I don't know if I became a different person first or if my life's circumstances changed me.
For the record... I still drink coffee.
If you just stumbled upon this blog, you'd only see a few posts. There used to be several. Years worth actually. But I divorced and became a full time student and working mom.
Many people would say that was of my own choosing. Technically, they'd be correct.
I loved my family. I loved my role as mom. I still do.
My girls used to have pigtails and rosy cheeks. My boys wanted held and played with wooden blocks.
Those days are long gone.
My girls are teenagers now, my boys full on boys. My teenagers smell like teenagers and fight like cats and dogs. My boys wrestle and yell and throw balls in the house.
Divorce was hard. I spent 15 years married to one man. I spent 15 years married to the Army. And no one knows how to remind you that you are no longer an army wife like that of the army wives.
I'll probably catch hell for that. I'll probably catch hell for all of this. Someone is always disappointed in a choice. Disagrees with a decision. Knows the better answer. Thinks private matters should be kept private. (For the record, so do I, but I've never shy-ed away from telling my story. I can't help but feel like if it helps just one person feel they aren't alone, then my battle wasn't for nothing) So I share my battles. My thoughts. My life. My feelings.
I remember when my grandfather died. I remember what it felt like to not get to attend the funeral. To have no one able to take you to the airport. To not be able to drive because if you missed class you'd be kicked out of the program. To have no one willing to watch your children.
I remember getting not one call of condolence. Not one meal brought. My sweet Chloe picked me a flower and made me a card. I came home from a long shift on the ambulance, poured a glass of wine, and toasted my grandfather for all that he was and all that he raised me to be. I finally got to visit his grave this spring.
I remember when I was a stay at home mom, we did meal trains for people, helped clean their homes, did their laundry, took their kids out to play.
But I belonged to no one any longer. No family here, no longer a member of the military family, it was just me... and my babies. That was a hard lesson learned.
I had no idea, at the time, what it was preparing me for.
Saturday morning my phone rang and by Wednesday the nightmare had become a reality.
After nearly 17 years together, 15 of those married, we had the terrible conversation with our children of the dissolution of our marriage. It's one thing to have to have this life altering conversation with babies. It's another to have to look at the children the two of you shared and have to tell them that the man they call daddy has passed away. And to have to do it alone.
Those years we shared. Those memories. Those don't dissolve when the marriage does.
I don't know what I am or am not allowed to feel. I have no idea how to navigate this. Here I sit, me a glass of red wine, the computer Ken bought me, and a house full of children that have never been more lost.
I may not feel like cooking dinner, doing laundry, or playing a board game, but I now know I can. And I know I have to. I now know my children won't break during this time if they are made to "chip in". The realization that I now have that sole responsibility (and honor) of tucking them in at night, makes it just a little more difficult to breathe.
After receiving the news I rushed to Walgreens to print off some pictures of the kids with their daddy. Individual shots of each in a frame to give to them when I broke the news of the death of their father to them. As I drove down the driveway I had to slap my cheeks and say "Get your shit together woman"!!
This one hurt.
Abby said: "Mommy, my brain keeps forgetting he's gone. And I hate that I'm the one that has to remind it that he is."
My God... she's just a kid.
This Saturday I will say my final goodbyes to many things and I will watch as my children are made to lay their father to rest... and there isn't enough wine on the planet for that.
I'm now answering questions about things I thought I had time to prepare for and we are remembering joyous times we had been too busy to recall. We are doing our best to keep him alive through memory, and picture, and love... and luckily we have a little book, produced from a blog, that documents the many years we shared. I'd like to think he'd be proud.
As Cassandra Clare said:
“You endure what is unbearable, and you bear it. That is all.”