Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Re-United......and it feels so......

I started writing again here as a way of describing life as a middle aged Mormon woman who'd separated from her husband and dealt with menopause, empty nest, etc. I chose my private blog because of the personal nature of my discussions. There are, of course, things that are so private that I'll never discuss them, but if there are other women out there like me, I want them to know they are not alone.

I've been back a month now, today is an anniversary of sorts. I still have a bunch of boxes in the basement to unpack, but things upstairs are sort of together, back the way I had them and then some. I realized that the house was sort of empty. I tend to clutter things, even when the rooms are spotless. I like the bright vase, little meaningful things set around. The rooms are rounded out, they look like someone lives there.

This clutter mentality is one thing that has been a bone of contention between us. Bill likes things totally neat. I'll set a cute miniature (and vintage, I discovered) pitcher off center on a small doily in the kitchen window and he'll come in and put it dead center. I'll fix it and he'll come along and set it dead center again. I honestly think this would drive a lot of women crazy.

He's changed in that way. He's not saying much about my clutter-y, decorative ways. I think I'm ADD because I like to do two things at once. I'll balance the checkbook in the living room while I watch my taped episode of "America's Next Top Model" papers and checks scattered all over. He hasn't complained once.

He's eating a lot better. Food was a big bone of contention also. He'd butt in the kitchen and tell me how to cook stuff and we'd end up competing. When I was alone, I ate like a batchelor, a lot of frozen stuff, or sandwiches, or I'd have a steak--whatever I felt like! I actually ate less, but probably a lot of junk food.

He set out meat every day and tried to keep up with his meals, but he also resorted to frozen pizza and meat pies. He lost a lot of weight. Since I've been home, I've made lots of good food and enjoyed his enjoyment. He cooks some, too, but he's left the kitchen to me for the most part. He's bulking up and that's a source of pleasure for me.

The house, while cluttered and somewhat dusty, is cleaner. I wash every day and change sheets and towels (I'm mental about that stuff) and the house smells fresher. It had started to smell like my great-grandma's house, sort of a homey musty smell, not unclean, just old.

You know that song by Peaches and Herb "Reunited and it feels so good?" This doesn't feel like that. I'm still adjusting to this larger house, my little cottage felt so cozy and safe, and to having someone around. I'm a hermit to the max which has perplexed my ward members, I think, but I'm determined not to over do the social, serving scene like I did for so many years. I've taken a meal and visited a friend in the hospital, I'm not sucking my thumb here, but I'm not trying to save the world. I can't even save myself.

Bill and I are very careful with one another. One month and no screaming fights---a miracle! I still feel like this is his house, no entitlement here. I buy everything I need for myself and have insisted on repaying him when he's picked up things at the store. I've bought groceries, which evens out what I eat, and pay my own bills. It's not natural or comfortable for either of us. I'm still filled with resentment and he's still traumatized and sad, nervous that I'll leave again. (I tell him "listen, I'm so not packing up and moving again, I'm still tired from the last time").

He goes to church alone. I keep thinking I'll go with him, but the one Sunday I could, I got conveniently ill and was so tired I couldn't crawl out of bed, which I realize is probably so Freudian I qualify for medical books. Sometimes we pray together. He's started reading, a lot--just finished The Last Lecture, and we talk about stuff. Sometimes I tell him about my day at work. And he listens.

My daughters call me---and my best friend. I talk to my next door neighbor, the Relief Society president, who made sure I had good visiting teachers, and that's about it. I work. I'm still trying to dig myself out of the depths of depression. I wonder now if maybe I was still depressed when I was alone, but I didn't have all the other stuff to deal with, so I felt better. I don't know.

I've certainly had some dark, dark days and that old desperate feeling returns. However, I realize that my life alone was also very empty. I needed that rest and I'll never regret that, but I've talked to single women my age, divorced or widowed and they say they feel empty.

For the moment, this is reunited, an uneasy peace, and restoration. And God will take care of tomorrow.