Friday, June 29, 2012

Looking back

I've been thinking of this post for a few days.

My entire relationship with Bryan wasn't horrible.  There were good points, and there were kindnesses along the way.  The reason that I feel sadness is that I saw the potential in those beautiful moments, and wished for a lifetime of them, and the marriage ending takes away that possibility.  I didn't marry Hitler, and though I'm very certain that it's a good thing the marriage has ended, it wasn't always awful.

And today I'm acknowledging that. 

Here's a little list of favorite moments with Bryan - a reminder that sometimes it was good, that he is not the devil incarnate, that I married him for good reasons, that though it is time to move on, he was an important part of my life, and I want to honor that, too.

- The first time we had sex, it was mind blowing.  He was thoughtful and attentive in ways I'd never experienced before, with a dose of creativity thrown in, and it was fantastic.

- When he proposed, he'd thought through so many details, and he made it special and memorable.

- Our wedding day was just about perfect.

- We went to Paris one December when we were first married, and it snowed.  Walking back from a concert (a quartet playing in a medieval church) late at night, wearing my long black wool coat with a velvet collar, holding hands under the streetlights as it started to snow.....was magical.

- He comforted me when my beloved grandfather died.

- The day Katherine was born, we didn't know the gender, and we'd agreed he was to tell me as soon as she was birthed.  I looked at him, and with tears of happiness in his eyes, he whispered, "It's Katherine!" and the joy I felt at that moment was intense beyond anything I'd ever felt in my life, and I loved sharing that moment with him.

- One Christmas my parents were stressing me out immensely, and he helped me to feel calm and happy again in a way I don't think anybody else could have.

- Getting our dog together was a joy.

- The one cancer moment when he handled things perfectly was right after my mastectomy.  I was high on painkillers and I was terrified that he'd never find me attractive again.  I wanted the moment of showing him to be over, so while I was still in recovery, with tears in my eyes, I pulled back my gown, to reveal my flat, bandaged chest.  He kissed the bandage softly, and said, "It's beautiful.  It's beautiful because it means you don't have cancer any more."  I will never lose my gratitude for that moment.

- Laying in bed listening to "rain, falling on a tin roof" (the Norah Jones song line) at our favorite cabin.

- Katherine adores him, and he adores her.  They watch Stooges together and howl with laughter, and she looks at him with love in her eyes.  Whenever they do something together, her whole face lights up.

- He is being incredibly reasonable about child support, and has told me he will do whatever it takes to have me keep the house, because he knows how important it is for Katherine to have that stability.

It wasn't all bad.  This weekend, as we close the final door, I'm taking this little moment to remember the good, not just focus on the bad.  It's like putting these things in a memory box, in my own way, or like saving old love letters from a relationship long gone.  When it was good, it was good, and today I'm honoring that.


  1. Aww, how sweet! And to think I've been thinking of making a list of all the HURTFUL things that happened during my own marriage just so I wouldn't forget why we had to separate! Maybe I'll consider making a list of good times as well. In reading your last post, you mentioned enabling. Don't think of it that way. Think of it as a deposit in the bank so that you can withdraw when you need to. (I'm sure I got that analogy somewhere, but for the life of me, I can't remember where!) Anyway, give whenever you can (within reason), and that way, you will be ok with asking in return. For me, it's all about building a new kind of relationship, and it sounds like you are doing very well at doing this. I love that you are ok with letting Katherine spend the first night with him. That's a big deposit! As for the dirty bathroom, I'm agreeing with the person who said to hire someone to clean it, but if you clean it yourself, remember to be sure to ventilate the room to get rid of all the fumes. The moving day is difficult, but look at it as a task that needs to be accomplished. It's crazy, but you almost have to let go of emotions for the day. Thanks for sharing good things about your marriage. I envy you. My list wouldn't be nearly as touching.

  2. Anonymous, sometimes I feel like my whole blog is a list of hurtful things that happened in my marriage, so please don't think that I've got it all figured out and I've completely evolved by any means. I think making a list of the good things in a marriage is a good idea to help move through the anger and into acceptance, but I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on tv, so take that for what it's worth. :-) You might want to try it, though, because it felt pretty good to do that exercise. You might be surprised by what surfaces when you try to recall the good stuff that brought you together in the first place.

    I agree about your "deposits" theory - though the reason it can also be enabling is because in my marriage, I kept making deposits, but when I took little tiny withdrawals here or there he complained about them, so I'd try to make a bigger deposit, but instead of a bank, they were going into a black hole, and no matter what I gave, it wasn't enough. These days, I've given up on trying to make deposits, or trying to get him to see how reasonable I'm being, and instead I'm looking inward to ask myself if I've behaved with integrity. If I have - compassion, honesty, fairness - then I try not to care what he says/does, and not engage in argument about it. It's a tricky balance, very complicated, but seems to be working....

    Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. Today, I really need them, and they are doubly appreciated.