Surrender

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I think it’s time.

‘It’s easier to leave than be left, isn’t it?’

You know it is. You always leave first

               …. you just do it standing still.

                                   * illustration by Rebecca Dautremer

 

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Redemption

Some closing remarks to balance out my previous post, I tried, but it’s raining …. not funny, per se, but hopefully a more celebratory approach to my favorite season.
The rain didn’t last much longer, as is usually the case here. But it did drag on long enough to make the days that have followed seem even more magical.
Yes, ‘death and loss’ are all around in theory. Trees are losing their leaves, flowers are no longer blooming, and my futile effort to rescue the bees struggling to take flight continues.
But these things still don’t represent Fall to me. Fall, for me, is perfect days when the air is crisp, but the sun still provides enough warmth to keep me craving to be outside. It’s watching the leaves slowly transform into a stunning display of colors, making their previous shades of green seem dull and ordinary. It’s mums and pumpkin spice, warm sweaters and crisp apples, hot soup and fuzzy slippers.
And it’s not summer.
Truly, the only thing I think is tragic about Fall is that it’s departure always comes too soon. I suppose that is what makes it all the more beautiful. I know these things I love are fleeting. I hear the crunch of the leaves that have already made their descent under my feet. I add more and more layers as the sun provides less and less warmth. And although there is an undercurrent of melancholy that threatens to undermine the beauty of the present moment, it’s kept at bay because each day the colors of my favorite tree are more brilliant than the day before.
So is this death, loss? Or is it perhaps redemption?
The season that came before is something I so desperately want to leave behind. No matter how beautiful the summer was, for me it was hell. Each day bled into the next, all the same, all filled with a sense of dread for the next to arrive. Because I knew I would feel as terrible as the day before.
Until that first morning when I walked outside and felt a subtle chill in the air, and with it, a tinge of something that had seemed to evaporate with the heat of summer. Hope. I felt some semblance of Hope. Change was inevitable. And summer was over.
This year, the arrival of Fall was swift. Temperatures dropped and the leaves took their cue, transforming into colors like I’ve never seen. I had no choice but to finally look up, the convergence of seasons revealing the gifts that I simply couldn’t see in the absence of perspective- the warmth of the sun on my skin, the changing colors of the leaves that will soon be gone, the fragrance of summer flowers still lingering as I walk by. Finally, a brief and welcomed reminder that this pain is fleeting and will eventually be replaced with something beautiful… if I choose to see it as such.
Redemption? I can’t say for sure just yet. But I do know this: you will never see colors as brilliant as the first ones you see when you emerge from the dark.
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 The Kids, Her Perspective

I am sure my previous article published in the Washington Post pissed a lot of you off.

Perhaps you think I am selfish, completely discounting the feelings and perspective of his ex (or soon-to-be, as I thought at the time). This is anything but the case. There is no question my ex and I handled things terribly. We fell in love and plunged in without fully considering how it would impact her. We should have waited until their divorce was finalized. I convinced myself that concealing our relationship was ‘protecting’ her and his kids. But in retrospect, this was not my main motivation. I just wanted to be with him, and I knew on some level that we would fall apart if she knew. We did.

This might have been the reason for our demise, but it’s irrelevant at this point. It wasn’t meant to be and we caused so much unnecessary pain for everyone involved. I now understand this, and it feels terrible.

Clearly the guilt, regret and residual heartbreak have resurfaced since the article was published. And as I was responding to comments, grappling with all of this, I came across this article, strategically placed right beneath mine.

Beautifully written by Samantha Shanley, it addresses the same topic, or at least one that is intimately related, but from a very different perspective.

Hers.

She relives the experience of ending her marriage while trying to keep her family ‘together’. She and her husband took a situation that can be so loaded with anger and resentment, choosing to treat each other with love and compassion instead. The grace with which she handled everything literally brought me to tears.

Her is the link to her website. I highly recommend reading more of her work. Her writing is extremely moving and powerful… and I kinda want to be her friend. 🙂

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to share in my excitement about being published. It truly blows my mind, especially when I read articles like this.

How do you keep a family together after a divorce?

 

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Briya produces fashionable bags and accessories that allow adventurous spirits and dedicated change-makers to travel in style while helping women and children to reach their full potential in underprivileged regions around the world.

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The Last Fight

“You did too much. You tried too hard. The only thing you didn’t do is walk away. So walk away. It’s going to hurt like hell. Do it anyway. Do it with grace. Do it with love. Do it knowing you did everything you could.”        – b.breazeale

My dog is dying. I didn’t want to admit it. But I knew it. It is why I postponed my move to Paris. It is why I just signed a lease on the same street where he lives. I knew our time was limited, but I thought we had more time, more walks to the coffee shop- ‘the B’ sitting outside with me, tucked under my legs. He was supposed to be my wingman for this new chapter. He was supposed to be my rock while I try to heal and start over.

I am absolutely furious with myself for spending his last six months away from him. I left him when he needed me most. The irony is almost comical. I left Biscuit and moved to Arlington, Texas for a guy who left me a week later, then left Arlington, Texas to come back to Biscuit, who is now leaving me a week later.

When Eric told me he wasn’t doing well. He calmly said, “I think you should consider moving back early”. That is all I needed to hear. Eric never wants me to worry or hurt. I know that. I knew that every day I called to check on Biscuit, he wasn’t being 100% straight with me. But I still called every day. The guilt I felt because I wasn’t there, when I knew I was losing him, was excruciating. Deluding myself that he was going to be fine was just easier.

So I packed up my apartment the next day and drove out of Arlington, Texas, back home. He is what motivated me to do one of the hardest things I have ever done- give up on a dream, on love. It was the first time that I had to move away from something I love instead of toward something I love.

Two days and 781 miles later, I walked in the door of my home that is no longer mine. Everything had changed, except for Biscuit’s reaction when I walked in the door. He slowly got up and came straight to me. Tail wagging, huge smile, nose forcing its way into my hand for some long awaited pets. Eric said he hadn’t done that in weeks. Within 2 days we were back to our routine- him patiently waiting for me to get myself out the door, our walk to the coffee shop, that now took twice as long , him stopping at his favorite rock, then his favorite bush (pine, totally obsessed with pine), the realtor’s office where he bolts in, pummels the poor man trying to get his work done, relentlessly begging until he gets a treat.

We get to the coffee shop, take our normal spot next to the tree, and our day continued as it had so many times before. And for two days, that is exactly what we did. I knew I had made the right decision. Maybe he was just waiting for me to come back?

And then we began our walk back home. I could see the pain in his eyes with each step, even though he had his normal elated smile on his face that he always had when we were on our walks. By the end, I was literally holding him up, almost carrying my puppy that weighs more than I do. We barely made it inside the gate. And that was it. I slept outside with him until we finally had to take him in on a stretcher. He hasn’t moved since.

Maybe he was just waiting for me to come back.

And yet, I still hope. He has done this before and he came back. If we do the unthinkable and he could have come back…

So, when do you call it? When do you throw in the towel and do the unthinkable? When do you walk away and give up the fight?

It feels absolutely impossible.

The fact of the matter is, I’m so very tired of letting shit go. I don’t want to anymore. I have let so much go in the past year. They say things come in 3’s. This is the 5th terrible, heartbreaking thing that has happened this year. This has to stop at some point, right? A person can only take so much. I don’t care about the whole ‘you only are given what you can handle’ bullshit. Isn’t there a breaking point? Isn’t this why people snap and truly do throw in the towel? I don’t want to break. I have shit to do. And I’m tired of crying. And I’m tired of fighting the urge to ask, ‘why me’? I’m just tired.

So do I call it?  Do I give up on him?

Clearly, he can’t tell us that he is in pain, or if it is to the point that he just wants it to stop. What if he isn’t ready? What if he gets better? What if he wants to keep fighting and we gave up on him too soon.

That is not what I do. I don’t give up. To a fault. I fucking fight- for love, for life, for dreams, for people…I fucking fight.

I know we all have to do this. It’s the whole courage thing. We have to face our fears- our fear of being alone, of failing, of admitting defeat, of being the one who gave up, of never seeing the person we love the most again.

I have always tried to use pain as a guide. If I am causing someone pain, or if I am experiencing pain beyond what is acceptable, if there is little chance of transforming it back into something beautiful, then I know it is time to let go.

That is the intention. That is not what I am able to do when dealing with the latter. I hold on too long- to love, to life, to a dream or a person. I stay too long. I fight too long. Even when that person has long since stopped fighting for me. Even when all hope is gone. I know this is selfish. That person is trying to let go of something that isn’t serving them anymore- my dad holding on, for me; my husband holding on, for me, my puppy, for me. And I encourage them. I make them keep fighting, when I know what they really want is for me to just let go.

He is telling me he doesn’t want to fight anymore. It is clear. And he is holding on, partially for me. And I am letting him.

I think, for the first time in my life, I just don’t want to fight anymore.