I wrote the following yesterday. I did not publish it immediately. I was caught up in a world wind of feelings and emotions.
I knew that I had written my truth in this moment, my take on my feelings and perspectives.
This was however only a snap shot of the day. I could not capture all the other good and bad, positive and negative, happy and heart breaking things that transpired.
I did need to capture something and what follows is a reflection of where I was in that moment. I was very different ten minutes before and thirty minutes later…
Not to give anything away, but this snapshot of my feelings also reflects why I chose to remove myself from that time and place. I was on an emotional roller coaster and did not need to let that get out of hand….
Thank you for witnessing my experiences.
I write this from a familiar beach on Tybee Island. I probably know this beach better than any other beach in the world, save one small sandy bit at the edge of a lake that most people would consider a pond.
I came to celebrate, but I’m sitting here healing in the sunset.
I witnessed my son transition to college this afternoon. He moved away from home and into his first dorm room.
I am extremely excited and happy for him as he begins a new life, the start of his life really. His transition from boy to man seemed to happen early. Now he gets to make something of himself. He is going to be amazing.
The pride that I am feeling for him is off the charts.
I am also in the midst of experiencing my own feelings of what is probably best described as fight or flight.
I had zero desire to fight and no reserves to calm down and find balance, so flight it was!
I drove to Savannah by myself and met up with my son and his mother at his new dormitory and helped move his stuff from the unloading area to his room. I was able to meet his room mates and one set of their parents. Corbin and I were able to walk and hang out a bit as we went to get his ID card.
But the rest of the time, I was also there with my ex-wife. We met in Savannah and fell in love here about 24 years ago. We started a life here. It culminated in three wonderful children and almost 23 years of marriage.
Tonight, I am simply feeling robbed of that life. It takes two people to kill a marriage. I take my share of the responsibility emotionally and intellectually.
But emotionally, I also feel robbed.
There were no ugly words or looks shared. There was nothing untowards projected as far as I perceived it.
But a year has simply not been enough time yet. After spending a couple hours in the presence of my ex-wife, I feel drained, robbed, and my old pal grief.
As we left Corbin, I wanted to feel celebratory feelings of accomplishment. I wanted to congratulate her. I wanted to congratulate us.
I couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t in me today.
All week this day has been coming. I didn’t really feel dread or anything. But after my girls transitioned for their week with their mother, I had already realized that the dynamic in the family without Corbin present was never going to be the same.
The family split just over a year ago.
This is very different, but as probably every first time empty nester knows, there is a feeling of loss here too.
That’s not even the loss I am feeling though, and part of me is angry about that.
I did not want this reminder of my divorce, but that is what bubbled up through the compost in one giant nasty methane bubble of grief and anger and frustration.
Make no mistake, I do not want my old life back or reinstated or time reversed.
That past life was spoiled by things that cannot be undone.
After the separation I eventually found acceptance. I moved on. I fell in love again. I was reminded of many many positives today.
I drove down from North Carolina listening to an Elizabeth Peters audio book. I have read at least a dozen of her books over the years. I have read this one before sometime around when Corbin was born.
I stopped at a nature preserve just outside of Savannah and witnessed a large alligator crawled out of the swamp to sun itself just down from the road I had stopped on. I drove on to walk amongst the ruins of an old plantation trying to imagine the lives of the slaves that had worked and died there. I wondered if they had been able to find any happiness or joy? I have lived and worked in these swamps myself. A hard days work in a Savannah swamp can literally rot the clothing right off of you.
I have experienced this more than once.
When I was stationed here, there were times when I felt like a convict or a prisoner.
That was just a feeling. I cannot imagine what that would have been like to be a reality.
I moved on through the preserve and had lunch underneath some of the most beautiful spanish moss covered trees I have seen in this area and that is saying something.
I said a little wish or a prayer to the ghosts of those slaves, wishing them peace and love.
The sun has gone down and the moon that was already out is getting brighter. As a woman with long hair walks by, I am reminded that the second time I ever met my ex-wife, it was on this beach.
I can see a lines of pelicans flying in formation out over the ocean. I captured some of them on video as I walked next to the ocean.
I think I may sleep on this beach tonight.
I can feel myself healing just being here. I needed this more than anything.
All week, I knew that I was going to come to the beach. The plans for this trip with my son, changed about twenty times as schedules and requirements shifted almost every other day. 🙂
It was chaos.
But I knew that I was going to see myself to this beach. I knew it would not be easy. I have a lot of memories with my ex here. I have memories of family vacations here.
I also have a lot of memories here that predate her. I have memories in Savannah that post date her too!
I have slain some of these emotional demons before. Each time I put them down, I feel better. I grow. I heal. I become more of myself. I become more capable of many many things.
During the last years of my marriage, I became bound. I became codependent and did everything I could to ‘make’ my ex-wife happy and try to help our family survive.
I had lost myself. I could no more make her happy than I can make the sun rise back up in reverse. I knew better than this as well. Never the less, I tried it all the same.
I think she was trying to push me away for years. I didn’t understand. It was never communicated to me. I had no idea that she had stopped loving me.
I have never been a big believer in marriage nor the sanctity of it. I was faithful and never stopped loving her.
I do not believe even in death do us part. I do believe though that if you marry someone, you take on the responsibility of letting them know when and if your feelings change.
Two people get married together. Neither one can marry without the other consenting to do the same.
To leave a marriage without saying anything for years, its not in the vows or the contracts or legal agreements, but that just seems to be the bare minimum human decency.
I never even thought about this concept until after we started to separate.
With a lot of time past now, I think this is a simple enough moral code.
A vow should be something like, “I promise to love you as long as I can and if I can’t any longer, I will let you know and promptly.”
(I’m chuckling to myself.) That is so silly and wishful thinking maybe.
Well it is getting darker. I’m typing in the dark. I need to figure out what I am going to do with my new healed up soul.
I may sleep on the beach, something I have not done since I was 19. I may drive home to Charlotte. I may go find a place to stay the night. I may go have dinner or walk around Savannah a bit.
I have no idea, but it is time to move and flow again.
I hope you have make a wonderful new life for yourselves as well. It starts today!