Jade asked me how did you survive all that trauma and last night was lovely and balmy especially for October and I met a young Canadian backpacking, we shared a table drinking happy hour red wine on the pavement of Old Compton Street, Soho and he asked the same thing.
How? The six million dollar question. Do share with us Mama G the secret, the magic formulae, the secret weapon. I look at couples who have been married a hell of a long time and they are still happy and holding hands and talking and I often want to ask them what the secret is. Obviously I had failed miserably, whatever that secret ingredient was missing in my own marriage recipe, the cordon bleu dinner burnt to cinders in the oven, past its best before date.
How? If I was privy to the secret to how to mend a broken heart on the fast lane I’d be sunning myself in the Bahamas listening to the soft sounds of the waves, swinging gently in a hammock under the shade with young gorgeous men at my side, bringing me pina colada and there sky would be a turquoise blue and fluffy cotton wool clouds and let’s not forget the palm tress swaying ever so slightly with the breeze.
How? It helps to have nothing, to be stripped of all the materialistic trappings and realise you can live on very little and not die. I had it all, albeit on a small scale but I had it. The tall dark handsome husband, the beautiful clever popular daughter, a cosy detached home in a picturesque village outside Cambridge with front and back garden, two cars, two cats, two pygmy goats …
I was a professional, a primary teacher, hubby was an engineer with his own business. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? We used to go on holidays abroad at least once a year, when we had two well paid jobs in London to Cape Town and Kruger Park for a 7 days’ safari and later on camping holidays in France.
When ex decided to throw in the towel, it was a glorious June day, a Monday. He’d just come back from a weekend away on his Harley to visit biker friends up north. Little did I know when I woke that morning that would be the last day of my marriage, like we don’t know when the last day of our lives will be. I think of the end of my marriage very much in terms of death, of huge loss and that I need to grieve for as long as I need. Nobody has the right to set the agenda and timetable for me, when I should get over it and stop talking about it. I will do it for as long as I need to and if nobody is willing to listen anymore then I will talk to myself or write it down in the form of poetry or blogs or diary entries.
How is very individual. Like I say to Jade I’m afraid there are no shortcuts, magic wands, easy solution. No ten steps to how you mend a broken heart. 7 things you can do to move on and not feel hurt anymore. Personally I hate those self help books such as 7 habits of successful people. Is it really that easy and clear cut? You just imitate those 7 habits and you’ll be successful? Then why aren’t all those who’ve read the book filthy rich and all just for the price of the book?
When I lost everything and I mean everything I read this book by a Buddhist, I can’t remember the author or the exact title but it was about how it is actually a good thing to have lost everything. How it forces you to re-evaluate what is important in your life and how it frees you to begin afresh, from scratch, from zero, unburdened by the usual trappings and obligations. I found it oddly comforting at the time.
I wrote poetry obsessively, every day. Inside I wanted to scream with pain, anger, helplessness, hurt, despair but if I did that in the streets I would be carted off so instead I tried to get all that pain out onto the blank page. The result was a volume of poetry which I made into a book and sold to friends and family entitled, ‘No Wine Or Men’. I came across it again just the other day and the poems shocked and moved me with its rawness and the pain is palpable and leaps off the page.
I cried a lot. Did a lot of soul searching, tried to get past the anger and blame to figure out what my role and part was in our not making it to our old age , that dream we had of being together at 64, you know the Beatles classic.
Mind adopted me. It is the major mental health charity in Britain. They offered sessions of counselling with an excellent therapist and Shiatsu. Mind’s support and services were instrumental in my embarking on my road to recovery.
Kindness of strangers. I found myself in a new city having been offered sanctuary by a friend to whom I will be forever grateful. He took in a wounded frightened little bird with broken wings. I made many good friends, one of which I still keep in touch with and met up again only the other day.
The kindness of strangers stopped me from becoming bitter and twisted thinking everybody was bad. It restored my faith in humanity and taught me seek the grey areas, nothing is just black and white, good or bad, somewhere in the murky middle lies the truth and reality. Just because one person whom you loved and trusted hurt you badly and let you down and weren’t there for you when you needed him most and has now ejected you from his life doesn’t mean there are not good people out there who mean you no harm and would even go out of their way to help.
Friends. The ones that still talked to me after the divorce. Amazing how instantly you find out who are his friends and who yours.
I wish I could say family but that would be a lie; mainly because I kept them out but that is a long story and for another post. His family has never spoken or contacted me since. I have ceased to have any significance. I didn’t have much while married to their son and the mother of their first grandchild; now I certainly don’t have any. The only person who rang me was his cousin a lovely lovely caring man and I still keep in touch with his wife and they have two gorgeous kids. They are the only nice side of that family and one day I will take the ferry across and visit them.
How? Digging deep to find some courage and strength you didn’t know you had. Finding you can cope when you didn’t believe you cope.
Having your back against the wall. No choice is still a choice. The choice is simple and stark: either lie down, give up and die or crawl off that floor inch by inch, get to upright position, wipe the tears, wash your face, put the kettle on, have a cup of tea, a slice of toast, put on your armour, charge into battle and fight fight fight fight fight like hell for your life, for your sanity, for your future, for your daughter, fight. Keep going, don’t stop, don’t look back. Never give up.
Hope there is always hope. The good thing about hitting rock bottom is the only way is up. Things can’t get any worse. Extremely reassuring and comforting. It can only get better. And it has for me. I tell you at the beginning of this year I would never believe that I would feel happier, freer, more optimistic about the future than I have for a very very long time and I am talking years.
Sorry long and rambling as usual and I’m not even sure I’ve answered your question Jade. But finding your identity, becoming your own person again, reminding yourself of your worth and the rose tinted glasses finally falling off so you can see the person for who and what he is rather than the delusional version. Reminding myself of his faults and what made me unhappy and how much happier I am now.
Over and out Mama G.