“Marry a man who will talk,” my mother told me. Only I had no idea what she Man and Woman Talking Royalty Free Stock Imagemeant by that. Apparently my dad didn’t talk but I’d heard him speak so I knew he could talk. Then again, my mother didn’t talk, either, not in a way that I understood until after I’d already married. And divorced.

She was a good one to talk. She didn’t talk about what bothered her, what she liked in clothes, how she felt about politics or religion or people. In other words, she didn’t “talk.” At least not to me.

Me? I grew up with the message that I talked too much, so by marrying-age I’d learned not to talk so much.  Not a good harbinger, though I didn’t know that then.

After seven years of marriage my husband and I managed to be together only about half of that time due to his military assignments. Then my non-talkative husband got that proverbial itch and told me he wanted a divorce so he could marry his pregnant girlfriend. Even in 1972 contraception was easily available; women didn’t have to get pregnant unless they wanted to.

I doubt he’d have even talked that much if she hadn’t prodded him by saying she was pregnant and making him tell me so I’d divorce him. I got the impression the affair would have remained his secret and he’d stay married to me without talking about it. But the cat was out of the bag.

I mean, even in the letter he wrote asking for the divorce he seemed Divorce Royalty Free Stock Imageambivalent. He said that “she needed him and I didn’t.” I hated the idea of being “needy” but maybe that’s what he thought wives were supposed to be. See? Lack of communication.

Of course, I was supposed to be so angry, I suppose, so hurt, maybe, that I’d give him an immediate divorce and they could get married. But the last line of the letter was, “I still love you but…” Only he wasn’t a “talker” so I didn’t know “but” what he wanted for sure, besides a divorce, and even that seemed tentative. So I didn’t give him one.

And, realistic or not, it felt like it left the door open for possible reconciliation. “I still love you…” Here was a chance for real communication. I told him I’d rather try to work this out. We could do it. Given his apparently…um, “flexible”… idea of marriage vows it at least seemed like an idea worth pursuing, either then or later. After all, he could marry her, give her baby a name, and still come back to me. When you’re reeling you grasp at everything, even flexible vows.

But when I didn’t immediately give him the desired divorce, “She thought she was pregnant, but she wasn’t.” Hmmm  And then he went to Viet Nam.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been so paddywhacked. It’s not as if it was the first time. When he was sent to Korea mere daysBeautiful oriental woman in red japanese kimono Royalty Free Stock Image after we were married, he once wrote and told me he’d been tempted by a “working girl” over there. The only reason nothing happened (Was I supposed to congratulate him on this?) was that he didn’t have enough money. Further down in the letter he asked me to send him some. Huh?

I replied with something that wasn’t scathing or anything, was actually pretty restrained, considering the situation, but then said that if it happened again I didn’t want to know about it. And I sent him some money. Maybe that’s where it all started, do you suppose? Duh!

Our communication skills were poor, if not just plain lacking. I generally tried to figure out what he wanted, what it took to make him happy, by guess and by golly. Apparently I wasn’t very good at that, though I tried hard, and he never talked to tell me differently. The only thing he ever said to me about what he expected or wanted concerned a spinach soufflé I once made. He said, “Let’s don’t have that green stuff again.”

I’ve since been given to understand that he had a very unhappy and painful marriage but you couldn’t prove that by me. Neither could I disprove it. How would I know? He didn’t talk. I was trying to make a good marriage, even if clumsily, and I assumed he was, too. Well, you know what they say about assume…

Which is why I was totally blindsided when I got the letter telling me he wantedLove and divorce Royalty Free Stock Image a divorce. I didn’t see that coming at all. I thought I was being the good wife by staying home, working to pay bills, and “keeping the home fires burning.”

I don’t know why he thought I didn’t need him. Maybe he needed me in ways he didn’t like to acknowledge. Money?

He had gone away again, on assignment to Warrant Officer’s school because he’d been promoted. He was the last soldier to have to leave his unit when that happened. When others got promoted after that, they got to come back to their unit.

I understood that he’d go directly from Warrant Officer’s training to Viet Nam so I wasn’t able to go with him, anyway. Only instead of going to Viet Nam, he was sent to Fort Sheridan, IL for a year or so, a very significant year, it turned out.

Again, talking might have changed so many things, if only I’d known about that. I might have gone with him. Or not. We have no way of knowing, now, what, if anything, might have made a difference. I did the best I could, and I think he did, too. Maybe the best just wasn’t enough.

Would marrying a “talker” have prevented any of this? I think it would have eliminated at least some of it but maybe that’s only hindsight.

Keep talking.

Thank You

Sometime in the past three days while I was unable to get Roses and Letter, callligraphy thank you Stock Photosonline the views of my blog passed 7,000.

Thank you to all who helped me make that goal. I never expected to get anywhere near that and it does my heart good to know that so many have taken the time out of busy lives to visit my blog.

You have my heartfelt thanks. Know that I’ll try to make future entries about how soul works in my life worth your while.

Forty-one Years

I came into the house late on a hot July afternoon to discover that I had a message on the answering machine from my priest. Father Jim? Why would he be calling me? I mean, I tried to help out at the parish upon occasion but in no way that involved telephone calls. If necessary we simply talked after Mass on Sundays.

I put away the stuff from my shopping trip and then called Father Jim back.Talking to him above Stock Photography When I identified myself, the first thing he said was, “Are you sitting down?” Well, I lied. The telephone was on the wall and a chair was not handy but I figured what could a little white lie hurt?

My army friends, Trish and Charlie, had contacted him. At that news I was even more puzzled. They were no longer in the area and they knew my number and where I lived, so what was the deal? They’d contacted him because they felt that I might need the support of a priest when I heard what they’d told him. What?

Plane Crash Stock PhotographyThere’d been an Ozark Airlines airplane crash in St. Louis and my former husband had been on the plane. Only six or eight people survived. He wasn’t one of them. That was forty-one years ago today, July 23, 1973. He was only 30.

It had been seventeen months or so since the divorce and I was still raw and tender from the pain of that. I’d even held out the unlikely and unrealistic possibility of a reconciliation so the dashing of that thin hope added to the shock. I have no idea what I told Father Jim after I said, “You’re joking. No, you’re not,” when I realized people don’t joke about things like that. I don’t have any idea what he said, either. But it was unbelievable. Stuff like that didn’t happen to people like us. Divorce was nearly unfathomable but plane crashes, well, that was beyond belief.

I was stunned. My brain quit working and I have only the faintest memPainting of woman sitting in the dark Royalty Free Stock Photosory of what I did after that. An army friend had planned to come over later that evening and I’d hoped he could help me make sense of it all since he worked in the counseling office on post. Only he fell asleep and never made it to the house. I sat in the chair and watched the hot July daylight dim into dusk and then full dark, and still I sat. I turned on no lights nor moved for several hours.

Then the phone rang. The machine picked up because I had no inclination to talk to anyone. It turned out to be my youngest former sister-in-law’s husband so I picked up. He was telling me about the crash, about when there’d be a memorial for my former husband, where it would be, etc. Then he said they wanted me there. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to go but I didn’t want to go. That would make everything real, if I went. But they wanted me there.

I ended up making flight arrangements and called my parents, who said they’d drive down from Ohio to Tennessee for the service. My former brother-in-law picked me up in Tennessee and drove me to the military base where the service was to take place. Even though I had no “official” standing, everyone was nice. My former husband’s partner said it was right that I should be there “because he’d been a big part of my life.”

Things were a bit different with his widow, however. She wouldn’t see me, Military funeral Royalty Free Stock Photographywouldn’t let me attend the service, though she said my parents could, and she even said that I’d placed a bomb under his seat. Clearly she was distraught but even so, that was a bit outrageous. Anyway, former husband’s mother and youngest sister were so upset by this that they refused to attend the service and requested that their seats be left empty to show their feelings.

Other than that, I don’t know what happened, how I got around, who did what, what was said, when I got a return flight, any of that. It clearly was done because I came back home but all of that’s still foggy and it’s stayed foggy.

People ask me why I can’t let go of this sort of thing, why I can’t move on, why I still remember anniversaries around this time. I mean, it’s only a week ago that was, or would have been, our anniversary. That’s a lot to pack in in a short time.

I don’t think it’s that I haven’t moved on; it’s more likely that everything around my former husband and the divorce and his death made such a huge emotional impact upon me that it’s impossible to just say it didn’t happen or wasn’t important enough to remember. Whether or not I want to remember, I do. That’s all.

There is no “just forgetting” or “just letting go”of it. There may yet be something for me to learn from it, or maybe the lesson is about how to get past it, though I feel that I have. But it’s like an accident where you lose a leg or something. You move on the best you can, but there will always be an emptiness there.

You may learn to live with it but you never can forget it.

Love is Love

I’ve always felt love toward the animals in my life (though it’s a bit more difficultIn rural areas, children who love animals Royalty Free Stock Photography with my current dog, but that’s potentially another post; I’m sure she’s here to teach me something) and maybe toward the people in my life. Loving people, though, has often had a dangerous aspect of one kind or another that probably prevented me from loving as much or as well as I might have.

A lot of people feel this way about their animals, I think, especially when the posts on Facebook are taken into account. From cat photos to snarky pictures of “I like animals better than people,” it seems I’m not alone in the way I feel about animals.

For most of my life I felt guilty about that. I mean, people are the top of the line, Charity wristbands Stock Imagesright? We’re supposed to care about them more than anything else. Well, I care about people but more in the abstract than in the particular. I support charities that help the unfortunate and that feed hungry children and that protest bombings of civilian homes, etc. I open my pocketbook and at least a part of my heart.

But it’s a lot more difficult for me to open my heart, if not my pocketbook, for specific people in my life. I’m not sure when this sense of danger in loving people came into my life but it was very, very early. I can remember times when I was preverbal – yes, I can remember that far back – and the sense of danger was already there. But not toward the dog and cat and horses that were a part of my life on the farm. We moved from there when I was just past three years old. Only the cat came with us and then because he sneaked into the trailer. The dog was gone, the horses sold. And there went my opportunities to learn to love. Too painful.

We grow up looking for love, being told that we all look for love, believe that we Looking For Love Royalty Free Stock Photosneed love, believing that we can’t live without it. All of this is more or less true. But sometime in the past decade or decade and a half I had an AHA moment. It may have been forestalled as a result of the pain and rejection I felt with the divorce, or it may have been held off as a result of being too busy to think about things like love, or maybe it held off just because I wasn’t ready. But it happened and it was an epiphany.

I realized it wasn’t to get love that I was hoping for, it was to give love. I didn’t feel it was safe to give my love to the people I should have most wanted to give it to, like parents. And, of course, the divorce just verified that, so it took me a lot longer to understand love than it might otherwise have. My love was rejected and thrown back at me and me being me, I didn’t have enough courage to say, “Well, it’s his loss,” and go on with my life of finding someone to love. I found someone in spite of myself, though,and it’s challenging.

Horse lover Royalty Free Stock PhotoBut I never had to be concerned about giving love to my animals, whether dogs, cats, or horses. They all received it without judgment or complaint and, of course, gave it back. You haven’t been hugged until you find yourself being hugged by a horse, by the way. We’re told that we love animals because they love us unconditionally. That’s probably true. But they also accept love unconditionally. How many people can we say that about? Not me, for one. I don’t easily let love into my life. It’s painful to let yourself be loved and then have that love ripped away.

Unconditional Love Royalty Free Stock PhotosSo now I’m trying to learn how to give and receive love unconditionally. I’m like most people, darn it, in that I don’t do a very good job of that, I’m afraid. I am afraid. Literally. I’m still afraid that if I give my love it will be rejected and thrown back at me. That if I accept love wholeheartedly my heart will be torn out. But that doesn’t mean I should give up. It takes courage to give love even if it’s not recognized or returned but that’s what we’re here for. To learn to give love. Getting love is nice, is important; giving love is imperative.

It’s difficult in these times to give unconditional love even in the abstract, what with polarizing politics and judgmental attitudes about any subject you can think of. It makes me want to be a hermit. I can’t do that, of course, and still make an effort to love unconditionally. It’s not likely that I’ll be loved, either, then.

Happy baby boy learning to walk on grass Stock PhotographyAnd maybe I don’t have to do it perfectly all at once, though that’s my default position. Maybe if I just keep on trying, keep on stretching, keep on learning, it will be enough. At my age I’m still a baby at learning this stuff.

Ancaro Imparo. It’s a phrase allegedly attributed to Michaelangelo that means “I am still learning.”

Hard to Believe…

Today would be my 49th wedding anniversary – if I hadn’t been divorced after the statistically significant seven years, at which time the fabled itch seems to have struck my husband.

I’m only bringing up how long ago I was married for the firstBud and Sam after wedding Jul 65 and, apparently, the last time because it boggles my mind. Like many, I had aspirations of maybe reaching that 50th anniversary but, of course, I didn’t expect to reach it by myself. And technically I haven’t, of course, but how can it have been so long ago, when all of the events around my marriage and its dissolution seem so relatively fresh?

I suppose some might say I haven’t moved on, that I’m still embroiled in the emotions and feelings that came up around all that. First, there was knowledge of the affair; then there followed the long drawn out but seemingly inevitable divorce even though I tried to avoid it; then there was my former husband’s death in a plane crash barely a year after the divorce. It was a lot to cope with. I think I have, though.

I’ve now been with my SO for 36 years, our not-marriage lasting more than five times as long as I was married. Just shows to go ya that maybe all the hoopla around marriage licenses and certificates and such doesn’t mean quite as much as we make it all out to be. Also, I’m not convinced that there wasn’t some sort of plan or something at the level of Higher Selves that made my marriage and divIMG_0054orce a prelude to my current status. There certainly seems to have been a pretty incongruous plan about even getting married when we did, as unlikely as it seems. I could write a novel about how that happened and people would say “unrealistic.” But it happened. It was real. And,  of course, my ex’s Higher Self may have had a plan for his life, too. Shoot, for all I know “we” planned it together before we were even born.

I never know how to figure out if there is a real “plan” or if I’ve learned to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear more often than not so that it sorta feels like it was planned. There’s been a lot in my life that, once I had enough distance from events, showed evidence of something coming together no matter how implausible. I speak mostly about my ownBusiness action plan Royalty Free Stock Image sense of that, however; I can’t speak for others, though it sometimes seems that “it’s” at work in their lives, too. What was it that A-team leader used to say? “I love it when it all comes together.” Something like that. I love it when I have enough age and hindsight to see that it seems to have come together. Maybe I wish it could have been less painful or whatever, but, well, I’m pretty pleased where I am now.

I just can’t get over the idea that it was nearly a half century ago that I was married. A half century! For some folks that’s a lifetime. Or longer. My former husband was only 30 when that plane crashed.

A short lifetime.

OK, So I Lied…

I said I’d not mention things about the tumor and such again but I have a bit of a different slant on it that might not make it such a bore. At least I hope some of you might see it that way.

I think I mentioned that many of the supplements I’m taking and have taken for years turn out to be natural forms of the anti-hormone pills I’m supposed to take for the next five years. And that I won’t be taking them any more. The pills, that is. I’m continuing the supplements, maybe even adding to them.

I wonder if the fact that I’ve been using the supplements had anything to do with the fact that the tumor was pretty much confined to one locale and hadn’t spread to lymph nodes, etc. There’s no way to be sure about that, of course, but I can’t help but wonder. My intuition suggests it’s possible.

Every so often I sort of wonder about doing something different, dropping a certain supplementSupplements for healthy life concept Royalty Free Stock Image or increasing the dose or taking a new one, and that suggests to me that my Higher Self may be hinting at something new. Trouble is, Higher Self isn’t always clear; it seems to want to make me make the decision, to grow up, be an adult. I’m not real good at listening to Higher Self yet, though sooner or later I’ll often do something "impulsive" that’s been cooking silently on the back burner and it seems to turn out OK. Maybe Higher Self is acting then.

Since natural and plant supplements often provide much lower dosages than the synthetic stuff, I’ve thought that maybe I should increase the amounts that I use but since I’m already over many of the recommended amounts I’m being very careful what I do. Decisions, decisions. Growth.

What this post is leading up to is that I think the world is iSteep learning curve drawn on a blackboard. Royalty Free Stock Photon an evolutionary "learning curve" that’s rapidly rising and things like cancer and world disruptions and such have a purpose, though I’m not sure exactly what that might be. I suspect it’s to help us learn to make difficult decisions, to become co-creators of the world we live in. I think my cancer is to give me the chance to learn to pay attention to something I’ve often given short shrift. Intuition, listening to my heart. I’ve long lived in my head.

We like to think of growth as something orderly and controlled but Mother Nature doesn’t always see things the same way we do. We’re being given a chance to learn and participate in something most of us have long believed to take ages and eons and to happen more or less accidentally and beyond our control, beyond our lifetime.

But evolution is now happening even as we observe it (though it may not be clear that’s what it is at the time) and it may seem more like a “world of hurt” than growth, which is what evolution is. Many of us want to return to life as it was, as it used to be, but a state that’s characterized by no growth is called death. It’s our choice. Scary, huh?

Diverging Paths Royalty Free Stock PhotoWe’re no longer following paths that have been laid out by those who went before us who, we believe, might have been wiser than we are. We’re making new paths where there are none and we’re becoming "the ones that have gone before."

When it’s only you that’s involved with your intuitive choices and decisions it’s easier than when it also involves others. It’s often painful and exhausting and worrisome when we understand that what we feel is right may simply be opinion, and biased, at that. How can we be sure it’s our intuition and correct?

Follow your heart. Intuition, like the Higher Self, doesn’t shout. But then, good teachers don’t have to shout, they gently guide, and let you learn at your own speed and in yoFollow Your Heart - Two-Way Street Sign Royalty Free Stock Imagesur own way. Dam’! LOL

That intuition thing is tricky, isn’t it? There’s a feeling of “right,” – not righteousness – when we get it, though. I think we have to learn to trust it by trusting it and by learning when we get it wrong. We may feel more confident and comfortable when we follow our head but if we let our heart inform our head we can have it all. That’s pretty much the way we grow up, become adults, by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes and living with the consequences, painful and/or sad though they may be.

But if we don’t start at least giving half an ear to intuition and the Higher Self we may not have the chance to grow or have a planet to grow on.

I wonder what the new human being will be like.

I’ve beeTag with Sorry Stock Photographyn terribly remiss about writing here of late. My apologies.

It’s not as if I write much of anything deep and/or thoughtful, but I like to think I at least have something to say now and then that might make you think or take a different look at something you’ve taken for granted or just to fill up a blank page.Laziness Stock Image

But I haven’t. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas and thoughts about things I could write about. I simply haven’t had the energy. I don’t know if I can blame the anti-hormone pills (maybe) or just my innate laziness (could be).  I sit down and look at the computer screen and suddenly an hour or more has gone by and it’s time to make supper (if I have the energy) or pay bills or something.

I’m about out of the pills and I’ve made the definite decision to not take any Pills Stock Imagemore. I’m not convinced I need them and, it turns out, a lot of the supplements I take and have taken for years are natural inhibitors. Maybe that’s why the tumor hadn’t spread to the lymph nodes but had just stayed where it started.Decision Stock Photography

In any event, I’m going to stop the pills and continue the supplements and not worry about the outcome. My decision is either “wrong” or “right” but in any case it’s my decision and I’ll live with the outcome.

And today’s post is the last one about my medical condition. You’ve put up with enough about it. I’ll try to find more interesting subjects in the future.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this.


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