It is funny because part of the thing I decided to due to grieve the losses of the past few months was to write a list of all the things I lost. And in writing it, I found the list was much shorter than imagined and even many of the things I had thought of as losses were not actually losses. I am not going to go into detail on everything I wrote, but it was interesting because the more I wrote the less I felt the loss.
The first thing I listed was the loss of my best friend and the more I thought about it, the more clarity has come regarding our relationship. A best friend doesn’t repeatedly lie to and about you. A best friend is honest about problems in the relationship. A best friend doesn’t tell everyone who will listen how lucky you are that he puts up with you. A best friend doesn’t walk out of your life without looking back.
As I look through the list of everything, I see nothing about these losses is irreplaceable, except maybe the loss of a co-parent. Considering he only responds to about 10% of what I email and has not continued to same standards in his house, that we had for our sons together, I can honestly say that is an irreplaceable loss. No longer do I have anyone to consult about issues our sons are facing or have a partner to help parent or give me a break. And no longer do my sons have a day-to-day father that watches tv with them or coaches soccer.
Every other loss is one that can be replaced. I didn’t lose my future, but rather the one I imagined, and I am okay with that. The more I wrote the list, the more I see what I have gained…
- My self-confidence – as a woman and as a parent. I had spent years hearing how much I needed him and, surprisingly, I don’t.
- My future – it was never set in stone, so I realized it was never there to be lost, but only to be gained.
- Freedom – to make decisions without worrying about what he thinks or wishes.
- A relationship with my sons – he had always been the “good cop” in our parenting relationship, so now I get to learn to be both good and bad cop. It is hard, but it is good.
- Quiet – I used to feel the need to fill silences with talking…now I am content to sit silent with myself and my thoughts.
- Potential relationships – I spent years hearing how lucky I was that he put up with me. I watched friends with husbands who treated them like queens. I assumed our relationship was different, but now I see that I settled for feeling like I was not equal to him, so therefore I couldn’t expect to be treated better. Now, in any relationship, friendship or romantic, I have clearer expectations of what I need and what I am willing to give. I can also say that I deserve so much better than what I experienced.
As hard has the holiday season was, I feel like it was one of the big hurdles that I needed to survive before I could really start to move forward. I have started the new year with a calmness and peace, as have the boys. As I sat in church today, I was reminded that the faith I profess to follow is based in resurrection. Last year, I experienced the death of my marriage, but I do serve a God who is very comfortable with loss and death, but also in re-birth. So, this is my year of renaissance…of rebirth and finding beauty in ashes.