It occurred to me the other day that I’m getting close to the two year anniversary of when the life I was familiar with began to get ripped apart, and continued to do so through the fall, yet I am still raw and healing in places.
Sometimes I wonder if it will ever quit feeling so raw. I understand the whole “it gets better” applies, and it has. Life IS better. On nearly all levels. Every single one of us are light years happier and more at peace now than any of us have ever been. But… sometimes it still hurts to know that so many people in my life are not there anymore and are that way by choice. Mine and theirs.
It is agonizing to realize that the people that are supposed to love you the most, family, would rather hang on to their judgements and righteousness and opinionated beliefs than to try to listen and understand the hurt those very things cause. I don’t think it would have broken so much if it had just been one, or even two, but it became every blood relative over a span of months. It wasn’t all about judgement, but also about being valued and important and I just wasn’t. Unless there was something I could provide. Mostly money or fulfilling a perceived obligation. Otherwise, I just flat out didn’t matter.
The ultimate and final break was on me. I would have stayed and continued to endure, continued to allow others to make me feel like so much less than… anything, but seeing my children subjected to the same was more than I could take. Seeing them treated like unwanted step-children, well, two of them anyway, was such a massive shock it nearly felt unreal. When I initiated the break, it was really only with those one or two people, but everyone else fell in line like dominoes, drinking the judgemental Koolaid, never once taking the time to consider that those judgements would never fit the me that they should have known.
Over the course of the last two years I have often wondered, at least in those brief moments of grief, not of the loss of the actual people, but of the ideal I had of them, if I made the right choice. Every single time that question comes up, I see the joy and happiness and the pure expression of themselves pouring from my kids, I know that I absolutely did. I continue to be stunned at how much they have grown since the fall out, how much they have come alive. Sometimes my only real regret is that I didn’t do this much sooner, because I can see now that my kids did not feel safe enough to BE themselves for fear of all that same judgement and lack of value.
Even when it all got followed up with OC leaving in the fall, I still don’t regret it. I accept my imperfections, even the ones that mean that I had to make some ugly choices when it came to my Oldest. Choices that I have been judged on and that many parents would swear up and down they never would have made, because there is always SOMETHING that can be done (no, sometimes there just isn’t) or that I was being just as judgemental and unaccepting as I was accusing everyone of being towards me. I probably would have agreed with everyone of them until I had to walk through it myself. That is a harsh reality and awareness of self that isn’t a pleasant one sometimes. I’m learning to accept that sometimes there is no right or wrong. Sometimes things just are and right and wrong are only judgements, made by ourselves and others and don’t really apply.
Nearly two years out, yes, I still sometimes hurt. I am often sad when I think about it all. I’m heartbroken to know that my child is somewhere out there in this world and I no longer even know where and probably never will. I hate that my kids do not have the wonderful kind of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that I remember having growing up, at least… not from my side of the family anyway. Even with all of that, I’m good. My kids and Hubby are happy and carefree in ways that I’ve never seen and so am I. Every last bit of pain and heartache are worth it to see the closeness and blossoming that I’ve seen them experience in the aftermath of a family disintegrating.
I will still have my moments, but they are getting fewer and farther in between. I will have things sneak up on me and knock me down when I realize, yet again, how much the words and actions of those that were supposed to love me have damaged me and how ingrained that damage is. Even then, I’m healing.
Thinking on it all, I’m reminded of the tiny bit of strength and self-awareness I pulled from the mess of my divorce from OC’s dad. I’d rather be alone and happy than miserable with someone. That applies even to those that share your blood.