Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Madness

So with the close of March coming, I may as well put it out there about the other significant event in the unfolding of my life, my divorce. March has not been an easy month for me. It has been weighing heavily on me and I am just trying to sort through it all.

March...when I was in college, it was the month that my former spouse proposed to me. I was totally, madly, deeply in love. One big chapter in my life was closing and there was so much new on the horizon. I had a bright future with adventure ahead and someone to share in the journey!

March...it was the month that my Great-Uncle Carl died. He was like a grandfather to me. I loved him so very much and admired him in the way he cared for his family, his generosity, and passing along stories of family history to connect the generations. He was an exemplary man of the Greatest Generation.

March...it was when we found out that we had about six weeks to find a house, find me a job, pack up, be in a wedding, and move to Atlanta for his job. It was a thrilling whirlwind. I was so sad to move so very far away from my family. But I was excited about the potential of living in some place new and so very different than what I had ever experienced before. It was an opportunity to be out on our own and away from our parents--a test of what we really could be.

March...it was when we decided to take a year for ourselves to sort things out after all of his education and job training. It was a time when we tossed around where we wanted to settle ourselves and started making plans to move closer to our families. We dreamed, we laughed, and we traveled. It was probably one of the best years of our marriage.

March...it was when we decided to start trying to have a baby. This was it, we were going to start a family and a big moment when it just felt right for both of us. We broke ground on our new house! It was all falling into place.

March...it was when he went away for four months on a business trip to help his company start up a new contract in Tulsa. It was also one year in with no baby. At this point, I thought there was something wrong on my end. I was feeling broken, a reject, and I hated my body. It was when I needed him the most. But I was going to be strong and support him and hold onto those trips when I could fly out and visit him. I felt like my life had been put on hold and I was just waiting and waiting and waiting. I was loosing myself.

March...it was two years in with no baby, but we had long stopped trying. He lied to me about breaking things off with the other woman when we were supposed to be trying to rebuild and reconnect. He served me with divorce papers after two months of separation. He said it was "just in case" because our state requires a cooling off period of three months before a divorce can become finalized. He didn't want to "waste my time" if it didn't work out. He was stringing me along and had checked out long ago. It took me time to realize he wasn't really trying anymore and had already started making plans for his life after me. I was just slowly coming to terms that it was really over. I held out for so long hoping that we could work it out, find some way to put it all back together again. I did everything that I could to save the relationship and I do not have any regret in that, no matter how painful or when so many would have walked away under the circumstances. I put it all out on the line, so there could be no regret that I didn't try it all.

March...it is now when most of the dust has settled in my very fast moving divorce. The papers were signed in the fall, but it takes time to sell a house, close out accounts, divide up your stuff, and sell the rest. There are just a few other things that need to be taken care of before the rest of what is agreed upon goes on auto pilot. I am tired and I am sad.

It was well said in a support group, that divorce is the tearing of your soul. It is a pain felt so deeply that it rips to your very core and shatters your identity as your whole world falls apart--with its impact far reaching. You loose so much more than just a marriage.

Time to pull up those boot straps and pick my chin back up. I just need a moment to catch my breath while I continue moving forward in my new life. I have to put my faith in God and thank Him for the love and support of my family and friends and the blessings in my life. In counting those blessings, it all adds up as I try to take it one day at a time.

March...it is now when I am going to let go of this great, heavy sadness and anger. It is too much to hold onto and it is time to let it be. Someone told me you mourn the loss of things that matter to you. There is a time to grieve and there is a time to move forward and back into the present. I've spent my time in mourning and it is time to be free.

Monday, March 29, 2010

An Article That I Found...

When I was typing "divorce and infertility" into Google to see what would appear, I came across this blog entry from Love Large:

The Bible and the Pain of Infertility

When I read it, I cried...a lot. (In the blog there is a link to the full article.) It helped me to feel validated in what I had been feeling while dealing with infertility during that part of my life when I had been married. There were so many parts that I could identify with in the article--basically all of the italicized subheadings in part one and the bolded highlights about needing to grieve. And having been through infertility and divorce, I can identify with those who felt that infertility felt worse than divorce...although not by much...as both were terribly painful for me.

Sometimes I feel like when people know about my life and having been through both, the infertility part gets dismissed and tossed aside. This is in part because in the end, I was not the person in the relationship diagnosed with infertility. But it is not just that person who is diagnosed, it is the couple. There is pain and grieving felt by both people. My world was crushed and I hurt so much for him in what he was going through and in that I would never be able to carry his child. It was a pain and a sadness that ran so deeply, especially in those beginning days of hearing the news from the doctor. My hopes and dreams and identity were shattered, again and again. It was like being between wandering around aimlessly in a fog of the living dead and barring down for the impact of waves of soul shaking sadness. It is a very dark place in coming to terms that you will never have a biological child.

So, when people know or hear about the infertility in my past, it is not uncommon for people to say that now that I am divorced, it is not a problem anymore. They are quick to say that I am just fine and that I'll find someone out there and be popping out babies with no problem in no time! But how do they know? There have never been any viable sperm up in there? And it doesn't erase the pain and grieving that is permanently a part of who I am. It is not something so easy to let go and shrug off. It does not acknowledge the whole experience where I can feel understood as I am moving forward in my life.

And my life isn't just about having babies--I'd like to find someone in which to share a life.
I am more than a baby factory. Not having a baby doesn't make me less of a person. And it is not to say I need someone to make me a whole person, but that I really would like to have that experience of a satisfying, loving partnership. A baby is a blessing. But I also know that is a difficult thing to hear for someone who is infertile.

I want to take a moment to say I have been so blessed by the love and support of my family and friends and I do not want to diminish that in any way. It is not that I am not appreciative of the occasional, well meaning intentions of support gone awry as experienced by me--as most of the expressions of support have been tremendously amazing. I know that when some of these sediments are spoken by someone who I know loves me, it is that they are sharing their hopes for me and wanting me to be happy. But I guess it is like the article had pointed out, there needs to be a time and a way to express that grief and it is not always easy to hear. You can't skip that step or pretend it was never there.

In line with what I have written in some of my personal writings, I have decided long ago that I am more than my infertility. I have let go of so many things and have been freed. It is a process and part of that process is accepting your whole self--past, present, and future--taking it all in while trying to live in the present of today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So, How Did I Come About the Title for My Blog?

Well, it comes in two parts...

The "Hope Floats" comes from the movie--which I love--and sob my eyes out anytime I watch it. Sandra Bullock is one of my favorite actresses. And who doesn't love to look at Harry Connick, Jr.? Or listen to him talk? Or sing? But more so, I can relate to the storyline in coming to terms with life just isn't going to happen the way I thought it would and how to rebuild when it came tumbling down. The love and support of family and friends goes a long way. And it is when you are at your lowest that you really find out who your real friends are and just how strong your relationships are with the people in your life. I have been very blessed with the many amazing people in my life--those who I have known for years, those who I have met recently along the way, and those who I continue to meet.

And I think one quote in the movie stands out, if it isn't already obvious.

"Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That's what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will..." ~ Birdee Pruitt, in the movie Hope Floats

I've held onto hope and continue to do so. I pray to God to let me hold onto hope and for it to still be alive in me when I just don't think I can take any more or get any lower. As my life was continuing to turn upside down and sideways and upside down again, I'd ask God to give me the strength to trust and believe that it would all turn out okay. And with some of the blows that came my way, I would sometimes turn to a friend and say, half chuckling/half holding back the tears, so just when you didn't think it could get any worse...it just did! (There were many "it's funny, but it's not" moments and I had to try to find the humor somewhere in it because sometimes you are just tired of crying.) And then there were/are the moments that all I could/can do was/is cry. At one point, I felt like my life was in a constant free fall and I was just waiting to finally hit bottom. I held onto hope that eventually, I would get to that place so that I could start coming back to the top.

I would say that I am not completely sure about the strength of where I am standing right now in my life. Someone said to me, you might be thinking you see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you are just hoping it is not a train. I don't know what it is...a little voice of doubt, a pause, or cautious optimism...but I try to put it aside and trust in God that it will all be alright and refocus on the blessings in my life. I have a much better sense and understanding of what it means to give it up to God and to just keep going and do the best I can each day by making the most of it.

The "Cherry Blossoms" comes from an evolving symbol that is meaningful to me. Actually, at one point I had considered getting a tattoo while in the middle of some of the more messy points in this chapter in my life. But then again, tattoos are so permanent and I am not a big fan of pain. But I had put a lot of thought into it as far as if I were ever to get a tattoo, what would I pick? (Of course, I would not want something cartoony. It would have to be more delicate and watercolor/sketchy in an artistic kind of nature.)

So, I thought about my heritage and what symbols may be relatable there. I looked up some Irish inspired tattoos. They seemed a bit harsh for my taste, but many had a nature theme. I tried to look up Finish symbols and was not having much luck. But what few symbols I could find, not necessarily tattoos, also followed a nature type theme. I also looked up symbols for words that seemed to hold some significance for me. I liked the idea of rebirth, renewal, and sisu. Sisu is a Finnish word for a concept or quality to describe inner determination. Then, I thought about something I had read talking about the parallels between the Finnish and Japanese cultures. So, I started to look up Japanese symbols and it was the cherry blossom that spoke to me. It represents renewal with its blossoms and the timing of spring. The color green in the leaf sprouts that accompany the flowering branches hint at what is to come and touch on hope.

So there it is! My inspiration for the title of my blog!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Beginning

Here it goes...my very first entry.

I have been thinking a lot about how I wanted to start my blog. I almost feel like the first entry will be setting the tone or establishing expectations of what is to come. It seems like taking a bold step in deciding how I want to define myself at this moment in time. I feel a little scared and nervous about sharing some of my personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I feel vulnerable. And I have put off starting my blog because I have been very protective of myself due to all that has happened in my life, especially in the past three years. I don't want certain things to define me or to be judged about them. But these events have significance and should not be glossed over. I know I am being vague, but I am just trying to make that leap. I am not exactly sure where to start, what to tell first.

The best way to describe entering this blogging adventure is that it is like being on a roller coaster ride just as you are leaving the bay. I feel like I am slowly clicking up that first hill with all of those mixed feelings of anticipation. This could go really badly or it could be great and freeing.