Sunday, March 25, 2007


Looking over my last post, I realized it could be read the wrong way. It could be read as if I am afraid of my ex-husband and going back to face him. The truth, I must tell you, is nothing so heroic as that.

I’m not of afraid of my ex-husband so much as I’m afraid for him. Afraid that he broke his leg so badly because the cancer may be back and this time in his bones. So far that doesn’t seem to be the case, but the fear is still there. My son’s fear is that his father is in worse shape than he is, that he will die as other family members have died when they went to the hospital. Those are his fears that I must help ease.

My other fear is of being drawn into chaos and drowning in it. Of finding I fall back into the pattern of never challenging my ex-husband’s expectations. Of discovering my son is so out of control that there’s nothing I can do. I am afraid of falling into my ex-husband’s expectations of who I should be and what I should do for him. I am afraid of forgetting the strong woman I have become.

As I said, not very heroic. Just...sad and difficult and worrisome and mundane.

On the plus side, I am discovering that I can choose to do THIS in order to be the kind of person I choose to be and still say NO, I will not do THAT because THAT is asking too much of me. There is power in knowing that NOW I can choose to set boundaries, now I can choose how I see myself.

On the down side, things are worse with my son than I feared they would be. His behavior is more out of control and my ability to reach him diminished even more than it was before. I’m getting very little sleep and all my waking time with him is spent in trying to create some structure, trying to set some boundaries and help him understand what is acceptable and what is not. So that when I must return home to Texas there will be people who are willing to stay with him until my ex-husband can take over his care again.

And always I must cope with the disparity between how I hoped I would be as a mother to my children and how reality has turned out. I must deal with my fears for my son’s future and the reality of my own capabilities and the circumstances with which I live.

I am also fielding calls from my daughter trying to choose a graduate school and so I find myself giving her the questions to ask herself so that she can decide and trying to encourage her to trust her own wisdom. She is a young woman with the capability to change the world and some day I think she will but for now she wants guidance and it is hard not to tell her what I think and only suggest to her what she can ask herself.

My friend with breast cancer is still scared but she does what needs to be done with grace and dignity. It is good to be able to see her and cheer her on and give her some books that I know will make her laugh.

So this is a visit that is exhausting and brings back old fears and old patterns of behavior and worries. It is a visit that in many ways is good and in many ways upsetting. I must face the gap between what I wish was and how things really are. I must choose every day, sometimes every moment, what I will choose to focus on—that which disappoints or scares me or on the good in my life. As much as I can, I choose the good.

I am blessed that I can be here with my son. I am blessed that my friend is fighting her breast cancer so successfully. I am blessed that my ex is choosing to treat me with more respect NOW than he ever did when we were married. I am blessed that I no longer have to see myself through my ex-husband’s eyes and his measures of what matters and what doesn’t.

Here’s an example of how/why focus matters. When I was flying in, the second part of my trip was delayed by 2 hours. I could have focused on how upset I was, how unfair the delay was, etc. Instead, I discovered a shop where I could buy something to use as a prayer shawl while I am here. And so many people rebooked themselves onto other flights that mine was half empty. I even found when I reached the house that my son was out bowling and got home ten minutes after I did so that the delay didn’t really matter after all. In short, the delay brought possibilities and blessings into my life and I am grateful that I was able to see and enjoy them.

We have a choice, every day, to move forward, to look for the good in our lives and value the blessings or to see ourselves as helpless victims, forever unfairly treated and unhappy. I have friends who do just that—see themselves as such victims. I understand. I truly do. I also see the unhappiness within which they see themselves as trapped and I know that I would rather choose to be happy.

Well, I’m rambling on much too long. I suspect I will post again this week—if only to clarify my own thoughts about what I am going through and coping with. I hope you will bear with me when I do. And I hope that in your own lives you are finding reasons to be grateful and ways to rewrite relationships that are changing or no longer nourish your soul.

With blessings and sending safe and gentle ((((((((hugs))))))))),


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