Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Conflict of No Man's Land

Yesterday I took some letters to the post office and saw one of my favorite postmasters. It's been awhile since we talked, and we took some time to catch up. He told me about his family and then asked about the divorce since I wasn't wearing a ring.

I looked him in the face and said, "Well, I'm not actually divorced. We were a month from the divorce being final when Rob died in February."

He looked me in the eyes and asked, "So are you sad or relieved?"

My heart caught in my chest. "On which day? Or sometimes, which time of the day?"

Without breaking eye contact, he said, "That's what I would expect."

And I couldn't move. I just stared back...stunned at how good it felt to be seen...to be honest...finally.

I feel like I'm caught in a no man's land.

On one hand, I have the people who knew the best of Rob and rightfully loved him and admired him. Naturally, they expect me to be a grieving widow filled with sadness. On the other hand, I have people who know he left because he chose to leave instead of addressing our problems and his problems. They know the pain and struggle of the nineteen years we were married. They don't know what I would be sad about. In fact, they expect me to be relieved.

But like my postmaster friend understood, my reality consists of both.

I am relieved. I was so tired, and I couldn't hurt like that anymore. I'm not delusional. We were getting a divorce. Life was not wine and roses. Instead of being husband and wife, we were strangers living in the same house. Honestly, we had been...if I'm honest...for most of our whole marriage, and we were tired. Yes, I am relieved.

I am also horribly sad.

I miss my friend.
I miss the person I shared twenty-two years of my life with.
I miss the man whose face lit up when he held our babies.
I miss the man who helped me focus when I was too tired to push "one more time".
I miss the man who understood when he walked in and I was standing at the door purse and keys in hand because I needed a mommy break.
I miss the man who knew my quirks, shared inside jokes, understood when a red loggers shirt made me go to pieces at Walmart.
I miss the man who wrote checks to pay people's rent, buy children's Christmas gifts, and put groceries on someone else's table.
I miss...oh, God...all the things I miss....

And the thing is there is no one to share stories with. It's not like when my dad died, and I could talk with family or long time friends. I could talk with people who knew my dad when I was small or even before, and we could tell the stories. I learned how comforting telling the stories was. When my mom was in the hospital, my friend Jessica spent the night. We were up most of the night, talking, telling stories. Oh, it felt good to tell the stories, to know Mom's place in someone else's heart and her value in their life, to tell them how much she filled mine.

But with Rob, there is no one to tell stories.

It's almost like grieving the secret lover no one knew. Who is there to tell? Who would understand? Who will approve of the gamut of emotions that run through my system like a river out of control? The friends we shared either took "his side" and don't speak to me now or don't know what to say. I understand. It's a strange place to be.

It's a place where I find myself alone.

I've read through Rob's emails and texts. I know he wasn't happy with me as a wife, but I also know he told people over and over what a great mom I am and how talented I am as a writer. The crazy man complimented my cooking, even though he knew I hate to cook. Maybe that is why it was a big deal to him. I hate to cook, but I always tried to have dinner ready when he got home. He told people what a great job I did teaching the children academically and in all other ways. Over and over he said we have great kids because of me.

We stunk at marriage, but we thought the world of each other.

How does one explain that? I don't know. I can't. I just know it's true.

And this person that I thought the world of is gone, and my heart hurts.

People tell me to get over it, to get over him. After all, he didn't want me. He chose to leave.

Yes, he did. My husband left, and I'm not really sorry. This amazing man I knew named Rob died, and my heart is broken.

And there are so many stories...about the husband I don't miss...and the amazing man I do...

But instead of telling stories, I grieve in silence...

Dear God, I hate no man's land.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thankful 42--Because Today Hurt

I woke up this morning, wrote a blog, prayed for folks, wrote some notes, took care of some writing stuff God told me to address, and chose to "leap into the next adventure", per God's words.

And the next thing I knew I was the target of significant enemy fire. I won't go into all the details, but it was so personal and so clearly a targeted offensive that a song I had just told someone earlier today still rips at my heart came on while I was sitting at dinner with my children. I haven't heard the song on the radio in MONTHS, maybe since before Christmas, and today, I mention the flood of memories and hurt it creates, and BAM! There it is on the radio in a public place where I can't change the channel, and the other hits were just as personal, just as deep, and just as hard.

I stood in front of God and said, "I just told these people not to quit, and I want to. If I had a place to turn in my resignation letter, I would. I'm tired. This has been one helluva a long hard ride. I'm going to bed."

And I did.

Two hours later, I woke up, and to tell you the truth, I feel battered and sore. Physically I even ache.

"Okay, God, talk to me. I'm not a quitter, and I refuse to just keep taking hits, so give me something. How do I stand in the midst of this assault?"

As I was praying, I received an email asking about my daughter's doctor's appointment.

"Doozy of a headcold, bronchitis closing up her chest. Breathing treatments, nasal spray steroid, antihistamine, decongestant, ibuprofen, water, steam showers, and the usual. As for Friday's audition--"

I stopped. Another missile hit. One audition since my mom died in October, and she has to be sick for this one? Really?

I went back into the message and typed in, "Thankfully, the earache is pressure not infection."

Thankfully....

Thankfully.

Thankfully...

1009. We are able to see a doctor when we need to.

1010. We have clean water for her to drink.

1011.  I know God is bigger than this.

1012. God hears my pleas and never says I am stupid for not seeing the obvious answer...of giving thanks.

1013.  Medical readily available to us.

1014. Long sleeps that are much needed.

1015. Geometry help. (Dear God, when I have to repent for hatred, does that include hatred for geometry? If so, I may really have a problem.)

1016. Finding SIX (not four!) years of pictures.

1017. Help with electronics when I get overwhelmed.

1018. Anna's funky hair color.

1019. Other people who have trigger music, too, and understand how one can go from fine to an emotional heap in just four notes of the wrong song

1020. A way groovy foreman on the crew working on our road

1021. That my truck did not just sit stuck in the mud this morning but by God's grace slid to the "solid" spot and could get traction to go out the other way (deep spiritual truth in that, Lord)

1022. A place to retaliate, to stand against the assault, to refuse to quit

1023. For emails from MaryB that are exact words from God. I read the email and thought, "Wonder if God pipes." He answered, every time Mary does, I'm right with her either playing along or just listening tapping my toe. It's good stuff." Yes, it is.

1024. The precious folks who ask, "How did it go?" because they have been waiting and really want to know. I love you more than I have words to say.

1025.  FOR EVERYONE WHO DID NOT QUIT TODAY

Indeed, God in heaven...thankfully....

When You Want to Quit...Please Don't

This morning I was praying for you, for the people who comment and those who don't either because you don't have anything to say or you are afraid others don't value what you say, and I told the Lord...
...if I could give you anything today...
...if I could impart anything to you...
...speak anything into your spirit...

I would say...

DON'T QUIT!!!!

I know the road is hard. I know it hurts. I know you want to give up. I know your heart aches more than you ever dreamed it could, and I know you are tired and weary and feel battle worn, and just lying down and saying, "Enough is enough," is so tempting.

I know.

I've been there.

And I am begging you...DON'T QUIT!!!!

You are not here because of some cosmic glitch. You are not here because God saw a blank line on a family tree and needed to put a name there.

You are here because YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.
You are here because YOU ARE AN ANSWER TO SOMEONE'S PRAYER.
You are here because THE GOD OF ALL CREATION SAYS YOU ARE NEEDED, WANTED, AND DESIRED.
You have something that no one else in this world has.

If I could look you in the eyes right now, I would tell you,
"You are amazing.
You are beautiful.
There is no one like you. Never has been. Never will be. YOU are beyond compare.
Your dreams have not been forfeited.
You are not a hopeless loser.
You are not beyond repair.
You are not damned to live a life of pain and hurt.
You, beautiful and beloved one, are the one Jesus died for.
You are the one God is pursuing with wild abandon because He sees who you really are.
You are so much more than this world has told you."

And I know some days that is so hard to believe, and I know some days you can't see it. I've never seen a platypus, but I believe they exist. The same God who made that platypus made the incomparable YOU. If you can believe there is a platypus, please--PLEASE!--believe in you...not because of what you have done or can do but because God is reaching out to you, because He woke me up at 5:00 am to tell you this...because He led me through the hell first so I could reach back, give you a hand, and tell you that you CAN get through this.

Please, please don't quit. You are more valuable than anyone has told you, and I'm telling you now. I thank God for you. I thank God that He has answered someone's prayer by giving you life. I thank God that you are more valuable than rubies, that you are more valuable than you have courage to believe. You are priceless.

You...are to die for.

Praying for you....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not Sleeping

It's after 3:30 am, and I am not sleeping. I don't sleep a lot right now. Haven't in...a long time. When I do sleep, it is sort of a doze with dreams, nothing really restful. I wake up a lot, look at the time on the clock a lot.

I still haven't figured out this sleeping alone gig, I guess.

Most of the time, I think that is what it really is, sleeping with someone for so many years and adjusting to sleeping alone. Sometimes, though, it's more.

Tonight my heart is heavy, and I have nowhere to put it.

Once again I am in a season of removal. Friends I've depended on are being removed, and I understand it. Goodness, I've done it enough in the last few years, especially the last twelve months. I know the signs. I know what is happening. I don't know how to handle it yet.

I don't know what to do when people need to be needed more than I really need them. And people who usually get told "everything" don't handle it well when I tell them, "I have nothing to say," even though that is really the truth. "Best friends" become distant acquaintances, and that doesn't go well either.

No explanation I give makes sense to them, and I end up being the bad, unstable, anger-projecting person who needs anti-depressants and the humility to ask forgiveness for being such a lousy friend and not letting people help me.

Really, it makes me want to go in the closet with my pillow and blanket and sleep until the firestorm is over.

I do know it is hard for them. I've been on that side. I've had to learn from both sides that seasons are seasons. For reasons God does not explain to me, some friends are good for one season and not for another. And some folks come in for a few months, make a huge impact, and are suddenly gone leaving me gasping for breath in the vacuum. "Best friends" suddenly become bothers over night. I don't know why or how. I just know it happens.

It is hard for those seasoned out because they don't understand.

It is hard for those changing seasons...because they aren't understood.

And the empty place is hard.

For the people being seasonsed out, they lose one person. For the person changing seasons, most of an address book may disappear before it is over. That's a pretty big empty place with a lot of nice folks on the peripheral but no one in the middle where I am.

And that's where I am.

I know this is temporary. I know God never creates a void He isn't planning to fill. I know.

I also know yesterday I tried to pull the pictures from the external storage Rob set up. I couldn't access them. I don't know if they are there or gone. If they are gone, four years of pictures are gone. For my son, that is over 1/3 of his life's pictures with his dad. For my daughter is nearly 1/3 of her life with her dad that is gone. I sat with electronics spread out around me and sobbed by myself. Who was I supposed to call? Who would really understand the magnitude of what could be lost for me? I honestly could think of no one.

Yesterday I texted some people asking for prayer, made the mistake of sharing my heart a bit, and then got a lot about how they understood because of their lives which had nothing to do with the issues I was having. I ended up deleting replies without reading them.

I already feel pretty much totally alone. Decided not to make it worse.

There's more, like some comments made at my family reunion that make me worry about my gene pool. My favorite was, "Well, look at it this way. It's not like Rob would have been here anyway." Wow! Thanks for the reminder that our divorce would have been final because he decided being single was more fun than keeping our family together. I feel SO much better now! Glad we had this talk.

Can I undo the family reunion? No, but really, I'm not feeling motivated to attend other family gatherings either.

Believe it or not, I'm not angry. I'm just...

Up at 4:30 am with a heavy heart, a box of kleenex, and a quickly shrinking address list.

..................................

When God tells me to write things like the above, I often ask why. I already dread the responses. I already dread the "you know I'm always here for you" statements that are self-defense cloaked in accusation, and while well-intended have not been true. I've been going through this for a year. I already know what to expect, and I dread the "I'm sorry you are still so sad and have had to go through this" statements.

I'm not sad, and I'm not sorry I had to go through this. I've hated it, but I've learned more about compassion, grace, and mercy than I ever could have in any other way. Frankly, I am sickened by the legalistic, mind-over-matter, if-you-just-get-the-spiritual-stuff-right-it'll-work manure I gave as responses to hurting hearts and broken lives before. How God didn't just slap me really hard or kill me then is beyond me. But He didn't. Instead, He allowed me to walk through hell, watch my life be burned up while I was there, and come out the other side shocked at the destruction, but more sure of His amazing mercy, compassion, and understanding than ever. I have seen aspects of God in the hell of the last year that I could have never seen on a cushy pew or at some home Bible study.

And I am not sorry.

I'll tell you why I think God wanted me to write this. I think there are people out there whose lives are coming apart at the seams, and you don't understand the stripping down, clearing out, and complete excavation of your lives. People around you are watching and auditioning for the starring roles of Job's friends. You are staring at God wondering what you've done and begging Him to just tell you so you can fix it. And where you are is hell, and you are wondering what you've done to make God so mad.

If that is you, let me tell you something. All these people being deleted from my email list, I don't think they are wrong, and I don't think I am wrong. I think we don't work together for this season, and God has no problem removing something good to give me something better. And that is not to say the new people or activities coming in are better than those going out. Those people and activities were great FOR THAT SEASON. God has new things and people that are better FOR THIS SEASON.

And, yes, there is going to be something new, and, yes, you should thank God for the new thing, but it's okay to say, "This is HARD, and it blooming HURTS!" Yes, it is, and, yes, it does.

Unfortunately, I have no insta-answer. What I can tell you is I'm going to get off my computer now, and I'm going to pray for whomever else is doze-sleeping, looking at the clock a lot, or just not sleeping at all, and, yes, I believe God knows that is you.

God knows it is hard, and He knows you hurt. I'm praying you find Him in the empty place, that He gives you a place to lay down your heavy heart...and I pray you get some sleep.


--------------

I FOUND THE PICTURES!!!!!

For all of you who prayed, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not My Story

Today I was published. An letter written as a simple email to someone I know stirred something deep in him, and he asked to publish it.

I bumbled for words and finally explained.

I had planned to share that story at some point, when God said it was time. For those initial few moments, I went from feeling honored to figuring out how to let him tell the story and still be able to write it and publish it as my story. In the flash of thought, somehow my spirit had the sense to ask how I would still be able to tell my story, and just behind my ear, in a calm and gentle whisper, I heard, "Jerri, it's not your story."

The flurry of thought stopped.

No, it isn't my story. It's His story.

I had been waiting to tell it until He said the time was right, until He said it would bless people.

"Well, if you think it'll bless people..." I heard my self say.

"It will," his voice came through the phone.

"Then absolutely. Share the story."

And so he did.

My name removed. Personal details graciously removed as well. There is no way to tell I had anything to do with it, and that is what I hope people see.

Often, I find myself wondering how my stories ever make a difference. They are just ordinary stories of an ordinary person. But the Lord reminds me that the Bible is full of stories of ordinary people who made an extraordinary difference. Actually, the Bible is one story...with a crazy cast of broken and messed up characters...and an insanely un-ordinary God who did extraordinary things through them...and sometimes in spite of them. It's His story.

I am His story.

So many of you feel so ordinary, and you wonder what difference your stories make...what difference your life makes. You wonder if anyone cares. He cares because your story is His story, and you may feel utterly broken and messed up...so join the cast....let Him do extraordinary things through you...and sometimes in spite of you...tell your story...and see what the wholly un-oridinary God does with it. Expect Him to do something amazing because after all...

...you are His story...

...and you an extraordinary one.

May You Know You Have a Place

Dear God,

Bless every person who reads this today.

In some personal, tangible way show them that You were thinking of them when you prompted me to write this. Whether it be a ladybug, a special song, the right scent, a particular phrase, or whatever is your personal love whisper to them, speak it clearly so the enemy cannot steal it.

I pray that Your truth of how important each of them are would permeate all sadness, doubt, and depression. I pray each person would allow that crack to become a wide door to hear Your voice and to receive Your love and blessing.

I pray for crazy boldness to believe You, to believe You love them, to believe You desire to bless them, to believe that YOU have the perfect place for each of them to belong and fit.

Lord God, show them they are not some random accident or their likes/feelings/interestes/passions are not some cosmic roll of the dice that "don't fit anywhere", but that in fact, they were specifically made with great detail to be the exact person they are and You know them and have a place and purpose for them.

And, Dear God in Heaven, show them where they are settling for less and give them courage to believe for the most. Show them that their choice to settle for less does not change Your desire to give them more than they can fathom, and then, give them the courage and support to believe for the unfathomable, to not just think "maybe" but to buy into it and become it, to be the person and have the life you have put in their heart to desire to be and do.

Lord, thank you. I know I felt the need to write this because YOU want it to be so. This is YOUR desire for those created for Your glory. Thank you for how much you love us and how much you are constantly reaching out to us.

You are breathtaking.

I love you...

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Focused Mission

Per my fabulous time with the Lord this morning: As usual, I asked who He wanted to talk about. That was a good time.

Then I asked Him what He wanted to speak forth and create in our lives. I loved His answer. He said, "It's time to focus on the children," and then true to His nature, He gave me the directions. They do not include blog/FB/computer time.

So...

I will be disappearing for a time. I'm thinking a few weeks, but only He knows. If I do well, maybe faster. If I'm a slacker, it'll be longer. In either case, He has a plan for my children, and He doesn't have patience for parents who are negligent to their duties, and I don't want to be.

So, my beloved ones, be blessed! God is for you, and His heart's desire is to give you more than you can imagine, even the peace and place of belonging you seek. Don't lose heart. Know He has a plan, and His love is ever for you.

Until...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh, God, let me live knowing I am human living a terminal life and there is not one second I will get back. Let me give life in each second...knowing I'm dying...and I can take nothing with me...but I can choose what I leave behind...

"Live Like You were Dying" by Tim McGraw

Friday, June 10, 2011

Out of No Where

Tomorrow is my family reunion. I've been really excited about it. I like my whole family, but the gal cousins on my "generational level" rock beyond words. We always have fun.

About an hour ago I went into the kitchen to boil eggs for devilled eggs and fix the greenbeans for the slowcooker...and started to cry and felt the incredible urge to vomit.

And I don't know what to say.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm Jerri, and I'm Good

This morning I am feeling...like satan is trying to put me back in a casket God raised me from.

I've heard a lot of, "You are so broken, scarred, wounded...not well enough to realy live yet."

Wrong.

I'm Jerri, and I'm good.

From a personal correspondence...

It's not polished. It's just true.
*******************

I've tried to be very "diplomatic" in what I've said and how I've said it because it seemed like the honorable thing to do. However, I think I need to clarify some things so folks understand where I am and can offer encouragement and support (or not) accordingly.

I am not Rob's widow. I was simply the woman married to him when he died.

My experience as "the widow" is not like most anyone else I know, and while I appreciate the deep compassion so many people extend, I simply cannot and WILL NOT do this widow gig.

We were one month from the divorce being final. I had known since early last fall Rob had decided he didn't want to come home.

Yes, his decisions hurt me. Yes, the failure of my marriage hurt me. But, when I grieve, I don't grieve as Rob's wife. I grieve as a woman who watched a lot of her life change dramatically in a year. I grieve the loss of family and friends that are no longer part of our lives. I grieve as someone who hates divorce and tried so hard to avoid it. I grieve for my children who only see a big black hole where their dad isn't anymore.

And, yes, for a long time all I saw was that hole, but I am not there anymore. If you notice, my pronouns have changed. I no longer us "we" or "us". It's "I" and "me". I am referring to life experiences less and less in relation to Rob and more and more as simpy life experiences. I've been to DC. Doesn't matter if Rob was there or not. *I* went to DC.

I am Jerri.

I am not the grieving widow of Rob Phillips.

I choose to define today, not be defined by the last year...or the 19 before that.

I'm not sad. I'm not depressed. I'm not...gloomy. If you think I am, talk to some folks who hang out with me, text me, or talk to me regularly.

Yes, I am still processing. I lived in an altered reality in Asperger's hell for 19 years. Having to figure out what was real and what was mirage, but I'm okay with that, and thankfully, I've been blessed with some amazing people to talk and walk me through it.

I'm learning a new life. Really, that is all it is. I've talked with several miltary friends who say coming back to the States after a deployment is relearning life. Moving from the country to the city is relearning life. The basics are the same, but the nuances and reality of logistics are different. That is it.

It isn't some deep wound or some glaring scar. It's simply figuring out the logistics and learning how to take care of the basics with new logistics.

And yes, some days it is hard. I went to sleep May of 2010 with a preteen happy to trust Mom knows virtually everything. I woke up June 2011 with a 14-year old who has a mind of her own and is trying to figure out how to use it in a productive positive way for God's glory. She is figuring out how to be herself and still honor me. I'm figuring out how to be Mom and respect her being herself. Not easy, but we are finding the laughter...and honest struggles...in the adventure. In some ways we are "growing apart". In other ways--deep ways--we are growing so much closer.

For those who are "deeply concerned", I do have a counselor. She's been great, one of my most wonderful supporters, and she keeps canceling my sessions because according to her, when someone 4 months out from the end of the year I've had is doing better on all fronts than people a few years out are hopefully doing, she sees no reason to see that person. And I tell her the same thing everytime--God is good.

And He is

And because of that...

I'm Jerri, and I'm good. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

And the Truth Will Set You Free

In the entire year I could not remember it being so dark. The pain had seemed an ever present torment for as long as I could remember. The dark was darker than it had ever been. It was harder to get on top of, and the "feeling good" didn't last...long at all. Every time I thought it was getting better, it seemed to get worse.

I couldn't remember the last time I had even had a good day, one where I didn't cry or feel my heart was being ripped out or simply didn't hurt. Every day hurt.

I couldn't do it anymore.

And I couldn't change it.

All I could do was go to God and be blunt. "You have to do something. I'd quit if I could, but I have two children depending on me. You have to do something to get me out of this hell."

A simple, but oh, so clear response as audible as my children in the room with me: "You have to tell."

The thought had crossed my mind multiple times in the last year, but along with the thought came chest pain, the inability to breathe, and deep soul sobs. With each wave of fear, I had declared, "I can't tell."

This time, I only asked, "Who?"

My dear friends Kenneth and Joy came to mind. Yes, I could tell them.

I went in my bedroom, closed the door, sat on my bed with my computer, and pulled up a new email. I had no idea where to start, how to word things, or what the end would look like. I simply had to tell, so I started.
 
"I do not expect you to have answers or…really anything. I just need to tell someone..."
I told them about my struggle with God, not understanding Him, trying to figure out what trust and faith are all over again, feeling totally abandoned by Him for nineteen years, and yet, knowing He was faithful. Strangely that was the easy part.

Then I told them about 19 years of marriage that left more scars than I believed would ever go away. I told them details, things I had never told anyone. I would write, stop, breathe deep, keep writing...and cry. 

I told them about the shame. I typed, fought the desire to vomit, laid in a fetal position on my bed, sobbed until I ached, and then got up and typed more.

Then I said it, the thing that had tormented me that I couldn't admit, that hurt me to my very core, the truth.

I typed:

"He...didn't...want...me."

I stared at the blurred words while hot tears rolled down my face, and I read it over and over.

Really, that was what it all came down to.

He didn't want me.

It wasn't my hair or the way I kept house or my ironing or any THING. It was me. He didn't want me.

And I closed my computer, lay on my bed, and soul cried over nineteen years of truth.

I have no idea how long I cried. When I sat up, I opened my computer and finished writing the letter.

Four hours, ten pages, and a soggy pillow later, I ended the letter with:

And I wonder if I will ever not feel so completely destroyed, crushed, and shattered.

Thank you for listening.

Love you both.

Jerri
I hit "send", closed my computer, and put my head down. I was tired, and I needed to rest.

The next day I woke up, went through the day, got to the end, and realized...it had been a really good day.

I texted Kenneth and told him. He and Joy rejoiced with me.

The next evening I texted, "Okay, that is two great days in a row."

After day three of my string of great days, I allowed myself to think maybe...possibly...

Then came the fourth day, and it was a great day, too. That is when I realized....

I wasn't sad. I wasn't fighting to be happy. There was real joy, and I wasn't having to fake it or fight for it. It was coming naturally. The smiles were real. The laughter was real.

The peace...was real.

And I knew it wasn't just a sunny time out in the prison yard before going to the cell again. I knew I was out of the prison...completely. I had been released from the dungeon and was in the sunshine. I was breathing, moving...living...hoping. I was also...

...sleepy.

In nearly eleven months I could not remember a time when I felt sleepy. I had been mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had slept to try to escape my thoughts, but I didn't remember when my mind had been so settled I could feel my body want to sleep. I don't think I have ever been so excited to be sleepy in my life.

I wrote that letter nearly three weeks ago. Since then I have...
...cleared the flowerbeds that previously brought me to tears.
...trimmed limbs (from ground level because I don't get dizzy standing on the ground) from several trees.
...assisted Anna as she redecorated the study and made it into a guest room.
...made a wonderful trip to Galveston and enjoyed the beach and churning water.
...relaxed....honestly relaxed!...with friends.
...enjoyed a house guest so much I really hated to see her go home.
...rejoined Habitat for Humanity.
...enjoyed time with my brother.
...laughed deeply.
...developed smile lines.
...slept.

...had one great day after another, and at the end of each one, I am delightfully sleepy. :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011

When You Don't Know What to Do, Celebrate...You

I didn't know what to do. I had never done this before, and I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know who to ask because...well, frankly it's a rather awkward topic, not something that comes up in social gatherings or emails either for that matter, and I wasn't sure anyone else could really relate anyway. It was going to happen, though. It wasn't like I could avoid it. It would have just been nice if there had been some kind of directions, some kind of...something.

But there wasn't.

Sometimes a person just has to find her own way...and I did. And my way was to celebrate.

June 2 is a big day in my world. It's the day I changed my name. The day I made a covenant to love and cherish till death do us part, and the day I was reminded of how horribly wrong things can go.

Last year was bad. I didn't even buy Rob a card. It was so obvious that our marriage was coming apart. We weren't even sleeping in the same room any more. I can't tell you if we went out or if we really even talked. I think he bought me a card, but I can't tell you what it said.

Then came the 8 months I could have never imagined, and I went from preparing to be an ex-wife to being a widow with one late-night visit from the police, and suddenly, our anniversary was here again, and I had no idea what to do.

All I really knew is I have hurt enough. I could not take one more day of...hell. And really, that is what the last year has felt like. It has been a mental and emotional hell I would never wish on anyone, and I could not do another day of it.

It's not enough to know what one doesn't want to do, though. One has to determine what she DOES want to do, and I wanted to be done.

I wanted to be done with the rejection. I wanted to be done with figuring out what made him unhappy. I wanted to be done wondering what I could have done differently. I wanted to be done being....

No.

That's not true.

It's more than what I wanted to leave behind. It's what I wanted to embrace. It wasn't what I wanted dead. It's how I want to live.

I wanted to celebrate me. I wanted to just enjoy being me, with my gifts, my talents, my personality, my sense of humor, my...life.

So, instead of getting a bottle of wine and offering a toast "to us" and "the good times" and feeling like puking because of the hypocrisy of it all, I pulled on my overalls, got in my pickup, and headed to a Habitat for Humanity site. I spent the day with amazing people who filled my heart with smiles, fabulous memories that felt good to my soul, and laughter that still rings in my mind and ears. I learned some new skills, did what I do best [talk :-) ], and felt needed and wanted. I wasn't a widow or an ex-wife. I was simply Jerri, and that was enough. I didn't do anything amazing or anything. I just did...me.

And it felt good.

Last night I went to dinner with my brother, and then we went to see a midnight premiere that ended about 2:30. I had never been to a midnight premiere. This morning my sides are sore from laughing so hard, and I ended up sleeping until nearly lunch. Horribly irresponsible and impractical. I will definitely do it again.

It was a wonderful day. I laughed. I sang. I breathed deep, and I celebrated life. I celebrated...me.