My thumb used to rub the empty space where the wedding ring had been for the past 17 or so years. It’s absence is a reminder of the events of the past years. “For better, for worse, ’till death do us part.”. Although both of us are still very much alive, we have parted ways all the same. Now there comes the long period of readjustment.
It has taken since the beginning of the 2017 to get this post into some kinds of shape where I am happy to even consider publishing it. There aren’t gonna be any juicy details in this post .. this is just me processing my thoughts in public (for some twisted reason) and maybe hoping that maybe it can divert the course of another marriage to something better.
For the first few months, the last hours before sleeping thoughts were the worst as thoughts swirl around my head. The hardest to cope with were the memories of the of the wedding and honeymoon all mashed up with memories from my last few days before I moved into my own flat. If I had the time again; what would I do differently, what wouldn’t I do? Was there ever just one point of no return? Each one of these thoughts and memories hit where it hurts the most. That I personally have failed; letting down myself, the one I married, and my kids.
It is said that it is the last straw which breaks the camel’s back. It’s as if there is something magical, something more significant about the last straw than all those which were laid before. Yet, if the other straws had not been laid on the camel, this particular straw would not have been the final one.
The only way to prevent a particular straw from breaking the camel’s back, is to either not put them on in the first place, or take them off before the task get too overwhelming to start. In real terms, this boils down to commitment to change, and to forgiveness. Changing behaviour prevents the straws from going onto the camel. Forgiveness is about taking the straws off the camel. I don’t know which harder. Changing behaviour or forgiving, I think it’s fair to say that both can be equally challenging.
Answers? I haven’t really got any. If I had, I wouldn’t be writing this. I don’t think there was really one thing that broke us. Although there were some things said and some things done which caused way more damage than others, these by themselves weren’t enough to deal a fatal blow. In the end, maybe it was the sheer weight of wrong words and deeds which broke us. Looking back there, are many words and deeds I would take back if I could, but I can’t. For my part, all I can do is try to learn from my mistakes.
Theologically incorrect, but this has been of help to me ..
In terms of moving forwards, past actions cannot be undone. They lie in the past and cannot be changed. The only thing which can influence the present, and maybe the future, is forgiveness. It’s a process, it’s not easy, and often it hurts like hell. Forgiving myself is a constant battle. I sometimes ask myself if I am even allowed to…
Moving forwards is also carries its challenges. Quite honestly, feelings of guilt often try to creep up on me. Guilt that I am moving on. Guilt that I am daring to have hope that the future could be brighter now. It seems that moving on requires something which feels like .. selfishness. Being able to, and needing to, put myself first feels like being selfish. But I also need to figure out what my boundaries are, and protect them .. What can I give myself to now, and what can I not?
There is no map to this part of my life. I can see only a few steps ahead of my at time. Sometimes the route is clear, but sometime there are dead-ends. There are paths which start off smooth, and quickly turn into a swamp. There are parts which look like becoming a swamp, which suddenly have firm ground. Many of my life’s travelling companions have changed. Some don’t walk with me anymore. Some still walk with me, but are further away. Some walked me for just a short time, and some are new. Some walk with me still, and are as close as ever. For each one and every one, I am grateful.
.. and this came mind.
This is a time of uncertainty and introspection. It is a time of doubt and insecurity, but it also a time of rebuilding and, most surprisingly hope.
And it is the thought of having hope which took me by surprise the most.
Title image credit: “Love” by Alexander Milov / Burning Man 2105