parties that we had given, family dinners at our house, barbeques with friends. Pictures of a life, one I no longer have. The sadness that filled my heart was extraordinary and unexpected.

However, in addition to the sadness, was anger. Anger that he allowed this 26 year marriage to die so easily and made no attempt to help save it. The divorce was his final hurt. For not only did he take away my life, he took all the assets we had accumulated over 26 years and truly left me destitute. (Fortunately, I've been there before and as hard as it is to go back to being broke, I made it.)

By Monday, I was so filled with anger and pain that I had to call and ask him why. Why he didn't want to save our marriage? Why he hid all our assets to insure that his way of life would not change? During that phone call I realized 2 things; 1. that we both still have extraordinary love for each other and 2. he couldn't help what he did because that is who he is.

He has remarried a very wealthy woman who has no children, has never been married and he doesn't ever have to work again because he hid all the money and assets we had and now he has her and her family money. Oh, and she is an only child, albeit no longer a child, but will inherit all the assets from her very wealthy family.

Ronnie has changed. Extraordinary, but true! I realized he treats her with respect because she has the "gold" and whoever has the "gold" rules. So he is respectful and different with her. At first I was conflicted. Why could he not be that way with me and our children? Then I realized, he couldn't because he had gotten away with it for so long.

That realization led me to different thinking. I am truly happy that he has, the life he apparently always wanted and that I could finally forgive him for all the past hurts. I read somewhere that "anger eats up the vessel it lives in". I no longer want to be the vessel for all that anger.

So I called him yesterday and told him how happy I am that he has the life he wants, that he and his eldest son are seeing one another again and he is spending time with our 2 granddaughters for the 1st time in 6 years. That phone call healed my heart. It is no longer filled with all that anger, it is filled with forgiveness.

Always learning,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

When Life Throws You A Curve!

It seems that when we least expect it, life changes. Sometimes our lives change for the better and sometimes for the worst. Every moment is so precious because we never know when a change is coming. I haven't written for months. In December I had foot surgery and was in a cast for 3-1/2 months and really not able to sit at the computer to write.

No sooner had I become mobile again when my mother became ill. It was a life changing experience. My mother had shingles. We've all known people who have had the disease. The pain is incredible and can last for months or even years. Generally the rash is on the abdomen or around the hips.

Not my mom. She always does things a little better than anyone else. (In this case, it was much worse.) My mom had shingles down her right arm. For those of you who don't know what shingles is, it is herpes zoster. The same disease we know as chicken pox. If one has had chicken pox, as those of us pre vaccine, we have this virus sitting in our bodies ready to attack. It can be brought on by stress and that is usually what brings it on. It is not contagious if you have had chicken pox. However, if you have never had the disease you should not be near anyone with shingles. This applies especially to babies.

Shingles start in the spinal column and then work their way down the nerve endings, ergo the pain. My mom had the rash on her right arm. It was diagnosed very quickly so she never had the blisters that can accompany the disease. However, what happened to her was so much worse than just the pain. Because it went down her arm, she completely lost the use of her right arm. Overnight she went from complete independence to one who was completely dependent on others for her care and the care of my 91 year old dad.

April, May, June and July were lost months for all of us. Every day there were doctors appointments, either for mother or dad. Physical Therapy when she was finally ready for it was 3 days per week. My calendar was filled with appointments daily. My life as I knew it stopped when I became a caretaker.

Everything revolved around their care. Getting them to the doctors, taking notes because she was so drugged up for the pain that she couldn't remember anything, getting them home. Walking the dog, putting out the garbage and recycling for pick-up and all the little things that one does for oneself but can no longer do. By the time I got home at night all I could do was wash my face, brush my teeth and fall into bed, because at 6 or 6:30 the next morning it would begin again.

I have new respect for caretakers. They are truly the unsung heroes. So many adults my age are taking care of aged parents and working and trying to live a life. We don't hear about them but perhaps you know 1 or 2 people who are in this situation. If you do, ask what you can do to help...even if it is only to make a meal to bring in or a cup of coffee. Just the kindness goes a long way.

Happily, as of last week, my mom regained the use of her arm. She is the independent woman she has always been and how wonderful for her and my dad. My life is back to normal as is hers. However, I learned a very important lesson...even in tragedy their can be blessings. It was truly a blessing to be with them every day and to listen to how smart and funny my dad is and how infuriating my mom can be. When life is "normal" we don't spend that much time with the people we love so much.

Therefore, I think the lesson is, spend time with the people you love, as much time as you can because you never know when life is going to throw you a curve.

Counting my blessings,