Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The tale of two truths...

It can be perplexing, to try to understand why someone is the way they are.  When we can't make sense of someone else's behavior, when it doesn't mesh with our own beliefs, when it isn't what we think we would if it were us in their situation, we get uncomfortable, and we label that mystifying behavior as unusal, harmful...wrong.  We prickle against what we can't understand, because the unknown is daunting, even in the lives and emotions of other people.

It's not escaped my awareness, that people don't understand me, at least when it comes to the dissolvement of my marriage and my lingering loyalty.  They don't understand how I can hold on to my affection, my devotion, my love, for Elvis in the face of the hurt and the loss.  Looking through their eyes, I know its nonsensical, to them I've been betrayed, hurt, and humiliated, and when they take stock of the emotions they think they would feel, they find anger, resentment and bitterness.  "Where is her rage?!" they ask themselves.  Maybe the even wonder "where is her dignity?", or pride, or sense of self preservation.  They hear about my loss, they see my emotion, they know the details and they see my reaction and they think one of two things about me, I'm either lying about how I feel, putting on a mask to protect myself from feeling the depth of my pain, or I'm a damn fool.   I am not a fool, and I'm not hiding behind a strong face.

People roll their eyes at me when I tell them that I still like, no love, my husband, even though our marriage is over.  They are exasperated.  They pity me and they're angry at me and they think to them selves that if I'm stupid enough to put myself through the trouble of trying to maintain a relationship with him, then I deserve the pain I get.  I can see it in their eyes, they don't understand me, and like that, they've dropped me into a category of people they don't know how to deal with, this category reads "Handle with care: strange, dangerous, crazy people inside."

People don't know how to deal with those they don't understand.

Here is why you don't understand me, it comes down to a tale of two truths.

"Love is not enough", and "love is all there is."

These two truths exist, simultaneously, in one moment, in one situation.

My marriage, it was not acceptionally bad, it was not terribly unique, neither are our lives.  Our troubles were not huge, our issues not shocking.  We were two people who lost their balance, and lets be honest, living a happy life with another person is a precious balancing act, balancing the needs and emotions of two people while standing on a tight rope while catching every curve ball life throws our way, its no wonder so many fall.  But, because we're human, because we're self protecting at the core of us, because we keep score, because we're fearful, even with emense love, sometimes you can't put back to right what has been wronged.  Love is not enough to repair a shattered trust.

But, then again, when I allow myself to wax philosophical, when I'm pondering what really matters in life, and I strip away the "fluff", at the core of it all, love is all there really is, it's the only thing that matters.  At the end of my days I'm sure to recount the love I felt from others, and the ones I gave my love to.  And on the grand scheme of my life I know that my hurts will seem scattered and few among the years and the love will be the common thread that sews all the days together.

People hurt people.  We do it often.  We start young.

Kids throw stones and call each other names.

Teenagers reject each other.

Girlfriends dump boyfriends and vice versa.

We lie to each other.

We take from each other.

We break each others things.

We break each others hearts.

We all do it.

And you see, that is my point.  People want me to feel outraged and wronged and they want me to be indignant.  They want me to hold Elvis accountable for his supposid crimes against me, they want me to abandon him, they want me to want him to suffer.  They think it would be rewarding, vindicating even, to see him experience consequences to his actions.  That would lessen my pain, no?


Call me crazy (I know some have), but I'm not that shocked by the circumstances of our unraveling.  And though I certainly felt hurt, and betrayal, and grief, I'm not terribly mad at Elvis, and I absolutely don't wish him suffering, or pain, or consequences so great that they "teach him".  And I wonder sometimes if what people think is lunacy in me, is really just insight.  I think I've always been pretty insightful.  And you see, Elvis is NOT the villan in my life story.  He's not the tragic ending in this chapter of my life.  He's not a transient character that is being written out of my plot.  And his instance, this hiccup, in his life, and in mine, this shared sadness we've experienced that ultimately caused us to fall off our tightrope, it doesn't define him.  It's not who he is.  It comes down to choices, he made some, I made some, I can't even call them bad, they're just choices, and often times the choices we make are like those "choose your own adventure" books we read as kids.  I made some, he made some, neither of us necessarily knew what the outcomes of those choices would be.  We didn't know in the moment if they would bring us together, or lead us off track.  We did the best with what we could and we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.  No body WANTS their life to get off kilter.

Sad truth is, our marriage skidded off road, it didn't make it.

However, I'm still alive.  So is Elvis.  So are our children.

The untying of our "knot" was not the deletion of our history.

Each and every minute together remains on permanent record in our history,

Each fight is stored right alongside each loving kiss, each celebration, each birth.  Every single sadness resides in our memories beside every triumph, every passionate moment, every joy.

We didn't cease to exist to each other because some fateful choices made it impossible to live together.

We are not strangers.  We're not enemies.  And though love was not enough to build us back up, love is all there really is when you strip it all down the bare bones.  There isn't really any other choice for me, but to hold him in my heart and give him my love.  He DOES deserve it.  He is a very special and important person, and if you think I'm wrong then you are very short sighted.  He is not any different then anyone else, he's no worse then any of us.  He's got a heart and a soul and a past that weighs on his present.  He wants to live a good life, he wants to be a good man, and like you and me, he doesn't always know how.  He doesn't have all the answers.  Sometimes he dissapoints people, sometimes he dissapoints himself.  Just like me,  just like you.

But I've known him for a little over 10 years.  God, who is the author of all our stories, has written him into my life, he is of great importance, his signifigance is not to be overlooked.  He has always been and will always be a part of my destiny, whether he is to be my husband or not, our love story is a special one.  You don't undertsand it, I get it, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Two truths, seemingly contradictory, can exist in one circumstance.

Love is not enough.  This is true, love cannot work miracles.

But then again, maybe it can.

Because love is all there is, it's all that matters to us when our days are done.

Love gives courage.

Love makes us selfless.

Love promts understanding, and forgiveness.

Love gives us insight, often mistaken for blindness.

Love is all there is at the core of a happy life.  Love means that your life can be hard, and sad and maybe even tragic, and you can still find the good in it.

So, don't ask me to turn my back on him.  I can't do it, and I wouldn't if I could.

You may cringe when I say this, it may offend your sensibilities, I may lose your respect, but, truth is, I need him still, and I want him in my life, and I love him, quite dearly.  He's my first love, my childrens father, my partner in crime for the past 10 years of my life, and my friend.  Why should I have to live without him, just because somethings went awry and our circumstances changed.

I'm pretty sick of the "be strong", "suck it up", "get tough" attitudes.  I'm tired of being told to put up walls to protect myself, I'm tired of being told told to put away my emotions and face my new life like a soldier.  Why are we so afraid of vulnerability? Why can't we let ourselves just experience life as it comes, and why do we view acceptance and vulnerability in others as weakness?

I've tried it both ways, and I've never felt more real, more human, or more peaceful then when I'm vulnerable, maleable and open to what life will bring, trusting that all my chapters, past, present and future, are writing a beautiful, breathtaking and meaningful story, and all I have to do is live it.

Understand me now?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In uncharted territory...

Anyone who knows me, especially in the last five years, knows I'm not a stranger to trials, or pain.  So, it's not that I'm unfamiliar with hardship, so its not that I find myself up to my eyeballs in difficult emotions and struggles that has me feeling so unsettled, its that I don't seem to know how to get back on track.

I'm lost.

I'm well and truly lost this time.

My son died, and I found my way back on track.

My marriage hit a snag, I got my groove back.

Two miscarriages, I stumbled, I got back up.

But now, my marriage is over.  And suddenly its like I can't see.

And its not that I don't know what to do without him.  It's not that I don't want to break up, it's not that I want to work things out.  We're well beyond that and I know that this is the best thing for us all.  But I've been with him for 10 years, and so much of my life has been lived along side someone else.

I never lived alone.  I was never an adult and on my own really.  I met Elvis when I was 21 years old and threw myself into him.  I went from my parents house to our house, and never looked back.  I put all my eggs in one basket I guess you could say.

I don't regret one single day in the past 10 years.   They were priceless.  And we have four fantastic children who make every single heartache completely worthwhile.

So why am I so disabled by this change?  Why can't I get my bearings again.  Why do I feel so absolutely insane, indecicive, manic, panicked, lonely, fearful, and confused? 

I can't get back up, I can't choose a direction, I can't move on...

Because I don't know myself.

I don't know who I am.

My home isn't MY home.

My vehicle isn't MY vehicle.

My life is a tangled mess of what was "Ours".

"We" are everywhere. 

I'm a Mrs. on paper, but not in reality.

I belong to the Peca family in name, but not really.

Who AM I?! 

I think I used to be an artist, but not anymore.

I think I'd like to be a photographer, but I'm not sure.

Maybe an author, but I can't write a cohesive sentance let alone the novel I dream of.

Am I soft and demure like I sometimes feel, or am I edgy and strong like my increasing amount of tattoos would suggest.

Do I want long flowing curls or do I want to chop all my hair off again.

Do I want another relationship or am I better off alone.

Afterall, I don't know me, heck, I don't think I even really like me, how can I expect anyone else to?

My marriage is over.  And I've been rendered absolutley senseless.

Its like I'm on the ground starting up at the sky with the wind knocked out of me, and every time I go to get up I flinch at the pain, the fear of the unknown, at the daunting task of simply getting up and finding out what life holds for me now, without a marriage to define me and a partner to accompany me.  Its overwhelming.  So I've just stayed down.

Thing is, I want to get back up, the fear is diminshing and curiosity is creeping in.  What does life hold?  What's it look like now, after the tornado of change has whipped through, what's the landscape look like for me now?

I just don't know how to embrace MY new life, when I don't know how to just be me, because I don't know me.

I guess I need to start making my home MINE. 

And learning more about what I like, what I want, what I need.

And go from there.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

It isn't natural....

It isn't a natural thing, to birth a child, then live his life without him.

It isn't normal to pack away your hopes and dreams for your child, along with this few, but precious belongings, because his life was far too short, and painfully lived.

It isn't okay that he died.

And it isn't okay that a lot of other things unraveled in the aftermath.  

But it it exactly what it is. 

And it's been over four years now since I delivered Everett and Landon, and only weeks later said goodbye to Everett and brough Landon home.  But that event was just the begining, it was the stone thrown in the pond, the ripples continue on and on.  Losing Everett set us on a path we could not have ever imagined, not in our wildest dreams, every single aspect of our lives changed with is life and with his death.  And while it's been painful at times, and confusing, I know that it's all been for a purpose, and dare I say, it's been for our good.

Now, there are people on the outside of this experience, maybe they watched it happen, maybe they felt one or two of the ripples in their own pond, but it didn't happen to them and they don't really understand how it is.  How could they? It happened to me and most days I don't understand one single thing thats happening in my life.  But anyway, these people, they like to think they know how grief should look like and what we should be doing with our lives and our broken hearts in the aftermath of losing an incredibly beloved child.  They don't have a clue. 

They see the external aspects of our lives now.  They see us carrying on.  We had to carry on, what choice was there?  We had to raise our children and live our lives and I think given what we went through, we took those broken pieces and did our best with them, and what we made wasn't half bad.  But what they don't see is the internal damage.  They don't see the cracks and fractures that run to the core of us.  They go so deep.  And though we rebuilt ourselves to some resemblance of our former selves, the selves that never grieved over a lost son, we're not the same at all.  Nothing is as it was.  No wonder we couldn't maintain what we used to be.

Try as we might, life set us on a dramatic and unexpected course, and being that we're just human, we didn't always know what to do with ourselves or each other.  We did what we thought was best, and we had the very best intentions, but it's hard you know, to mend a broken heart of your own, while trying to tend to your children and also worry about the needs and demands of another.  It's not that you don't want to try, it's that you don't realize you're not already meeting everyone's needs.  I know there are people out there who stand in judgement of us, for letting our marriage fall apart.  We didn't do it on purpose, neither of us willfully neglected the other.  There was no spite involved.  What you have witnessed, you people standing on the outside looking in, is two people who tried very hard, under the weight of grief and sadness and obligation and strain, to put back together and maintain what used to be, not knowing that what used to be was gone for good and we needed to be building something completely new.  But hindsight is 20/20, and we can't go back and change the past.  And here were are now, 4 years and 4 months later, and we're changed beyond recognition.  Our lives are full, our lives are blessed, our lives our complicated, so much more then you can tell by just looking at us.  And we're still doing our very best to make the most of the hand we were dealt.

It' isn't easy you know.  It isn't natural, to go through what we went through.  To hold you child after he took his last breath.  To take his only outfit to the funeral home for him to be buried in.   To lay his felty white casket in the groud.  There isn't anything quite like this kind of heart break.  Saying goodbye to a baby you never got to parent and love the way you planned, it causes a sort of damage to your heart that you just can't describe or explain.  Its more like a crush injury then a fracture, so many tiny pieces, not a hope of ever really returning it to proper function.  So, it doesn't come as any surprise to me, with heart ache like this, that we lost our focus on our marriage, it's not that we didn't care, it's that we couldn't care.  Our own pain overshadowed everything else, it was all we could do to try to be normal and try to heal, and as we healed and the pain lessened, we had learned a new normal that didn't adequately consider the needs of the other, but it was normal and again, we had good intentions, we just didn't know we were so badly off course. 

Neither of us meant it to happen, it's just another tragedy in our lives that we'll learn from and we'll rebuild again.  Don't hold it against us, and don't think you can understand fully, don't judge.  We're still hurting, from old and new afflictions, be gentle with us.  We did the best that we could.

Some things don't work out like they should (Thanks Joe Purdy for the perfect words).