The Fourth

I do love everything about the Fourth of July. From parades to cookouts to the red, white, and blue to the fireworks. I love love fireworks. But this year is different. My boys decided to spend the holiday with their father. With their grandparents, cousins, aunt, and uncle. And their father’s girlfriend. If I told you my heart is hurting, it’d be an understatement. It’s a physical space I once shared with them…to be honest, I’m feeling somewhat replaced. My oldest was allowed to bring his girlfriend and as a result was in his glory. And T..well T just goes with the flow. But me, being without them on my favorite holiday pains me. It’s so incredibly opposite of all that I wanted. And this emptiness can feel suffocating. The tug of emotions. Happy for them and for their father to have this time with them…especially D who rarely spends time with his father. And I am happy for my (ex) in-laws for they love having their family together. Yet, the core of me is sad. And I get that may be selfish. And I get that time marches on. And I get that it’s been nearly five years. But family is in my heart. It’s in my being. And I don’t think any amount of time will change that for me.

So today I will spend time with my parents, my brother, and his family. And I will give my three precious nieces a few extra hugs today. Their ever relentless love for me will somehow soothe my shaking soul I know. And will keep me from just curling up in a ball, crying myself into a defeated sleep to wake to a reality that will shock me once again. I know chances are each stumble, each fall, will only act to strengthen me in the end. And I am fighting to stay clear, to stay strong, and true. This Fourth of July is different yes. But I think it just may be a turning point.

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Tumor

Two years ago a tumor was found inside my bladder. Any gambling man would have lost a lot of money on me – I did not fit any of the criteria for someone who was at risk for such a tumor. But…sadly I did have a cousin who lost his life in his early 40’s to bladder cancer.

I remember lying on the hospital bed as the doctor placed a long tube with a camera (known as a cystoscopy) inside my bladder. I remember seeing what looked like an anemone appear, floating gracefully as if in direct defiance to what it truly was. I did not know what I was looking at…until the doctor told me.  I of course then searched for the top urologist in the area while researching bladder tumors. I told few people as possible. I even noticed looking back on my blog posts, that I simply acted as though it never happened. Posts just before the surgery and after left no trace of what had just occurred in my life.

I had a procedure known as a TURBT – Trans-Urethral Resection of a Bladder Tumor. They also administered a one time dose of a chemotherapy drug known as Mitomycin during the procedure. The recovery was rather easy. The hard part was waiting a week for the results. I received good news. It was a papilloma.

I’ve had to repeat the cystoscopy twice a year since. And every time I pray I don’t see that anemone appear again. My doctor has made a point to tell me it’s a fine line between a papilloma and Stage 1 Cancer. Therefore, given my young age and virtually no risk factors, he will continue to monitor me.

I don’t know if I’ve just made a big attempt to store this deep in my memory as a coping mechanism or if the whole experience is one I just can’t fully handle otherwise. What I do know is when I go for those follow up visits, alone, it’s a stark reality that that is what I am. Alone. While watching one of may favorite series last night, the wife received news her body was cancer free after fighting breast cancer the year previous. Her husband cried in joy and they embraced. They had each other. Partners. True partners. Not in just words or promises but in truth. Completely. It’s no wonder at that moment I broke down crying.

I think I have a lot of buried hurt. Some from the distant past and some from just weeks ago.

Someday.

Dream

So real. A house boat. Floating. An attached dock. With jet skis. The dock fiercely moving with the energetic waves. “Don’t you get scared?” “I am use to it.” Emotions rising. Holding back tears. Memories of these times flood my mind. Suddenly a big push and the dock smacks against the wall. She is jerked backwards and then forwards but unharmed. It is now loose. Floating away. She jumps first quickly to get to the house boat. I follow. Lost around the corner. We run. Yelling for the both of you. I can now hide my tears against this excuse. As you retrieve the runaway dock, it suddenly becomes apparent it was not as big of a deal as originally thought. Keeping my head down, yet obviously upset, she says “she is not happy.” You look at me and suddenly I feel your hands rubbing my temples. The tears now flow readily down my cheeks. And I reach up to hold your hand. I feel you. And it hurts. And then….I awake. Crying inconsolably.

“Feel it. The thing you don’t want to feel. Feel it and be free.” – Nayirah Waheed

Once Upon a Time

I remember

running off the bus, talking – or rather yelling – to my mom as I ran down the street, excitedly telling her the “gossip” of the day.

I was 6 maybe

I remember

racing my bmx bike down the street with my next door neighbor Bobby. I saved up to buy that teal blue Mongoose bike. And I remember the day I walked into the bike store with my Dad.

I was probably about 12

I remember

laughing, giggling, doing crazy, stupid things in High School. I remember late nights, heartbreaks, crying, being scared, feeling mature, and dreaming about my future.

I was 16 and planned my whole life.

I remember

feeling a bit lost in college. Finally finding my way and discovering happiness.

I was 20

I remember

my life unfolding as I began a marriage, started a career, became a mom, and a mom again.

I was in my 20’s

I remember

a life I have lived thus far that I do not regret. For all the memories, good and bad, brought me here. Where I should be. It brought me two amazing children. Somewhere, somehow, I did something so true that I was blessed with the both of them.

And so I will not forget. I will remember.

 

5 days…

It’s been 5 whole days since court. I’ve woken in the middle of the night in that ignorant state of unknowingness….to then be slapped with reality. Finding myself blocking emotion though – as a means of self-protection? Is this good? Bad?

Walking in the supermarket the day of, was a gentle reminder “you never know what someone is going through, what kind of day he/she is having.” I found myself wanting to painfully scream “I just got divorced!”

Blocking out all in the courtroom except for my lawyer and the judge when addressed, I slowly narrowed my vision; otherwise I would have completely broke down. The stenographer sat right in front of me, so close he could have held my hand. Looking at me, I thought he was making eye contact, offering a silent “I’m sorry,” but I quickly realized he was only concentrating on what he was typing – he wasn’t looking at me as so much as through me. Typing words that I declared, words that would officially end my marriage.

Vulnerable in front of strangers who now heard my age, my children’s birth dates, our wedding date, and witnessed my sobs. Sterile. Cold. All so opposite from the day nearly eighteen years ago when we promised to be forever. The judge read the final comments as a script, stating “I wish you both luck.” Hardly sincere, just meaningless commentary.

And then we left. My lawyer hugged me and started to cry herself as my now ex-husband stated “I’ll let you both talk.” He offered no hug. Maybe it was me – my obvious avoidance of looking straight at him. He even asked “why are you crying?” A sign of being unattached, so far removed. Despite knowing me for over twenty years, he somehow didn’t or maybe couldn’t ever know me.

Tomorrow marks the first full week of the rest of my life.

So very scared.

Crying

Do you know how often I find myself crying? Building up, it seeps out. Threatening to present itself. At times I hold it in, desperately trying to lock it up. Go away. Just go away. My life feels like I have walked through a solid pane of glass and found myself looking in. Knowing there is no way to cross back over. Peering through, I am scared. Who am I? Where am I?  Please help.