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Author Topic: My Story Life goes on.

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My Story Life goes on.
#20: November 30, 2020, 02:03:41 PM
I think one of the hard things about this LBS process is that we know MLC is about their trauma or FOO issues or any number of things, and it becomes crisis because their coping mechanisms are poor and they become destructive to varying degrees. But what we can’t forget is that we LBSs have our own trauma and FOO issues to work through - plus the new trauma of BD and the ongoing crisis of the MLC. But while we try to find healthy coping mechanisms and try to leave them to their own healing, so many times the MLCer impedes our healing, either by vanishing or by Monstering or by staying close while still offering nothing resembling the relationship we thought we were in before the crisis.

Wanting to be taken care of (and to take care of another human being) again, while fearing that we will never be able to trust anyone to have that kind of relationship... that’s another hard part.

I feel like Monstering from the MLCer hurts on a whole other level - when they’re close, we can usually see how broken they are and that can help it not feel so personal. And when they vanish... that is also heartbreaking, but at least they aren’t actively reopening our wounds.

I wish you healing from all of this, and the peace that we all seek.
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Re: Life goes on.
#21: December 01, 2020, 07:54:17 AM
Curiosity, thank you. I find I really struggle sometimes with thinking about my own issues — as much as ;) I think here it is probably clear that I think about them a lot. I get stuck with the part where I know so much about h’s, and still habitually think about those instead of getting my own stuff done. With all this recent icy aggression it’s easy at least to think of my own needs first. I also get stuck about whether to feel grateful to him about that. :/

I wish us all peace, too. Rabbit rabbit, everyone.

*

I had the call with the ladies last night and was able to share an artwork that showed my current self perception. Strengths and weaknesses, a self swimming through broken glass. In sharing it, I realized the difference between Then and Now is that finally I feel myself much more whole. The jagged sharp parts that hurt are mostly outside of me; what’s inside, is clear and stronger, natural, trees growing.

I want to say, for anyone’s benefit, this was just a photograph taken in my room. An object atop another object atop another object. If you don’t consider yourself an artist or artistic, just take photos once in a while. Of random things, ordinary things. Then maybe zoom in, afterward, and see what your mind’s eye is trying to tell you.

I am sure there is meaningful art, and poetry, in every person alive.

I went to D after the long call and just enjoyed her spirited telling of her day. Friend dates, birthday gifts, a social media post that garnered 113K likes. My brother is sure this child will grow up to be a millionaire pretty quick. I kind of think so too, but/and in the meantime, I am more concertedly looking for new work. She was dressed prettily in her open-windowed winter room, and I recognized the dress — a beautiful thing I had picked up during a weekend training away, the first of my career. The dress still stylish 20+ years later. It fits her perfectly, and I was so glad to see it still has a lot of life in it.

I had held onto that dress all the years and it was one of those that I couldn’t part with for some reason. Last night I saw the reason, and I think when I bought it, I know I knew it was special, if basic. I’m sure I never expected, then, that it would be worn this many years later by a young woman who lives in my house and is directly related to me.

So that was fun and it felt like a puzzle piece that had been missing some two decades and finally found.

There.

That is now in its right place.

*

I meant to go to bed early, because the calls with the ladies are always beautiful and exhausting. We all have our stuff and this month in our county we all are concerned with the family holidays and with C19. Our county is now in a new level of precaution that is more strict than before, and it was among the most strict to begin with. So that feels dark.

I asked them to pray peace in my heart so that I can release h and move on.

Then I thought about it later last night, and spite-bought something that had been on my list for a while. I thought about not buying it, but on researching it into minutiae, I went ahead last night and did, and was ferociously not sorry. It cost much less than an hour of paid therapy and I know it will last ages and bring the right tone anytime I use it, which I suspect will be often. It speaks directly and solely to my own experience of where h lives, where my parents live, where my father died, and where I feel very distinctly my own woman. So, I did that. I spite-bought it and I am just not sorry.

*

I went to bed late and woke early, though not so early as other days recently. I’d dreamt a long intensive dream there, of ow hassling after me in their house, and me just walking away from her at every turn. H hassling me too, from a different angle, because I was necessary in the triangle as the person they were uniting against, even though he loved me and knew this wasn’t a role I would ever want to take on.

The house was sort of a wavering mirror of the one I’d grown up in, the one I left when I was around D’s age. I came out of my bedroom and saw the quartet of 8x10 frames on the minor wall in the hallway — portraits of the ow, very beautiful. She looked like the current First Lady.

This p!ssed me off so instantly that I just grabbed the upper left portrait in its classy frame and took it right down the stairs and out the front door, dismantling the frame expertly and tearing up the photograph as I went.

Across the culdesac from my bedroom window, I simply put the pieces into a pile and lit them on fire, and watched them curl and melt and turn into ash.

Then I went back into their house, knowing h would bellow at seeing the empty space where the First Lady’s most stunning portrait had been. And knowing S would likely be the one to point out that it was gone, not to cause trouble for me but to widen any small opening in his dad’s armored heart and any rumbling rift in the relationship between h and the interloper.

Like, four years is enough.

Four years of this has been more than enough.

In the dream, I was slightly concerned about the bellowing that was going to come. But when it was noticed, they both noticed, h and ow, and both of them seemed subdued about it, like reprimanded children. And our good old dog, the one who died last spring, came up from the downstairs and bowed his great dark head to me and then laid it across my chest, the way he used to do before h left and took him away.

Our dog here is smallish for the breed and more skittish or scattered than our old dog. He doesn’t do that, and is just a different kind of guy.

The feeling of good old dog’s strong dark head on my heart, I woke with that weight and warmth and assurance.

It was the best way to close a dream; I felt at home, fully protected, and sovereign.

*

I still have never quite grieved the loss of that good dog. I wasn’t sure how to, or how I could, alone and without h.

This morning I understand one of my ways of grieving is actually just celebrating and really feeling, really viscerally remembering, only the rock solid Love.

That feels better. It feels best.

Regarding the First Lady’s portraits on the walls of the hall outside “my” bedroom, next to theirs! in their house! and the needling and hassling from the ow — four years has been more than enough. And I understand on waking that my own efforts as his First Lady were and are never about “Be Best”.

I’m more about BE REAL.

So this morning with a spite-bought aspect procured, and the warmth and solid Love of a good dog’s head resting on my heart like he owns it, I’m foregoing the lesser-paid role I was looking at yesterday, and looking instead at actively returning to my actual career.

Full steam ahead. Rabbit rabbit, time to pull all the rabbits out of all the hats now.
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Life goes on.
#22: December 01, 2020, 05:16:28 PM
Terra -
Four years is truly enough for you, yet nothing in MLC terms.

I visualized your D in your beautiful dress, and how special it must have felt to see her in it, after it meant so much to you.
It made me smile to think of -- both the vision of her, but also of how you must have felt seeing her last night.

As for the dream --
Could probably spend hours analyzing it, but the most important thing is that it helped to propel you forward - to return to your old career and realizing your self-worth.  That also made me smile.  And sad that I may never see the products we had spoke about through DM, but oh so glad that you're doing what's best for terra. 

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Re: Life goes on.
#23: December 01, 2020, 08:42:03 PM
Sea, (((HUGS))) — you’ll still see those! It’s just a matter of getting the supplies in. Just the one that is on its way, will be enough to start the first project. I handled some of the materials yesterday and think maybe it is fine to just start with those, and ;) maybe that will bring the one essential piece along sooner.

It’s weird to think that four years is nothing in MLC terms, but I know that’s true. I’ve seen it often enough, in retrospect, in other older couples/persons, and I feel like if I just had one more browser window available in my brain, I’d be using it to analyze some of those older examples. Not that it would math out to any schedule or possibility h might confirm to, but just because I am turning out to be kind of ;D nerdy, about how long does anyone take to ...grow up? maybe?

I loved that dream this morning because it was just all kinds of satisfaction. Saying no to the wheedling ow, even though it was “her” house and her “right” to sort of try to boss me around — like h might. Saying no to h, as if it was actually *my* house and *no* one had that right. Coming out of the room I’d had as a teen, and seeing that quartet of First Lady portraits, and just instantly doing exactly what felt like justice. Dismantling it, trashing it very meticulously, then setting it on fire. Then walking right back into their house because really, it’s *my* dream, so it’s *my* house, so what are you going to do. Nothing.

And then the good old dog with his gentleman ways and the weight of his head on my heart. I woke up with that somehow and it was just such a good feeling, like no matter what h ever did or does or who with, I have the very best of what we were.

This is why I love my dreams and write them in so much detail. Some of these things I don’t feel, awake, or think about in quite the same way. The sensation and body sense of a big loved dog’s trust, right there where so much has just *hurt* for so long, that was something. I really needed that.

In some ways I guess it was a political dream too, which, I wasn’t aware I was thinking or perceiving much about that yesterday. But I like how the dreaming brain sorted it all out.

We really are living wonders, I think.

*

I have been at email and on the phone today and still can’t reach or get response from the people I usually talk to about employment. That’s bugged me for a while and I notice it’s tangled up in all the stuff about h. Like ...people are there where they’re supposed to be, and making some sort of invitation or promise, and then ...they aren’t there anymore. And I don’t know why. They’re just gone.

It took me literally nine months to connect with my tax person. That’s never happened before C19. Too much happening everywhere this year, to everyone.

I spent today trying to be productive but also feeling pretty clueless. Just trying to get back to some even slight sense of normal.

Tomorrow will be more phone calls and drilling down to find out what has happened to one of my primary employment contacts. If it’s personal, that’s none of my business, but I hope they’re ok. And regardless, just connect me to the person who can help me.

It sort of feels like all the usual channels have narrowed a lot, like you have to know a secret something to get the doors to open or the calls to be answered.

That’s new in 2020 and I don’t like it at all.
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Re: Life goes on.
#24: December 01, 2020, 09:41:08 PM
:/

I just figured out that one of the jobs I was looking at close to home and outside my usual career requires for some reason a valid drivers license, current insurance, and good driving record.

That rules that one out. I was going to renew my license last year and someone said not to, to just wait until whatever changes in 2020. !!

What changed was a traffic violation, a job loss, C19, financial rock bottom, unpaid traffic violation, lapsed car insurance, and ?? not qualifying for extension on drivers license renewal.

So I won’t go for that job, instead will stay along usual career, where passports are acceptable identity documents. And now will add that many more things to do, to the long list of many things to do.
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Re: Life goes on.
#25: December 02, 2020, 07:56:33 AM
I was looking for cardinals, but found these instead:

https://medium.com/personal-growth/the-7-cardinal-rules-of-life-ba9f5458d3c9

The article could be written to a younger audience; I notice I understand the cultural reference namely through both S and D, when they were both much younger than they are now.

These make sense to me today. These will do.

*

Still trying to find the keys to closed doors, wondering when they will just open. I dreamt last night of the incoming First Lady, and she was much different than I expected. More austere, better boundaried, friendly, clear, and no nonsense.

*

I notice my “things” searches always are a means of soothing the younger selves of me, the ones whose needs for regard and simple pleasant attention or acknowledgment were often or always overlooked. It’s why I am good with children and love them, maybe. And why the kids always said I was the best at giving gifts.

Sometimes children just need little things, not even kid things. Things of realism, natural beauty, factual shapes with a little added magic, respect. They don’t even need to be functional except to be held in the hand and treasured and not worried about, no rules. Just little gifts.

My stepfather once gave me a live praying mantis the size of my littlest fingernail. And once, brought a tiny green tree frog to the living room window screen.

D’s dad once gave me a round white spider cocoon. It turned into hundreds of tiny golden spider babies all suspended from the bedside lamp, on filaments neither of us could even see.

I pick feathers up from pavements and walking paths and have bouquets of them all over the house. Once, for years, I lived in a converted garage on a property not far from here, and on my lunch breaks, the cat and I would patrol the deep backyard together and find all the shed feathers of the peacock that belonged to a neighbor who lived in a similar little house on the other side of the old wooden fences. The long elegant tail feathers, and the tiny ones too, all jewel-like and each a treasure.

I saw a thing today that reminded me with some hurt, of a thing I think I had pocketed from a summer friend’s room when I was very young. It wasn’t especially special. It was just a thing that nobody had thought to give me even when it would have been very easy and inexpensive to do so.
 
That made me almost cry, this morning, silently at h. How much does it even take out of any person, to just be kind. Not to an under-attended child, but to every person you encounter.

It’s not required that we give gifts of things to everyone we encounter, or even those children who need something.

Just, how hard is it, really, to just be *kind*.
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Life goes on.
#26: December 02, 2020, 08:39:38 AM
It's  amazing, how in the hustle and bustle of life, people can be so unintentionally self involved that they don't even notice those around them. That though they are not unkind to others, the very fact that they do not notice others is a sort of unkindness. I found this in myself early in my life, that in my hurry to get things done I might not see someone who just needed to be acknowledged that they existed. 

Maybe the question is how difficult is it to be presently aware rather than walking through our lives on auto-pilot?
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Re: Life goes on.
#27: December 02, 2020, 10:08:40 PM
OffRoad, I always appreciate your perspective. I think in terms of kindness, or attention, maybe, I vacillate between attentive/kind and ...just a really strong totally checked out. That is, I’m good one to one, or with a small group. But then I go into autopilot outside the home and/or in work environments and (heh) as far as anyone knows, I could be the only person on the planet. Not that I’m rude to others? I just don’t see or notice them until for whatever reason they are right in front of my face.

The good thing is that when anyone is, for any reason or none at all, I’m usually kind.

I don’t know if that was always true; I don’t think it was, but I don’t remember when it wasn’t. Now it is, so, I’m happy about that. Consistency is good. Plus kindness or random pleasantry is usually just fun.

*

I got the phone bill and internet paid today. I received a utility bill that is a whopping $$$. That’s what I get for wondering when I last paid it, I guess. There’s an invitation to “Pay someone else’s bill!” and if I had the means I would. I don’t, and can’t pay my own, so I’ll call them tomorrow and find out how it all works. Maybe I will check their careers site too, for kicks.

BIL person texted “Talk to me terra”. I was in the phone store parking lot and it scared me; I thought it was h. Then remembered h had blocked me and I had blocked him too. So I sent BIL a music video and said I was out but play that one on loop and I’d text in about 15, when I was home again.

When I got home, I texted D instead and told her I love her, just saying. She texted that she loves me too. Then I sat down with leftovers and fed myself.

BIL derided the music video and I laughed. D and I like it so no one else’s opinion matters. BIL sent a short video of what was cooking for dinner. That looked (and sounded!) fantastic. He said if I didn’t feel weird about being over there, he’d ask me to come over for home cooking. I realized he really was saying to come and be with the family, three generations of my own soul-kin.

I had to think about it a little while. Maybe I still do. But I told him I don’t feel weird about being over there; just, long day, so definitely next time and thank you.

This year is so weird. Ordinarily I’d just get in the car and go commune for a few hours.

*

Bleh.

I realized tonight that I can see part of why h is being horrible to me. Aside from any alliance to ow, his dad is dead and I’m pretty sure it’s one of those things where he doesn’t exactly want my um, expertise or career in father loss/grief. Likewise the part where now it’s just his mother and the siblings and their kids, in his FOO. He doesn’t want anything to do with his mother.

I kind of think he doesn’t want anything to do with *any* mothers, right now.

So that kind of rules me out, because it’s the one role I know I’m fulfilling 100%, in my own life. I am being good to D because she’s my kid and she’s awesome and I love her, am thrilled and grateful to be her lucky mom. He’s far, far away from his own awesome beloved child and hearing about mine, or my relationship with mine, makes him mad.

Probably guilty, too. Definitely aggravated. And he takes that out on me because a) anger management is not a strong point and I don’t know the workarounds or how to kid-glove WHEN I’M NOT RELATING TO A KID, and b) he can’t afford to mess it up with ow.

I can’t do anything about it. So.

This evening and at several points today, I just breathed in the *full feeling of peace* and noticed I feel so much better now that he isn’t haranguing me daily. I forgot I could feel that peace. I feel like I must have felt it at least once or twice in the four months that he was blocked, over the summer. But there was so much else going on, that if I did I don’t think it lasted very long.

It has lasted through most of today, and tonight. It’s nice.

IT’S FREEING.

I notice, too, that I didn’t especially feel peaceful or even safe, when I opened the line just in time for his dad’s last days.

And right now I see I keep calling FIL “his dad” — that’s to ensure I stay in the lines and keep that father loss separate in all ways from my own. About h’s dad’s life and death, really the most important grief is h’s. To me, FIL was a love, but not family, not the way he was to his son. To me, he was a dear and very good friend.

When h and I connected over that, several weeks ago, I felt still a bystander, and really unsure of my role. Very unsteady. I’ve gone a few rounds with myself these past few days about whether I firetrucked it up somehow and that’s why I got blocked? But no. I mean maybe, here or there. I wasn’t 100% “oh h tell me”. There’s way too much going on in this house where I live. Plenty of my energy needed to be here just for me, just for all of that.

But really, no.

*

LOL

A SMALL FOREST-Y QUADRUPED JUST RAN ACROSS MY FEET AND OFF INTO THE DARK.

How did that whozit get past my dog??

*

I didn’t firetruck anything up. What’s to screw up? It’s screwed up to begin with: his dad died. Someone he has known all his life, just passed away.

Sometimes I’m glad I got that life event over with very early in my life. That’s not to say it’s better or preferable. I’m just glad it’s not on my list of things I will have to experience directly ever again.

On some rainbow I think it means h now has more opportunity to become the man he wanted or wants to become, irrespective of whatever FOO wanted or expected of him. That’s how I usually see a death or bereavement time anyway: a doorway, for survivors, to pass through and to integrate qualities of the loved one, or to pass through and leave behind the expectations that person embodied or kept trying to enforce.

I still don’t think h will be back. It’s ok; I have plenty of becoming to do, myself. And I get that his absence means I can shed some of the weird or unpleasant expectations he tried to enforce.

I don’t know why I ever let him do that.
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Re: Life goes on.
#28: December 04, 2020, 03:29:37 PM
Well, I probably won’t be visiting with family friends very soon. Our county is going ahead with new orders and will stay battened down until early January.

I found one of the lost things I was looking for, this morning when I started a spontaneous laundry task. It feels like I should feel lighter for having got that off the list, but, it just made me think of the other things still to find.

I answered a recruitment email for a position I’m plenty qualified for, but they want a college degree :/ so it will be a no-go. Glad to make the contact anyway.

I am torn between having this dog’s awful mouth seen to, next week or so, or just not spending that credit line. But it’s ghastly being stuck in the house with it and I can’t imagine it is any good for him either. I just want something to be fine. D and I agreed earlier this year that a dental surgery for him would be an adequate Christmas gift for all of us. I wonder if she remembers that and if she still feels the same way. All I know is it’s not cheap, it’s the last of my credit, and if I have to sit another x weeks or months in this house with truly awful dog breath and knowing he needs the health services, oh, man.

I just want something to be fine.

*

This morning it occurred to me softly that maybe h just never meant it, when he loved me.

Maybe he just never loved me, in the ways that would stick.

I’m tired of having those alignments, those starters or nonstarters or allegiances that seem like they really mean something important but turn out not to mean anything, especially when the chips are down.

I thought about that today and although I’ve cried fresh tears about it, I don’t feel as gutted as I did last year. Today I can’t really remember when I last saw him? Technically two years ago, just over two years ago. Today my mind insists it was four. So whatever my perception or memory, that’s just a long time ago. That’s a long time to pass, when someone doesn’t care to see me daily or even monthly or even just a few times a year.

How did ow figure so strongly that he maintains there? Over me, over S, over D?

I mean, I don’t care. I’m just surprised, and at loose ends with myself. Local friends, siblings, tell me h is not the last or only person who will love me; h is not the last.

Typing that just now, it’s sort of horrifying. It always is, when I think what it would take for me to be open to any sort of intimacy or routine with another man. How could I ever, if I don’t understand wtaf happened here.

I know it wasn’t/isn’t my fault. But I feel like, if I were just smarter about what it looks like when someone is egregiously disrespectful, a liar, adulterous — it just seems like if I had understood more about how to identify, state, hold, enforce a boundary, or when or why, then maybe I would not have got this hurt or shattered or confused.

Or overwhelmed. I feel like if I had just been smarter about something, I would not have got this overwhelmed. Not exactly self-blaming, but just feeling like other people would have known better than I did. Some did try to tell me they didn’t like the way h treated me. I didn’t understand that they meant it was categorically wrong or even reprehensible and that other people wouldn’t do it. And I don’t mean that he was awful all along. Just that there were signatures I couldn’t exactly read, and still can’t unscramble.

I don’t know whose fault that is. I just have not enjoyed this learning curve. I don’t know if it is going in circles or cycles; I just know it feels like it’s been going on forever and like it’s never going to stop.

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Re: Life goes on.
#29: December 06, 2020, 07:49:11 AM
Wow.

Remember when you knew how to do things?

When sitting in the living room alone early in the morning felt just fine, because it was ordinary and quiet and there weren’t any cataclysmic criticisms coming at you, from any angle, even from voices imprinted in your own mind?

Remember when there were turnovers still warm in the oven on a Sunday morning?

And when Christmas was just what December was about?

Remember when it was quiet because everything was *normal*?

*

Nothing is quite normal, in 2020. It’s all the new normal. People in my circles are starting to really flip out about the stay-at-home measures. Maybe a values difference; maybe not. I got mad at hearing the dog *breathe* yesterday, so, I know even *I* need a break. Not doable at this time; all non-essential outings curbed.

And at the same time, it all *is* kind of normal.

Like, peaceful.

That’s been coming at me repeatedly the past few days, and it’s strange, because it’s always on the heels of my crying genuine quiet hurt again about the recent on/off from h. Almost like the hurt just gives way to recognition that there kind of isn’t more hurt coming.

I don’t know that I think I’ve got to the bottom of any of it. I do think I’ve accepted the part where he’s well enough committed to his post-BD life that they may as well keep it, marry it; our m as it ever was is very much over. The funny part is that if he ever did come back to be my own h again, and only mine, none of the trauma that happened before even matters much anymore. I feel it less and less.

And that’s not to say I’d be open or willing or even happy to see him. Last month got as cold as ice and just as hard, and maybe ...fragile, too? But the only ways I knew or know how to defrost and warm up and revive, those are all cushioned quiet ways, and they only work when we are both in at least the same area code. We aren’t and it’s not my doing. I’m confused why he didn’t see me last month or why he didn’t even really seem to think of it. I mean I’m not: there was a death in the family, of course that’s the biggest reason of all. Or it would be for me. C19 too, a definite factor.

The other part of it, though, seems that just too much time and life has passed since the last time I saw him. Oh and also that if we had seen each other, that would have brought up all kinds of questions and quandaries. Most of them moral and financial.

He’s bound somehow to ow and to “there” and it’s fine if there’s no room for revisiting moral quandaries. There isn’t any room *here*, even if he arrived on the doorstep today.

So instead there’s just peace.

No one is hassling me today. No one is taking issue with anything here. No one is taking issue with me, my person, my persona, how I am.

That’s nice, because it’s Sunday morning. And December.

It’s time for finals and Christmas and end-of-year considerations. It’s time to stay home more deeply. It’s time to keep getting rid of the old. Not even to make way for the new, but just to make things lighter and cleaner and more spacious.

Is there regret. There is a little of that. I think, though, that when my role isn’t defined or especially when it’s not been valued, it’s reasonable that I say things a bit wrong or don’t have a ready stability in which someone else can roost.

The chickens, I mean. I noticed the other day that the way the dog smacks his lips sometimes sounds just the same way my mother did when I was living at home. When the dog does it — he’s just making a sound, a statement of something, an acknowledgment.

When my mother did it, it was a superiority and punctuation to let me or any of us know she had been watching our every single move and judging it.

The dog is probably not judging me. He is *watching* me, 24/7/365, which is driving me crazy.

Once I spotted the connection between the two, I stayed mad for a long time. There is an anxiety level or expectancy that I recognize in both — not to compare my mother to a dog, but.

H had that too, that strange acute tension. And then, finally, so did I, with him.

It’s funny because my response to it is a whole-body “God! Leave me *alone*!”

And then I realize oh. I *am* alone.

And on a Sunday morning in December, finally, I see that it is very peaceful.
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The information contained within The Hero's Spouse website family (www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com, http://theherosspouse.com and associated subdomains), (collectively 'website') is provided as general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, medical or mental health advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. The Hero's Spouse cannot be held responsible for the use of the information provided. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a trained medical or mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others. The Hero's Spouse recommends that you consult a legal professional for specific legal advice.

Any information, stories, examples, articles, or testimonials on this website do not constitute a guarantee, or prediction regarding the outcome of an individual situation. Reading and/or posting at this website does not constitute a professional relationship between you and the website author, volunteer moderators or mentors or other community members. The moderators and mentors are peer-volunteers, and not functioning in a professional capacity and are therefore offering support and advice based solely upon their own experience and not upon legal, medical, or mental health training.