A Glimpse, A Memory Of Love
What Do We Really Experience, That Is Lasting?
Twenty-nine years after divorce, I still find new loses creeping into my realization. You aren't married to a man for sixteen years without making lasting attachments with those around you. These attachments do not sever as easily as signing a piece of paper filled with legal words.
Today, I gazed at the photo of a little boy. As I studied his face, I could easily pick out the characteristics which depicts the child, and the man he will become. These are the genetics he inherited from those who have gone before him. In his face, I saw people looking back at me whom I still love with all my heart but who are no longer a part of my life, due to divorce. At times, my heart aches for the loss of them.
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THE DECISION TO WALK AWAY
Moving Down An Uncertain Path
I found it easy to move away from my marriage rather quickly after the divorce because there were so many unfortunate memories. It was a relief to be able to begin again and give our children a new life filled with promise and security.
But there was a price to pay for that future.
So many times all of us have been guilty in saying, "Oh, I wish I could do it over and know what I know now." But, what would you change for the good; what would you lose? Which outweighs the other in the transition?
Such a decision has so many avenues to walk down before finalizing your journey together. It really does not only involve the two of you. It does not only involve your children. It involves every person you love, every person in your life, and every person you know who has loved you and walked there beside you. And many times it means losing those loved ones forever.
For me, the loss of a beloved family was the hardest thing to face. And, some days, it still rises up inside me with a tremendous force. Thus, was the moment I gazed on the little boy's adorable face. His face before me, filled with the memories of my past, a past I was forced to walk away from to afford myself a secure future.
Each Has Their Own Story
My story began when I fell in love with a family. I actually loved them before I loved my ex-husband. Maybe that was my mistake. His parents and three siblings became a strong force in my life from the very beginning. After that, my ex-husband and I fell into the routine of being a couple.
We were married two years after our meeting, in a small chapel on an Air Force Base in Athens, Greece, where he was stationed. Right away, I realized something just was not right but I had made a commitment and felt I had to follow it through. With that conviction, we managed to establish a happy life, making new friends, and learning to share our lives with each other, one day at a time.
As the years passed, I found things to be thankful for, and though life was difficult, I wanted the best for us and our two children.
The Years Before Divorce
What Really Brings A Marriage To An End?
After fourteen years of struggling, I knew this was not what was best for our children. I knew they were suffering, too, for they began to tell me of their pain due to the present circumstances.
For the next two years, I worked to put my life in order with a good job, a small savings, and payment of all outstanding debt. I struggled with a marriage that was already over and a desire to find a way to control the downhill plunge of a family.
During these moments of finding my own way, the hardest decision of all was to hurt the woman who had been there for me and the children so many times over the years. The woman, who had given my ex-husband life, and who was now my best friend.
It was said to me when I married those years before, that you not only marry a man, but you also marry his family. Well, whether that be right or wrong, I had done just that and knew I would lose them when the marriage was ended.
Life After Divorce
Can We Totally Leave It All Behind?
My answer to that is no. And, really, why should we? Each year of our lives is important and so fleeting, we should try to savor all that we can from the memory of it. We must remember the good, try not to dwell on the bad, and always remember the lessons learned from its passing.
Twenty-seven years ago, I married a man who had been my friend for many years. Together, we have raised my children, his children, and our adopted daughter. I learned to love his extended family as my own. And, so contrary to what you hear of mother-in-laws, inherited a wonderful new best friend in his mother. I have been so fortunate in knowing both women and learned so much from each one as they loved me in return.
My life has been one filled with people, those who share my life daily and those whose memory I carry with me in my heart.
Can You Take With You That Which Has Enriched Your Life?
Rebuilding Around Yesterday As We Embrace Today.
Divorce is not a part of God's plan but so much a part of our world today. As a child, I knew nothing of it. However, my grandchildren, unfortunately, live with the reality of it daily.
My advice to you, if you are facing such an existence within your own life, is to never think for a minute that you can erase the first marriage as though it never happened. It did happen and you can never totally forget. It has changed you forever. But you can hold onto what was good, learn from what has gone before, and use its lessons to build a strong future.
Should you continue to love those you leave behind? I think you should, keeping in mind that they, too, must go on with their lives without you.
Rejoice in the knowledge that you have known one another, loved one another, and in some small way, enriched each others lives.
So, I look at this little face, remember, love again, and then put it away for another time.
Who Is Mom To The Zoo?
Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 64, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.
After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.
We divorced after 16 years and two children. I married my best friend two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one stay-at-home Mom, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. In 1996, I adopted my step daughter. We are blessed with five grandsons and two granddaughters.
In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 27. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.
Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working in and out of the country, on Ascension Island, with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.
Actually, I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published, as well as a small book, "The Lyrics Of My Heart." I have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, two of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of a Baptist church where I am a soloist and sing in the choir. I am also a member of the Women's Bible Study Group and work on the Mission's Committee. For the past two years, I have been the Activities Director for the Golden Tones, a Senior Chorus. We travel to Assisted Living locations to entertain the residents and give two shows for the Senior Center annually.
I have been Mom To The Zoo since the morning after our wedding. My friend, Lee, who was staying with our four children and two dogs answered the phone from a sound sleep, "Hunt Zoo, Zookeeper Speaking."
My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have begun to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!