Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Life and Death

I'm too young to be tired of funerals, and yet I am. In my life, I've buried four great-grandparents, three grandparents, and five friends. In the three years J. and I have been together, we've attended two funerals and zero weddings. How sad is that?

I'm thinking about this because a woman who was a close friend and like a second mom to me for many years suffered a burst aneurysm on Sunday and is now fighting for her life. She has a 50% chance of survival. It hurts my heart: for her, for her family, which includes two grandbabies and one on the way, and for myself. Even though we aren't close anymore, I love her dearly, and the idea of her dying breaks my heart.

I know that death is a part of life. I know that  most people wouldn't want to live forever, even if they could. And most of the time, I'm okay with that. Today, though...not so much.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Falling Together

Marisa de los Santos has become one of my favorite authors. I loved her first two books, Love Walked In and Belong To Me, and I eagerly awaited her new book, Falling Together. I was not disappointed. I think part of the reason I love this author so much is because her background is in poetry, and she has a way of phrasing things that really hits home with me. Below are some quotes I pulled from Falling Together. These lines each struck a chord deep within me, so I wanted to share them.

"...no matter what happens, loving someone to the best of your ability is exactly the right thing to do. It's the only thing to do."

"You must stop measuring - over and over - the line between loving and being in love."

"...sometimes there is nothing to do but surrender yourself to wonder."

This is my favorite passage from the book:

"And I'm not just talking about love. I mean any kind of love. You don't mess around. You don't walk away. You can't."

"Can't. Can't is hardcore."

"It's what we're here for," explained Pen. "It's what we're for."

I believe this with all my heart: love is the purpose of our lives. Some people live that in a big way, giving their lives over to charity and serving others. And some people don't live it at all; instead they search for meaning in titles, money, and material things. But the people who get the most out of their lives are those who love deliberately, who choose to love their spouse, children, families, and/or friends completely and unconditionally.

I never wanted to be famous. I don't need to have an important job title or make a lot of money or have the whole world know my name. I believe that my purpose is to be J.'s wife, and to love him with all that I am, for the rest of my life. That is the meaning of *my* life, and I can't imagine any greater purpose.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh, boy...

My mom has tentatively proposed that J. and I move in with her when our lease is up in September, and we are considering it. I'm not sure, but I think I've lost my mind.

I've had a difficult relationship with my mom for (literally) my entire life. The root cause of our problems is that she suffers from depression and other undiagnosed mental disorders, for which she refuses to get help. It's hard to explain, but, in addition to the typical symptoms of depression, she just doesn't look at the world in a normal way. I can't even give a really good example, because to someone on the outside, one example doesn't seem like a big deal. But there's just something...off...about her, and it makes her very challenging to deal with at times.

As soon as I was in middle school, we started fighting, and it continued and escalated up until I left home at the beginning of my senior year of high school. She drove me so crazy; there were times I was really afraid that I would hit her, just to try to knock some sense (or normalcy) into her. Since then, I've sworn up and down that there's no way in hell I'd ever consider living with my mom again. I've said that I'll always make sure she's taken care of, but that we will never, ever live under the same roof.

Never say never, right?

So why am I even considering this? Well, that's complicated, too.

First, I know she's lonely, but that's her own fault. She's never fostered friendships, and now that my grandmother is gone, she has no one in her life other than me and a couple of former coworkers to whom she occasionally talks. She's not in good enough health to return to work, and I'm not really sure she could get a job, even if she tried. There's plenty she could do: volunteer, get involved with a church, etc., but she just won't do it. She won't put herself out there in the world. Still...she's lonely, and I know that having J. and I and our three cats in her house would bring a lot of joy to her life.

Then there's the money factor. Living with mom would allow us to pay off our debt, save money, and even buy a new (to us) car in a year or so. I can't ignore how enticing that idea is. To have extra money...be able to take a vacation...not have to worry about money so much while J. is in school...well, that sounds a little like heaven to me.

The house mom lives in - which was my grandparents', and which will be mine when mom is gone - is a 4-bedroom, 2-bath with two living areas. It's ridiculously big for one person to live in all alone. Moving in with mom could be good for her, and it could be good for us. But it could also be really, really bad.

Sigh...I'm going to have to do a lot more thinking about this.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stay

Music has always been a huge part of my life, a way for me to express emotions when words fail me. When RJ and I were separated, one of the songs I listened to over and over was Sugarland's "Stay." It's a really pretty song, written from the perspective of the other woman.


I haven't thought much about the song, at least in an in-depth way, in several years, but I heard it on the radio today, and it dawned on me why it struck such a chord with me during my divorce: I felt like the other woman.

RJ had become involved with a woman he worked with. Their relationship was a train wreck from the start. She knew we were having problems, and she took it as a challenge to see if she could get him away from me; she didn't really want to be with him. For him, he felt like she needed him in a way that he needed to be needed. Even though *I* needed him, it wasn't in the way that turned on his protectiveness, and in fact, I think it pushed him away. She got under his skin in a way I couldn't stop, even though I'd seen it coming from a mile away. By the time I put my foot down and told him that their friendship had become too intimate, it was too late. When he left me for her, I told him that she didn't really want to be with him, but he couldn't believe it. Their relationship lasted less than two months.

It's only been in the last year or so that I've been able to think about that period of my life without becoming overwhelmingly sad. Getting divorced was the best thing for me and for RJ, and the pain of it was worthwhile, because I ended up here, where I'm incredibly happy with my life and my marriage. Still, divorce makes a person feels like a failure, and my divorce led to the lowest point of my life, when I did things of which I never thought I was capable. I can own my bad decisions now, though, and see them as things I had to endure to get to the place I'm in today. And it's nice to be able to think about all I went through in a sort of abstract way, without so much emotion clouding my thoughts.

When I hear Sugarland's "Stay" now, I realize that I *was* the other woman at the end of my marriage, and that RJ had already moved on to someone else. Even though that was the catalyst for our divorce, I can say I'm glad it happened. We weren't meant to be married to each other, but we might've kept on trying for years if something hadn't forced us apart. After all, we weren't happy, but we genuinely loved each other, and I don't think we would've separated. In the end, I'm glad it happened while we were both still young and had time to find the person who would make us really happy.