I woke up this morning in a foriegn country. Staring at a wardrobe where there should only have been a window. For the first time since he left I found myself lying on Marks side of the bed, finally allowing myself the bliss of filling the gap where he used to be, all by myself. (I had thought I was going to have to rent it out: Room in kingsize bed to let. Suitable for professional male. All mod con’s provided.)
It was the strangest thing. Instead of waking to a body stiff with making space for a man who doesn’t exist, I woke up with tingly toes. Arms flung above my head. Legs sprawled diagonally across my paisley eiderdown. Relaxed. Accepting. Ready to face the morning.
Next week will be a year to the day that Mark left. Next week I will celebrate one year of single parenthood, with all the tears, grief and loneliness it has entailed alongside occasional moments of sheer exhilaration, pride and quietly spoken contentment. Where did that year go? There are I think, moments of it I have obliterated from my mind.
Last Friday I found myself standing in line at Mcdonalds with one of my teenage sweethearts. Micheal is his name. No longer a gangly teenager but a solid, reassuring looking man with a wife and a scrumptious little babba of his own. We chatted about our respective families. Behaved in an astonished manner to find ourselves living on each others doorstep again. Laughed about the way we were and finally into the comfortable silence I told him that Mark had left us. Me and my frizzy haired babba. The child currently to be seen shoving french fries into his mouth like he’d never been fed.
Like everybody who ever knew us, Micheal was visibly surprised. And after the “whys”, and the “was there someone elses?”, he took my hand, and staring at nails bitten to the quick, said, well if it’s only been a year, I suppose the mourning has only just begun.”
Has it? Have the past twelve months been nothing other than a period of necessary shock? Is that why supermarkets make me cry lately? Because families wander up and down the aisles and I’m only just beginning to understand that from now on it’s just me and Finn? That there isn’t a bored looking Daddy wandering behind us throwing cans of baby carrots I would never dream of buying into the trolley? That he isn’t coming home merely so I can sub-exist in an idyll both of us were suffocated by?
I have, I think, made a lot of mistakes since he left. Read through the archives and you will find me convincing myself that I am ok. That life is fine and there is no room for suggesting otherwise. It just wouldn’t do, and so instead you will trace moments of self obsession. A torrid affair I hardly began to describe to you but certainly wasn’t emotionally ready to handle. Scott, oh Scott, oh Scott. Mild depression draped in damask and vintage velvet and a web of gentle deceit spun for my own survival.
And if you know me like so many of you do, if you have the kind of empathy so many women are blessed with, you will have marked this and forgiven me. Held my hand and let me talk my way out of one more date with one more man with ulterior motives or more baggage than I can handle. Reminded me to get up, smudge on my lip gloss, bake cakes and keep watering my seeds. To live in the day, not in the past and to believe. Yes, mostly to believe.
And I do. Last night I ate tapas with a friend. A man who doesn’t make my tummy tingle but who reminds me what life is about. He laughs too much. Consumes food and life with equal pleasure. Gestures wildly and is slowly teaching me the art of being happy for happinesses sake. Because he sings to me. On the phone and in the car. Cheery bellowed tunes sung so loud I have to hold the phone away from my ear. And he makes no promises and tells no lies because I am not the love of his life and he isn’t the love of mine, and that is ok. I don’t have to be head over heels. I don’t have to find a replacement Daddy for my babba. Don’t have to hold Scott up as the measure of all my dreams. Want to but don’t have to. Don’t have to, don’t have to, don’t have to…
I can instead dance around my living room with a man who makes me giggle, I can throw a party next week in celebration of survival and independance (Wanna come??) and above all else, I can wake up facing my wardrobe and see life, in all its messy painted glory, from another new point of view…
One year on. Whole new horizons. And a boat only slightly splintered…
A year, a whole year. I don’t really know if it is has passed quickly or slowly, but I do know I am glad that you have shared it with us.
You know what? I think you need to treat yourself to something utterly scrumptious to go in that wardrobe of yours, something to wear to celebrate, and to nurture, heal and just feel fabulous in!
Good for you, Alison! Here’s wishing you many more giggles and dances ’round the living room… you deserve it!
What a beautiful blog! And what a tender post. I'm new to your blog, but I think it's great! I think the party sounds like a lovely idea! Lots of candles, yummy cocktails, tiny nibbles of really scrumptious this and that, great music, TONS of your closest friends. Celebrate everything wonderful and happy that your life is! Life just keeps coming at you. Grab on, and hold on tight! 🙂 And I agree with Mimi, treat yourself to something wonderful!!
This may sound silly but im proud of you.You've come a long way baby! I'm also really excited for you, I have a feeling this next year will be wonderfull, and can't wait to find out what Allison does next! X
We know just how hard this past year has been for you and I am also so proud of you! The fact that you can still find some little pieces happiness and celebration goes to show just how strong you really are. Keep healing and keep loving!
I understand all too well…next week will also be a year for me…and life is becoming REAL again, instead of passing in a blur. Enjoy yourself and LIVE!!!Throw your party and laugh loudly!
Don’t listen to Michael – your mourning is behind you. You are moving on to better things – discovering who you are on your own, finding things that make YOU and Fin happy, and learning to make the world a better place. Sure, there will be days of sadness that may follow you forever, but this doesn’t sound like the beginning of a mourning period to me!
Maybe a perfect celebration for this week of remembering it’s been a year, is to write down, journal, all of the POSITIVE things about Mark leaving. Sure there are lots of bad things, sad things, angry things. But how has his leaving caused you to examine your life, find your priorities and simply put more girly wonderment into your own life!? How have you improved, gotten stronger, become a better mother?
I'll bring a layered Mexican dish and some tostitos…
My husband left me a year ago in February. Needless to say it was a tough month. But I think that is to be expected. I think you will and do find joy in the small triumphs. Yesterday someone spoke of how lovely my wedding was and for the first time in a year I was able to say with pride “Yes it was wasn’t it” And to my surprise, my heart didn’t ache! Being able to do that was a huge moment for me. Being able to wake up in the middle of the bed, spending a morning with out thinking about him, enjoying dinner with another man are all big moments in the life of someone who has been abandoned by a love. I applaud you for putting your self out there and enjoying another man’s company. I haven’t been able to yet. Sounds to me like you are making leaps and bounds:)So congratulations on heading in the right direction!
Alison you are one of the strongest most beautiful souls I know,this is just a chapter in your story, the best is yet to come for you, of that I am certain.xxx
I feel as if I know you and of course I don’t. I’ve been where you are. When you can laugh and laugh and not stop and think…”hey I am laughing”, then you will be healed. I wish you all the best life has to offer!
I've heard that for every year of a relationship, it takes about a month to resolve your feelings about it ending, and if that's true, then you're pretty much on track. What you choose to do and be in the coming months and years will be of far more value than whatever has already become part of the past.
I don't know whether to congratulate you or hold your hand and cry for a year that is behind you that you'll never get back. One that has changed your innocence and left you bewildered and sore. I'm sorry for the hard year you've had, but I'm glad, for you, that it's over. Now you can sigh and clap your hands and say "Now, that's over. What's next?"
Ugh! Don't you hate it when someone tells you how you must be feeling…only to later actually think they might be right?! The mourning hasn't just begun. You know that. We all know that. Michael was probably hoping to be comforting. None of us have good words for situations like that. Well, maybe you do because you always seem to have the right mix of words. I've also been through a divorce and became a single mom. There was a good long period of time that my heart just ached from missing him, specific things about him. But somewhere along the way missing him turned to missing a relationship…the typical family activities (like you said about the grocery store), being a couple at a gathering, that secret look from across the room…and the list was nearly endless.
But…But…But, some day in the middle of that I realized that I was having secret, private little interviews in my head as I watched every man I came in contact with. Quite unknowningly I was starting a list; I was making comparisons (not to my ex, but to what I really wanted). I was surprised at the relief that I was no longer destined to work through whatever I did or didn't like about my ex. I had the freedom to change my mind about the attributes that I wanted in the man I'd spend my future with. Perhaps it sounds crazy but it was a very freeing thing to know that I didn't necessarily desire the personality traits that my ex had. I just tolerated a lot of them for a very long time.
Well, i am a little bit speachless really. You are putting the words out there, and i feel kind of sorry but also happy. Sorry that babbas father left, but happy that you are finally realising that you have a life and that you are not living in the past anymore. Of course it is hard to start a hole another life, but in the end it just makes you stronger. Sometimes i am scared that i am getting to dependent on my boyfriend. I am asking myself that question time after time. We are now 10 years together, and we have a pretty good life. But if something happend, would i have the strength to carrying on alone? And what would i do? Could i cope? Those questions fiddles around in my head. But then, a girlfriend loses her partner. I see her struggle, she is afraid and she feels very vulnerable. But the months goes by, and a new life alone begins to take a shape and she smiles againg. Now she feels happy and complete. Life is what you make it to be a think, with or without a partner. And i think you are doing just fine!
Enjoy the life you have with your son.
" The hardest thing in life, is letting go of what you thought was real."
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."
"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
Enjoy you week !
Love from Aina 🙂
Ah darling, but you put it all so eloquently as usual and I have to say that I am proud of you. I can't believe its been a whole year already… dance around the living room once for be dearest, you deserve it. Its been six months for me – vary different circumstances however (if you ever visit my blog, take a peek at the side bar under "a first word" it explains it all)…
I will be there at that lovely party in spirit.
You have such a strong, happy and beautiful spirit. While I am sure the past year has been ever so difficult on you, you seem to have come out on top. You'll still have days that hurt, but as time goes by they will be fewer. My blessings on you, your adorable son, and your future.
I cried in the good way and the sad way. Thanks so much for putting yourself out there for us to see.
I can't believe its been a year. It seems to have passed by in a flurry! I'm wishing that next year will be a great one for you and that you carry on dancing wherever you like, listen to much warbly singing and carry on gracing our lives with your excellent writing!
I passed that first year, 25 years ago! I understand everything you've said. A year after that I met someone, who it turns out, is the love of my life. We'll be married 24 years this fall.
Your story is amazingly similar to mine, in so many ways. My 3 children were older, my first marriage ended after 20 years. But the heartbreak and healing was the same.
Thank you so much, for sharing your story.
This is my first time to visit your wonderful blog!!
Best of luck to you!!
Back Porch Musings
Wow, what a post. I know what this year has been like for you. And I know that it can seem like the light you spot up ahead will ALWAYS be another train hurtling towards you…..and then one day when you're not thinking about it you realise that this is no longer the case. That the light is not in fact yet another train but is finally light. And that particular tunnel is at last at an end.
Bless you darling creature.
Cherry Menlove xx
Blessings and bliss your way!