I’m standing on the ledge looking down. Puzzled. Wondering how I got here. As if I have been sleep walking and awakened and now find myself in the most precarious of situations. This moment is exhilarating and at the same time petrifying. I take in the vastness of everything that surrounds me. The cloudy blue sky. The sun and gentle breeze on my face. The trees and mountains that wind themselves intricately upon the terrain in front of me and below me. My feet shift and a pebble is lodged loose and falls off the edge into the blackness below reminding me once again that I am lost standing on this ledge, puzzled, afraid and alone. Not knowing, suffering from self-induced amnesia. Once again wondering what brought me to this place.
Something catches my eye. I draw my attention upward and a bald eagle is soaring overhead. He is majestic and powerful. I can’t take my eyes off of him. He circles over head. He glides ever so effortlessly. And I ponder some more how I came to be here and how this creature, this regal bird came to be here at this exact moment as well. I am mesmerized by his flight and I let myself be taken by this creation, not knowing what any of it means. Just knowing in my heart that it means something. It is a message for me. I don’t know what the message is at the moment. It is enough to know that this bird of flight has come to me to lift me up, to take me out of myself for just a moment and be transported by his spirit. He circles above me three times and is gone. I stand transfixed continuing to watch him as he departs wondering where he will go and if I will ever be graced by his presence again and it is than that my memory is lodged.
My hand is drawn to my chest where it grasps a necklace I found. This necklace is simple and yet I believe powerful in many ways. It consists of a chain with three small infinite circles laced on it. The circles are a different color each. One is gold, the other silver and the last bronze. I found it when I was purging things from my home. I stumbled upon it in a drawer. I had forgotten about it. I know that I probably bought it as a gift to give someone and yet as I looked at it I couldn’t remember for whom. It seemed to fit my life at the moment so I reasoned that maybe the gift had been intended for me. I just didn’t know it at the time. I removed it from its packaging and have been wearing it ever since. It speaks volumes to me of my life presently and then my memory is jogged once again and the word divorce seeps into my psyche. Three circles on a chain. Each circle initially represented me and one for each of my girls and maybe the chain represents life or somehow that inexplicable thing that holds us together. It is not binding, for each circle moves freely upon the chain. Some mornings I wake up and only one circle is visible and I am reminded of being alone and at some point the other circles move to join the first. Each circle with its own individual color, its own life to lead, its own unique characteristics that will take it through life and still somehow as each one moves they still manage to find their way back to one another. In the precariousness of my situation there is comfort in this. Me and my two girls. This is my life.
The warmth of the breeze brushes my face and I’m brought back to the ledge. I don’t know how long I have been here. The sun has moved in the time I have been standing here. I feel lost and that word divorce seeps in once again and tears begin to fall. I don’t know where they come from. They just spring forward uninvited and I unabashedly let them fall as I stand at the ledge, the breeze drying the tears upon my face before some of them fall to the ground. This is not how I pictured my life. Three circles on a chain. I feel cheated, angry, inept, discarded, maybe even stupid because I don’t really recall how I got here. This wasn’t suppose to be my life. I kick and resist against that. I want to close the door that led me to here. Too late, for I’ve already walked through it. I can open it and maybe walk back through. What does that get me? Where would I be then? So I stand at the ledge feeling ever more lost, ever more confused.
I like the feeling of being married. Of having this entity that somehow says that you are okay. That you have a partner to rely on, to live your life with, that somehow this foundation invariably supports your children without really realizing that it’s there and the work that it does unseen, unnoticed. Remove the foundation and I am left in this aloneness of rebuilding the foundation. Somedays I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do it. Building foundations by yourself is hard, back laboring and yet what other choice do I have. The person who was part of the original foundation left. Maybe I wanted him to leave. Maybe I pushed him to leave. Maybe’s race through my mind, jostling their way among my thoughts and I shake my head somewhat coming to my senses. No, you didn’t want him to leave. You wanted him to build a stronger foundation with you. You wanted him to invest in this foundation that was started and was beginning to crumble from lack of care. You wanted him to see the greatness of the three circles on the chain. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He was afraid. He was afraid of what this new foundation would be like. He knew what existed before and that’s what he liked. That’s what he wanted. What he had before. I can’t blame him. For what we had before is known and there is always comfort in the known. It is what we gravitate towards because the unknown is hard. Broken foundations need to be mended and that takes time. That is where the unwillingness comes in at.
The really ironic thing is that we are each having to build new foundations anyway. So work still has to be done. When it’s just you though, I guess it might be considered better. You get to pick the materials of the foundation and how you will build it and where and how you will construct it. Maybe the thought process is that this easier. Really is it? All that back laboring agonizing work to be done by yourself instead of with a partner. You get to be in control though and maybe that’s where one thinks its easier. Really are we though? Are we just fooling ourselves thinking that somehow we get to decide and no one else gets a say. There is some part of me that believes God is looking over the beginning building blocks and shaking His head saying nope that won’t work and before you know it something happens to it and one is altering it again. Changing it from what you originally thought was good. Is that what life is? The willingness to let go and change the foundation as needed?
A friend of mine said to me you are still a family, just in a different way from what we traditionally view family. The sad thing is, we aren’t. At least not from my perspective. He won’t allow it. He wants to punish and lash out and hurt. I understand those feelings. I also understand that they are not productive and that all they do is cause more hurt and harm. No one has the market cornered on hurt. Everyone has hurt. Everyone thinks or believes that their hurts are greater or grander. In truth, each hurt is what it is, no less, no more than another’s for it is our own. What we seem to forget is that this hurt that we carry with us can continue to grow in us and consume us to where we do more harm or we can feel it, feel every bit of it from the depths of our soul where it brings us to our knees and we are sobbing with it on the floor. Our soul bared, wide open and vulnerable and in this process we begin the steps of learning and growing from it and bit by bit, pebble by pebble we let it go and it’s no longer this noose around our neck, or this huge sack of rocks tied to our ankle.
No, I know the reality of what is and we are not a family in the traditional or non-traditional sense. I wish we were. I had hoped for better. I had hoped for better for my children and myself. It is strange how you have built a foundation, a life with someone for 20 years and they can just turn their back on that. That they actually treat you like their worst enemy and then it hits me that, that’s what I am to him. This makes me sad. I would have hoped that we could have maneuvered through this with grace and integrity if not for each other for our children. Fear and hurt create ugly if we allow it. That is something that we do have control over. We choose if we will face it and deal with it or if we allow it to consume us. To let it eat away at us like some uncontrollable disease. How is it that someone you loved, someone you thought once loved you can turn their back, can do such harm, creates such venom? This is what I cannot comprehend. It baffles me and gnaws at me. And I let it.
It is becoming clearer how I got here. At least for today, in this moment. Tomorrow may be different again. The fog may roll in again and I will become lost and the self-induced amnesia will return. What I know is that I am allowing myself to feel every bit of this grief. I accept it. One minute I will cry for no apparent reason. Another minute I may laugh the greatest loudest belly laugh one might hear. Somedays I may have more laughter then tears and other days I may only have tears. I may find myself uncomfortable and feeling as if I stick out like a sore thumb. I never know what comes my way anymore. What I am learning it to expect the unexpected. To know that right now this is the plan. In all likely hood the plan will change and I will change with it. More easily and gracefully each time it happens. I am learning the process of letting go. And as the fog lifts I know I am at this ledge because my foundation had crumbled and I wanted, needed to find who I was. Everyday I am still faced with a decision. Will I turn around and come back the way I came or will I take a leap off this ledge and fly? I hope, I pray that I will fly for it is way more adventurous than walking back the way I came. For now, I’m content peering over the edge because I haven’t yet fully grown the wings that I need. I am working on it though. And that is the greatest thing I can do right now.