Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nick's Bride

Oh, what a darling girl she is---I wish I could show you her picture! She doesn't look a thing like Sarah, she's blond and blue-eyed, I think an inch or two taller, beautiful in a different way than Sarah's green eyes and darker skin. She's smart and funny and kind, obviously since she was so geniune and welcoming to Bill and me as we attended the open house. We were nervous and wondering how we'd be treated but felt it was imperative to show Nick how much we loved him and to welcome this new girl into our lives.

She wasn't wearing her wedding gown at the open house, just a nice dress and it was quite informal, probably a nod to Nick's second marriage status in his hometown. I hope she did it up royal at her own home. Nick gave us big hugs and because there was no line, we spent a good deal of time visiting. He laughed out loud when we told him how ditzy Sarah was and how she'd confused a combined choir performance with a performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and she'd confused the dates. (She texted me on the wrong day asking, "so are you guys coming down tonight?" I almost wet my pants while I figured out she was mixed up, it was only 45 minutes before we were supposed to be there!)

He seemed a bit disappointed when I told him I'd advised Sarah not to go. I'm glad, though, that I did. There's no way Sarah could have stopped herself from looking beautiful and I felt that night was Stephanie's night.

I can tell that she'll be good for Nick, she seems to have a good head on her shoulders. She has a teaching degree and is teaching school up in Provo; she's more of a caretaker than Sarah ever could be, and she's a lovely person. She's accepted by his family and I think she embraces that home school, home birth, herb-oriented lifestyle as well. There will be less conflict in their home as a result.

Plus she said that if Nick goes to Chiropractic School in Seneca Falls, I could visit them. I so would, too.

I'm very very happy for Nicolas.


I've been to church exactly five times since uh, March 10th or something like that. I haven't been to Relief Society or Sunday School, just sacrament the five times. Three times were at my new ward in Parowan, which is a lovely, lovely ward. Twice were with Bill at my "old" ward in Enoch. The first time was scary and awkward and embarrassing. I got lots of hugs and people were nice to me, but still, I didn't really want to be there. I was humoring Bill.

Same with last week. I've been back home for six weeks now and finally felt okay on a Sunday morning, enough to go through the shower and hair ritual and drag myself to church.

I wasn't glad about it. I felt defiant and rebellious. I kept thinking, to all those kind loving faces, "yeah, I'm here, but I'm not enjoying it. It's not where I want to be." Again, I was overwhelmed with love and hugs and welcome backs. The husband of my former best friend almost tripped over himself to come over and grab my arm and tell me, with tears in his eyes, "It's good to see you!" What kind of bitch am I not to let that kind of love in? A pretty big one, I suppose.

I felt people were watching us, our body language. A single friend sat on the other side of us, by Bill and asked me how I was. I knew, because people had told me, that she'd said she'd be glad to take Bill off my hands if I didn't want him. I was nice, but we're no longer friends, as far as I'm concerned.

The spirit. Did I feel it? Sort of. I can't remember the opening song, but the sacrament hymn was "I Stand All Amazed" which of course if my favorite hymn, or one of :). The closing hymn was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." We sang that at James' funeral. I took the sacrament with the words of the prayer in my head as well as the words of Christ, which I'm currently studying in the New Testament. He's been with me the last six months. Well, probably forever, but I have felt the Lord's strength carrying me so many times, truly the footprints in the sand.

One thing I did while I was away was to turn my day over to God, truly, because I knew I was too weak emotionally to carry myself. And He did, every time. He blessed me in countless ways. But since I've been home, I've found it harder to find that quiet time for deep meditation and prayer, to open that conduit to heaven. I've found that puzzling and upsetting. Because the priesthood's here and Bill honors his priesthood. The spirit should be here. Am I too busy now? I don't know.

I'm off work again next Sunday and am thinking of changing jobs to one where I'll have Sundays off. Perhaps attending will become more comfortable as I am more consistent and my attitude will change.

I know this: I've learned how others feel who have been in my position and I regret my insensitivity, even to my own child. I didn't know, I just didn't know how it felt and I thought I had all the answers. I hope I'll be kinder in the future.


"Garbage gut" that's what my first husband used to call me because I would just eat anything. I'm still that way. I guess the way I eat, you'd consider junk food a basic food group. A lot of the time, truly, I'm too tired to fix myself a nutritious meal. What a destructive cycle that can be. I remember once, I just lost my appetite for three weeks, stopped eating almost altogether and then I got really sick and weak. I still couldn't choke down food, but I drank Ensure for awhile and got feeling better. I don't know why that anorexia thing happens, but it does. And it's not fun at all and I cook awful when I feel that way. I loved the first couple of months on Cymbalta (although I gained ten pounds) because I had an appetite and cooked up a storm!

I had a bunch of lab tests in preparation for an appointment at a clinic in Newport Beach which treats people with depression, etc. and found that there is no Vitamin D in my body and that my thyroid is low. Personally, I think they're related to that tumor on my thyroid which they've never been able to definitively say is benign or malignant (my surgeon said, "If it's cancer, you'll die of old age before it gets you." What he didn't say is it could mess me up health-wise). I'm a down-winder and at risk for thyroid cancer.

However, I'm feeling a bit better since I've been taking my thyroid medicine regularly (I'm lazy about it for some reason) and Vitamin D. It's entirely possible that I'm mal-nourished despite the fact that I'm slightly overweight. I suppose malnourishment could cause weakness.

Anyway, girls, if you're feeling like me, check Vitamin D, B12, and Thyroid.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I think I'm crazy

Because I've been having nightmares and yelling in the middle of the night. I remember yelling, sometimes, but never the dreams. I usually sleep in the other bedroom, with the fan on, because of my work. Bill hears me, he says, so I must be yelling pretty loud because not only is the fan on, the door is shut and he sleeps with a breathing machine and with his hearing aid off.

My doctor has moved to northern Utah to oversee the state hospital, but I think I probably should see someone. I feel pretty depressed.

I am at the stage in my life where being crazy isn't cool or interesting---I'm over Oprah's "I was abused as a child and I'm nuts" shows. I'm over feeling unique because I'm crazier than other people.

And I feel a bit lost.

Last night, I yelled in my sleep and woke myself up. This morning, Bill casually mentioned it, as if I'd stubbed my toe or something. I just said calmly, "yeah, I don't know why." And, "Have a nice day" as he left for work.

Which goes to show a person can go crazy and act completely sane.

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.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Nicolas is getting re-married

Yesterday, it came in the mail. I've been expecting it, I couldn't quite remember the date of the wedding, but I knew it was soon. I ran into Nick's dad yesterday at the grocery store and he said it was in a couple of weeks. I thought maybe Nick had decided not to invite us and I didn't blame him, his fiance's feelings are paramount right now. I urged Sarah not to attend the open house. Nick's bride is a beautiful girl and I didn't think anything should take away from her day, especially not Nick's beautiful ex-wife coming.

I'm not sure that's the right thing, but if it's wrong, it will do less damage than the reverse.

Bill handed me the mail and I immediately spotted the envelope (isn't it funny how I ran into his dad the day I got the invite). I opened it, studied it, and put it on my desk. I didn't say anything to Bill about it. I felt so incredibly sad. I studied the picture, trying to figure out---let's call her Jennifer--her personality. Would she be steady and loyal, as Sarah was not? Does she adore him? Looks like it. There's a lot to adore about Nick.

He looks relaxed and happy.

Oh, how I will miss him!

I will regret to the day I die the unhappiness our family brought into his life. I think if we hadn't pushed for the marriage, it wouldn't have happened and his heart wouldn't have been broken.

Jennifer looks like Sarah's polar opposite. She is blond and blue-eyed, to Sarah's dark hair and green eyes. She and Nick seem to fit together.

She's strong, I think, also. Strong enough to accompany Nick to our home when Sarah wigged out because a former boyfriend (who'd treated her very shabbily)--a guy she dated when she left Nick, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sarah, true to her emotional high-strung nature, called on Nick for comfort. He came to our house, with Jennifer, and went down to Sarah's room to talk to her and calm her, leaving Jennifer in the front room with Bill, who was utterly confused.

Bill was totally won over and impressed by Jennifer, her calm demeanor and kindness. Now that Nick and Sarah are divorced, I think Bill can see more clearly how ditzy Sarah is, her flaws. That's not an awful thing, since he mostly sided with her against me when I got irritated and called on her to grow up. He called me mean and insensitive.

All that aside, I was in favor of the divorce. I believe----and I still believe----that the marriage was headed for disaster. Sarah needs a strong hand, someone kind and gentle, yes, but someone who will take care of her and set strong boundaries. Both she and Nick needed caretakers. I think they both tried, but they were going against their natures and sooner or later, the marriage would have ended. Thank God it ended sooner and with no children added to the mix.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt there was a girl out there for Nick who would make him happy without the baggage of emotional ups and downs. I knew it and I promised him over and over. I knew the pain he was feeling would end. And it looks like it has.

How I will miss him!

I recall a time, in the beginning, when I jokingly said, "If you and Nick ever split up, I get Nick." Sarah was terribly upset by that and at the time I was joking. She's my darling girl and I'll stick with her always. But Nick is smart and sweet and funny and I enjoyed him immensely.

But, come October 25, Bill and I will go to Nick's parents' home and hug him and Jennifer and tell them how happy we are and wish them the best and give them money to help out their new start and behave in a classy and generous manner. It won't be easy, we'll have to swallow our pride and risk feeling outsiders, as surely we will be.

And Sarah will stay home and cry. Hard day for everyone.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hello, Exhaustion, My Old Friend

Several things happened to me, healthwise, in the six months Bill and I were separated. I was able to rest, truly rest, for the first time in a long time. I remember sleeping a lot of the time during the first couple of weeks before I went to work--and I only worked a few days a week during that initial month.

I would take naps, long ones, any time I got tired. I could stop and leave dishes undone, boxes unpacked, blogs unread and sleep. I loved that part of living alone. The little trailer park where I lived was shady and quiet, so nothing woke me. No loud cars, motorcycles, kids yelling, or dogs barking. No one knew where I was, save a few close friends and family members, so my phone rarely rang. Bliss.

I took long hot bubble baths, read and slept. I ate what I wanted when I wanted.

I also lost twenty pounds, ten of it from the stress of the separation, and ten when my sister died and I got food poisoning. Just dropped the weight. I had to buy new pants because my others were falling off me. Can't complain about that, although I've gained ten back.

I felt so much better physically during that time that my friends commented on it. I seemed like a different person, relaxed, without that constant frown of worry and resentment on my face.

Now that I'm back, I've bottled tomatoes, unpacked, cleaned, and cooked to beat the band. Poor Bill also lost twenty pounds, which he didn't have to lose, and I'm trying to fatten him up. I've made huge pots of soup and stew, casseroles, and even a wonderful dutch oven full of Beef Bourguignon. He doesn't have to do laundry, cook or clean. I want him to rest, also, to fatten up. Despite his insistence on neatness, his clothes started to smell old. He did laundry, but he just didn't keep up on things. He didn't take care of himself well. I want to do that.

We had a whole gardenful of wonderful tomatoes I just couldn't let go to waste, so I put up some for the coming winter. There have been no unplanned naps, leaving dishes in the sink. I've had my grandchildren overnight, delighting in their delight at new neighbors--with kids!--and grandma and grandpa living again in the house they all feel is home. Little chattering voices coming in and out for cookies and toys and bandaids.

And I've worked at my job.

I'm paying for all that today. Yesterday, after a day canning, cleaning, and cooking, I woke up literally unable to move from all the achy muscles and the dizziness. I limped around till I had to go to work, came home and collapsed till this morning. Today, a little less pain, but it's there.

This isn't Bill's fault. He's so happy to have me home he's made no demands, no nagging to do all the stuff he's been known to nag me about. This is all on me. I don't regret the things I've done, but I realize I am going to have to learn how to rest while being among people LOL.

I'm going to go to church, I've worked my schedule out that much, but I'm not going to go all hog wild engaging people and helping people and I've got to learn how to ration my time and energy so that I have something to give and don't end up flat on my back, literally and figuratively (in the emotional and spiritual sense) again.

You young mothers and wives, there's a reason you're tired and it's not because you're lazy. You do alot. We all nod in agreement when we hear lessons on not over-doing, taking care of yourself so that we can take care of others, then we drive ourselves to do more.

The trick to living Christ-like lives is not to do more (genealogy, bottling, scripture reading, etc.); it's to do less.