Lost and Found

Something about the new year puts me (and I’m sure many others) in a reflective mood. Four years ago, I was just starting to awaken from the life-of-the-living-dead state that was my norm during the divorce. At that time, I was feeling the great losses in my life and I had not yet truly begun to build my new life. Now, I can see the bigger picture of what was lost and now has been found.

Lost – My Memory

The divorce was a blow to my synapses. I was shocked to find that my usual sharp memory was faded and fuzzy, even about recent events. I struggled to remember facts from the months before the divorce and I found that I had difficulty forming new memories. I misplaced things, couldn’t keep students straight and didn’t retain books or movies. As a corollary, I suddenly found that I stumbled my way through more difficult math problems that used to be simple.

Found – Patience and Empathy

I’ve never been one known for patience, especially when I have to repeat myself. When my memory was faulty, I gained more empathy and patience for others around me who also had trouble remembering things, regardless of the cause. Even now that my memory is pretty much back to normal (except for a few months that are still a mixture of hyper-real flashes and vague confusion), I still remember what it was like to be confused and unable to retain information.

Lost – My Sense of Security

I lost my security in a literal sense; I had less than nothing to my name once he left. But, even worse, I lost the feeling of security. I had been living with a man that I thought had my back, financially and otherwise. All of a sudden, that backup was gone and I felt very vulnerable and scared, often a paycheck away from disaster.

Found – Confidence in My Earning Potential

In my former life, I used to bring in extra money through tutoring and through selling lesson plans. I did okay, but there was a definite ceiling to those activities. After he left, I had to revise my view of myself and I learned that those limits were self-imposed. I’m still working on building my nest egg, but I am much more confident in my ability to make it happen.

Lost – My Hair

I faced the trifecta of tress troubles with the divorce. I first noticed that my hair was falling out in handfuls. For the first time, I had to buy a hair trap for the shower drain. To make matters worse, my hair pretty much stopped growing. In fact, it only started again about two years ago, which means I now have a bunch of 2″-3″ long pieces interspersed with the longer strands. And then, just to be extra cruel, my first gray hairs appeared within weeks of him leaving. Could be a coincidence, especially because supposedly stress does not cause gray hair, but I’m not so sure.

Found – Peace in Aging

I may not allow the gray to show, but having my hair defy me at 32 actually gave me some peace with the whole aging process. I developed a relaxed attitude about the whole thing. And now, when the wrinkles are showing or the gray is peeking out around the temples, I just see it as a sign of a life lived.

Lost – My Appetite

Some people overeat when they are stressed. I’ve always been the opposite; my digestive tract shuts down completely. As a result, I lost over 20 lbs in those first few weeks, which led to a cardiac arrhythmia and came close to putting me in the hospital. I lived with my friend and her sick and premature infant that year. We joked that her job was to fatten up both of us. It took a couple years, but I finally put the pounds back on.

Found – An Appreciation For Food

I used to see food only as a neccessity. Now, I see it as nourishment on many levels. I had many people help me to eat that first year and now I like to feed others. I have come to enjoy the ritual and symbolism of food as well as the preparation and nutrition.

Lost – My Sex Drive

My body felt leaden, dead and my mind was completely oblivious to members of the opposite sex. I remember being scared that it was gone for good, as though it was something I could only feel with my ex. It seemed like a cruel joke to be single and have no interest in mingling. Luckily, as I eventually learned, that was not the case.

Found – Comfort in Being

Without the distraction of men those first several months, I spent a lot of time alone. I learned to be comfortable with myself, by myself. I discovered that I didn’t always have to be doing something; I could simply be.

Lost – My Home

We had a home that we had purchased ten years prior. We had spent countless hours creating the home we wanted, from a new kitchen to a dream deck. In addition, I had a one acre garden that was my passion.

Found – Peace With Imperfection

I used to be a classic perfectionist, always wanting things to be just so. With the loss of the home and my nomadic and limited living quarters for the next few years, I learned to give up on the idea that things need to be perfect. Now, I can find perfection in a chipped plate:)

This list could continue forever. I lost so many things, from my husband, to my home and even my beloved dogs. My possessions were gone. My iTunes library was erased. I lost the family I had with my in laws and the shared history with my ex.

I lost so much, but I found even more. I credit that with two things that I refused to lose in the divorce – my sense of humor and my hope that things could get better. And with those two things, anything is possible:)

 

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Lost and Found

  1. I may be close to the end of my marriage. I am terrified on so many levels and with little to no one to talk to it doesn’t lessen the fear… it adds to it. I’ve stayed unhappy for so long because financially it’s easier but then I begin to think Maybe its more than that.
    I am glad that your story has its happy ending.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that you are in that place. In many ways, the anticipation can be the worst and most anxiety-producing part. When you know what you are facing, you can deal with it, but when you don’t yet know, fear grips on tightly. There’s no words I can give you that will take away the uncertainty and the fear, but please know that you are not alone and that the way you feel is not the way you will always feel. You will be okay. Big hug:)

    1. Good:) That was my hope with this post. I’ll be honest, there are still things that are gone for good, but the new blessings more than make up for it. It’s not possible to recreate the life you had, but it is certainly possible to create one that is even better.

  2. Even though the split was my thing, I am suffering many of the same issues. He got all the family (his and mine, although I am re-inserting myself) except the kids and grandkids. I stopped working 15yrs ago to take care of my aging parents and his and he took control of all the finances, but suddenly despite 17yrs of work in the first half, he calls it all his. I got the dogs, the cats and the koi, for now. There is a reason many of us stay in poor marriages for years. The end is just the beginning of scary days. But…I’ll be working again soon, have my own house, feel empowered to soon be in control of my own financial destiny. Opportunity knocks!

  3. Wonderful post, Lisa.

    I’m not into more than eight months into this new life. It’s amazing how much easier it is to breathe.

    The one that really hit me was “Comfort in Being.”

    I can just sit at the keyboard and write, write, write.

    Or I can lounge on the couch in total silence or with a book or with something on television.

    I’m definitely getting my groove back in the kitchen.

    With each passing day, the trauma lessens. The grief dissipates.

    And tangible healing takes place. You don’t even really have to meet it halfway. It just… happens.

    Thank you again for all you give to this place. Reminding the rest of us to keep at it.

    I can’t tell you how much I hope you’re finding joy in your new life.

  4. That was supposed to say “now more than eight months into this new life” but I’m an impulsive child and don’t know how to proofread or write grammatically correct sentences.

    So at least I have that going for me.

    1. I have no room to say anything about typos! I think I’ve elevated them (and mixed metaphors) to a whole new level! So, keep calm and typo on:)

      I remember being so scared to just be. Afraid of what I would find. And it turned out I found peace. Pretty crazy, huh?

      1. I was terrified of being alone at first. I would latch on to any friend who would hang out. And if no one was available, I’d spend all night on the phone.

        Then, one day at a time, that fear slowly went away.

        And now? I sometimes crave the solitude. The time to think. To write. To feel.

        Valuable moments.

        Thank you for your typo-forgiveness. πŸ™‚

  5. My hair, which I’ve worn short for years but had recently begun to grow out also fell out. The weird thing is I never saw it happening. No more hair than normal in sink, in combs or brushes. Yet when I went to comb/style it (on days I could manage that) I’d notice there was less there. Went back to the cropped style I was wearing before. H will have to be content with memories of running his fingers through her hair.

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