LIFE - It is what it is...that can't be denied!
As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow - some will condemn my desire to share personal thoughts and feelings in this blog. Just as most of my favourite musicians are openly lambasted for their willingness to pen heartache and heart-break into song...Taylor Swift, Gary Allan, Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Rob Thomas, Adele and Ed Sheeran have resisted calls from some sectors to STOP SHARING!! I along with millions of hardcore fans am eternally grateful, as so often their lyrics resonate with our own personal struggles as mere mortals - helping us wade through the quagmire that is 'our' life.
There must be a valid reason for my 'over-sharing'. Perhaps it will help you through some of your own battles? Maybe something I say here will prove to become a lightbulb moment...for you! Either way, we'll agree to disagree if you don't like what I do or say. Actually, I have a strong feeling if you are a non-believer in my methods you won't have read this far anyway. Good for you - you've personally made the right choice. If you're sill reading...DITTO :)
I believe strongly that 'all things happen for a reason'. Now more than ever before in my life I must maintain faith that this in fact is true. There are times when things simply do not make sense, and I guess that will remain the case - until they make sense...for as long as it takes!! 2016 shaped as a tremendous milestone year for my family - with our 21st wedding anniversary, wife's 40th, daughter's 18th, son's 10th...and now I can add another that I didn't see coming. You see, after 21 years married - I am now 21 days single. So many of you have undoubtedly gone through a breakup in your own life, but until you experience it personally you really have no comprehension of the range of emotions you are about to be subjected to!!
Despite having experienced the depths of clinical depression back in 2010, I have never before felt as devastated, as gutted as I have in the past few weeks. I've never before felt as emotionally wrecked as I did right then, when the news was broken to me. A sense of numbness flooded over me - and every aspect of life seemed to hold no meaning whatsoever during the ensuing days. The pain seemed even more extreme than mourning for the loss of a close friend or family member...through death.
In an amazing twist of irony, I am quickly coming to terms with what has happened - and why. To say I didn't see it coming is a stretch...it just felt that way. To be honest, my wife and I have been battling our own demons (actually we've both been mainly battling my personal demons) for many years now. Obviously over the 22 year relationship, I came to know this woman incredibly well. She has an ability to read people better than anyone I've ever met before. Her instincts have rarely proven to be far off the mark!! Hmmm...so if I genuinely believe in 'all things for a reason', and I continue to trust her judgement - things are already starting to make more sense. The irony you ask? It is actually my confidence in her perception of reality that is helping me cope with a truth I'd been denying.
When the bad news hits you (if you are the recipient), you can't help but take it very personally - and focus intensely only on your own emotions. There's a physical illness that washes over you with an intensity like never before. Initially I held no consideration of what a huge life decision this was for my wife. For a woman who is so zealously devoted to family - she must have agonized over this decision for months...if not years. And knowing me as she has for 22 years, she obviously feels that all hope for us is lost. My actions, my choices over a protracted period of time have put her in that position - and I'm sure she is as crushed as I am. If anything my admiration for her has been elevated - not diminished. She did what I was unable to do, in calling time on a troubled relationship that was not moving forward. That decision would have been heart-wrenching, but the action was hugely courageous.
Hindsight is 20/20 indeed!! I always believed that we would talk things through, and work things out...one day. But 'one day' drifts into months and then years, before it finally arrives. In my case - that day became a finality, not a reconciliation. If you are struggling in a relationship worth saving, then get to work on it NOW. To wait will only enhance the odds of complete failure.
Perhaps one of my most redeeming features is to look towards BIG PICTURE solutions. It may also be my downfall, as my desire to help others may at times come at the expense of my personal health and well-being...and that of my immediate family.
I will be forever grateful that both my ex and I have a tremendous support base in our immediate and extended families. They have given us both strength in our time of most need, and you just can't put a value on that. The past three weeks have felt like hell, but thankfully, day by day the intense pain is subsiding. As for our dysfunctional relationship...she is an amazing woman, and I do have my 'amazing' moments - but sadly we couldn't find a way to be 'amazing together'.
Please understand - I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm definitely not about to start playing the blame game. There is no right or wrong here, but rather an inability to resolve differences. If it sounds like my clinical assessment is devoid of emotion, believe me the past few weeks have been anything but!! It's just that I am quickly coming to terms with the gravity of my altered reality. There a two beautiful young people on the planet, who desperately need for their Mum and Dad to be supportive role models. I consciously want to deny the opportunity for anger and bitterness to control my life. No matter what has come and gone for me - the constant in my kid's life remains, and she is the best Mum they could have ever wished for.
I've been left to do a lot of soul-searching. I am a heavily flawed human being and that, I will never deny. There are some valuable lessons I must learn moving forward. I will continue to question my purpose in life, and remain hopeful that the right answers will be forthcoming. My family of 4 has now become 3 - but my kids still have two parents who love them unconditionally. If I can become a better person out of this very painful experience...then everyone wins. Hoping to continue playing as important a role in my kid's lives as they will in mine.