Hope, Sweet Hope, Wherefore Art Thou?

“Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain…. accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields….” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I’ve baked so many cookies lately that I should weigh 200 pounds by now. The latest are a peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie for the person who can’t make up their minds about anything. Baking is somehow therapeutic and I’m sure my coworkers love my new baking efforts.

Cooking is good therapy too. Here are my very special buttermilk berry pancakes. Comfort food.

I had some initial success at being hopeful and optimistic early on in this whole divorce, healing process. It was a whole lot easier to keep myself upright in the non-winter months. Winter is tough even in the best of circumstances — the shorter days, lack of sunlight, and the horse care in the frigid weather about kills me.
We’ve been sinking down to about 25 below at night and barely getting into positive numbers during the day. Tough Minnesotan that I am, I could put on a ton of clothes and go do something outside, which I know would help with my lack of energy and alleviate some of the muscle pain and spasms I’m having from being so tensed up. But it’s a catch 22, in that the lack of energy and pain keep me from doing the things that might help.
I tell myself constantly that “You will make it through this!” I try to find things to look forward to.

Look! You can take a trip from Minnesota through Colorado and go see Santa Fe and Albuquerque!

I was doing pretty good getting myself to believe that I can make a great new life for myself — full of travel, outdoor adventures, old and new friends,  a cute house, and good, fun living — but then reality hit.
I’m really going to be completely on my own. I have to move. I’m being phased out of my job and none of those optimistic plans are doable without a job.
I’m walking away with a horse, a truck, and a trailer but I don’t know where I’m going to put any of them or whether I’ll have enough money to allow me to keep them for very long. There is no back up plan. No one to help. And that “can do” attitude is turning into “Cannot!”
The practical fighter in me tries to take the problem by the horns. I spent three hours last night working on a budget of my expenses. Based on my current salary (that’s optimistic of me), I’m coming up $700 a month short, which is better than the initial $2000 short I was getting.  I’m still looking for more places to cut without giving up on bigger and better horseback riding adventures this year. And I don’t want to give up on having a home where I can have a garden, lots of trees, and oh, yeah, the house itself should have wood floors and beautiful views of the outdoors (which means I want to be where there are beautiful views).

When I read what I want, I feel selfish, like I shouldn’t need a specific kind of house in a certain kind of location to be happy. On the other hand, I’m already losing my husband; I’m not going to beat myself up for wanting to hang onto some pieces of what remains of my past life.

I hear that God has a plan for me, that better times are in store. I want to believe that but, unfortunately,  God needs something to work with in executing His plans and He’s overestimated what this girl can handle.  I know, I’m supposed to stop struggling and trying to figure this all out on my own and control everything.

But the question in my mind is why did I have to have one more person that I love turn on me? They die or they turn on me and this is just one too many in the long line of losses. I mean my husband is willing to give up a great deal financially and to just walk away from a lot of hard work just so he can get away from me. How does a person take that? How does a person feel okay after finding out just how awful life was being with them? I feel as though I’m being punished for something that was unforgivable, at least to him.

And no, it doesn’t help to think that he’s not walking away from something, he’s walking towards something, something better, like I should be doing. Better? Okay, therein lies the problem.

I seem to have a talent for making other people unhappy if they spend too much time with me. Hell, I’m probably driving blog readers away this very minute, which is why I tried to just stop writing at all. There must be some part of me still fighting to stay connected to something.

Maybe this is the way all wives feel who are left for another woman — they wonder if they got to be too old, they weren’t exciting anymore, they weren’t fun enough, their lives got too complicated and it was a drag. Some spouses get angry and villainize the other person. I’m best at villainizing myself.

I wrote previously that I was feeling more comfortable in my own skin than I had ever felt before but whatever I felt when I wrote that has abandoned me and no amount of fighting to get that feeling back has helped.
The memory of the resentment and bitter coldness that was sent my way as part of being left, long before I was actually left, seems to have permanently sunk into my bones and made me feel skeletal and lifeless.
I look in the mirror and see that the spark that was once there is gone. I look and feel ancient and broken. I hardly recognize myself.
The one thing I don’t see anymore in that face is hope and I want it back.

If the quote I’ve include is true, this is merely a season of my heart and I need to accept it. Something good should spring forth from the pain. If the soil is rich enough. If there is enough rain and sunshine and warmth.

Let’s hope that there is.

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  1. Oh Maery, you are not driving others away, especially not us!
    I also don’t think you are asking for too much, I think you deserve a house the way you want it.
    I hope all your dreams will come true! And I know you will be happy again….even if it takes awhile, it will happen!

  2. Maery, you may feel alone in the world right now, but you have family and friends and random internet strangers who care about you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    You will get that spark back. I’m sure you don’t believe me, but it is true. When you hit a low spot like this, sometimes you just need to keep your head down, lean in to the wind, and keep putting one foot in front of the other until you come out of it again.

    Look in the mirror and tell me
    Just what you see
    What have the years of your life
    Taught you to be
    Innocence dyin’ in so many ways
    Things that you dream of are lost
    Lost in the haze

    Hold on, Baby Hold on
    ‘Cause it’s closer than you think
    And you’re standing on the brink
    Hold on, Baby Hold on
    ‘Cause there’s something on the way
    Your tomorrow’s not the same as today

    ~ “Hold On” by Kansas

  3. Maery,

    I can tell that you’re very low right now. You sound as low as I was when I had clinical depression a decade ago (except that I wouldn’t have been able to write a post like yours then). One rule that I was taught was to figure out what makes me happy and do it at least a tiny bit each day. For me, it’s getting outdoors with my dogs, and if possible, on my bike. I took the advice to heart, and I remember it when I start to sink again.

    It might be a strategy for you. It doesn’t have to be just one thing but it could be a variety of things. But, you might want to try writing down, at the end of each day, exactly what you did to make yourself happier each day. It truly helped me, and it still does.

    In any case, you’re not as alone as you think. I can tell that you have friends and family who love you, and who would be honored if you chose to call them when feeling low. And, you have all of us, your internet friends. We’re not going away.

    Hang in there.

  4. Oh Maery…I’m so sorry….I didn’t know about your job being phased out, as if you needed one more awful thing. Your buddies think the world of you and are pulling for you everyday.
    (And that trip sounds fantastic!Santa Fe is totally worth the long drive…I’d totally go)

  5. Hi Maery,
    You are not driving us nuts, that’s obvious 🙂 We keep coming back whether you like it or not…guess you are stuck with us? I’m glad you fit Colorado into your tentative travel plans 🙂

    Hang onto the things you want, woman!! Being selfish is a good thing for you right now! Embrace it and find whatever way you can to make those things happen in your world…the right place, the right house, the right location for your critters and for you…you deserve it!

    Maybe if you find the right barn you can sell your trailer and truck and just go out trails right out the barn door? Just thinking of ways to help you find what you need…

    In the meantime, hug those critters of you to try to feel a little better and know that we are here to offer love and support whenever you need it.

    Sending you the best thoughts and hoping you hang in there through these more difficult periods…

  6. Oh sweetie, the spark is still there. Just like the sky when the clouds cover the sun, it’s still there waiting to shine again. Hang in there, the clouds will roll and the sun will be bight and warm again.

    Continue to use your blogsister support group. I will continue to pray for you. This chick is still hanging onto the great plans God has for you.

    God bless!!!

  7. Hi Maery Rose,
    I “stumbled” across your Blog today. You are raw with pain and I’m so very sorry that is the case. My son is going through a divorce from a woman he loves dearly and I know first hand the pain he is feeling. You are not alone, others feel just as you do. But, be sure – you have a future and you will be happy again. You will. . .I’ll come again to check on you.

  8. Maery- Know anything about brain chemistry? Dopamine/oxytosin– look into them.

    It’s a fact some people are addicted to dopamine (the brain’s “Ooo-hey, this is new and exciting” chemical). When things shift into regular old stability type happiness mode (releasing more oxytosin) — they get bored/restless, and begin doing things to up the drama.

    Like pick fights, abuse drugs, thrill seek, have affairs, think they need new relationships.

    None of this has anything to do with their partner– only their own screwed-up heads.

    Just food for thought. Quit saying people can’t stand to be with you. If someone else talked this mean about you, you wouldn’t be friends with them right? So don’t talk this way about yourself. (hug)

  9. Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes!

    Lori – A warmer place was kind of the original plan, to move to CA, but then I started to think about my friends here and I like my coworkers. I keep hoping a new spot, a new need will open up so I can stay.

    Paint Girl – Thanks for sticking it out. By this time next year, I hope I’m seeing a whole new picture.

    Dog Geek – Kansas! I’d forgot about that song. From reading your blog and your comments here and elsewhere, you seem like a very wise person to me. So I am listening.

    KB – Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve seen how well it has served you to find and do the things that feed your soul, even under the most challenging circumstances. I admire how you live your life with so much passion and strength.

    Lynn – I’ve known the job was ending for five years, it just wasn’t an issue while I was married.

    Sue of Dream Valley – You Colorado people make it sound so darn heavenly, I have to come see for myself. So many nice people all in one state. What you suggest on the boarding stable was my initial plan before I discovered how much I enjoy trailering and exploring a variety of new trails.

    Nezzy – Thanks for thinking about me and keeping me in your prayers.

    Sweet Tea – Oh what a post to find on your initial visit. I’m sorry to hear you son is going through this too. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to wish me well.

    Sue – Okay, I’ll try and stop beating myself up. It’s sure not helping fix anything or rebuild my life. Thanks for the necessary whack in the head and the hug. 😉

  10. Wow. What a powerful quote. Very important message I need to heed, as well.

    I know a bit of who you are feeling, wondering if your husband is leaving you to just get away from you. No, he isn’t trying to get away from you, nor is he trying to move forward. He has issues INSIDE and he running away from himself.

    I know this because my Mother left me by committing suicide when I was only 8 years old. For years I blamed myself, thinking I was too difficult a child, too much work, too ugly, too whatever.
    I figured my Mother didn’t love me so she just killed herself.

    But I know now that her issues didn’t involve me, but herself. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier. But I don’t blame myself anymore.

    So, don’t blame yourself and don’t feel guilty, ok? Be proud of who you are. You can’t make the whole world happy, so don’t even try. Your job is to go out and make Maery Rose happy. This is very important, my friend.

    Oh yes! Come on down to New Mexico! Visit me! We have a guest room and even a little camper you could stay in…and a barn and several paddocks for your horses. I would love it! We only live 30 minutes east of Albuquerque and 45 minutes south of Santa Fe.
    There are many trails to ride around here and many places to visit and sights to see. I’d be happy to show you around!

    Let me know when!
    Tijeras, NM

  11. Well, you could head a bit east of Des Moines and live at my Schoolhouse. It’s dog and horse friendly. You can ride over 1000 acres at Matsell Park which is a couple miles away.

    What do you say?

  12. Looks like I’m getting a few places to visit and stay along the way on my road trip. That makes me even more excited.

    Lisa – I’m so sorry about your Mom and how that must have made you feel. She must have been hurting pretty bad to leave a child behind. She may have felt so bad about herself that she thought it was doing more harm than good for you to have her around. I know I’ve felt that way at times in my life. After I was abused and so messed up that I didn’t think I could stand it, it was my 3-year-old that forced me to get my act together. I couldn’t leave him behind with his father. If he’d had a decent father, well, I guess then it would have been a totally different situation.

    Iowa Cowgirl – What a great looking place. Once I know when I’ll be traveling, I’ll have to see if you have openings.

  13. Well, I HAVE rented our place out for long periods of time…it’s fully furnished, full kitchen, and the park is 3 minutes away for X-country skiing and riding. I went skiing late yesterday afternoon with the dog – awesome!

    ya never know…..it might work for ya!!

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