Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dark night of the soul

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

—Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

At the risk of making this personal blog too personal, and as much as I'd like to avoid the subject altogether, Jefferson's point is as valid with regard to individual persons as to collective peoples. So, a few words on my current situation.

My marriage was, for many years, a good one. There was love, and humour, and friendship, and of course a beautiful, wonderful child. But, as the years went on, there was also mental illness. There was distance, and despair, and ultimately there was betrayal. And so on Valentine's Day, when so many couples were celebrating their relationships, I was consulting an attorney, seeking to dissolve a marriage I had hoped would never end.

This is one of those times when "being a writer" (whatever that means) is no help, because words are simply not adequate to describe the shock, the hurt, the anger, the sadness, the anxiety. All I can say is that this has been an interesting experience, of the sort I would not wish on my previous worst enemy. In the last two months, I have questioned everything I ever believed, including things I knew for certain to be true. I have made several plans to take my own life, not because of any inherently self-destructive tendencies but, paradoxically, out of a sense of self-preservation, a desire to limit my suffering. If there's a silver lining to existential crisis, it's this: I have been finding out who my friends are—and who they aren't.

I'm happy to report that thus far I have resisted both nihilism and suicide, re-examined and ultimately reaffirmed my beliefs and my values, and even nurtured a hope that I might be able to build a new life for myself and my daughter. The first stirrings of that hope—grim determination might have been a better description—are what led me to contact a lawyer, to begin planning for a life after my marriage. I don't yet know what that life will look like, and anxiety for the future vies for attention daily with a dozen other kinds of pain, but I'm looking ahead. Every day is different, but in general the trend is upward. And that will have to be enough for now.

I hope to be writing again and back on topic soon...


Phoenix Fire Falconry said...

From one falconer to another . . . and one who has walked down the path you are currently on myself a few years ago, I am sending you encouragement. It does get better, but it takes time. My own journey, after the break, and the pain, and the loss of not only a husband of 20 years but my former best girlfriend (those 2 are married now) led me to go back to school, get a career, create a new future, and eventually, find a new partner who is very supportive of my falconry, and of me. Keep sight of your goal, and try to keep a positive attitude, for yourself and your daughter. Best Wishes!

Cat Urbigkit said...

Since your mid-February post about Wakulla, I've thought of you and wondered, and hoped, that you were well.

Please know there are people who wish you the very best, and hope that you find the strength to continue on, making a wonderful life with your daughter. I am one of them.

With esteem,

Steve Bodio said...

Cat let me know about your situation-- I tend to be slow these days.

As someone who has suffered both widowhood and divorce as well as enjoyed good marriage, I must have some perspective-- but find myself with no easy words.

I think you have the strength in you to go on, both for your child and because you sense-- and this I can assure you-- that there will be good after the pain. Though you must live through every moment between now and then, you will smile again.

And some smiles will be at hawks!

EMail me if you need-- you have helped me before, and if I can help or just listen, I will.

Chas S. Clifton said...

"Being a writer" gives you distance, eventually. Not right away, when you're in the mess though. Best wishes.