New Normal?


Today is the best I have felt in awhile. It’s one of those realizations where you don’t know how bad you were feeling until you start to feel good kind of realization.  When asked how I was doing, I simply said, “today is a good day.”  I actually worked six hours today and was not too tired at the end of the day and for once I didn’t need to take a nap after taking a shower.  Interestingly enough, the fatigue has been a fun symptom – one minute I am alert and ready to go, the next I can fall asleep at a moment’s notice.

I am still a little scared. What will my next bout of symtoms look like? I can easily see myself being dismissive of them. What is that fine line of recognizing its just a bit of a twinge or knowing that its the start of another episode?  Additionally, I am a leo, who also happens to be a high achiever. High achievers need to be measured and my measuring stick is my job. I identify with it, I love being part of the backbone, the consistency…what happens when I don’t feel like I can be that?  In the midst of my recent craziness, I was still checking and responding to emails – even if it meant typing with one finger and closing one eye in order to see the screen. I didn’t want to be seen as not pulling my weight. I shake my head now thinking about how I even paired an infusion appointment with a delivery to our mailhouse so our organization stayed on track and no one had to go out of their way– who does that? Me, apparently.

Alot of people have been shocked by the initial diagnosis…none more than me…but even with all the conflicting information out there, it seems like one consistent thing to keep the symptoms at bay is good nutrition. There are several things recommended to avoid. Of specific mention are white sugar, refined flours and saturated fats–(sigh)– the best desserts are made with all of those! Earlier this year, I starting to eat “cleaner” so some of it isn’t that much of a change for me but realizing that every bite means I am either feeding the disease or fighting it gives me a bit of a new perspective. I try not to think of all the days that lie ahead but rather just focus on the one that is in front of me. 

Tomorrow I have a video conference call with our former Arizona nutritionist. M met her during one of his physical therapy appointments and she used to come to our house. The reality for us was that trying to save money where we could meant taking advantage of a program at our local food bank. While we would come home with a lot of food most of it was bakery items, canned meats, sugary drinks, and lots of pasta noodles. If you were to look in our pantry at the time, you would have found plenty of refined flour products, lots of sugar, and plenty of things highly processed…but things that were just pennies on the dollar. We once told her during a home visit that eating healthy was expensive and she remarked, “do you know how expensive a heart attack is?” Ha! Be it known that I have never used that excuse again.   

I am just going to have to make myself pause and remember that I am the only one responsible for me and normal will no longer be normal.

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A Rocky, Stinky, Sweet State of Normal


My therapist told me to keep writing. I haven’t been faithful to that request. I have been doing a lot of stuff outside of the blog. I’ve been living. Living a new (another) life and finding what has proven to be a rocky state of normalcy for me. In hindsight, perhaps keeping up with the writing would make it feel less rocky.

I have started attending a divorce support group. Last year, I went to one meeting right after M left–it was the week they talked about anger.  I left that class and told the facilitator that it wasn’t the right time for me.  I didn’t “act” like what they showed angry to look like. I had anger in me and wrote about it, but I wasn’t fired-up angry, if that makes any sense. I certainly wanted with everything in me to hate M, to hate her and I didn’t, I couldn’t and I still don’t. I wondered and still do- what’s wrong with me that I don’t have any feelings of hate toward them? Wouldn’t THAT be normal? Don’t normal people lash out and break things and scream at  the top of their lungs until their face is red. Don’t they start fires and burn pictures of past memories and toss belongings onto the lawn, don’t they try to retaliate? And yet, I had none of those feelings. I would share that with folks and they told me I was numb, they told me it was because I understood the love of God for me and therefore could show compassion to those that hurt me. It didn’t make me feel normal to hear any of those things.

In one of my question and answer sessions with A, he came out and asked me one night, Do you blame God? I paused. I cried. I said yes.

I’m a “good, Christian girl” so of course I’m supposed to believe that nothing slips through the fingers of God without Him knowing or allowing. I’m to believe that God is sovereign and that nothing catches Him by surprise. And yet I couldn’t wrap my mind around how five years ago the Lord allowed me (and M) to lose our worldly belongings and have nothing but our family to cling to. Yes, my “family” was quirky but weird as it was to others, it was mine. It consisted of me, M, and our two dogs. Then in a matter of 13 months I lost one dog, then the other dog, and finally M. I lost all of “my” family. I remember saying to God, I don’t understand. What’s next? What else am I going to lose? What’s left to be taken from me?
I was scared to know the answer.

After a pause, A replied Yes, God allows everything but don’t confuse that with Him being the author of it.  And I realized that was an answer my soul could accept. I didn’t want to hear it but I needed to and I didn’t like hearing it anymore than I liked that M and her had an affair and continued to spread lies about me even after they got what they wanted.

I’ve realized I was angry but that my anger was misplaced and the reason it didn’t “look” like what anger should look like, is because how do you “show” anger at the Creator of the Universe when He is the one that I desperately needed comfort from? It’s like biting the hand that feeds you… you may not like what is being served for dinner, but if you’re hungry enough you will eat.  In all of this, I was still counting on the Lord to be my source of strength and to live up to the promises His Word says about having a hope and a plan for my future (Jer 29:11) and that I would have a table in the presence of my enemies and MY cup would overflow (Psalm 23:5).

In my support group, we are in week two of the “trifecta” (anger, depression, lonliness) and I realize that I’m never going to be able to slap or punch M, (and it’s not prudent to do that to her either) but I can be angry at M even though he isn’t here anymore. I have things I would like to say to him, things I want him to know but there are all sorts of ways to work through that. My display of anger isn’t so unusual–anger takes many different forms. Television’s depiction of anger in divorce was what was guiding me to believe I wasn’t handling this normally but I’m handling it as normally as I would handle things.

So my new sense of normal has currently got me in a raw state–like an onion–all my layers are being peeled back and I’m learning a lot about myself. I just hope that it’s not so stinky that I offend anyone, but rather, maybe I will be like a Vidalia onion… sweet and bloomin’!

When You Don’t Know What To Say


Since the day M took his own life, my world has once again become ground zero for the stages of grief.

I’m still in the angry stage–angry mostly that I’m asked to speak on behalf of M, or to know what exactly is going on. Truth is, I actually know a bit about what is going on because I still care. I care about M, I care about his family, I care about his friends. I care about my family, I care about my friends. I have some answers but like everyone else, I have a lot of questions that will never be answered. When I was with M, I knew his routine backwards and forwards. When he left, I lost all sense of that balance. So I do ask a lot of questions, some out loud, and most of them rhetorical — often just the impulse of a mind that is searching to put together pieces of a puzzle.

All I know (at this moment) is that 190 days ago M started making choices. Choices and decisions that would affect so many people in this small community that I’ve lost count. Choices and decisions that led to consequences for not only M but also her. I understand that her choices and decisions are solely hers, but the outcome affects me directly and has forever changed my life.  When it was just the infidelity and consequential divorce, there were no shortage of stories shared with me of common experiences, no shortage of people that were angry at M and angry at her, no shortage of people that would give me advice on how I needed to proceed during the divorce. However, add in suicide and the fact that all of this has happened in just 150 days, all of a sudden there aren’t so many shared stories, and not so much in the way of advice.

And this is why I say that when you don’t know what to say, it’s perfectly okay to say that. Please don’t try to find words to fill the silence. You should know that my mind takes care of that on its own. Squeeze my hand, hug me round the neck, tell me “yeah, this sucks,” or simply “I’m sorry, I don’t have any words.” Even a sad smiley emoticon can convey your heart.

But you should know that I like when you can relate. Your stories give me strength to move forward and follow your example.  When you can share a story that shows how you handled a hard time, that gives me hope. However, while not impossible, it’s highly probable that you don’t know how I feel, know what I’m going through, have been where I’m at, know just what I need to do, or can imagine what I’m experiencing. Most of the time, I’m not entirely sure myself.

My self talk is filled with doubts and shoulda/woulda/couldas. And yet, I know that there wasn’t anything I could do to change the course of events once M started down that path. I know that I’m not responsible for his actions. I know its not my fault. Remind me of these things–I need you to be positive and encouraging. I feel as if I am on the brink of my own sanity holding tightly to the edge as I watch my faith being challenged.

Yup, this does suck, no other way to say it… and I’m okay if you say it too.

YAY! HE DID IT!


M finally lived up to my expectations.  I expected that Day 60 would come and go without a word from him or without repayment of what he owes me both in cash and property.

It has taken me some time to realize that its not my responsibility to remind him of what he owes me. It’s not my job to to make sure he is aware of the day or the details. We both received the same copy of the divorce decree. We both signed the same paperwork.

Worst part is that I’m a nice person — probably nicer than I should be where he is concerned. If he had communicated with me, I am fairly certain that while I wouldn’t have been happy about a delay in paying me back,  I would have been understanding.  But as my preacher said to me months ago… Lower your expectations. He said I hold M to a high standard and that’s why I’m so disappointed when he fails to come through. I said, I only hold him to the same standards I would hold myself to.  Preacher just gave me that knowing glance that conveyed without words that M will never live up to those standards.  And so I did lower my expectations and what do you know… M actually met them.

And honestly, it makes me sad. Sad that I still wanted to believe he had a bit of something in him that would cause him to do the right thing but at least I am not devastated by it. It sucks, don’t get me wrong. I could use that $170, after all, it is Christmas;  but in the grand scheme of it all, the fact that M can lay his head down and sleep at night says all I will ever need to know about him.

Unanswered Prayers


….just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.         Garth Brooks

This is one of two posts that I have struggled with posting. Not because I don’t believe in it but because it was so tough for me to actually accept. Truth is God answers all prayers, sometimes just not in the way we want to hear them.  Its easier to say that the prayer was unanswered than to admit that the answer was No.

In packing up and moving my stuff from the rental to my new place, I found some of my old journals. I scanned through them and was actually surprised by some of what I had written. There were numerous pages where I had written prayers to God begging him to take your anger, take your depression, your foul language… begging Him to help control your frustration towards me and thus the anger that I was on the receiving end of, and then the prayers for strengthened love between us and for the pressure of finances to be eased. One of the first entries that caught my eye was me recording a meltdown you had one of the first night we moved into our rental. You were angry at me because you had to make the mac & cheese with margarine instead of butter. It wasn’t a good night.

I struggled with the fact that you got this great job at the U. We (I) had prayed for this job for years. Lord, please bless M with a job at the U so that he will have benefits, retirement, we can have holidays off together, we can start to look at owning our own place, and Lord, please let it be a position that we might be able to still work with one car so as not to have to add an additional burden to our budget right away.  BAM-answered. You started your new job 13 days after D-day. And I carried the burden of not understanding how God would answer that prayer but not the ones that I had prayed for so many years. I struggled because if God is omnipotent and nothing takes Him by surprise, then why would he choose to bless you knowing that you were going to do such a horrible thing. Why were you getting to benefit from the prayers of not only me, but my friends and my family? Why would He not want you to have to struggle with where to live and where to work and what to do?   Why? Why?

But it doesn’t matter why. The answer to my prayers for peace in my marriage all those years was “no” and the answer to you getting the job was “yes.” And the reason it doesn’t matter is because I don’t know what the road ahead holds, but I do know who holds the road. Years ago, I couldn’t see that years later the Lord would say Yes to peace, just not in the way that I expected. I do have peace now and while its not within my marriage, it is within me and it wasn’t an unanswered prayer but rather a prayer to yet be answered.

PS… if you are struggling with the whys in life, talk to a Pastor. Mine has been an invaluable resource in helping me get through this and if you don’t have a Pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley has a short article that might help– How will I know God’s answer to my prayer? 

How Are You Feeling?


The saddest thing about betrayal is it never comes from your enemies.

Its football season here in SEC land. My friend L was visiting on Saturday and the GA game was on in the background. We were casually chatting and through some weird course of the conversation we got to talking about football. I never would have imagined that I knew as much as I did because it certainly wasn’t the case 11 years ago. Eleven years ago, I was just learning and now, I know all about the BCS and how championship games really aren’t about matching up the top two teams. I have learned how to read and discern between the coaches poll, the AP poll, the USA Today poll, etc. I’ve learned key rivalaries and how college overtime rules are different than pro-game overtime rules. But it didn’t stop with football. I also know that March madness will be quite different. Walls covered with poster boards, pages of bracket possibilities and the hourly calls to tell me that I called an upset or I lost an Elite-8 team. I have learned even more about wrestling – the tadpole splash, sweet chin music, the pile driver, the money shot and that Hulk Hogan had a bazillion name changes, just like the wrestling world itself.  Yup, you taught me a lot about your favorite things.

About a month before D-Day, I shared with you that you didn’t make me feel like a priority basically you made me feel that I didn’t matter.  Of course, after D-Day and pulling the chat logs, I was able to see why I didn’t matter … because you were already emotionally gone and nothing about me mattered to you.  In hindsight, I wonder if anything about me mattered to you. What did you learn from me, do you even know my favorite things? I’m shaking my head because I know the answer.

47 days ago, I started this blog and at that time I thought maybe, just maybe, when this was all said and done and the hurt subsided that we might be friends. And reading back in earlier posts, I did write with the hopefulness that a friendship on some level might exist but now.… now…. now, I must accept that the person I loved doesn’t exist anymore.

Sadly, that matters to me because I thought you were my friend and that I was yours.  But a friend doesn’t hurt another like you hurt me—the worst kind of hurt: betrayal. You chose to hurt me to make yourself feel better…. I have to ask… do you feel better? Don’t answer  that– I don’t care …. at least, I’m trying hard not to.