tales from the surviving straight spouse

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dear Mom #1

I felt like shit today. Worse than shit. You couldn’t know, but I was accused of so many horrible things while you were dying.

I thought I was bouncing back and then I just got knocked down further. I can hear you. “Why are you with people who don’t build you up?” Which is a little weird, coming from you.

What I want to say is, thank you for the message. When I pulled into the parking lot and my favorite spot was available, I remembered you.

You know what I am talking about. Whenever we would drive somewhere crowded you would say, “okay God, find me a space” and voila it would appear. You would say “see that, God is looking out for me” and your grin would be huge. I found it fascinating that God knew we were going to the mall.

I burst into tears when I remembered that. I miss you so much and the world appears more cruel without you. I hope you are at peace – thanks for the parking spot.


Easy. Tension free. Less expensive. Who knew how good life would be? Yes, solo. Solo can be hard. The last alternative was not worth sacrificing my peace and relaxation.

No more silence

I am back and have much to explore.  Whether my silence was self imposed, the result of emotional suffocation or pure laziness doesn’t really matter. 

I am grateful to return to expression.  I am grateful for my friends who want the best for me and yet can stay with me while I make my own way.  I am grateful to support my son who is enlisting in the national Army reserves.  I am grateful that I am here.

Cherry Picking 101

Five years old.

It is weird to look back at being a small girl.  I can’t remember too many details.  Things pop out here and there about me, my body and attitudes about my body and being a girl.

Many moms, dads and siblings make up words for genitalia.  It makes me crazy.  One of the worst things we can do to our children is to apply shame, discomfort to a body part.  My hackles are rising as I think of all the phrases I’ve heard.  “PeeShee” and “Peachy” and prize for most damaging: “Junk”

I had a “wee wee”  I don’t any more.


If you just squirmed a bit, you can thank the media, the adults and peers of your early years.  Or curse them.  As an adult, sure it is fine in the right moments to have a little fun…but for a child…viewing their bodies seriously and proudly is vital.

Babies naturally begin exploring their bodies when they become physical able.  Imagine the wonder and joy when a baby begins to find places that give them comfort.  My 2nd son still twirls the same spot on his head he began rubbing as an infant.  I bet he started in the womb.

I don’t know when I started to explore my genitals.  I do know when I stopped.  My parents and a brother were in the study (apparently with the pistol…) watching television.  When I came into the room my brother said, “Someone’s been cherry picking.”  My father laughed.  My mother gave me a look that shriveled my insides and told me not to touch my wee-wee.  I must have been really at it – because everyone knew when I came the room.

There it was…I had done something wrong, bad, unacceptable.  I didn’t even know the effect that moment had on me until much later.  It took me 37 years to get COMPLETELY past that.  That fun filled story will be told in a week or so.

A bit later I learned that boys and girls had different “privileges”.  One particularly hot day I walked out into our back yard without a shirt on.  I was 7.  I never saw my mom walk around with out a shirt, but as far as I could tell, I looked just like my brother from the waist up (never dreamed that the waist down was different – hah! How do you spell naive?)  I look bewildered at my brother who was angry and shouting at me to get back inside and get a shirt on.  The question that soon became repeated over an over again until it echoed inside was “What were you thinking?”

I was thinking as a human being who is biologically formed, yet molded by the conscious of others who ignore developmental biology.

Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror naked and say “Hello there, I’m thinking that this is beautiful and naked it just fucking fine.”

It is easy to look at the past through adult eyes and dismiss these “minor events”.   For a five year old it is not minor and realizing that it happened to a brain not yet developed is key to releasing the damage.

Want to share your learned, early-years words for


because I’d be interested to know…

Nanowrimo here I come.

Hello November 2, 2013,

I watched you come and go last year and the year before.  No more.  I want to tell my story, just one track on  a twisted continuous revolution.  Marilyn Monroe said,

“We are all born sexual creatures,thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.”  

November, I am giving to you the story of me…how I developed sexually.  I am not afraid of telling the truth.  I think there are many people who need to hear stories of damage, growth and living life fully.  By age of 18 one in six women will be raped and that is only what is reported.  Maybe, if more stories are told, the world will change.  Parents will accept and respect the “power” they have to foster the start of a healthy life.  I’ve read one coming of age story written by a man, “Running with Scissors.”  It was inspiring and appalling all in one book.  Maybe you will get a millisecond of that, November.

Look out November…I’m here.

Tune in to tomorrow for Cherry Picking 101.



Summer Passes Quickly

The air conditioner went back on, I was hoping that the season had passed. 

I went up to the Pocono mountains to visit my aunt with my father a few weeks ago.  She is 92 and I have never seen her happy.  I think of all the opportunities and choices she made, the guideposts she relied on to live her life.  Where did all that pain and misery come from?

My mother flipped out on me last week.  I haven’t spoken to her since.  She really made quite a stir and then became overly dramatic when I didn’t budge.  I had to come to a difficult  conclusion: she loves me as a mother is expected to, but she doesn’t like me.

It reminds me of an old boyfriend.  I climbed into bed in a sexy nightgown and he reached for an electronic device and began interacting with the alternate nebulous reality.  To some everything always looks better “out there”.  The could be and would be are temptations which erode the *is*. 

I wish people knew the secret:  let go of tomorrow and yesterday.

We have just now…that is all we ever really have.  I can’t say it enough.

I’m going to call my mom, she really hurt me, but festering, brooding and “should haves” is not living.

we take a moment and breathe.

after a day of bullying, fighting, teachers disorganized – calling students names – I come home to the tutor from 4-5 – that is tricky because oldest son finishes dance class at 5…4 miles away during rush hour, son #3 finishes wrestling also at 5.  The tutor goes overtime by 10 minutes. Son#2 accidentally lets crazy puppy out.  Son#1 – 5:20 pick up, simple lecture from coach.  Son#3 5:40 – a more complicated “FYI” from coach. 

It is 5:45 now.  We head to son#3’s therapist for his final session (at this time).  We have 1 hour 15 minutes to get there.  I am sad that I have to do a fastfood dinner.  Then I realize I need to pick up son#2’s prescription at the doctor’s or the maws of hell will open in the am.

Traffic sucks.  We get the prescription and to the therapist’s town with 25 minutes to spare.  The entire time son#2 is speaking continuously.  Eventually everyone in the car is pleading for him to be quiet.  He laughs a simplistic giggle and keeps on talking. I dream of veering off the highway and floating into a dimension of peace and silence.

Instead, I must find food for them. My self loathing is increasing because they are not eating healthy. I turn into a Dunkin Donuts. “They have sandwiches here…lets get…”. “NO WAY, MOM” son#1 barks. I ask him to just pick something. He refuses. I tell him we don’t have time for this, he digs in his heels. When did they lose all respect for me? I pull out of the drive through line and continue on my way.

I wonder how many subconscious thoughts run through my brain that tear me down. I want to scream. Instead, I pull into a Burger King drive thru. I lecture on respect. I know it is moot.

I order nothing…too gross for words. I get yelled at for accidentally giving out the wrong sandwich. The wrestler son insists he is not hungry – really, not hungry after wrestling practice and nothing to eat since noon? (he didn’t eat breakfast this am either). While checking the order the guy behind me lays on the horn. I take off. Yes, son#2 is still talking.

We sit in the therapist parking lot. We are missing a fry, of course it is my fault. Wrestling son tries not to eat – his kids meal. He goes up to the office. We sit in the lot. Son#2 and #4 are fighting over who gets shot gun. I make sure they understand we are not going anywhere and that when we do seat assignments will change. Son #2 persists and asks for reassurance 15 more times in the next thirty minutes. I feel like crap. I go up to get son #3 from therapist office. He has something he needs to tell me. He wants to know when I will quit smoking. I tell him I just am not sure but will come up with a reduction plan. At this point I havent had a smoke in a few hours.

We stop at the pharmacy, drop off the script. Come home, do home work, showers, jammies and snacks. Run out to pick up the prescription because of the pharmacy backlog we could not wait earlier. Son #2 intermittently sucks his thumb and speaks to everyone within a five foot radius. I cannot keep it together.

I make it to the car. I text a friend for support. Son#2 tries to read over my shoulder. He asks 20 questions about my text in 5 minutes. I tell him to stop in a very firm voice. (God this is tedious to write…should we take an intermission??). He opens his phone and starts texting gibberish like crazy “I can text, too ya know. I know how. I can do it.” He is mad and trying to get under my skin. We just spoke about this 6 hours earlier.

I am reminded of the reading teacher lecturing him this afternoon about his text messages to her – looking exasperated with me for my son’s unavoidable short comings. I cannot maintain calm any longer. I explode as nicely as I can reminding him what text messages are for, what he is capable of. Just when I fear he will cry, he whisper, “Sorry, Mildred” and lays that honey sweet smile across my spirit. I am humbled by his perseverence.

It is 10:20. I am on empty – but we have the meds and kids are fed. I ask everyone to get to bed, apparently in Chinese since no one moves. I ask my wrestler to turn off the game, get a shower and get to bed. He looks at me and returns to his Skyrim quest as if I was invisible.

I speak the Chinese in a louder octave. Suddenly, they understand the Chinese. I also become the mean, unfair, unkind mom.

An hour later everyone is asleep. I am unfocused and hazey. Too charged to sleep. I breathe, be present and breathe again. I wouldn’t want any one else to be Mildred.