Leaving my old life was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve been married for 35 years to my high school sweetheart and we’ve been a couple ever since we were 17. We were apart for several summers and holidays during college but back then, I hated being away from him. He was my rock, my security and my protector. I felt safe and secure with him around. He loved me though I have often wondered over the years if I really loved him or if I even knew how to love.
When I had my children, I realised what real love was and that what we had was not unconditional. It always felt like I had to be careful of what I said so he didn’t flare up at me. He had a quick temper but he knew that due to my parents’ example, if he ever touched me even once in anger, I was gone. However, we fought verbally, a lot, for the first ten years. I would stand up for what I wanted or believed in and he would get mad and defensive and storm off and not talk to me for many days. Punishment. When we moved back east to be with family, though he still lived with us, he went away physically and emotionally. Other things became more important, it seemed, than us, and me in particular so he was gone a lot.
I gave up fighting with him after about two more years of trying to get him to listen and be part of the family, and so I went off and did my own thing. I would let him throw his fits and words, and then quietly go do what I wanted anyways. That’s when I began taking the kids camping all over the east and driving to NJ to visit family. I always did what I needed to do as far as run a household and pay all the bills, but I did things my way since he wasn’t there to share in the chores or make decisions.
Eventually I realised I was tired of being alone and began resenting his not being there for us. I was angry all the time. I went to funerals, weddings and outings alone or dragged my kids along. I noticed how other couples actually attended these things together, what was the matter with this picture and why was he not a real partner? The real shocker was when the kids grew up and I discovered how truly alone I was in the marriage.
It has taken me twenty years to get to this point of no return. Several times I asked him if he wanted to split up and the answer was no. For a time, he was attentive and his moods tempered. Of course, that peace never lasted. After some surprising facts coming to my attention in the last three years, the final straw for me was the infidelity. My husband was truly devastated when I finally told him I was leaving. He cries a lot and keeps asking for forgiveness. He said he took me for granted. But he knows I now know the truth of his lies and he is caught. I know that I am worth more than what he gave me. I am worth more than what I allowed. I am worth more than I ever thought I was. Only now am I willing to step away from the comfort of familiarity, of familiar suffering.
The only reason I am ready to make this huge change is the journey of self discovery I began in the late ’90’s. I feel centered and understand life a lot better. Step by step, I changed as I understood more and more. Teacher after teacher appeared (see previous post) and spurred me on. I found my core, who I really am.
Still, making this decision took every bit of my fortitude to have that final talk and to make that final walk. I have a history of avoiding conflict and going along on the surface so things are peaceful. This time I spoke my feelings and intentions completely clearly. I told him that I knew he had affairs, which he denied at first but finally admitted. He spent the last six days I was home trying to apologise for the last thirty years. He apologised for everything he ever said and did and talked more to me than he had in thirty years. When he got up in the mornings, he sat with me and talked, when he came home, he did the same, for six days and nights before I left.
We made decisions. I told him about our bank accounts and when and how the bills were paid and how much, something I had always taken care of in our marriage. I told him where I bought food and he volunteered to keep one of my cats. He asked me about my plans for Panama. He wanted certainty and I can’t give him that. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I’m jumping strictly on faith because I can’t live like I had been living anymore. The separating was far easier than I thought it would be. No screaming, no fighting, no defensive nastiness. It was a bit surreal.
I packed as much as I could and still lift my suitcases. Things were left behind I really wanted, like my crystals and my books and some of my Wizard of Oz collection, family pictures. I’ll pick them up next time.
And I left. I didn’t cry until my friend dropped me off at my hotel after she paid for my dinner, lugged my stuff to my room, and then pressed money in my hand before she left. One sister-in-law called me after she found out and then I called my mother-in-law. I emailed my other sister-in-law. We all cried together. I cried all night and most of the next day off and I as I travelled. I felt so unsure of myself and my journey. I must have looked like I was going to a funeral. Why was I giving up a good job and a home, I wondered? Why was I leaving my kids and grandkids, extended family, and friends? What the hell was I doing? Truthfully, leaving him felt okay, it was the rest of it that made it so hard.
That told me that leaving the marriage was the best decision for me. There was no doubt on that part. The rest is still in the air. I am trying not to doubt myself and trust that it will work out. It’s a moment by moment thing though. I have to catch myself on that all the time.
That was supposed to be the end, but as I spell checked this piece, who flew in the door of the condo we are staying in? A huge, bright green grasshopper. We chased it around the place trying to get it out but it seemed to want to stay. I finally took it out hooked to a footstool and dumped it out the door. Ten minutes later it flew back in and my friend said, okay, that’s a sign, look it up!
How appropriate for our journey and to the exact words I was writing when it flew in! The message is so very helpful to the three of us. Thank you Grasshopper.
As its name implies, the grasshopper moves by leaping and hopping. This is also how it escapes. Grasshoppers have a tremendous jumping ability and they can leap horizontally up to twenty times their own body length. For those with this totem, it is important to get off the haunches and move. Take a chance, take a leap forward.
The hind legs of the grasshopper differ from the rest of its legs and the legs of other insects. They are extremely long and large. The hind legs have delicately controlled muscles. Those with this totem will usually find that things don’t move or flow the way they do for other people. Progress is not usually made step by step. Instead, others may seem to be progressing while you seem to be sitting still. Do not become discouraged. When grasshopper shows up, there is about to be a new leap forward–one that will probably carry you past the others around you in your life.
When the grasshopper-locust appears to us we are being asked to take a leap of faith and jump forward into a specific area of life without fear. Usually that specific area is one that we have avoided and is often connected to change on a larger scale. This can represent a change in location, relationships, career or just in the way we perceive ourselves.