- Then & Now Project: The journey from “I do” to “I don’t” to “what now” is complicated. This project shares snippets from my book – taken from my journal then. These posts reveal pieces of the journey in a “that was then, this is now” format with my posting days matching journal entry days. (Sort of a time-fusion.) I hope this project focus will offer food for thought in your own life – whether you do, don’t or might. XO
HOLD MY HAND
Journal, March 20, 1994 • “Friday night, Ray moved out. Inside I was racing, but the session I’d had with Sandra helped to keep me acting relatively calm. It was so weird. He came in with empty boxes and groceries for dinner. He thought we’d have a bite together. Talking about this and that. Packing a box here and there. Like a kid leaving home, not a husband leaving a marriage. I was going crazy inside. After a couple hours of this, I finally commented on it. Don’t remember what I said, only that it was pretty pointed and pissed him off. He wasted no time after that. It must have been after ten o’clock when he got the last box out and headed over to Charles’s.”
“What a strange twist of inspiration that was! Me – of all people – coming up with a place that Ray could live … I don’t even know what made me think of Charles. I just remember Ray mentioning him, in passing, as an acting buddy … Who knows. Maybe I was just desperate to get him out of here – or maybe I was desperate that he not move in with her …”
2010: Devastating. And strange. As I read that passage, I can’t help but chuckle a little about how the reality of Ray’s leaving presented in such a surreal way. When Ray carried in groceries for OUR dinner, I felt like I had just slipped into an episode of The Twilight Zone. (Complete with eerie background music.) The evening marked a major transition point for both of us. I chose to stay and witness the move, not to change his mind (obviously, or I would not have offered the suggestion about Charles) but to make it real in my mind. I needed to see it happen. And here this man walks in all chatty and with an appetite, no less. (The angels have a sense of humor.) Had I been able to see it THEN the way I see it now, I would have known that he wasn’t really going anyplace.
“After he pulled out, Angie came over to spend the night. I didn’t trust myself to be alone. Saturday morning, she helped me pick up some groceries. I haven’t been able to set foot inside a grocery store without feeling panic … she managed to keep me in there long enough to get a few basics and some frozen entrees. Smart. She knew if it took preparation, I wouldn’t be eating.”
2010: Panic attacks in a grocery store might seem a bit melodramatic if you’ve never struggled with food issues. My history was to starve my feelings. Anorexic tendencies – that I thought I’d moved beyond – were resurfacing in the food aisles of the local Kroger. I did not want to repeat that piece of my past so I had to be honest with friends who knew me and would not judge me. Friends who would not feed the drama while I starved myself. Friends who understood the process of recovery.
When you are the oldest of five kids, giving help comes naturally. Asking for help does not. I had a responsibility to maintain my position – or so I thought – of being the one that others turned to. Giving myself permission to be the one in need, to ask for and receive help of any kind challenged my comfort zone.
“After Angie left Saturday afternoon, I found myself sitting on the bed, playing with the wedding band that Ray had designed for me and staring at the cross on the wall that had once decorated the top of our wedding cake. I had this urge to bless them and was glad that I hadn’t thrown them into the box to go with Ray. Thought I would take the cross off the wall and pack it away, but couldn’t. So I blessed it. I blessed them both. Don’t really know why. I just did.”
2010: Ray and I had ordered our wedding cake with no decoration on top so we could place that cross on it amid a bed of roses. The cross was silver and sleek with double wedding bands positioned at the ‘crossroad.’ When the cake arrived with a silver 25th anniversary topper on it, family members were upset with the bakery. Ray and I just laughed and said it was a good omen that we would at least make it to 25! Sitting on the bed, after Angie left, I couldn’t help but wonder about our claiming the bakery error as a sign from heaven that we would make it – and how short we fell. As I look at it NOW, I see another surreal angelic intervention, a message not to be forgotten. (By the way, our 25th anniversary was an awesome celebration.)
“Changing of the guard came with my friend, Claire, sleeping over. She had the same dream three times last night! She dreamed that Ray had stolen into the house while we were sleeping, to tell her that he had a special gift for me and that she had to make sure I got it. Each time she woke up and went back to sleep, he was by her bed with the same message – adamant that she remember to give me his gift. This morning we went out and talked about the dream’s significance over breakfast …”
2010: Are you getting goose bumps yet? I am.
“Lea picked me up after Claire left, and we went to an outlet store that she knew of. I bought a comforter and matching pillow shams. Pastel, swirling brush strokes of pinks and greens, with purple accents. I needed to make the bed look like my bed – not our bed. It’s a start in and otherwise empty, echoing house … I think I’m going to be spending a lot of time in here, on this bed, writing … I would not have gotten through the weekend without the gals. But tomorrow’s a work day and tonight I have to make it on my own.”
2010: Ah ha! My first Feng Shui cure before I knew what Feng Shui was! A wise move, to allow the bedroom to mirror and support me. Also quite prophetic about the writing. (Little did I know that my writing would some day become a book!)
- Post Number Eleven: So, with all the places I could go with this post, I find myself simply marveling at the hoops our angels jump through to deliver the signs that point in directions contrary to the supposed reality of events that lay before us – ANY of us. We are NEVER alone. Not at any point in time. I know that today. Not in theory but in practice.
- A Funny Thought: If I could go back in time, right now? I would thank Bernadette for her courage and this amazing written account. Because she kept writing, I can put together the pieces and see the bigger picture – to the point of sharing it on this blog – so YOU can step back and see YOUR bigger picture.
- About This Post: I’m attempting to merge the nine months recorded in Bernadette’s Pages with the present here – but still can’t figure out how to format it in a neat and tidy way. So, it’s probably going to be raw and choppy in places. I’ll throw in some quotes and bullets to guide you along. If I lose you somewhere, let me know. I’ll come back to get you.
- If you landed in the middle of this project: Click here to start at the beginning!
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Excerpts ©2006 from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad
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