The truth is my family, maneuvered by my mother didn’t just leave me. The kids woke up ten years of having weekly family events, daily talks and walks with their Nana, and in one phone call, she hasn’t come to see them since. They had aunts and uncles and festivities, Easter egg hunts, birthday cakes, years of hugs and presents in sweetly wrapped bundles to open.
She claims I won’t let them near her and if I thought her so awful, why would I want such an influence on them?
Nothing is uglier or more painful than that lie, the keeping of my babies from anyone’s love for them, and there have been many, many lies.
In the wake of our divorce, I held on to my ex Divorcee, for dear life, wanting so badly to never fear a drop of love missing from their hearts, Daddy’s little cups, I moved us all in together, only hoping they would know love, no matter the cost.
That cost has been mighty for Divorcee and I both, now fully aware of the insanity and sickness two lives denying personal truth, conviction, and potential relationships in the midst of much judgement, some praise, but I didn’t care at the time.
I wasn’t thinking then about what the future would bring.
I was selfish in denying my own pain, not the girls, but mine.
I would live years drenched in the split of my own needs and his and theirs, guilt ridden unhealthy people don’t model more love by both living under one roof.
That choice would merely enforce the reality of both of our fears, that divorce would traumatize me and him, not them, for if we saw the cost of this day, I know we would have chosen differently.
I didn’t believe then I was strong enough without his crutch, that I could handle the ungodliness of not knowing every word they breathed, every fever they would wake from; I chose to selfishly share two broken dreams in attempt to save theirs, a cover up, for me.
I can say I know I made that choice, one of the very few, entirely on my own. I look back now in horror to see I didn’t make any choices in my marriage that my mother was not consulted, included, and her words were straight from God, or so I believed.
I can vividly remember the day she came storming in, eyes lit in passion and motherly outrage, her judgements of him thick and harsh, her intuition correct in many ways, but it was not her place, not like that.
He had adopted her as mother as well, crying in the car on the phone to her, she consoled him, every detail of our marriage was never, not a day, our own.
I found in horror, after the marriage ended that she had read a letter Divorcee had written, a love letter and a open knowledge he intended to love me all his life.
I knew well of that letter, unsurprised I was at such a naive 22, I had bought the dress, the very first one I ever tried on, before he even asked.
We had known each other three months.
What I didn’t know well of was that she sent my father, thousands in hand to pay for a ring, a puppet he was, offered him a dream job in Atlanta working for him, paid for him not to work for months, gave us a car and fully paid Honeymoon and wedding, picked out and rented a home to come to, a block away from them, fully furnished.
He knew he loved me.
He knew it wasn’t right.
He betrayed himself to move me, sobbing the six hours there, my own core sick I had left my home, my beautiful
Charleston dream had crashed.
I begged my mother for more time, that November was too cold, that I wanted to go and finish school and live on Folly Road with three of my best friends.
She knew this was unwise, knowing full well I had only just recently been back in touch, could continue back on a path destructive, but I knew these were her fears.
I knew what I wanted. I wanted Charleston, my best friends and my new boyfriend while I worked and lived in the place I love almost like I am planted there, soul in earth.
She was adamant, so afraid of losing the estranged mother I had so missed and loved, wanting to make my bad choices right to her, I sighed deeply and agreed. I’d put everything off and plan a whole wedding in three short months.
I remember not being able to look in my best friends eyes, one stormed out of the room, my two closest girl friends looked at each other, back and forth, and I knew what they were thinking. I don’t even remember arguing, just delivering the news and a ring he proposed with before I was even awake.
I remember being embarrassed I was too groggy to even hear what he said. It was this gorgeous ring, in a black velvet box that lit like a candle to shine down on the diamond so it didn’t make any sense he was proposing in bright sunlight, before my morning coffee, not at night so it could shine, but why not on one knee?
Char I remember saying, “He doesn’t even know you leave all the cabinets open!”
That gives me a gut laugh thinking of it.
They knew me well, living for most my teen and adult years, right in on next and beside one another, cabinet complaints and all.
And still, they showed up for me, all bridesmaids to the waiting doom I felt so I know they did too.
I felt crucified, not joy at leaving Parker, Char, Allie, Mar, my roomies, Emmy, our friendships had been the best gifts God ever granted me.
Some of them better than others, had to let me go.
The wedding I have heard has been a legend favorite to many, dance and drink and cheese castles with butterflies that symbolically were released and all died.
Seriously. All the butterflies hatched and alive were dead, being tossed about by our guests.
Our band, uncanny as it is, were named “The Secrets.”
I grabbed my childhood mom and begged her to get me out of there, my heart only could see all I was losing, not the man I was marrying.
We can’t even remember, either of us, the song we danced to, the Honeymoon raunch with sickness and drunk fighting, I realized I was paying for the hell I had caused.
This was the hell I deserved and years of announcements on holidays where my brothers were praised for helping her through my drama, my drugs, that I never attended a day of rehab for, a side note after Thelma asked if I was a hard user.
“Uh, don’t you think it strange your whole family is still talking about drugs, like before marriage, in college you never even went to rehab for?”
What the hell? She was right!!
Why had I played this ongoing role like a movie or a story played in my head that I was bad on drugs, had devastated everyone, and now, I remember it was tough, for certain, but I had done it by my sure force of will power, estranged and alone, for myself.
I asked Divorcee not to smoke with me and he agreed, nine years older he was ready.
Why was that brought up again and again?
He would ask me again and again to watch our wedding video, but I would not. I remember so vividly the picture that stabbed my heart, him and his best friend on a bench, stoic and his face ash like a corpse, sitting, silent, together looking toward the water, moments before he met me at the altar.
It was the same face I saw in the restaurant, the one my Dad announced our engagement. Horrified, not having been asked at all, I held a fake rose, plastic in fact, the waitress looked confused as he held it up to the whole restaurant and waved it, congratulating us loud and proudly.
Mortified, and still believing my dad was clueless, I did see Divorcee almost faint, I saw him buckle.
Its amazing the things i look back and see, but never really saw.
He looked sick so I apologized for my Dads humor, not piecing till years and years later, he was sick for far worse betrayal than I, explaining his anger from the day we arrived to our house, opened and greeted by mom sweeping, showing her decorations, the table given, the sweet friends who contributed.
I was sick but his betrayal had been far deeper with guilt, for I had loved him, wanted him, the marriage, the move, even broken, I just wanted to see him happy.
He had a far worse fate.
He lived knowing he married me for reasons his heart had not given, the hard truth is still truth.
I don’t know if he ever loved me, not like a man does who waits and holds the ring, anxious and dreaming of putting that on his girl’s hand.
Would we have been that left alone, to ourselves?
I don’t know.
That truth has been denied me, six months into it, a baby was conceived, ironically on an escape trip to Charleston, where my car spun out of control, my husband drove to pick me up, just me and my Sammy, sitting on a truck bench as if cops were on their way to take us back to our cells.
My mother said it had been God’s protection, six months later, our baby Makaila was conceived the weekend I was supposed to be away.
It brought us closer, Divorcee and I say the strings that tied us for years were nothing to do with husband or wife, our vows were sacred because of our children. We committed all of ourselves to them, for them, hoping to be what they deserved.
And I saw him abandoned, his wife who loved him so truly and purely, had to watch his search for a biological father who made promises, big ones, every day he went to the mailbox, I’d throw myself in the shower and sob, knowing nothing had come, just like the weeks before.
And I was there when he called my mother, the truth out. She had made financial offers to him behind my back, had dinners over her fears of my unhealthy lifestyle, my lack of presence as a mom cloaked in pure melting manipulating shit.
She bought him a car when mine was broken down, a family event it was for him to receive it, in front of me and I snooped and found 1,000 dollars addressed to him, a birthday gift when for me, she bought contacts, all she could do at the time.
“She said she wanted to give me the gift of vision, symbolic Vision.”
More like “Devision” ya think?
I knew all this was spinning out of control, not knowing how or what to believe or why, my urgency to leave school with Thelma was unworldly for us both, hairs standing off our necks, no chairs for just us to sit, my look and hers locked.
“Get out of here with me, Thelma. Something is strange and I’m not coming back.”
We both had months of school already paid for and we fled like we were on fire, only staring scarily at each other, the feelings you just don’t say out loud, not even to a mirror, or even her who was feeling it too, the exact urgency, for what? Thelma is a sane logical person who waves her hands up in playful banter whenever I speak of angels, conspiracy, reincarnation, symbolism. She’s just too private to blab about all that.
But I know she believed that day.
I came home and found out the betrayal, confronting it like the child who knows her parent fights thru anything, always has, unconditionally and for forever.
I was wrong.
I watched Divorcee sob into her voicemail, begging her, reminding her nothing could break us, that we loved her, and he did beg. He begged for her love.
He reminded her she called him her son.
She responded by texting me asking for no more threatening calls or lies, that she was done with our sick drama.
I think it was the first time we both through it all, ten years of pain, were completely dumbfounded.
We handled it differently, of course I just felt bad for him, the kids, my own pain was being preserved by some weird physical coping skill called amnesia.
I got lost and didn’t know it until frantic people searching the entire earth , frantic would find me.
I’d cry so hard and long, minutes were hours, or maybe not, and why was I crying? I was bewildered, lost, completely unattached.
Good old Divorcee responded in the way I admire most, by yelling at her furniture and doing wheelies in the front yard, screaming vulgarity but mostly yelling he didn’t care he was using vulgarity, than yelling the actual vulgarity.
Then when he got deleted off Facebook too, for merely “liking a post,” of my writing, aunts and uncles and all family I knew vanished, along with every holiday and birthday since, Lola asking Santa to make her Nana love her Mommy was a wish not even Santa, or God or Satan, could grant. At this point, what was what?
I knew only one thing.
The two of us were all we had left, and what the hell was even that?
I see clearly today after much grief, beginning with denial to anger and bargaining, that a child as myself in a lifetime codependent relationship who is at once severed, fully without contact of love or hate, but fierce silence causes that child to experience much trauma, trauma bonding I believe is an excellent way to describe it.
And that child during bargaining, not letting go of this mother she can’t explain why or how she can love so deeply, to be slapped with total unattached abandonment at first, can not believe for her own self preservation how this is true, her mother’s fault, for anything is more painful than the actual truth.
No, you and your kids and ex are orphans, alone, unloved, and abandoned, even forgotten. No birthday mail would come, no phone calls and during this time, I believe I truly began to transfer all this blame and pain directly onto
Divorcee, who wasn’t coping either.
It was as if nothing real could be shared, nothing was ever there but this dark sadness and cloud of betrayal, confusion, and just his face could trigger every fear, every delusion.
If this could be possible, what else could be?
A scary slope to dwell, my friends.
It was much safer to believe Divorcee had deliberately done this somehow than to survive on a daily basis coping that your mother could do this, be this, and what did that make you?
No one was there to explain to the girls but me, why not a soul came over or called and every birthday was led by more excruciating answers to tell innocent children, and for what?
A year and a half later and unbelievably, I honestly don’t even know.
But, the saddest to me of all was that our dream, our shattered dream of being that lovey married cozy couple had died, so we built a new dream.
A dream on friendship, trust, and love for the girls over ourselves, the only thing we both stood proud for, was being shaken and eaten alive from beneath us.
We lost sight of who we are, our intentions, our pain and betrayal shut one another out, the only thing I loved more than her was this family unit, my little family I had fought bloody hell to forgive and love were now two screaming adults in a driveway, so blind and lost to one another, to our vows, to our children, it was clearly gone forever.
She couldn’t just destroy me.
She had to take the most precious innocent souls in my life down right with me.
Then, it came.
My voice, the one who had decided to never ever be hurt or betrayed again, didn’t like this person she had became. Angry, so angry wanting justice and validity only one person could give, yet everyone else paid because she was never going to give it, not ever.
The final stage of grief is Acceptance.
For me it came as calmly as chaotic the other stages came.
Deep in anger and threatening with our girls caught between, light broke somehow by a power greater than me, that unyielding will broke, and I saw it.
Of course when your own mother leaves you, not as a child but a grown woman, most people would say that’s an unlikely to impossible event to occur in their lives.
For me, it is as real as moving states or dropping eggs or doing laundry. It’s not just possible, it happened.
So my tight angry unforgiving blame around Divorcee was going to promise that from happening to me again, you see.
When I saw yes, it could happen, maybe he could destroy what’s left of all my dreams, poison the children to me, take from me what I coveted to be mine.
And I could stop him?
Did I stop her?
It was a choice all along I see now so clearly, not a feeling. You choose to forgive it all and give God what’s not yours to judge, despite your pain.
It is a choice, this vulnerability, this fountain of hate or love is only made by you, and it has nothing to do with Justice, Love, Pain, or Fear.
What I learned, is that it is the meaning of faith, a word I can’t use words to give justice to its power.
I have for the first time in ages, know faith has returned to me, and this Thanksgiving my Dad, Divorcee, and the girls will be playing my dream right in front of me, a gratitude no special day will be needed to remind me.
I will carry its meaning everywhere I go, and I may be the most blessed woman to ever eat Turkey with her babies, dad and friend.
And I forgive her too, with all I am, finally, I can.
I love you Divorcee.
You have taught me how to have and restore my faith, and that my friend, is one damn awesome gift to receive.
I hope you eat some hell out of peach cobbler and ten years down this hell fire storm, I promise we did good.
Those girls were worth it all, so I toast you, on today, November 13, 5 days before that wretched wedding.
Maybe we should throw dead butterflies to welcome our restoration. If anyone, we deserve it 🙂
- The Family Holiday Tap Dance (apartmenttherapy.com)
- Eternally unhappy parents with a stagnant and unhealthy marriage–I am in the middle. How to deal? (ask.metafilter.com)
- My Hardest Decision (fromtheminivan.com)