Thursday 30 August 2007

What a difference a year makes

This last year has been the most difficult and challenging of my life. Last summer my 18 year long marriage and my 21 year relationship ended very abruptly with very little discussion and no real attempt to fix what had gone wrong. My beautiful children were stunned by their dad's decision and sudden departure, he told them and left on the same day and I thought I would die from the sheer pain of it all. My poor babies became very clingy and they were terrified that I would leave them too. It was an incredibly difficult situation and as he had left I had to try and support them whilst trying to make sense of it all myself. He couldn't explain why, he knew he loved me but just wasn't happy with our family life together. To this day he still tells me he loves me on a regular basis and I still don't know the definitive reason our relationship ended. If he knows himself I doubt he will ever be brave enough to tell me.

Our last year has been a mess of trying to untangle a life together, we are a financial disaster and the debts are rising. My children will not stay overnight with him or even visit him at his new house so he visits them at what was the family home, which is extremely difficult for both of us. Eldest Beautiful daughter will barely speak to him, The Beautiful Son is very wary of him and Beautiful Baby Daughter blows hot and cold with him.

It has been so difficult for us to know how to treat each other, we only know how to be married to each other, all our adult lives we have been together, all our memories and all our milestones have been together, I don't know how to be his ex wife.

The wider family circle has been ripped apart too, family weddings and even my parents in laws golden wedding were held with my children missing because they wouldn't go alone with their dad. My family blaming him for leaving us and his family blaming me for keeping the children away from him and them. No one really understanding the full picture.

I truly regret the pain and confusion we have caused our children. Their sense of security has been shattered and their happy childhood ended. We didn't know how to handle things and I'm sure we have made many mistakes which have caused untold damage and hurt. All 3 have struggled at school, both with their work and in discipline issues and have often been unable to cope with things that the previous year they would have taken in their stride.They have become much harder to get along with and have bickered what seems like almost constantly. They all have had friendship problems and have at times been inconsolable with grief.

My beautiful baby daughter has screamed, shouted and stropped and it has been so, so hard for her to not have her dad there and so hard on both her siblings to have the house in chaos as she tried to work through her pain. My son has found it really difficult to be honest with his dad as he is scared his dad will stop loving him and just tries to accept and make the best of the situation. My eldest beautiful daughter has tried not to show how much she was hurting as she didn't want to upset me and has had such an unhappy year. Just as this was happening she had to start a new school, start GCSE coursework, the hormone fairy visited big time and she had a big fall out with her best friend, so it would have been a horribly challenging time for her anyway without all the crap that came with her parents separating. I am so ashamed that I didn't always see her pain and that I wasn't there to support her. She knew much more of what was going on as she was older and realised something was wrong as he kept spending time away from us both mentally and physically as he was preparing to leave us. She asked him outright if he was going to leave and he swore to her he wouldn't. She has really found it difficult to cope and things came to a head yesterday when she broke down.

Last night I made her sit down with her dad and I to tell us how she felt. All the things she's kept bottled up for a year came out. How she felt betrayed and abandoned by him, as he had promised her that no matter what he'd never leave her and then 2 weeks later walked away, how she felt she couldn't add to my pain, how he had caused all this pain and the decimation of our family life and then just walked away to his new life, returning to play happy families when he felt like it. She feels he acts like we're still a family when we're not and she feels he doesn't care about us or the pain as he tries to put a brave face on for them. All of this came out and all 3 of us sat crying. I have always told her that it isn't a case of taking sides and that her dad loves her and we did tell her that again last night.

I want all my children to have the best relationship possible with their dad, he's not a bad man, he was unhappy and made decisions which had ramifications he couldn't forsee. He had turned 40, was having huge problems at work and for a man who's sense of self comes mainly from his job found that difficult to cope with, he spent a significant proportion of his day commuting, going to a very hostile workplace and coming home to a family he felt didn't appreciate him. He is not a bad man, he's not the most self aware of men but he loves his children dearly.I am sorry I could not be the wife he wanted me to be and that he was so unhappy with us.

Last night I also managed to talk to him a little bit about my new life and how happy I am and although I know some of it was difficult for him to hear, he was gracious enough to be happy for me and to wish me well. He also managed to tell me a little of his new life and I hope he can be happy too.

This morning my beautiful baby daughter started middle school and I hope that this new school year will give her a fresh start. Please bring her enough but not too many challenges, enough to tire her out a bit please God !!! She is excited and optimistic as she should be, good luck to my wee sweetie scone. My baby, whom I love very, very much.

This morning my beautiful son got kissed awake just as he likes and the smile he gives me every time and the way he just hugs me fills my heart with joy. He's gone off to school with a brand new uniform and bed hair sticking up all roads and he looks like scruff of the year but I love him.

This morning my beautiful eldest daughter got up and said she felt happy for the first time in ages and much better that she'd told us how she felt. She feels now that because I am happy she can be honest about how she feels knowing that I will be able to support her. That's how it should be and again I'm sorry I wasn't there when you needed me. Anyone who knows us knows how close we are and I love her so much.

On my 40th birthday last year, I realised that sad as it was, I had nothing left to say to the man who I had loved for all my adult life and that it was all over bar the shouting.

In the last year I have been on a really painful but ultimately worthwhile journey. I will always regret that my children have had to shed a single tear of the oceans they have wept and I regret all the hurtful things I have said and the actions and decisions I have made which have hurt the people around me. I have learned so much about myself and the woman I am at 41 bears little or no resemblance to the girl I once was and then the wife I became. I really do like the me now, I was a real mrs cardigan before, really beige. I was very unsure of myself, had very little confidence and only defined myself as a wife and mother, I have managed to do so many things for myself in the last year. Let me share some of my highlights with you

I am closer to my children than I ever have been.

I have written my blog.

I have realised how much I mean to my friends and how much they mean to me.

I have managed to drive all the way up to Scotland by myself.

I have taught some fantastic students.

I have made so many new friends both on blogger and in my regular life.

I have got very drunk, sang out loud in public ( very badly !!!) and snogged the face off the lead singer in a band like the rebellious teenager I once was.

I have sung "For Reasons Unknown" by The Killers,( which is pretty much my theme tune for my new life ) when in the car with my ex husband which was immensly satisfying.

The Beautiful Man phoned me and let me listen to The Killers singing " For Reasons Unknown" live at Glastonbury when he was there

I have fallen in love.

So a great big huge thank you to the following people for being in my life

Laura, Jack, Lucy

My parents, my sister and brother in law and my nieces

Lou, Susan, Sarah , Jo, Sarah R, Christina, Leah, Melanie and my original and best matey boy The Edge

My children's friends, The Matey boys, Rhys Daniel, Izzy and Jo

All my colleagues at my 3 different workplaces

My students old and new

My friends on blogger, all you lovely people who read and comment and all you who email and support me when things get too dark to blog, a huge thank you to you.

Lastly to Gordon, for letting me go and to The Beautiful Man who's waiting for me.


Poetess said...

Just found your blog. I took to it instantly and was very moved by your latest post.

There are many advantages to being a single parent, but it does take a while for you to see them.

I will be back.


Gwen said...

I found this post very moving but I am glad that things are turning around now and seem to be most definitely on the up. With all my best wishes.


Helena said...

Sometimes spilling your heart out can be the most difficult thing to do but it can also be like a release. A chance to move on in life.

I really wish you the best. Beatiful You, The Beautiful Ones and The Beautiful Man certainly have a future and you deserve it girl....!

lisa q. said...

what an incredibly touching post gwenie! you have persevered through so much and have come out on the other side--happy and whole...and so will the beautiful children with you as their beautiful example! i love you girl! :P

Anonymous said...

Gwen, that post took me breathe away. Me just wishes that BED had told you and yer X how she felt be4 this. It would have helped her and YOU immenesly. But you came out like a champ. Thank the gods there is mum's like you around. Its to bad there wasnt more. You has done a great job of a difficult situtation. Don't blame yerself anymore. Yer not the one who lied.

Good luck this year. And being in luv will help. The kids will see yer happy which will in turn make them happy. Trust me on that ok.

You know how to get me if you needs a shoulder ok?? :) ;)

auntiegwen said...

Poetess - many thanks for your kind words.

Gwen - thank you, things are looking much brighter

Lena - thanks for your encouragement, I do feel really optimistic

Lisa - I'm so grateful for all your kind words and encouragement

Newfie - You know how much you've helped, thank you

It is always really difficult to write about the painful stuff in your life. I always try and see the funny side of things that happen, but sometimes I need to write it as it is to try and remind myself how far I've come. I need to fess up to my mistakes so I can go on and do a better job, it does comfort me when I read about other people coming through difficult times in their life as it gives me immense hope that I will come through without damaging my kids too much.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to you all, for reading, for encouraging and sharing your life with me, I am so much the richer for it.

Neil said...

Breathtaking stuff. Great to hear the kids are feeling better. And your 'rebellious teenager' persona sounds interesting.

We need to find a better 'handle' than 'matey boy' though. Feel I should be wearing a stripey jumper and advertising children's bubble bath.

N x