Declaration of Independence from My Past

Chef is going blind.

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11707778_10153067752834053_380987110297520234_oThis holiday weekend was a bit odd this year at my house. My first ex-husband (there have been two) Driver brought his seven year old daughter up to spend the weekend with Dj. Driver is Dj’s biological father, but Chef raised him since he was in diapers. We haven’t seen nor heard much from Driver all these years, so being around him was….different. Dj and his little half-sister, Faith, adore each other, so of course, she was invited to come hang with her brother any time she wanted. Frankly, it was refreshing to have a little kid around, asking billions of questions, watching children’s movies, and catching ourselves whenever we let a bad word slip. I really liked that part. I didn’t enjoy being in the presence of her father as much. I walked away from Driver. I had reasons, but I could have handled it all better, and I botched it bad enough to hurt him. I hate that. It is even worse when 25 years later, he still seems very hurt by it. Not bitter. Hurt. That sucks big time. Bitterness is easy to deflect for me; just plain wounded but willing to forgive easily and quickly…. unbearably hard for me to deal with.

I was married to Chef over 20 years, but only briefly married to Driver. It goes without saying, I simply never really got to know much about him. We were very young,

Chef - Master StoryTeller
Chef

and very different all that time ago, and any mention of the subject of my brief marriage to Driver instantly makes me uncomfortable. He was very familiar at times, which made me freak just a little. Chef is the person I think of as my husband; evidently, Driver has always continued to see me as his wife. It was not an experience I can repeat any time soon.

Right after Driver and Faith left, I found myself drawn to Chef’s. I can’t really explain why. We aren’t reconciling. I just felt like seeing the man who I feel married to, instead of the one who still feels married to me. Talk about timing. I haven’t seen or spoken to Chef is some time. When I got there, I was surprised and saddened that he has been dealing with a health issue, making plans to leave the state, and desperately trying to move on with what is left of his life.

Chef is going blind.

10923783_10152687027739053_1402233057617616683_oHe has been battling cancer for awhile now, but there is something more tragic about him losing his eyesight. My own inability to make this problem go away, or even to just share the burden with him, like we used to do, made me feel physically sick. I listened, comforted, and held him as he cried for all of the mistakes, and the losses he’s suffered, and the fear of the future that now has the added horror of being experienced shrouded in the dark. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, especially Chef. He’s moving away, leaving behind the broken dreams, which includes me, and hoping to find some happiness for whatever time he has left. I beg the Lord to give him exactly that. I can’t give Chef what I don’t have anymore, but I have forgiven him, and I have no desire to see him suffer. I guess this is what real forgiveness feels like. I’m surprised that this hurts me, and I am ashamed to admit, I kind of wish the numb indifference, or even the rage were still with me, because they seemed to shelter me from giving a shit.

I spent the weekend visiting my past. I see how different I am through Driver’s eyes, and I’m glad for a lot of the changes in me. Like pretty much everyone else, I was an idiot when I was 20. It is always a relief to find out you outgrew some of your worst traits. I felt sad for Driver’s wounds I caused, but Chef’s pain was so much worse. I sat looking at this hot mess I’ve loved for so long, and I silently acknowledged yet again, yes. Knowing how awful the ending would hurt me, I would have loved him all the same. He was worth it. I don’t regret him, and clearly, I will always love him.

It was an exhausting trip down memory lane, but I think a cleansing one. Maybe I celebrated my own kind of declaration of independence this weekend. I have made peace with my past, and I declare independence from the guilt, regret, and anything else negative that has been simmering in my heart all these years. That time is over, and there is plenty of things I wish I could have done differently, but I didn’t. I own the consequences, and they’ve incorporated themselves into the really good parts of my life too. I can’t truly say I’m sorry about any of them anymore, so I don’t plan to again. I like how my life played out…the good as well as the bad.

My Christian friends, please pray for Chef. This is terrifying for anyone, but he is alone going through this, and that is so much worse. Thank you.

~ Bird

Author: Catherine aka "Bird"

Marketing Specialist Recruiter Freelance Writer Blogger

12 thoughts on “Declaration of Independence from My Past”

      1. I’ve just learnt that it is the people who care about others that end up being the ones who experience the most hurt in their own souls, in all walks of life, both personal and corporate.

        It is caring people that I wish to place into government. Our current round are unempathetic monsters.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m in total agreement about the monsters. My question is, were they monsters before getting in office, or does that kind of power and responsibility make caring people monsters? I firmly believe any amount of power will eventually corrode even the shiniest, pure soul.

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          1. Oh yes, power corrupts, but I awoke the day after my 50th birthday, which was election day, to discover the worst outcome possible. While there are many that I would see as human, but maybe jaded or tainted by walking the corridors of power, the ones now occupying the top positions are those that I have never trusted for one second to give a s*** about anybody but themselves, their friends and their sponsors. Their starting position was already in the cesspit of free-market ideology, where greed is the mantra. I don’t believe a word they say, and I cry in despair for even one with a heart to have a chance of being elected when it is the greediest and furthest removed from reality that pull the strings. 😦

            Your struggle over those in your life that are hurting, for whatever reason, is only human as far as I’m concerned. You see their hurt, therefore you feel it. To ignore hurting people, or be able to simply hate them in order to remove them from your ‘caring circle’, is inhuman. Empathy sets us apart from animals… no, even animals can feel that!

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  1. Oh, Bird…I don’t think the grief is ever truly over. But once you get yourself untangled you can lay the different strands out and feel them as something clean, and that is what I’m hearing. It has come to be my opinion that we can seldom see how we are, but only how we were when the last little ‘click’ happened and how much changed then. We get rid of a big wad of something and think it’s complete. And a while later there’s another click and we shed another chunk of what we thought was already finished. And maybe this time it is, and maybe not. I’m 64, seven years past the official end of a sixteen-year marriage, and just a few months ago let go of a chunk of you could say terror from when I was five, and bloody hard work it was too, with help from some remarkable friends and veterans and the VA. And everything has changed; and I’m suddenly confronted with grieving for all sorts of things that I would have said were finished. Things I’ve learned over my entire life went into events of this past year, and I have a rather different view of my entire life arising out of it. It’s a journey as you know. But as much better as this feels, I predict you will find it will get better still, and that you may find reason to revisit this day.

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    1. I think I know exactly what you are describing here. Nothing ever seems really over, does it? Everything we experience, whether we even remember it or not, is always shifting, changing, but never discarded. I guess it is all important to who we are, why we do what we do, and who we will eventually be. I find that comforting. It makes all of it, good and bad, valuable.

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  2. I truly enjoyed this story. I really did. I, too, was stupid at 22 and got married, big wedding and all, only to divorce one year later. Lucky for me I had no children, but not always lucky in other ways. I’ve been married 32 years this time around, and my luck turned around this time. But it’s not without wonder, if I’d turned left rather than right…in the end it really doesn’t matter. You know who you are day by day, and if you want to find someone, you will. If not, you have the world ahead of you. I’m proud of you, Bird. And as for Chef; it happens to us all one way or another. And for that, I’m sorry for all of us. Be strong, gf.

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  3. Oh my dear friend I have to be honest I fear for you, I fear for you because you are a good person and I know you will not step aside and let Chef deal with this on his own, I fear for you because you could not have made this right even if your marriage had remained intact and the demons had never visited him, cancer is the cruellest disease, age and goodness hold no sway with it, you do not say if the blindness is connected to the cancer but I will take a guess it is, if it were simply cataracts or some illness like that you would be looking up surgeries and cures. The thing is you are too caring in nature to ever just cut someone off but you must keep that wall up, Chef will quite possibly cling to you as his illness gets worse and it would be easy for you to find yourself in the position of his carer because you feel for him. And maybe that may be where your path will lead you only you will know that but with worsening illness can come anger, bitterness and recriminations all of which you have been through with him once as he destroyed your lives with drugs and affairs, just promise me you will protect your heart before you allow that again, his illness and blindness are not your fault you have nothing to feel bad over there and if you have to care from a distance that does not make you a bad person either, but you have to put yourself and kids first.

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    1. Paula, I appreciate your concern, and your words are right on the money. You need not worry that I am that good a person, lol. I see this whole thing from a different perspective, and while it may seem just cold-hearted to the rest of the world, I know all too well that the past has made any future with him simply impossible. I can help him with paperwork, or bring him the occasional meal. I can hurt for what he is experiencing, and try to offer encouragement. I can’t, however, bring back what he and I lost. Maybe if we had been adversarial throughout our whole relationship, I could. But he knew things that had wounded me as a child, and he made me believe he would protect me. The minute he took that away, he ruined any chance of me ever being able to let my guards down enough to be anything more than friends. I know he is so very sorry. I know that he is grieving over what he has done. I know he would give anything to undo all of it. But knowing all of this, I can’t make myself feel safe with him again. I wish I did have that kind of power, but I just don’t. I am already giving him all I can. I can be only a friend. Nothing more. I guess that makes me a little sad too.

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