Moving The Boulder

July 22, 1998

The divorce has been finalized and I find a message on the answering machine that they are engaged; JMF and Doo Dah are getting married. I sat on this piece of information for four days. It’s interesting how memories can be a bit fuzzy after so many years. I thought that I called her on July 22. Thank goodness for my journal. I wrote a lot about my goals and objectives if I were to meet her. I’d forgotten that piece of information. 

My hope was that if I met her my thoughts would shift about her. So here’s the celebration! I’ve not lost myself. I am still the eternal optimist. Never the less it’s important to meet her and get the boulder out of the way so that I can continue to heal. Moving A Boulder

The weekend is just lonely. JJ and T have moved out and JWF is with a friend for the weekend. It’s a gift and a curse. Great to have the house to myself to just be me and yet all three of them provide a great distraction for me. I decide that I would call Doo Dah and that decision loomed in front of me because I couldn’t act on it until Monday.

July 27, 1998

I call Doo Dah. I can’t remember how I knew her phone number. I did know that they worked together. I didn’t sleep the night before. Again, thank you journal for accurate notes. I call her and she is stunned to hear from me. I ask to meet her TODAY. She replies that she will have to call JMF. Sure I say. I will wait for you to call me back. I can remember thinking that she has to get permission from him? I am going to celebrate that I will never have to have a man’s permission to do anything in my life; thank you very much. 

She calls back and we are to meet in Reston at 11 AM. I set the place and time. I quickly call a dear friend, LM, to see if she can be my wing woman. I tell her the details and she agrees that she will be in Williams Sonoma to keep an eye on me to make sure that I am safe. I’m set. I’m ready. 

July 27 11 AM  From My Journal

My knee caps are shaking! How do knee caps shake and then I realize that my entire body is shaking. I then begin to write over and over again. Just let me be me. Let my words be worthy and truly reflect who I am. 

My Best Recollections

And there she is. I remember wondering what she looks like. I have no idea but then I realize, oh, she knows what I look like. That stung. She sits down and there is this HUGE diamond ring on her left hand. It’s so big that it takes my breath away. 

And then it just came out of my mouth. . .something like this after the obligatory thank you for coming: 

Me:  For the life of me I can’t understand how one
woman could do this to another woman; have an affair. 

Doo Dah responds without missing a beat: This is all JMF’s fault.
JMF is the one that started it.

Me: I take a really deep breath; maybe two and respond calmly:
“Well, it takes two to fuck!” 

And there it is. The silence. The ugly truth.
Doo Dah is visibly taken aback.
She has nothing back for me. 

Me:  I wouldn’t wish an affair on my worst enemy
and please believe me,
YOU are my worst enemy. 

There was something else that was said but I cannot remember. 

Me: I stood up and said: “I promise you this.
I will always be cordial to you when we are in public.” 

Then I walked to LM at Williams Sonoma. LM quickly scooped me up and we walked to Clyde’s, one of my favorite restaurants. I went to the bathroom and threw up over and over again until there was nothing left. LM can probably remember this best. I sort of remember a fabulous waitress with a heart of gold that brought me bread. I remember that bread. LM and I sat there and just talked and I told her everything. I couldn’t eat anything except that wonderful bread. 

July 28  Writings From My Journal 

I write about how Doo Dah implies that the entire blame for the affair is on me. Maybe this is the piece that I can’t remember from the meeting? Thankfully and gratefully my brain doesn’t remember thisI I wrote it so she must have said it. Even more gratefully I don’t buy it. I’m just stunned and disappointed. 

July 30

I really need to give myself the time
to feel the pain again. . .yet in a new way.
 Really clean the wound out.
After having time to sort this experience out,
reflect on words and facial expressions.
I’m better able to translate the Monday experience. 

Doo Dah is filled with perceptions about me that are false. Blaming me? This is the hard one and probably the button that got pushed for me when we met. I will readily take responsibility for some things in my marriage but I will never take responsibility for his betrayal. 

I have a second chance at life! 

Where Is the Sweet Spot? 

I believe there are two sweet spots! The first one is that I am beginning to find my voice; speaking my truth to Doo Dah was huge for me and to have such a quick come back! I amazed myself. The other sweet spot was having such a dear friend that would drop everything and surround me with love and just listen to me. 

Where’s Your Sweet Spot

What do you say to a person that has acted in hurtful ways to you and they deny it?
How do you handle yourself with a person that is speaking falsehoods about you? What do you do? What do you say?  I love your comments because it helps all of us. Let’s be the butterfly in search of the sweet spot. Yes, I took this photo in October 2006. 

Butterfly

I Expected Something Different!

My Vision

I thought about this from the very beginning
of the separation and divorce in 1997.
It would be healthy for JJ and JWF if their parents
are cordial and civil; dare I hope for us to be on the same page? 

I remember therapy sessions with SL about this subject. I remember her saying “better to have an ass of a Dad than no Dad at all.” She encouraged me to “push them to their Dad.” Ugh! But I did it. I can’t say that I pulled it off 100% of the time but I gave it my best shot. 

JJ and JWF
JWF’s wedding day in 2007!

The hard years,1997 and 1998

They were so angry at their Dad for the affair. They handled it differently, which was par for the course. Here’s what I didn’t know for many years. JMF wanted my/our sons to meet Doo Dah, over and over again. And over and over again they both drew their boundaries of not meeting her until the divorce was final. Pretty cool. Right? They were so young and so wise at the same time. 

JWF’s college graduation May 2002  

So back to therapy with SL in early 2002! JWF is going to be graduating from James Madison University. JMF and Doo Dah were married in October 1998. I met Doo Dah right after JMF called and left a message that they were getting married. Just Doo Dah and I met in July 1998. That’s another blogfor another day. I had that meeting because I knew that JWF would be graduating one day and I wanted my meeting Doo Dah to be behind me. I wanted his college graduation to be as normal as possible.

So graduation day arrived. We are in Harrisonburg, Virginia; home of James Madison University. My Mom, sister and brother-law are there. JJ is glued to my side protecting me. JMF and Doo Dah are there. It’s going to be my first time to see them together.

There is the main graduation and then parents are escorted to the disciplinary schools on another part of the campus. I can close my eyes now and remember this moment forever. SL had coached me to trust myself when I first see them together. So I walked over to the next graduation, a more intimate graduation site; through a tunnel under Interstate 81. All of a sudden here’s JJ running to me and whispers in my ear, “ Mom, tits up! They are straight ahead.” Boy did I need that! And indeed, I stood up straight with my tits up and hugged Doo Dah!  It was an out of body experience for sure but I was so proud of myself. I was hoping to format our future; that we could all be on the same page for my sons that I grew and birthed. 

Today

So fast forward to the current situation. Remember the cutoff with JJ?  That graduation day seems like light years ago and it seems as though I worked so hard for nothing because I had it wrong for so many, many years. I kept forgetting that it takes two to tango and JMF doesn’t think like me. We’ve never been on the same page; ever! My vision, my hope that we would be on the same page in regards to our sons is just plain disappointing for me. I had it wrong.

And this is me finally facing the truth. I’ve made him up to be someone that he isn’t. 

Now what?

Brené Brown writes in her book Dare To Lead:
“The research participants who demonstrated the most willingness
to rumble with vulnerability and practice courage
tethered their behavior to one of two values, not ten.” 

She gives an entire list of values on page 188. My two values are integrity and courage. These adjectives ring true for me and my journey in life. 

I believe that the Mom and Dad are the leaders in the family; even when divorced. I begin to think about JMF and our oldest son. I wonder if JMF is fearful if he takes a stand with JJ on my behalf that our oldest will cut him out of his life like he has done with me. What would that sound like if he spoke with our son?  It may sound like this, “I think that cutting your Mom out of your life is hurtful, possibly toxic for you. I encourage you to reach out to her. I realize that I can’t make you reach out to her but I think it would be good for everyone.” I did this back in 1997. I told my sons, “This is between me and my husband. He’s your Dad and everyone needs a Dad. So stay connected to him.” It was that simple. Of course they wanted to bad mouth him but I would 95% of the time encourage them to stay connected with their Dad. I am glad that I pushed them to him. I just expected something different from JMF.

Taking a stand for what is good and right is so important to me.

The Sweet Spot

So where is the sweet spot for me in this mess? Owning my feelings and saying them out loud is important; stating my truth as I see it even when it sounds harsh and judgmental. That’s my sweet spot. My intention is not to be judgmental. This cut off is hurtful and unnecessary. I do believe that sometimes cutoffs are necessary in some families. I just encourage you to think long and hard about the consequences if you choose a cutoff. 

What Are Your Thoughts?

Families are interesting for sure! Navigating situations like this can be tricky. What are your two values? Where’s your sweet spot when you find yourself in the midst of a family mess? I found this quote from M. Scott Peck way back in 1997 which helped me because belief me, I lived with a lot of fear. 

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action
in spite of fear, the moving out against the resistance
engendered by fear into the unknown and into the future.” 

So I would love to hear your thoughts when there is a cutoff in your family! 

Post Script

Well this is a funny for sure. Click on over to find my thoughts about JWF’s graduation from my Ripple Blog.  I’ve come a long way! And thanks Robyn over at The Robyn’s Bird Nest.  You may want to follow her on her brilliant blog.

The Ring. . . .

It’s October 2018 and I find myself in Arizona. It’s for professional and personal reasons. I had the pleasure of helping at a two day training by Dr. Becky Bailey and then my good friend and colleague, Kim and I went to Sedona for a few days of fun! I’ve been traveling extensively for work; flying all around the country and feeling exhilarated and let’s be truthful. I am a bit exhausted. Kim and Jessica in Phoenix!

Kim and I drove to the Orchards Inn and arrived late at night. It was my first time to be in Sedona. Kim had been previously and loved this Inn! I couldn’t see anything because it was so dark when we arrived. I woke up and opened the curtains and literally gasped. I have never seen anything so spectacular as the glorious red mountains and outcroppings. We made coffee and grabbed blankets to go and sit outside to enjoy the view. 

Sedona

I have looked forward to this time away from work and to be with a friend that I admire and respect. My hope is to recharge and regroup. I’ve been flying all around the country training for months. I have to be honest. I thought I would have met someone organically by now. I mean don’t you love a story that starts with, “we just met at a bar in the airport and then the rest was magic!” Right? Well it wasn’t happening. I’m ready and have been ready to meet someone. I’ve done the hard work of grieving for Michael. Michael would applaud this for sure. 

So there Kim and I are outside drinking coffee in the beauty and I began to speak about how I don’t need a man in my life. Thank you very much but I am self sufficient and I really don’t need a man. I think that I went on with this diatribe for at least 3 minutes. I then came up for air and then Kim calmly responds with one sentence. “Would you like to share your life with someone?” Well f#ck! And this is where the trajectory changed with that one sentence because I answered quite humbly and quietly, “yes!” 

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So we began to talk about the obstacles in meeting someone. The world is a different place. Why is it not happening organically? I asked her about the diamond ring on my left hand. This ring is not an engagement ring but it certainly looks like an engagement ring. The main diamond was my Aunt’s engagement ring. I received her ring after she died and it just means so much to me. But that question hit me hard and the answer. Yes, it looks exactly like an engagement ring. So we quickly make our goal for the day. We are going to find a different ring today. 

What a lovely day we had of wine tasting at Chateau Tumbleweed in Clarkdale, Arizona. 

 

We then drove to Jerome, Arizona. I felt like we were on the movie set of Gunsmoke; real salons! I could close my eyes and imagine gun shoot outs in the wild, wild west! It was just amazing. Kim and I found small places to duck in and have an appetizer and a drink. We found this lovely place, Raku Gallery, that had amazing funky and unique jewelry. I had so much fun trying on rings and closing my eyes to feel if it was the “right ring.” I finally found it and Kim captured the moment of realization. Of course the ring will have to be sized. My new friend from the Gallery called the artist asking if the ring could be sized down that much. He agreed to make a ring just for me. My finger is that small. 

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It took 6 weeks for the ring to arrive. So hooray for me! The first step in my plan is accomplished.

So where’s the sweet spot? Kim is the sweet spot! I treasure our friendship. I value her honesty. I count on her clarity of mind that helped me create a plan that will more than likely help me to find that certain someone. He’s out there. I believe it. Now to the second step in my plan. 

So where’s your sweet spot when you feel stuck in your life? Who do you turn to for inspiration? Who can pull you out of that place? I look forward to your comments.

Hurling Plates!

How do I release such anger; rage? I feel crazy; utterly and totally crazy! 

It’s the summer of 1997; the first summer of dealing with all that is going on in my life!

JMF has moved in with Doo Dah! I vacillate between great sadness and pure anger and rage. Living in ambiguity is exhausting and confusing. Living in suspension is painful. My journal entries account for me hiking to seek some comfort and clarity. I write that “my chest hurts the majority of the time, my heart doesn’t beat normally most of the time and my brain feels fried.” 

I write endlessly about what I want in my life. Here’s one entry!

“So what do I want? I want so much in life. I want passionate kisses. I want joy and laughter. I want to be comfortable. I want to be vulnerable and I want all of these things to be reciprocated.” 

And then July 2, JMF calls to say that he is moving out from Doo Dah’s house. He even cancelled his vacation plans with her. And then the next 10 weeks are a roller coaster. From movies and dinner with JMF to deep worries that I will not be happy if we reunite. He is not well. He is distant. He goes MIA for days. I write endlessly about my doubts. My marriage vows come to haunt me; through sickness and in health? Well f#ck! 

On July 19,1997, I find two phone messages from him. My journal does not recount what the messages are, however my journal notes my great disappointment in his message.

“Saying that I was disappointed would be wrong. I was so mad. Hurling dinner plates off the top of my deck and seeing them explode on impact was of great comfort; a great release.” Please note that it is necessary to scream, “f#ck you as the plate is hurled!”

So the hurling of plates became my “go to” when I needed to release my rage. It was important to note how mad I was during these times. Was I a “two plate mad” or a “five plate mad” kind of day? The summer of 1997 and into the fall was full of rage. I did this so much that JWF comments to me that he won’t mow the lawn anymore. I respond back that the consequence of my actions are that I go out into the yard and clean it all up. It’s quite healing and cathartic. 

Hurling plates off of my deck was my sweet spot. Writing, talking with a friend or taking a walk would not have touched this feeling. I felt helpless and powerless. I was just plain scared that I would be left without financial security for a lifetime. I was plain scared that I would be alone for the rest of my life. Hurling plates released the pain at least for awhile and that is just what I needed. 

What’s your sweet spot when you find yourself enraged: helpless and powerless? I am interested in knowing what you do and covet your responses. 

I Had The Time of My Life!

May 12 marks three years since Mike left this world. It seems like it has been forever. 

I’ve been thinking about this day for a few weeks now and I kept coming back to the songs that give me comfort and make me smile; bring me joy! I’ve listened to them a lot over the past few weeks wondering if I should write something. If yes, then what on earth would I write. I wrote some Last Thoughts for 2018 on January 1. What else do I want to say? And then I listened to the song, I’ve Had the Time Of My Life, by Bill Medley and boom! I knew what I was going to write; I knew exactly what I was going to post because: 

I’ve had the time of my life
No, I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you!

Click over to that last link.  I can close my eyes and imagine that is Michael and me dancing.  There was that much magic and chemistry.

So I thought I would share photos of us over the years that we were together; 13 years!  Just enough time. For those of you that don’t know, Michael had a massive stroke on August 26, 2004. He had aphasia and apraxia! He was my hero. So 12 of those 13 years I lived with Michael and his stroke because I had a stroke on that day also.

So fasten your seat belts.  Here comes the memories.

Therapy at The Medical University of South Carolina

Michael was approved to be in an experiment through the Medical University of South Carolina.  Click over to read about it.  He was featured in the Post and Courier.

Michael Loved His Grandchildren

Michael Loved My Grandchildren

Michael and Bailey

We decided that we were ready to get another Scottish Terrier.  Michael was adamant that we had to go and meet all the puppies.  He held each one of the puppies and chose Bailey.

Michael Loved Having Fun

Michael and Me!

Cheers to you Michael!  There is no one compares with you!

So I will end with a Beatles song that is poignant for this day, this moment.  I loved you Michael!

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Finding the Sweet Spot

So the sweet spot for me is remembering! Remembering all that we had! The sweet spot for me is feeling grateful for all that Michael taught me and gave me. What is your sweet spot concerning the loss of love?

Living With A Cutoff!

I spent the past four months chronicling the break up with my oldest son with the intention of posting it on my blog. I titled it “The Unseen Cord That Never Breaks.” It turned out to be five pages.  I read it over and over and thought about posting it and finally decided not to post it. It is ready for my granddaughter.  It’s important to put my story down for her. My intention is to tell my side of the story. But here’s the important part, the part I am choosing to post. It is important to identify how I feel each day.  I don’t want to get stuck in the story and live miserably. I want everyday to be a conscious act of remembering my oldest son with love.  

It’s important to note here that it has been six years since I have seen my oldest or heard his voice.  It was his decision for the cut off at his wife’s insistence.  They are now divorced. I will call her M. I know what he said the reason was but it just doesn’t ring true. Mother’s know these things. At this point though it’s not important.  What is important is to continue to love him from a distance. That cord never breaks. That’s called unconditional love.  

The first time I met her!

Yaya and GDM
The first time I held GDM.  December 2011

I was able to care and love her once a week for the first year.

My last time to see her!

Granddaughter and Yaya
This photo was quickly taken. It is the last time that I saw her in December 2012.

So how do I feel? When I think of my oldest I feel empty, disconnected; sad and sometimes angry. Sad that I am missing out on what is going on in his life; missing out on my only granddaughter’s first years of life.  She turned seven years old this past December.  What does her voice sound like?  What is her favorite color?  Does she play with dolls? Does she like dresses? So many questions that will have to wait for another day; another year?  

I’m angry that my oldest didn’t take up for me! Really? I don’t do angry well. There are times that I just want to throttle him and give him a piece of my mind. That would really help things wouldn’t it?

You may be thinking to yourself, what have you been doing for the past six years? The first year I sent books to my granddaughter via JMF. The inscriptions were so important to me.

Then I received a note in the mail from JMF.  WOW!  This will be another blog about my great disappointment in JMF.  He is a coward.  

So my granddaughter never received Zen Shorts.  It’s waiting for her.

So no more books for my granddaughter. If my oldest wants me to know his address he will give it to me.  I am just trying to honor him and his wish. Sounds crazy but there you are.  

Last summer, 2018, I texted my oldest to ask if he would be willing to meet me.  I asked for professional help with the text to make every attempt for success.

Text Message

No response!  I went to his house, yes I did ask for the address, and I sat on the steps to his house.  The house felt sad.

July 2018
I went and sat on the steps of his house.

So where’s the sweet spot in this mess? The sweet spot is small but terribly important to my well being.  It is to believe that unseen cord never breaks. I choose to intentionally send him love and well wishes each day AND believe that one day we will be reunited.  

So have you ever encountered a cutoff in your family? How did you handle it? How did you reconnect? What’s it like now? I’m looking for stories. It’s a lonely feeling.

It’s My Birthday!

Today is my birthday and I am in Little Rock, Arkansas!  I am traveling, training and coaching in early childhood classrooms.   Lucky me to do what I love; my passion.   So the traveling piece got me to thinking of my Aunt Erma.  

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Every summer I  spent weeks visiting my favorite aunt in Jackson, Mississippi.  She was the fun aunt who loved me and spoiled me.  She was the aunt who loved adventure and I loved listening to her stories of riding on camels and elephants; of her travels to far off places.  I adored receiving postcards from those exotic places.  I still have those postcards.

In 1962 she bought me a plane ticket to travel from Jackson, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee via Memphis.  It was a present; graduating from sixth grade was a big deal back them.  I had to change planes and I was solo; all by myself!  My first flight on a plane ever! 

I still remember that day; walking on the tarmac, turning around to my Aunt to capture this photo; getting on the plane with my purse and book, feeling so big.  All by myself.  It was a window seat and I don’t believe I ever opened the book.  My nose was pressed on the window and I was in total awe of what I seeing below.  

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And then we landed in Memphis.  My first landing ever! And to this day I remember that landing because when the wheels touched the ground there was a “bump” and my nose hit the glass.  To this day I press my nose on that glass and remember my Aunt.  And I always say “thank you!”  

Thank you for giving me the “gift of the world,” my ticket into the world.   This ticket changed my life forever and that is why I am writing today.  I love to fly!  I love the adventure.  I love the window seat.  I love pressing my nose on the glass and to feel the bump and remember the love of my aunt.  I love you Aunt Erma!  Happy Birthday to me!

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Last Thoughts For 2018!

It’s the beginning of another year.  2018 was the second year without Michael.  Now I’m ready to write about the last week with him, May 2016.  I think about that last week but more specifically the last day; the last morning.  I’ve savored each moment, grateful for each moment.  

Mike and J b&w
Folly Beach July 2015

Monday

Mike is home from the Medical University of South Carolina on Monday late.  Of course he comes in a medical transport with two gorgeous women.  That’s how Michael does it.  Bailey was delivered by Moonshadow just in time to welcome him home.   The living room was literally transformed in an hour thanks to a wonderful neighbor helping to carry the couch to the garage and a chair back to the living room.  My grandmother’s quilt is just the right touch to the hospital bed.  I’m as ready as I am going to be for what is to come because I really have no idea of what is ahead of me.  I just know that it is important and that I must stay focused.  I must be present.  

Monday night with Mike and Bailey.  It’s Dancing With The Stars night.  We loved this show.  All night long I would say to Mike, “ I love you!”  And he would respond, “I love you, too!”  Over and over this night was one of “I Love You’s!”  For that I am forever grateful.  

 

Tuesday

The hospice nurse arrives to do the long entrance examination this morning.  As I walk her to her car I tell her that Mike’s daughters should arrive by Thursday.  She exclaims that I must call them immediately.  It is imperative that they get here quickly.  I’m shocked but call them and get the ball rolling.  There is no time to cry.  There is no time to feel sad.  The daughters are on their way.  

The second night is different.  This night Michael wakes up and calls for me around 2:00 AM for help.  It’s not good.  I mean it is really scary bad and I am all alone.  Thankfully I now have the Hospice 911 number.  I call that number and immediately I have a friend, no I believe it was an Angel.  She coaches me how to give him the morphine.  She calms me down by breathing with me.  It is so hard.  It is freaking so hard and I am all alone.  Bailey is right beside me as this Angel talks to me for probably an hour.  Mike has fallen asleep.  His daughters are on the way and should arrive in the early morning.  I finally fall asleep.  

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Bailey only left his side to take care of her business.  

I wake up and Michael is sleeping with Bailey by his side.  The Hospice nurse arrives at 8 AM and to my astonishment he tells me that Michael is in a coma.  I thought he was sleeping.  My world turns upside down again.  How many times can the world be turned upside down?  I call JWF, my youngest.  Please come and hurry!  

Bailey never leaves his side!

Bailey never left Michael!

Wednesday

So Michael is in a coma.  Michael is dying.  This is real.  It’s happening and I am in uncharted waters.  I call our closest friends.  I call his precious speech therapist.  I call our neighbor.  Each of them come.  And with each visit peace, acceptance and gratitude appear.  Our closest friends arrive.  We circle the chairs around Michael’s bed.  I turn on our favorite music.  We pour drinks and for 3 hours we tell stories.  We remember the good times together.   We laugh and we cry.  Peace, acceptance and gratitude visit.  

JWF arrives around midnight.  I am keenly aware of how grateful I am for his presence.  I sleep beside Michael all night and wake up early.  It’s just Bailey and me awake and I realize that there is a sweet moment here.  I quickly make a cup of coffee and download Cat Stephen’s Morning Has Broken.  I take Michael’s hand and sing this lovely song and watch the sun rise holding Michael’s hand.  I memorized this moment. It’s Thursday morning.  

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Thursday

Thursday morning, the Hospice nurse calls to ask if she can come by in the afternoon and give Michael a bath.  I am thrilled at this opportunity.  Michael was a fastidious man and he loved his clothes and shoes.  He’s a good looking man!  Maybe this is why he hasn’t left us?  He doesn’t look like Michael.  So another Hospice Angel arrives and together we shave his beard, wash his body, his hair and slather cream over his whole body.  We change him into a pink shirt.  Oh he always looked so good in that pink shirt!  Thank you to my Mom for teaching me how to say good bye in this special way!  

His daughters and JWF return to the house and we begin to notice that his breathing has changed.  It is noticeably different.  We surround him and hold hands.  Each of us begins to spontaneously share something that we loved about Michael.  Slowly, slowly his breathing is shallow and then he is gone.  Just like that he is gone.  We are holding hands, tears streaming down our cheeks with no regard of wiping them away.  We are frozen in the moment.  I don’t remember how long that moment was.  I memorized it as I took in every person in that circle.

Bailey immediately wants down with Michael’s last breath.  She knew he was gone.

Saying Goodbye!

So a lady from Hospice comes to verify that the death is not suspicious.  She does her thing and then calls the Sheriff’s office and then the funeral home is notified.   I remind everyone that Michael’s wish was to be cremated immediately.  Once the funeral home comes we will never see him again.  Now that was hard for me to put my brain around at that moment.  No viewing of the body like we do in the South but that is what he wanted.  So I asked JWF to find a lovely bottle of wine with enough wine glasses.  The funeral home person arrives and we again surround Michael with our wine glasses raised.  We toast Michael one last time in this house as they roll his body out of the front door.  Good bye my sweet love!  I had the time of my life with you!

Some Thoughts

I keep wondering why I am writing this, especially this post; sharing these moments with the world.  First of all I want my grandchildren to know the story, my story.  I want them to know who I am.  The second reason is that I hope that I can bring some kind of hope and inspiration for someone as they say goodbye to the person that they love so much.

Here are some things to consider:
❤️  Take photos!  Take photos of your hands.  Paw prints are great!
❤️  Be present!  You can never have a do over.
❤️  Remember the good moments and state them out loud.

Morning Has Broken

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Michael Clay Boomer, Jr.  

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day

Your Turn!

So what are your thoughts?  What are your experiences?  I believe that we are better together and I love reading other folks stories.

I’ve thought and thought about Michael’s last week and wouldn’t change a thing.  I can only hope that JWF was paying attention.  I just want lots of Motown Music when I am dying. James Taylor would be welcomed.  I want to dance as I leave this world.  Cheers to you Michael for teaching me that I am lovable.  I really did have the time of my life with you.  Oh, that’s another song!

It’s My Wedding Anniversary!

September 2, 1972

Wedding Photo
September 2, 1972

Today would have marked my 46th wedding anniversary.  I can truthfully say that I do not miss JMF one bit.  I’ve been reading in my journals from that time; getting back in touch with what happened, how it all happened.  I believe that what I experienced was trauma.

 I’ve never used that word or even thought about that word.  I feel it’s a bit presumptuous to even think that I experienced trauma.  Right?  However I am choosing to think differently about this word now.  The betrayal, the affair and the many lies were deeply disturbing to me.  Agony, suffering, pain, anguish, misery.  Yep! My world was turned upside down and I literally didn’t feel safe.  Sleep wasn’t my friend and I would vacillate between intense sadness and rage. I would throw plates off of my deck.  I’ll write about that later.

Today!

Now I have the great honor of training as a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and often mention my divorce and his betrayal in my trainings with the intention of helping.  After a recent training, a woman came to me and slipped a note in my hand.  My first thought was that I had offended her in some way.  I asked if I could read the note with her.  Thankfully she agreed.

My heart stopped beating and I held my breath as I began to read her note.

Note

“I know you didn’t come here for this.  Yesterday I was in your class and you mentioned that you had been married and your husband (now your ex) cheated on you.  My question: How did you heal beyond it?  How long did it take you?”

Well those questions have lingered in my heart and brain since that day.  How did I heal beyond it and how long did it take?  Well here’s the news!  I am not healed.  I choose to work on it each day.  It’s a journey.  Some days are easier than others. Some days I don’t think about JMF.  Other days I think a lot about JMF.  It’s been 21 years and somedays it feels as though it was yesterday and other days it seems as though I was never married and it wasn’t at all real.  Today is one of those days that I feel the reality.

Perception is a funny thing.  I can fall into moments of “he is a dirty bastard and he must pay” or “poor JMF.  Blah, blah, blah!”  But that focus is not helpful.  The focus should be on me, not him, which changes the direction of the energy.   I have a choice.  I can choose to be a victim and then act as a victim or I can choose to be set free and write my own story.

So I continue writing my story each and every day.  If I think about JMF I can wish him well with about 60% authenticity.  Folks this is progress from finding a journal entry recently that expressed my desire to shoot him!  This is progress.  I can only aim for 61% and then 62%.

So back to the questions.  How did I heal and how long did it take? 

I continue to heal through journaling, surrounding myself with friends that encourage me and lift me up.  I sought professional help and made sure that it was a good match.  I read and read and read more books that lift me up. Harriet Lerner and Brené Brown.

And then there is music!  I love music.  Here’s a song that saved me in 1997 and 1998.  This song actually happened to me!  Thank you Gloria Gaynor.

Make sure you scroll to the bottom for today’s song.  The focus has changed.  Thanks Demi Lavato!  I’m not sorry!

I Will Survie

At first, I was afraid, I was petrified

Kept thinking, I could never live without you by my side

But then I spent so many nights thinking, how you did me wrong

And I grew strong and I learned how to get along

And so you’re back from outer space

I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face

I should have changed that stupid lock

I should have made you leave your key

If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now

‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore

Weren’t you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?

Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

So where am I today?  I’m not sorry!

Demi LoLovato  Sorry Not Sorry

Now I’m out here looking like revenge

Feelin’ like a ten, the best I ever been

And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt

To see me like this, but it gets worse (wait a minute)

Now you’re out here looking like regret

Ain’t too proud to beg, second chance you’ll never get

And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt to see me like this

But it gets worse (wait a minute)

Now payback is a bad bitch

And baby, I’m the baddest

You fuckin’ with a savage

Can’t have this, can’t have this (ah)

And it’d be nice of me to take it easy on ya, but nah

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Being so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showing you up like I knew that I would

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Feeling inspired ’cause the tables have turned

Yeah, I’m on fire and I know that it burns

Baby, fineness is the way to kill

Tell me how it feel, bet it’s such a bitter pill

And yeah, I know you thought you had bigger, better things

Bet right now this stings (wait a minute)

‘Cause the grass is greener under me

Bright as technicolor, I can tell that you can see

And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt to see me like this

But it gets worse (wait a minute)

Now payback is a bad bitch

And baby, I’m the baddest

You fuckin’ with a savage

Can’t have this, can’t have this (ah)

And it’d be nice of me to take it easy on ya, but nah

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Being so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showing you up like I knew that I would

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Feeling inspired ’cause the tables have turned

Yeah, I’m on fire and I know that it burns

Talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

If you talk, if you talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

Oh yeah

Talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

If you talk, if you talk that talk, baby

Better walk, better walk that walk, baby

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Being so bad got me feelin’ so good

Showing you up like I knew that I would

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry)

Feeling inspired ’cause the tables have turned

Yeah, I’m on fire and I know that it burns

Payback is a bad bitch

And baby, I’m the baddest

I’m the baddest, I’m the baddest

The Nude Beach

How It All Began!

JWF has finished his first year of college.  Thankfully he had a philosophy professor that adored him and saw the content of his heart; really appreciated my son.  Finally!  The professor was from Jamaica and led the January term to Jamaica to study Rastafarianism. That’s a another story for another day.  

August 1997

It’s been seven months since JMF has left.  Six months since I found out about the affair.  My youngest, JWF, is home from college.  My oldest, JJ, is living at home.  

I am exhausted, literally and totally exhausted.  I need a break and then it happens.  JWF’s philosophy professor from college offers to give me his condo in Ocho Rios for a week. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and the excitement of just leaving the country and thinking about something else.  Right?  I can hope can’t I?  

August 14, 1997

So off JWF and I go to Jamaica.  We are both excited and he is is ready to share all the sights and sounds of Jamaica with me.  One of the sights was a resort that JWF missed the last two days of his stay this past January.  I believe that he had run out of money.  

We entered the resort!  It’s a couples resort.  It’s all inclusive.  What an adventure for sure.  Drinks are the first order of business.  Remember that it is an all inclusive resort.  Then we head to the beach where JWF stands at the front of the beach with his arms out and literally announces to the entire beach crowd, “I am not her gigolo.  She is my Mom.”  The crowd applauds.  Let the fun begin.  

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JWF with drink in hand and the Nude Beach in the back ground.

I can’t quite recall when I noticed a small skiff motoring back and forth from our beach to a small island.  I inquired as to where it was going and voilá, “ a nude beach?”  Excitement ensues.  Now I had made a list of some things I wanted to do after JMF left.  There were the usual suspects of a tattoo, a wild affair and I really had put a nude beach on the list.  And here it was.  A nude beach?  JWF looks at me, sees the look on my face and exclaims, “You are on your own Mom.”  Yes indeed, I was on my own.  So off I set with my bathing suit on, my hat, sunglasses, beach towel and a book.  I boarded the skiff.  Thankfully it was just me.  I asked the man motoring me over to explain how it works.  “I’ve never done this before.”  He proceeds to tell me that once I step onto the island I must take everything off, literally everything.  I ask, “even my hat and my sunglasses?”  With a twinkle in his eye he says, “Yes!”  Then he smiles!  

So I get off the skiff and with great trepidation, take my bathing suit off leaving my hat and sun glasses on and walk to the pool that has a bar.  It is crowded with couples.  Remember that I am at a Couples Resort.  I quickly find a lounge chair and settle in with my book.  Thank goodness for a broad beam hat, sunglasses and a large book.

So here I am checking off something really big for me!  I begin to realize that JMF is the only man that I have been with my entire life.  What’s out there?  I begin to use my wiles and investigate.  Somehow my book fell.  I had to pick it up.  Somehow my hat blew off.  I had to retrieve it.  Oh the things that I learned on that day.  

I’ve always heard the term, “hung like a horse.”  I had only my imagination to know what that meant.  Now I know.  Now I had the image.  Yes indeed, that young man was hung like a horse.  

Letting Go Is The Theme From My Journal

“Letting go is the theme for this trip.  Something to begin and continue when I return. I hope I can hold this Powerful thought.  Letting go of JMF yet staying connected that will lead to a successful divorce.  Recognize my fears.  Let it unfold. I’m sitting on the balcony of our condo in Ocho Rios looking out on the bay.  Our condo sits on the mountain and commands a wonderful view of the bay and the Caribbean.  It is breezy this evening.  Our balcony faces the east so there is no direct sun.  There are the normal noises of a town; sirens, cars and yet unique noises; a rooster crowing and a dog barking. ”

 

Last Journal Entry

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?   Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself.”  Lao-Tzu

Yes I can!

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever found yourself in a place that you had to hit the pause button?  Was it hard?  How did you manage it?  Did you allow your mud to settle?

Have you checked some items off your list?  How did it feel?  What was it? I am looking forward to all of your comments.