When the absolute worst thing you never imagined happening to you has, your perspective on life is never the same…
I have experienced more dark moments during the last two thousand sixty-seven days than I care to consciously consider. No matter how deeply I despaired at times, I promised myself I would not become that person, the one who responded to someone else’s distress by saying “At least no one died.”
I have been faithful to this vow since we lost Brian, but life happens and circumstances change; much to my dismay, the words tumbled out just before Christmas.
The reason behind my spontaneous outburst? Another life-altering event, one which always seemed unlikely to occur…
After more than forty-eight years together, my parents separated. Specifically, my mother decided to find her own place.
She moved out mid-summer, catching everyone off-guard with exception to me; I was the only one who realized that this time, she meant what she said. It was actually going to happen.
My father was shocked and shaken, as were my siblings and children…
My mom, on the other hand, was quite happy with her decision.
After the initial upset and upheaval, my parents gradually settled into what I would best describe as an uneasy truce.
My sisters and I tried to refrain from choosing sides, as did my daughters; we took pains to stay as neutral as possible.
For the most part, things between them were uneventful until the holiday season arrived. For me, an already difficult time of year became even more so; as the eldest child, everyone expected me to sort out plans and sooth hurt feelings.
I tried. For the first time, I negotiated separate arrangements to celebrate Christmas beforehand with each of our parents, and when the actual day arrived, Mom came to my house and Daddy went to my youngest sister’s.
It wasn’t like splitting our time between sides of the family was something new; growing up, we always had different gatherings for each set of grandparents. We also held separate get-togethers for a period of time following my dad’s parents’ divorce.
I did my best to remain stoic, trying to navigate the emotional minefield heading into the weekend before Christmas; nevertheless, feelings were running high and my patience level was really low… After another depressing, tearful conversation on the ride back from Cola-town, I’d reached my limit. Before I could stop it, my mouth popped open and I finally told my sister how I really felt…
So what if we had to split up and make two sets of plans? We’d done it for practically our entire lives.
Without question, the unraveling of our parents’ relationship was disconcerting on many levels; what we thought we knew to be true and lasting ultimately was not.
And while sad and unfortunate, it wasn’t necessarily tragic.
Besides, our parents were reasonably healthy, gainfully employed and behaving civilly toward each other-at least at that moment. Granted, one was happy with the situation and the other one wasn’t, but it was up to them to figure it out, not us.
I’d been conflicted too, feeling sorry for him and glad for her, but bottom line, we could still call, talk to them, go visit, and give them a big bear hug whenever we wanted to…
In other words, no one died.
As hard as this change may be to accept, it isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened in my life.
Which was precisely the point I was trying to make to my beloved sis…you are entitled to feel what you feel, but please, keep it in perspective.
Because everything is relative…
Wishing you blessings and hope…tg
Tammy will update her blog weekly…