Grief

The last few days I have found myself in a place where I am experiencing a heavy sense of grief.

Since deciding that I was “All In”, I have had a lot of thoughts, memories, and emotions crop up for me. I realized that I have many things that I need to let go of – plans, hopes and dreams, goals…things that just aren’t going to happen for me, based on the path my life is currently on. Those plans, goals, hopes and dreams are relics of my old life, a life that isn’t mine anymore.

These are things that I’ve still be hanging onto, in the back of my mind. Like dreams of owning a house. With a big backyard where the girls could play and I could garden. I’ve always fancied growing vegetables and having gorgeous flowers from spring to fall that I could cut and bring into my sunny kitchen and enjoy all day long. And dreams of a partner who loved to garden almost as much as me, or least willingly helped out on the weekends when I found myself feeling “inspired”. In this dream, early-morning weekend breakfasts are enjoyed on the back deck, overlooking the garden, sitting happy and content with my man, making plans for garden improvements. Summer nights are spent sitting by candlelight in the garden, enjoying a glass of wine together, enjoying the quiet.

 I also know that I also need to let go of camping hopes. CBG isn’t an outdoor guy at all, whereas I could spent from May-October outside all day, every day. My ex and I loved going camping together – sitting by the fire, swimming in the lake, going on hikes…he still makes an effort to take the girls once every summer (even if it’s just for the weekend) and I always envy them that time. I know that I could take the girls on my own, but it’s not something that I feel equipped to do. And that summer cottage in the woods by a lake? Yeah…that’s another one that needs to be let go of as well.

 I used to dream of having a job that mattered. Last summer I was there, working on a 6-month contract position for a not-for-profit organization that was dear to my heart. Unfortunately, jobs like that don’t usually pay a whole lot. My current job is certainly better in that department, and while I’m not working for Satan, I know that in the grand scheme of things, my job doesn’t improve the state of the world or make a difference in people’s lives. But at this point I know that I need to choose to pay the bills rather than feed my soul when it comes to my job.

 I always thought I wanted a partner who cared about the same things that I do – nutrition, physical fitness, spirituality, the environment, attachment parenting. CBG doesn’t really care about any of these things.  At all. And while he and I have many things that we do agree on, they’re not the things that I always thought would be important to me in my relationship. Those above mentioned items are still extremely important to me; a part of who I am. But it’s not something that I am able to share with my man. And I need to let go of the dream that CBG will one day change and suddenly develop an interest in them. It’s just not who he is.

 So right now I’m in the process of letting go of all of these things. Things that have been with me for a very long time, that are a part of who I am. And yet, even as I grieve I realize that these things were future plans, and never really mine to begin with. I am grieving the loss of something that never really existed except in my own mind.

 Once the grieving process is over, and I’m able to come to peace with this loss, I need to come up with a New Plan. New hopes, goals and dreams. A new vision for myself, my girls and my life, based on the choices I am currently making and the path that I’m on. Right now this seems like a huge task…since without these old hopes and dreams, I’m not even certain who I am.

It’s going to take me a while to get there.

26 Responses

  1. Hmm. I don’t know how to respond to this one, because in a way, I feel like you are suggesting you are short-changing yourself because you feel you have to, in order to be happy. I don’t think you are really thinking or saying that, necessarily, but I think that you can still fulfill parts of these dreams and visions yourself. If the job is well-paying but not inspiring, find something on the side that does inspire you (for me? barre n9ne and the work I’ve been doing as part of that, in the background). If there are things CBG doesn’t enjoy, but you do, I still think you should do them. Maybe camping solo is a bit much, but day trips etc. I know you know this, but I just don’t want you to feel like you need to let go of these things completely. I get moving past some of them (owning a house if not feasible now) if they are weighing you down with sadness or frustration, but moving past them completely? Not so sure. My two cents (and fwiw, I would *so* love to spend a day outdoors together!).

    • Thanks, Jobo. :-) I guess I just feel like I need to let go of these things and form a new vision for myself and my life, based on what I have to work with right now, rather than relics from my old life….

  2. Going with the flow is harder that it looks. I personally have that ability…my husband? not so much. at. all. He has held onto ideals of what he wants, and throws in my face from time-to-time that he doesn’t have those things. He commented to me one time when the kitchen wasn’t organized as he wished: “I don’t have MY living space”. When I responded with “neither do I, but I am glad to share OUR living space, regardless…” he totally figured out he was being uptight about a lot of things. The thing is, life is not controllable in every way…There is beauty in the un-planned…there is beauty in the mis-planned. There is beauty in a plan! Think about the time you get to spend in the meantime (whenever that is) to do research and have the most amazing garden EVER when it happens!!! There are lots of community gardens around, maybe you could find one or start one up! If you plan it right, you can grow some things in your city, and some things CBG can help grow in his city…OMG…like a contest! :) Or betting!
    A reading at my wedding was from the Prophet, by Khalil Gibran: http://leb.net/~mira/works/prophet/prophet3.html
    it makes sense…

    • I never want to get to the point where I feel resentful of CBG for sacrifices that I’ve made for the sake of our relationship…hence giving myself some time and space to grieve the loss of those things that were once a very big part of who I was. I want to make a conscious choice to make these changes, and not feel like a “victim” who “had” to let these things go. I am choosing to do it.

  3. I sort of agree with Jobo. I was reading this and thinking, “Why couldn’t she still do those things for herself? What’s stopping her?”

    But I also picked up on the fact that some of those things were dreams of you and your ex-spouse. I guess the challenge, as you stated, is figuring out which dreams, plans & goals you’ll still accomplish on your own and which ones aren’t really “you” after all. I completely understand the mourning part as well. I’ve struggled with this in my relationship too. I always pictured myself with someone else who would be athletic and bike with me… or do yoga with me. GJ says he’d love to try those things but they’re just not in the forefront of his mind and I’m certainly not going to push it.

    I’ve just decided to take care of me and do what I want to do. I’m connected to him, yes… but I’m still me. I’m not taking away any of what he loves to do or who he loves to be so I’m sure he doesn’t expect it of me either.

    ((hugs))

    • I can’t really do these things because of the LDR. I can’t possibly own a home on my single parent income. Not possible with the housing market in my city being what it is. I can’t garden with my man who lives in another city in an apartment. I can’t quit my okay-paying job that doesn’t matter for a not-for-profit job that wouldn’t pay enough. I can’t change CBG into a person who likes things he clearly doesn’t like.

      I understand that it’s okay (and GOOD!) for him and I to be our own separate people and enjoy different things on our own, but that still means letting go of some of the dreams that I had – which was a partner to do those things WITH.

  4. What to say? I don’t know other then offer a hug.

  5. You aren’t giving anything up – you are right, these weren’t realized – the new life you have with CBG will provide you with new goals/dreams/hopes based on the life the 2 of you are building.

    And yes, the old stuff will be like a ghost hauting, tauting, and scaring you when you can’t see it…

    Good for you and good luck on your journey with your new life.

  6. This is similar to what I do and what I’m trying not to do–wish I had something different from what I had. I think there are two things to realize: 1 is that you have this picture in your mind of “if only I had this” and the reality of having that may just be totally different. Example: I love owning a home but once I bought it, I sooooo wish I was renting. I also wanted a garden–the reality is that I don’t have the time or energy to maintain one! (Also–it’s a drought down here–everything is dead. I would have been really ticked off if I had planted one.) I also believe that I created my current situation and got myself to where I am today

    The other thing is that I think a lot of couples have similar problems with interests not meshing (i.e., camping). I loathe camping! But I love the outside. You could try to find some middle ground, like picturing a vacation in a gorgeous outside place on a lake with close hiking trails (for you) and a hammock on the porch (for CBG). Maybe not a rustic camping experience but a meet-in-the-middle kind of place. As a non-camper, I’d be willing to “rough it” in a cabin but not a tent. That kind of thing. Ya know? Some friends of mine just vacationed in New Hampshire and they had to do that because they both wanted to experience different things (she’s a hiker, he’s not, plus the kids were there. They tried to fit something in for everyone.)

    As a side note, the way I realized that an ex-boyfriend of mine and I were not meant for each other was after he invited me to spend New Year’s Eve at Big Bend. “How romantic!” I thought. “Cuddling in a tent! Sweet!” The reality of lugging heavy water bottles up a freaking mountain, digging our own latrine, and sleeping on the ground in mummy bags with no tent, just a tarp cover hanging over us KILLED any potential romance. “Attracts bears anyway,” he said.

    • You raise a good point about my “dreams” might be different from what the reality of them would be.

      And about “camping”, I get that it’s not for everyone. I like the idea of “meeting in the middle” but honestly? Unless CBG can sit inside a cabin with WiFi, I don’t think even that’s gonna happen, unfortunately.

      • hey! don’t knock sitting in a cabin with WiFi! :) honestly, the attraction of the WiFi would probably wear off, ya know? I’ll bet you could get him out of the cabin…a hike in some gorgeous hills can make anyone a believer in the outdoors.

        I also think you should take a look at your long-term goals and see what you’re doing now to work towards them…for example, the gardening…can you do any potted plants and/or herb window gardening? What about a community garden? If you have either of those opportunities available, you can still grow herbs, tomatoes, etc and have your girls help you and show them that those things are important to you. Flowers you can grow on an apartment balcony and bring inside. In fact, I challenge you to do just that! Tomorrow, (oh, fine, sometime in the next week), please go plant something!

      • Sadly, my current apartment doesn’t have a balcony (and it’s the wrong time of year here to start planting). But I get what you’re saying. I need to tweak things so they fit into my current life, rather than giving up on them entirely. I think that this is something that I can manage. :-)

  7. You don’t have to give up all your dreams, once you two are together full time, you will still be able to do things that you each like with out the other one. Ex: my husband HATES to travel. With a passion! Wants to keep his feet planted firmly on the ground. I on the other hand love to travel, can’t get enough of it. So… neither one of us had to give up anything, it’s just something we do apart. Our vacations together are our weekends up north, and I do my yearly cruises with my family instead, win win for both of us! You may not feel like you have the ability to take your kids camping on your own now, but once they are a little older it will be easier, and what great “girls weekend only” memories you will make with them! We are a blended family – going on 20 years now – he has 5 daughters and I have 1 son. They are all grown up and on their own now, but when they were growing up we always made sure they had special time alone with their parent. It will all come together when you two are finally together, it think right now it’s hard for you to think / feel that way because everything feels so far out “in the distance” and that can be an unsettling feeling….

    • Thanks for your comment, Lynn. :-) I think what I need to do most of all right now is align my future plans so that they are more realistic, given the current circumstances of my life. Once CBG and I live in the same house together, all bets are off! He’ll be getting his fool ass outside to help me garden if he’s a senior citizen by the time it happens. heh.

  8. Does one really have to give up those things that are an integral part of them?
    I dunno,but it makes me wonder if one would have resentment and regret later on for doing so.

    I think these types of passions-spirituality,health,environment.
    nutrtition etc etc are a core part of you (said as a stranger of course!_

    I am single and would love to find love .I know there are sacrifices but hope I don’t have to grieve parts that are a deep part of me and my ssoul. I do know lots of partners who are very opposite (one runs marathons while the other a couch potato, one loves fresh veggies the other white bread, one lives for the outdoors while the other shrieks at a mosquito….but of course it does sound much easier if these
    passion and core values align!)

    I have no answers but to wish you well and hope you never lose what
    you hold dear inside your heart and soul.
    To ourselves be always true…

    • I think the biggest part that I need to let go of is the dream that I will have a partner who shares these same passions and interests. I am okay with exploring spirituality on my own, and being a “health nut” on my own…but right now there’s a sadness there that I will be doing them on my own. :-)

  9. Hey MommaSunshine, it’s Melissa over at acedoubleyou.com. Thanks for stopping by. I really enjoy reading your blog. It so surreal that I can truly relate to every post I’ve read thus far. Over the past few months, I have been trying to accept my choice of having the twins as a single parent and all that comes with it, including losing my life savings, home, friends, lifestyle and earning potential as a tax CPA. I too need to set new goals that fit my current lifestyle so they will be easily attainable oppose to using my old methods of setting and meeting goals. Change is always adventurous yet uncertain. I just need to release and go with the flow. In time, you will do the same.

    On another unrelated note, I cannot log in to your site using my Twitter account, which I’d prefer. Can you see if there is an issue with your button’s code by doing a test log in? Greatly appreciate it.

    • Hi Melissa. Glad you’re able to to relate. I have a difficult time with change, I usually balk until I find a way to embrace it. It’s just so darned uncomfortable sometimes, even though it IS exciting.

      Also – I just logged in with my Twitter account, so maybe it’s something on your end? I dunno. :-)

      Hope to see you around more.

  10. I once had plans. I had a path I was headed down. Life went in a completely different direction, one I would have never dreamed of, and guess what? It’s ended up much better and much different. Life’s plan was much better than I could have planned myself. The key was to let go of what I wanted and be open to what life wanted me to have.

  11. […] (and after we…*ahem*…“reunited”) we took the opportunity to talk a bit. Specifically about my blog post last week, where I wrote about grieving the loss of certain things from my life; things that aren’t going […]

  12. […] going for a couple of nights with just me and my girls. And since this is something that I love, something that is part of who I am, why should I deny myself […]

  13. […] guy. Me, on the other hand, I would live outdoors if I could. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about mourning the loss of certain things in my life…and camping was one of them. What I didn’t stop to think about at the time was that CBG […]

  14. […] guy. Me, on the other hand, I would live outdoors if I could. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about mourning the loss of certain things in my life…and camping was one of them. What I didn’t stop to think about at the time was that CBG […]

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