Yesterday was year two of being a single woman on mother’s day. I had such an amazing time with my kids, and my sister and her family. We did a photo shoot at a place called pioneer village with a great friend and photographer Craig Ross (check out his website Photography by Craig Ross). Then there was dinner and swimming in the 100 degree heat of Arizona. As I reflect on this past year I have so many things that run through my brain. I have been so many things from scared to lonely to content to mystified as to how I got where I am. Since last year I have moved into my own apartment, which for me is a big deal. I have gotten a job that I enjoy, and I have been trying to learn how to live on my own, budgeting my own money, and living with Lupus as a single woman. It hasn’t been easy. I will admit there are many days that I want to give up, that I sit in a pool of my own tears and wallow in pity and sadness. Those days are becoming less frequent but they do still happen. And on mother’s day i missed my own mom and having her around to be my support system and to lean on. I think no matter how old you get there are those times that you just want mom around to be there to rely on. I try to be strong at least around my kids, not to let on that I am still so afraid of being a failure yet again in my life. And I dont’ want them to know how lonely I get on a daily basis. I am not one who ever wanted to be that single lady, looking for relationships or dating. I love being married. I love the companionship, the relationship of marriage, the connection emotionally physically and spiritually of a marriage. But I also feel the guilt of what my kids went through in both my marriages, (one with their dad and one with a step dad), both of which were unhealthy on so many levels. But each time I really tried to be the best wife I could be, the best mom, step mom, sister in law, aunt all of those things, almost to the demise of my life. So in an effort to try to heal and move on I have begun writing a book about my last marriage, not too much about my first marriage out of respect for my kids and their relationship with their dad. So, I am going to include an excerpt in this post.
The life In between
I always believed that you couldn’t be lonely or feel loneliness if you were with the people you love. I thought that loneliness or the emptiness of one’s heart could be filled up with the love of family and friends, activities, work, church, maybe even a pet. If I could just stay busy enough, work hard enough, decorate my apartment enough, when I was little I thought if I just was a good girl, cleaned my room, I would find happiness and not be lonely….I was wrong. Oh so wrong.
It’s a small apartment. When I say small, I literally mean two rooms besides a bathroom. Walk in the front door of this tiny space and you will see a basic living room with what most people would call “early marriage” furniture. But in this case it is really early divorce furniture. Walk on through past the kitchen that only fits one body at a time, to the small bathroom and then you are to the bedroom, or the end of the entire living space. It is 688 square feet of claustrophobia waiting to happen. But, when you are newly divorced as I am, on disability for a disabling disease, it’s all one can afford to live in. It will have to do for now, or at least until I win that illusive lottery. Every day I wake up, look in the mirror and ask my ever aging self “how did I get here? Why am I here and will I ever see a better life then this? Most days the answer is a resounding “no, old woman so just suck it up and deal with it”.
Then there are those more hopeful days when I think maybe one day I will find prince charming and move into a better life. Then reality, my overweight body and my 50 years of middle aged-ness kick in and I reconsider. This is the life in between!
So, how did someone as amazingly awesome as I get into a situation such as this? That, my friend is fairly simple….yet fairly complicated at the same time. I ended up unexpectedly divorced at the age of 49, not uncommon these days. What is uncommon are the circumstances and the disease that taunts me on a daily basis making it very difficult to get ahead in this ever changing world. I first got married back in 1986. I was that little girl that dreamed of the fabulous white wedding, with lovely flowers, a handsome prince, and the happily ever after. My first husband was, what I thought, everything I ever wanted in a mate. He was a singer, a magical singer. Let me reminisce for a moment.
I was raised in an amazing family. We were a large, loud, musical family from the Midwest. WE had very strong Christian roots, and our church and music were the hallmarks of our lives. When I was 16 I recorded my first and only album with a band that was fairly well known at the time in Minnesota. It was a thrill for me. My brothers were in the band, my sister in law, and friends from school. WE would tour every summer, and weekends were spent doing concerts in the greater twin cities area. And every summer we sang at a music festival at a camp in Wisconsin. Those times, I have to admit, were some of the most magical and life changing times of my life. It was during these times that I learned who I thought I wanted to become, where I wanted to go in my life, and how important God and Grace would be in this girl’s journey. It was also during this time that this awful disease “lupus” would begin to relentlessly follow me around and literally haunt my life.
My parents were incredible people. They raised my brothers, sister and I to be strong, faith driven people who believed we could be who or whatever we wanted. Good or bad mom and dad stood by our side, they cheered us on, they loved us unconditionally, and taught us that the most important thing in life is to be true to who you are, and strong in your convictions. There were however, scary times in our lives as well.
There is a little taste. AS I get further in the writing process I will write more. for all you lupies out there stay out of the sun, rest, don’t get too stressed, and stay true to yourself. NOt everyone is going to understand your disease and that’s okay. Only you know how to best take care of your self!