Thousand Acre Heart Part 15 -Give Me A Reason

It’s in the stars
It’s been written in the scars on our hearts
We’re not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

My last post made my husband rather anxious because he very much likes living in the present and I know that revisiting a very difficult time in our lives certainly had the potential to bring up some very unhappy memories and create a lot of angst. I remember that there was a time when I thought that the scars from that time would never I heal, I believed that even though I could hide them they would always be lingering at the surface of my well being ready to open and bleed out all over my life.

I wrote some fairly detailed accounts of the three and a half weeks we were apart. When you say it out loud it seems like a short enough period of time but I can assure you a lifetime of events happened during that time. Not just in the time that we were apart but in the time it took us to truly find our way back. We used to be friends and lovers and now we were suspended in the uncertain place in between, feeling lost and unsure. There was a whole world in between us and if we were truly ready to fight for our marriage we needed to prepare for the fight of our lives.

A lot of my writing is in my drafts folder. I contemplated which parts were really important to this story. To me every little bit of it is important in it’s own way but I decided to save the insane drama for the movie ūüėČ

It goes without saying that we decided to work things out. We absolutely had the best of intentions in wanting to keep our family together and fix our broken marriage but I think both of us were naive with respect to the amount of time, work and patience that would require. Neither of us was ready to be together but the thought of being apart was scarier. I know both of us considered what would happen if we took too long to figure things out and the other moved on. We were having an extremely difficult time fitting into each others present but ultimately we were certain that we belonged in each others future.

During that time I became someone I didn’t recognize. Instead of focusing on what we needed to do to move forward my gears were focused solely on Kirk leaving and how much that hurt me. I was consumed by hurt and anger and for a very long time I refused to let go of any of it. I held unto it the way a child hangs on to their blankie. I thought it protected me. I thought if I protected myself from loving again I would never be hurt. Much later I would learn that the real strength is in allowing yourself to love and be loved.

Eventually we started to make a little progress at least being honest with each other about our fears, insecurities and where we felt we stood. Something about honesty  catapults you into a fearless place of acceptance and allows you to either walk away or move forward. We felt hopeful but I was definitely not ready to live in the moment. I felt a little lost, sometimes like I was on the verge of breaking down.

We had started to go to marriage counselling early on and I loved our therapist. She had been through similar martial problems and her experience was valuable to me.

She had gone back to school when her kids were older and was now running a successful private practice. She recounted to me how hard she worked for it and that her husband, initially proud began to feel lonely and not needed which led to an affair with their riding instructor.

That was so telling for me. Men instinctively want to be needed and depended on. Men often have a hard time with strong, independent women. It is a constant struggle of balance for women to maintain their strength while being just vulnerable enough to allow ourselves to be loved.

We graduated marriage counselling way to soon. We had all the tools and promises to fix us but I was still stuck. I just refused to let go of any of the pain and anger and I tortured myself with it for years. I wasted several years caught up in the blame game. Kirk never ever expected or asked me to be accountable for anything that happened but I think until I did admit to my own part  I was not being honest and I was hurting myself even more then I hurt him. 

A memory that sticks in my head of this time is how I worked 12 hour shifts and I would be driving home and as soon as I would get to the driveway I would get that heavy feeling in my chest. Another uncomfortable night trying to force ourselves to enjoy each others company.

I checked on the kids snug in their beds and busied myself tidying the kitchen. Kirk came upstairs and coaxed me downstairs. He wanted to show me something. I had told him once about this old song my grandmother liked by Don Williams (below), Kirk put the song on and he asked me to dance. I was hesitant at first but he insisted. I wasn’t allowed to talk, just dance. There is something very honest and intimate about dancing in someones arms with no words exchanged. I think more was said between us in those few quiet moments as we looked into each other’s eyes then had been communicated in months. Our eyes both welled up a little, there is no doubt mine started first. It felt like we made a silent promise to each other to try harder.

Late Sunday night ¬†we were sitting in the back of Kirk’s truck listening to 80s tunes on satellite radio, cause we are that cool…and when this subject came up Kirk said how happy he was that we made the right decision all those years ago. I can talk about it all now because I know that the past can’t hurt me. It was a damn long road to happiness and ¬†we earned every single mile. It does however bring me a tear when I think “what if?”

Thousand Acre Heart Part 14 We were on a break

Someone told me long ago there’s a calm before the storm, I know its been coming for sometime.
CCR Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Kirk and I growing apart was gradual but when life as we knew it exploded everything we knew  changed in an instant.

 Marriages are like growing a garden. With a lot of hard work and love you will get rewarded but if you neglect that garden it will dry up. People, like gardens, thirst and crave. When their needs are not being met some people dry up and become bitter and others fight for what they need. Life is survival of the fittest, of the most determined, of the most heart.

When I came to the realization that my marriage was dying I wondered how it happened so quickly but the truth is it didn’t happen overnight. As a mother I was juggling many balls and the one that was my marriage dropped and rolled under the coach and I neglected to pick it up because I thought It would always be there, when I got around to it.¬†
When Kirk and I met we collided. Falling in love with him was like finding the answer to all my questions. I loved the smell of him. I loved his intensity and passion. He is a fiery Scorpio, probably the worst match for a logical Capricorn like me. Being with someone like Kirk is like riding a Roller Coaster. When you are up, you are so high up you want to reach for the stars. The lights are bright, dizzying almost and the music is a nice accompaniment to your feeling of elation. When the Roller Coaster drops it happens so quickly that you barely catch your breath, the vibrant lights are but a memory and though you are still dizzy, that euphoria is now mingled with sadness and longing. That was our young life together, chasing the highs, enduring the lows and never really knowing anything in between. 

Truth is often harder to write then fiction but one thing I know for certain is that putting syrup on shit doesn’t make it pancakes and quite quickly my marriage became shit.¬†I neglected my marriage. ¬†Kirk became that plant in the corner that used to be bright and shiny and full of life, my favorite. I used to make sure he was nurtured and loved and then when both girls came along, his happiness became less and less of a priority for me.¬†I had two beautiful girls to raise. I had been given a second and third chance at motherhood and I was determined to make the most of that. Somewhere out there was a 14 year old boy that I never had the opportunity to sing lullabies to and soothe away his fears. I needed to be the best mother I could and what I thought was my strength as a mother became my weakness as a wife.¬†

I am absolutely not taking all the blame. Until recently I wouldn’t take any of it at all. That meant I spent many years hurt and broken. I was self righteous, ¬†indignant and mad. I held unto years of unnecessary pain. I punished Kirk and in turn I tortured myself.¬†

There are always warning signs and we made feeble attemps at improving our situation but we came to a point where instead of us against the world it was us against each other. It was a no win battle. We floated around, going through the motions without really connecting with each other. Kirk should have told me. He should have shook me till I got it. He held tightly undo some of his own childhood issues and chose to make me as unimportant in his life as he felt in mine. 

The physical connection was the one thing we clung to for dear life. It was our only form of communication we had that didn’t end in an argument. It was full of promises and apologies we were both to proud to say out loud.¬†We became the couple that just passed each other in the hallways and we made no effort to be a part of each others lives or interests. Kirk was barely home, even when he wasn’t working he was hanging out with his friends. Had I made an effort to care I might have recognized that several of his friends were newly separated and that wasn’t a good situation for him, but instead we just carried on with the draining day to day fight and make up mentality that was wearing us both thin.¬†
I was dealt a huge blow when I found out that Kirk had kept a huge secret from me that threatened our marriage and several others. Instead of having the guts to tell me he made little hints until I started to dig and question. A long tale of lies and deceit began to unravel and what I found is that Kirk had kept a huge secret for a friend at the expense of his own marriage and others, even going as far as being a scapegoat for a cheating friend and getting tangled so deeply in a web that he couldn’t see his way out.¬†Initially though I was furious at him we held tight to each other. It opened up the lines of communication between us and for a very short time it was us against the world again. It was short lived ¬†though. We tried to talk like we used to but in divulving our truths it was clear to me that his choices were poor, his judgement wasn’t rational and we didn’t have much in common. I believed that I was better then him and he didn’t disagree.¬†I recall quite clearly the day he left. He worked late and instead of coming home he went to his buddys. He was a truck driver so when he didn’t call to check in of course I was worried. When he crawled in the next day he said he didn’t want to wake me. I cried bullshit. I was mad and tired. I had spent one of countless sleepless nights worried. I had had enough. I told him we needed a break, he agreed and left.¬†

Kirk was always a runner. He always chose leaving over arguing. He left me in tears several times over the years only to come back later and apologize. This time was different and I knew it immediately. Without raised voices or slammed doors he quietly walked out. We were on a break!

Unlike the infamous Ross and Rachel break I didn’t have the luxury of sitting in front of a rainy window listening to U2 ballads. I had to be a mommy. Haley was almost 8 monthes old, Morgan had just turned five. It was Nov 21, just over a month till Christmas. Good Times.