Category Archives: memories

Frog Song

Yesterday morning, when I left for work, I heard a sound I had not expected to hear so soon in the year – the croaking of tree frogs. It was very faint, but I heard it. I heard the frogs again last night. To me, the frog song is a comforting sound because I associate it with spring. I also noticed that the jonquils are starting to push up through the leaf litter in Cycle Dude’s side yard. All signs of spring!

It hasn’t been a particularly nasty winter here in Mystate, but it’s been very wet. That means there will be many, many plants blooming when it begins to get warmer. More plants blooming, more allergies. I fully expect my allergies to be bad this season. But, I digress.

Scientists have found that certain sounds and smells evoke deep memories. For me, the frog song reminds me sitting on the back deck at my house several years ago, enjoying dinner or a glass of wine. The smell of coffee reminds me of traveling with my parents. The smell of bacon and eggs reminds me of my grandma’s house. There are many good memories that accompany these reminders.

It’s so easy to focus on the negative after a divorce. I want to take this opportunity to focus on the positive. What kinds of sounds or smells evoke good memories for you? Focus on how you felt – the happiness, the comfort, the love. The frog song also reminds me of finding a tree frog under a glass table last year on Cycle Dude’s front patio. The memory of laughter and wonder is sweet.

Take time to discover your “frog song” – that sound or smell that brings back sweet memories. Focus on the good things in your life. Life is an adventure. Live it! Stay tuned . . . .

Advertisements

Ghosts of the Past

I recently watched a movie entitled, “The Awakening’. Released in 2011, it is a period piece (1921) set in England and billed as a horror movie. I found it be the furthest thing from horror. Movie summary: ‘In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves.’ What Florence eventually sees are the ghosts of her past.

 It is my experience that many women, and men as well, tend to dwell on the past when they experience a divorce. I did that, too. It is easy to second guess ourselves and the decisions we made surrounding the divorce. It is easy to give in to the ‘horror’ of the past, to spend our time chasing the ghosts of choice, ignorance, and fear. In the middle of the night, we may be visited upon by the dark specter of regret who leaves us wailing in the terror of disappointment and disgust. We may tremble as we explore the dark recesses of our own motives and shriek when we discover our own hard hearts.

 We cannot dwell in that creaking house of horrors of our past and expect to heal and move forward after a divorce or other traumatic incident in our lives. We must face that which we fear the most – loneliness, guilt, bitterness, victimization – and resolve to break the chains of our fears. There is no monster in the closet or under the bed. There is no evil lurking in the shadows. The monster and the evil is our own fears, our own unwillingness to resolve the past and move forward.

 A counselor I once saw had this statement written on the whiteboard in her office; “The past is the present until it’s resolved.” We will always be haunted by the ghosts of the past unless we determine to resolve that past. It may be painful, terrifying, and heart-stopping – but the past must be resolved in order to move forward.

 At the end of the movie, Florence seems lighter and happier. She has resolved her fears and conquered her ghosts. She is free to move forward and live her life unafraid. It can be difficult to conquer those ghosts of the past. But once we are free of them, we are free indeed. Stay tuned. . . .

 

 

 

Life Will Go On

I normally don’t post twice in one day, but I read a post from another lady who is on the healing journey from her divorce. She posted about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with her son. He asked if they were going to celebrate even if it was just the two of them.

My children are grown and married and have all moved away. I still put up my Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations and have continued to do so in the years after my divorce. Ex never really enjoyed celebrating the holidays anyway. This year, there was only me and my dogs to enjoy the decorations – and Cycle Dude when he would come over. I love to sit with all the lights off and just have the Christmas tree lights on – I find that very peaceful.

Just because one is divorced doesn’t mean one shouldn’t still live life! Celebrating the holidays, any holiday, after your divorce is a chance to make even better memories and traditions. Cycle Dude and I went down to Florida in 2015 to celebrate Thanksgiving with my sister and brother and their families. It was an enjoyable time. We celebrate the holidays with my grown children as well, though not on the holiday itself because they all have in-laws who want their time, too. The point is that we make the time to celebrate.

Being divorced has given me a blank slate. How do I want to celebrate the holidays and other important days in my life? How do I want to make those days special? This has become a time that I live life the way I want to – not the way some other family’s traditions force me to.

Dear one, part of the healing from your divorce is celebrating – holidays, birthdays, good grades, job promotions, etc. Celebrating is sharing the joy that others bring into your life. Don’t allow ex to ‘win’ in that you live your life is despair. There is joy in each day, each smile of your children, each tail wag from your dog or leg rub from your cat. Celebrate that you are healing and moving forward!

The lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post told her son that yes, they were going to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, even though it was just the two of them, because they are a family and that’s what they do.  Kudos! Life will go on. Stay tuned. . . .

PTSD Post-Divorce

I recently came across an article on Huffington Post –  Divorce entitled, “What It’s Like to Suffer PTSD Post-Divorce” by Cathy Meyer (DivorcedMoms.com). I have blogged before about suffering from PTSD after my divorce. I was never diagnosed, but I had all the symptoms. I didn’t recognize what it was, so I never sought treatment. I saw my doctor for depression and was prescribed some antidepressants. Even though the antidepressants helped, I still suffered through PTSD.

Diane, the woman in Cathy’s piece, says:

“I feel as if I’ve been in the middle of a war zone for an extended period of time. I’ve lived with daily fear for years; there has been no relief because some sort of conflict with my ex was always lurking around the corner,” Dana says. “I didn’t have time to process one event before I was dealing with another one.”

I told a friend that I felt battle weary, that I was tired of fighting. Ex was never honest with me. I’d find out what he was up to by getting bills for porn movies on our cable, dirty magazine notices in the mail, adult club charges on our credit card statement. He always denied everything, constantly telling me it was all my fault. I lived like that for close to 25 years.

Diane advises to “know when to give up the fight”. Ex still owes me over $21K in alimony. He defied a court order, fled the state several years later and remarried. Will I ever see a dime of that $21K? Absolutely not! He is not worth the finances nor heartache of pursuing that money. Why? I know when to give up the fight. I have come too far in my divorce healing to let arsehole ex derail it. Diane also states:

“You can’t look to the legal system to protect you and the only way to win over someone who wants you to suffer is to give up the fight. Let it go, your health is more important.”

I am happier now than I’ve ever been. I am gradually working through the PTSD, though it has taken time, journaling, counseling, prayer, and trusting myself. One thing about going through this – the PTSD – is that on the other side, I will be, I am, stronger.

If you are going through, or have recently been through, a divorce and feel you are suffering the symptoms of PTSD (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20022540), I urge you to get help. Go see someone who is trained to help others walk through PTSD. Most employers have a benefit that will allow their employees to see a mental health professional for a certain number of visits for free. Take advantage of that benefit if your employer has it. Join a support group. Speak to your pastor or other clergy member. Like Diane said, “Your health is . . . important.” Stay tuned. . . .

 

The History of Memory

I enjoy getting together with my siblings – I am one of six children. We laugh and tell stories of our childhood. Invariably, someone will always say, “I don’t remember it (the event, situation, etc.) that way.” Memory is a funny thing. We can remember the actual event or situation, or we can remember impressions. We may also “remember” that which really didn’t happen to us, but our familiarity with the event or situation makes us feel like it has.

I am sure my ex has different memories of events and situations during our marriage than I do. My children do as well. That is to be expected since we are different people and have different points of view. Physical stature colors our memories – structures that may seem huge to us as children are now very small. Emotions color our memories – anger may make the situation seem worse than it really was. Impairment (fatigue, drug or alcohol use) also colors our memories – did that really happen that way? Time has a way of changing our memories as well.

I was a non-traditional student from 2006-2011. I had to retake a couple classes because the credits didn’t transfer from my previous school (31 years prior). This applied to a US History class. One of the first books we read in that class had to do with memory. The book was about a man who was involved in the Boston Tea Party. He was being interviewed on the 50th anniversary of the event. His memories of the event did not coincide with the documentation of the same event. The premise of the book was – did this man really remember what happened or did time and age color his memories? Studies have shown that time and age do color our memories to one or the other extreme of severity – either the event or situation was really good or it was exceptionally bad.

Most of my memories of my marriage are bad because that’s what I dealt with during the last few years – anger and bitterness. I know there were some good times. Of course, the days each of my children were born. I have journaled a great deal in my life. Memories come back once I read what I wrote in the midst of an event or situation. The journaling is only my perspective of the event or situation.

I am fortunate to be making good memories now with Cycle Dude. I have been documenting these memories on paper and film. I want to be able to tell my grandchildren amd Bob’s grandchildren about the times we have had together. I want to make more good memories with my own children as well.

Don’t leave the good memories to history – document them so you can share them with others. Stay tuned . . . .