Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Vision"





The path that leads us there will be different for each of us...

I have two step-daughters-in-law; one devout LDS, the other a non-denominational Christian member of the Rock Church. They reflect the spiritual choices of their husbands, and I've watched over the last two and a half years as their interactions have paralleled and clashed surrounding those beliefs.

Today, Priesthood and Relief Society combined to discuss the new LDS Church curriculum for Youth. The meeting began by watching this video.

One thing that I love about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we are lead by a living prophet. Even in the Bible, we watch the leaders of Israel adjust to changes, not in the basic principles of the gospel, but in culture and practice. It happens now. The gospel doesn't change, but approach is being honed to meet the needs of the sheep.

I'm thrilled about the new curriculum. I see it as a positive resource to extend love and guidance to my family, both within the walls of my home and to those who've winged their way from the nest.

While my husband is in the North Country I am taking over his supportive role to my step kids. On Thursday, W—, my non-denominational Christian step-daughter expressed her frustrations at being viewed by other members of our family as unworthy, or less valid an individual because her choices do not match those of my more devout step-children. She and my step-son feel judged by family every which way they turn. I looked her in the eye and told her, "W—, that's not the Jesus Christ I know. We are each on our own path to know Him. You're doing your best. You're doing okay."

I wonder if more of our wayward youth had felt loved in their Church experience, rather than weighed down by preaching what the difference in retention would be. W— and my step-son need love and acceptance, more than they need doctrine right now. That's all they've ever needed. So after I came across this Beautiful Eulogy video last night I quickly emailed W— a link. This is easily my favorite song of the year (sometimes the best things wait it out till the very end to appear), and one that I felt would speak volumes to a Child of God who goes to the Rock Church. My other step-son and his wife would probably not approve. I think that's their loss. But they came to Christ by another path. Who am I to judge?


Saturday, December 29, 2012

To much time with Jack

Shutter. Clique. Girl.


The setting was lunch at one of my favorite trendy spots on Center. The question was: What do you want to do when you grow up? 

She stalled, lost in the interior landscape of whirly gigs, Eastern influenced art, and mechanical sculptures.

"I like building things. I don't know."

That was a new one to me. Sometimes she has truly blonde moments. So I pressed, "What kind of things?"

She shrugged, I smiled and left it alone. She does better with light, surface chat.

I have two daughters, and while both beautiful, talented young women, they couldn't be more different. Each of them feeds me in different ways, so I find the most satisfaction in their company separately, one-on-one. Today was L—'s turn.

I woke this morning, pushed away the emotional struggle that had me up most of the night, prayed for a good half hour, and then meditated on whom in the world I could best be a light to today. The Spirit said, Call L— and ask her if she wants to spend some time with you, since it's usually the other way around.

L— is in the midst of puberty. She and the rest of the fam have been caught in her non-stop PMS for the last six months, at least. I'm praying her cycle starts soon to give her some relief. The moodiness is wearing everyone out; her the most. All of my kids need attention and help dealing with life and the current situation, but this clear prompting was welcome. I've been at a loss lately how to best fill L—'s bucket.

The phone rang and my ex answered in a groggy it's-10 a.m.-I-just-woke-up-and-why-are-you-calling-me voice. L—'s voice wasn't much different once her dad had retrieved her. I posed the question and her reply was immediately alert and eager. We agreed on noon for lunch and then maybe a stroll in the mall.

Where M— loves trying new, exotic dishes, L— is a suspicious eater. One of the reasons I love the joint we visited is that they offer both simple quesadillas for younger palettes and a hearty Mulligatawny soup for more complex taste buds. We tied the meal together with a shared side of sweet potato fries.

I threw out the option of the art museum in Gallery Land to the south, but L— really isn't a gallery child. While the mall had only been a passing idea, she jumped at it. We decided to play dress-up at JCP, because L— is girly and a little wild and (totally unlike her mother) 100% comfortable in front of a camera:




I dropped her off at her dad's after five hours of play. 

As if it weren't already part of me, it sunk in deeper today that I am mother, living the dream not just because I have given birth, but because I get the wondrous privilege of truly enjoying the four fascinating people whose bodies originated inside my own. That fact brings me more joy, more sense of rightness than anything else in my life.

A dear friend and fellow mother once sent me the most comforting words ever written: "The world deserves more children who have you for  their mother." 

I spent fifteen minutes kissing, hugging and giggling with all four of them before I returned to life in solitary. L— texted me a short time later...

"Mom, this [afternoon] when you asked me what I wanted to be I totally spaced out. I want to be a photographer! :) love u"

I think she's got a good shot. She's pretty comfortable behind the lens as well.


Beautiful to my son

E— and I dined at Zupas for his evening birthday date, where he brought me up to speed with his latest pipe dream of adding skateboarding to his repertoire of skills. As we headed back across town he began texting friends for advice on where to find the best boards. Before they could answer I pulled into the parking lot of Happy Valley Boards. E— was hesitant, but I told him it never hurt to just look at what was available. I walked in, smiled at the guys behind the counter, and asked about outfitting for a novice.

We were guided step-by-step through 100% Canadian Pine decks, trucks, wheels, bearings and spacers. I could see the look of utter dismay spreading across E—'s face as his board was pieced together to his specification. It read: Seriously? Mom is just walking into a skate shop and setting me up, no questions asked?

Confession. I was delirious with delight. The eternal rebel in me came charging through all sense of budgetary caution and I probably overspent on this gift. But I'd been waiting fifteen years for E— to start skating, because I knew it was something he was going to love before he was born. Knew it. I'd even tried to steer him that direction previously, but, like his mother, it had to be his idea. Not someone else's.

We walked out with a beautiful T-Puds Plan B on Independent trucks, wheels, bearings and spacers. It was then that the reason for his hesitation came to light. "See, Mom!" E— said. "Those guys are totally nice. There's no need to judge."

"E—," I said. "I dated those guys in high school. I know they're nice. I was never judging."

"Those guys? Those very guys?" 

"Skaters," I corrected, but he was on a roll and we were laughing. 

"I bet they're thinking, "Man, she looked better in high school." Just kidding, Mom. You are beautiful!"

And so I am.

How a girl sees herself

Ms. M—

How she sees me.


Friday, December 28, 2012

July 9, 2011...

is the day my marriage died. I know because I went looking today for the email that ended it:

My precious Sweetheart,

I already know your response to this letter, which is perhaps why I have chosen to write it rather than discuss the matter face-to-face.

Amid all this discussion of the future and Jerusalem, and what it is we are meant to do together I have begun to experience a deep longing to bear you a child.

I tell myself it is a silly wish, selfish. I know the difficulties involved. I had assured myself that I will have grandchildren to fill the desire. I have asked the Lord to remove it from my heart. But still the thoughts will not leave me.

I understand your position clearly, and I will respect your feelings and wishes. But by the slim possibility that you should ever change your mind please know that it would be a great honor and a blessing to be the mother of one of your children and would bring me the deepest fulfillment.

All my love,
G

It was meant to be a love letter. It was a love letter. It is still. 

But he constantly reminds me how much this damaged him, how I hurt him with this email, how I betrayed him and destroyed his trust. He tells me that in the end I am to blame. I had to find my original words to assure myself that I'd spoken only with love and kindness, and that I hadn't somehow warranted his complete withdrawal, coldness, and the year and a half since of measured distance and angry abuse.

He is working now to control his anger towards me, but he still holds this over my head. It's like he's trying to get back at me.

He would never admit to that, and I don't know how do deal with his continued insistence that in expressing such a tender, righteous desire that I somehow abused him.

This is proving to be a difficult day.

Emily Jane White kind of day




I'm perplexed by grief and options that are mine:

Improve a marriage that feels empty and lacking in future when it is "good".
Leave a marriage that feels empty when it is "good".
Live in pain with the man who once brought unimaginable happiness.
Live in pain without the man who once brought unimaginable happiness.
Wait for God to perform miracles that aren't certain will ever occur, to fight those battles that rage endlessly in body and mind.

God hasn't said to return. I'm not certain why I'm sitting in his house again, even if he's once more in the North Country without me.

He texted this morning and I told him to leave me alone. I'm certain it hurt him. I wouldn't have said as much if I weren't hurting. There is no justification for my cruelty in any of that.

It is my first-born son's fifteenth birthday.

I'm remembering being that close to God, breathing through four hours of Earth-bending work, the joy of pushing back the veil through the last five minutes of contractions, and meeting the piercing gaze of the infant placed in my arms.


I'm remembering the months I carried him, first receiving my endowment, my belly covered in temple robes, and the quiet promise I'd whisper to him in the Celestial Room that I would bring him back someday. He's done baptisms for the dead with the young men in our ward, but the two of us have never been together. Some of that has to do with choices I have made. Most of it. I feel I have failed him.

My husband says how cruel it is that I revere the men who have given me motherhood. And it's true, I do hold them high. Even the one who abandoned me with my youngest in my belly.

I think it is cruel that my husband denies that motherhood is anything I should expect from him. Cruel that I'm expected to be happy with the promise that he'll give me all the babes I want in the next life. Cruel that he says he doesn't need me for children because he already had her. Cruel that I'm supposed to be happy just being present somewhere in his house, because feeling that he's not alone is what makes him happy. Cruel that he clings to the assertion that 49 is old and that he doesn't want to be parenting when he is 70, though he has five children from her who will still need parenting in some form or other until and beyond then. Cruel that he insists God must tell him to procreate because he doesn't know that he'll be able to provide till he's 70, though I will still be his wife and in need of that providence. Cruel because I have the insurance that he says isn't available. Cruel because so little of what he claims must be in place is needed to raise a child well. Cruel that he expects me to live alongside this ravaging dream and all its ghosts without answer to convenience him. Cruel because there is nothing better he has planned for the next 18 years.

There's always a cop out. God whispered once, "He doesn't love you enough."

I am twisted with joy and pain. December is going to be a dagger for the rest of my life.

Two years ago, when my husband's first granddaughter was born on Christmas day and this all woke up inside of me, when he told me that if I needed to bear his child to make me happy that he would let me go, when I first began to die inside—I tell myself I should have left then. Though I don't know if I could have found the strength, because I can't now.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mapping out life

I've had a thought.

As I've registered for classes to complete my BS in English it's interesting what has been available to me, and I get the sense that there is divine hand in what may seem like a limited number of options.

I've registered for a Philosophy class in Ethics and Values, a physical science class Life in the Universe, Intermediate Poetry, Fitness for Life, and Literature by Women. You may not recognize it as I do, but it is a semester in affirming femininity, which is what I need.

I need empowerment.

I need to define and acknowledge the feminine and her capabilities for myself. I've felt the drive to do this for many months now.

I need to claim the right to owning my own beliefs and spiritual revelations regarding my strengths and my purpose.


On top of all of this, I've finally picked up a copy of The Gift of Giving Life. Until this point I've only read excerpts on the website, which have been enlightening; but now, to heft the book in my hands, to turn its pages and read at will what the Spirit brings to me, it is stirring something more in my heart.

I have five semesters left to finish my degree. The question I get from family, "What are you going to do with it?" Well, the same thing I've been doing without it. Writing. Emoting. Giving word to the state of existence as I know it, however those words might manifest. 

So what then?

I can't say this is carved in stone, but ever since I birthed L— at home I've had deep interest in assisting in natural birth settings. There is a midwifery school an hour away that offers distance training for MS degrees.

It's just a thought.

Things I know and need to pass along

To any women, or men, who might bump into this blog:

Jesus Christ, will be your very best friend if you let him. And, like the most fiercely loyal brother you have, or can imagine in the flesh, he's got your back. If you steer the course, he will fight your battles for you. I'm going to let that be my focus for the coming year.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Trip

It's my turn in the North Country. 

We've been here in Zion for 48 hours, and already I've wondered what I was thinking, planning a trip as long as this one is slated to be, staying with my parents. I don't know that I've spent this many days back-to-back with them since I finally moved out for the last time in February of 1995. There is a reason. There are many reasons. 

But what I must stay is that even though there are still moments that I can't believe I'm subjecting myself to all this time with mum n' step-dad, my mother is finally trying to take responsibility for years and years of parenting mistakes that until about six months ago were a festering wound that I didn't think would ever mend. My mother is proof that people can change. That transformation is slow, but it is happening. For the first time in my life I feel that my pains as a child, as an adolescent are being validated. I don't think she understands what a gift her efforts are to me. Every time she acknowledges a recognized wrong it empowers me with a sense of ability where for decades I fell incapable and largely rejected.

My children seem to be enjoying the visit, though E-- is bored out of his mind. They have been asking for more and more details from my childhood, and being here helps them to fill in holes in my history that I haven't felt safe revisiting.

Strangely enough, I miss my husband. More than I have since I first left him. I'm not certain what flipped the fondness switch; perhaps the distance makes it safe to love him more because I'm not bracing myself for the next time that he hurts me. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling restored love and desire to put our marriage back together. We'll see if it abides once I return to Happy Valley.

We head back Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gauging change

I walked into L—'s Primary class where I was substituting today and found the students crowded around Claire Nielsen who bounced her chubby baby sister, Miss Lottie, on her lap. I'd already felt strongly prompted to just relax and enjoy what the kids had to teach me today, so I extended my arms, took this delightful little angel to my hip and opened a gospel dialogue with the five eleven-year-olds who were present.

I think the trick to teaching is to prepare and then let the Spirit guide. It never fails that relevant topics, doctrines and discussion play off of each other to instruct all participants. And frequently, those who teach learn the most.

My husband made it to church, but he sat in the foyer for Sacrament Meeting, excusing himself later by insisting that he wanted to wait for his son should he arrive. We never waited in the foyer for him before when my step-son was late or if he might not show. I think shame still has fast hold on my husband.

I'm still processing emotions in response to the first year and a half of our marriage, uncertain how they will resolve. I don't miss my husband. I am happy without him. Happy. Even as he's tried to keep in contact over the last two or three days I've found my interest waning. I feel some guilt, but I don't know how he's supposed to fit in my life anymore. Forward momentum begins to build steam as I prepare for school in three weeks, and he gets lost in the fog of non-issues, which is oddly where I felt I resided while we were together. He is frustrated, I know. But I don't know how to resolve it. I see my life with him as stagnant and offering little. Perhaps that will change if we go to counseling. Perhaps it won't.

When I see him, I feel that something deep inside me has changed. I don't feel the same way about him. It worries me some. Probably because I don't know if what I have left to work with is enough to sustain the work it takes to be married.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The bond

Like most parents across the United States, I am grieving for the families of the Newtown, CT shooting victims. I spent most of yesterday avoiding taking in too much information from the media, but by 10:30 p.m. when it was time to leave my children at my ex-husband's and drive south to my own apartment I knew enough that sleep didn't come easily.

Early this afternoon, after spending a good deal of time in tearful prayer on my knees for the peace and comfort of Newtown's families, I went to the temple, where I was prompted to serve proxy for sealings.

Once the ordinances were complete, our sealer lead us to the Celestial Room. I sat in the peace of that room studying marriage and the new and everlasting covenant in the scriptures, praying for further clarification of doctrine and guidance in my personal life, and waiting for inspiration.

And then the most beautiful piercing sound broke the silence: a baby wailing somewhere in those upper rooms, likely discontent in waiting for his or her presentation in one of the sealing rooms below us. 

I know it seems strange, but nothing could have been more comforting to me today.

My prayer is and has been that the Lord will allow the spirits of these lost children to dwell with their families to provide peace, love, and assurance of the eternal nature of their bond throughout the holiday season.

Tonight, I am with my own children. Their dad has traveled north to play band-boy for the weekend, and I am staying with them at his house, spoiled in that I am sleeping beneath the same roof as my angels this evening. These are blessings I hope no one else takes for granted.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crazy ladies and the men who marry them

If I seem glib or flip it's because I just came out of DV group. I believe an hour and a half spent in a secluded setting with powerful women battling the odds in their lives would leave anyone in this state of giddy agitation.

We all come in with our varying degree of up or down, and by the end we've ranted, raged, cried, and laughed until our lives seem doable for another week. In today's case, three weeks, because of the impending holidays. I'm genuinely sad.

I can't share any stories or situations, but I can say that there is consensus: Abusive men use the stigma toward mental illness against their victims. And though I can see my husband making baby steps in progress, he has used, and I believe, may continue to use the same argument against me. We are all the crazy wives, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends. They are the helpless victims.

Tonight, a couple of the women in group acknowledged their struggles with mental illness. I nodded. I'm in the same boat. But what was said was powerful...

"Hell yes, I'm crazy. I've been hospitalized. I'm diagnosed. I'm on medication. But he's the dumb*** who married me. So who's the truly crazy one here?"

I told the woman who shared that I was stealing her words for future ammunition.

I met with my husband for lunch today. I hadn't seen him for nearly two weeks, and I can't say that I was really missing him much. I approached the meeting with a good degree of apprehension. Like I said, he's making progress, but in baby steps. When he asked me why I chose the lunch date over an evening dinner and movie I told him we needed to work back into contact in a microcosmic setting rather than swinging for home base. He agreed it was best. And it was, because even in that hour it was tense. I didn't feel like he was showing much interest in me and that the conversation was all about him. He confessed afterward that he didn't want to push for more than I was willing to offer. I can see how he's trying to be safe, but if I've been struggling for a year and a half of marriage feeling unwanted and under-appreciated I need him to show interest and to ask questions to help me even feel secure that my presence is desired so that I'm willing to share. My guard is up. And when I feel he isn't trying to understand or accept my responses I panic and begin to disassociate. 

There's a learning curve we're up against. We both see the problems, but implementing solutions is getting a rough start.

I must give him credit, however. Before I left he said, "You don't deserve to be yelled at. No one does. I know I have to work on that." He said that even if we don't end up deciding to stay together that I need to get better for me, and that he needs to get better for him. (He still insists on keeping a weights and measures of fair play, which frustrates me because I fail to see that my behaviors, even the abusive ones that are completely wrong and must not be repeated, did anywhere the damage that his have done to me.) Still no admittance that his yelling would qualify as abuse. No admittance that he has been wrong. But baby steps. 

I probably need a few days to recover before I'm ready for a second date. Maybe we'll make it a weekly gig.

I received my acceptance letter from University of Humble Pie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Answer to prayer

Last night, before I finally went to bed, I offered prayer that:

1) If I was pregnant and it was meant to "stick" I would get a clear positive on a test.

2) If I was pregnant and it wasn't meant to "stick" that I'd get my period.

3) If I wasn't pregnant I'd get my period.

This morning two hours after a negative test Aunt Flo arrived. Sorry for TMI, but I've never been so happy to hang out with Auntie, ever.

My husband and I tried talking on the phone for 45 minutes last night. Because Facebook tells you how old posts are I know that he was active on social media during that call. I also know that it was obvious that he wasn't engaged in the conversation. This from the man who claims to love and miss me, and who can't live without me.

I called him on it. First he lied. Then he justified. Then he dismissed it as no big deal. Then he apologized that I felt badly even though to him it was no big deal. Then he told me if he wasn't apologizing well enough that he wasn't available to continue conversation.

Before I spoke to him yesterday I met with his counselor. She is agreeable. We visited for almost two hours as she gathered my background and concerns about the problems in my marriage. I shared what I felt were the biggest problems for an hour and a half before she stopped me and said, "So explain to me the issue of having more children."

To which I replied, "Oh. So that's what he's told you this is all about. It doesn't surprise me. That's what he blames for the end of his first marriage."

For the 341st time I launched into the explanation of the interconnection between the marriage being "good" and the in-suppressible desire to bear and raise a child with my husband. I repeat each time with extreme defensiveness because this is a precious issue to me, and so few try to really understand it. I've just about given up trying to explain and receive any validation in return. I'd prefer not sharing it at all anymore.

On departing she asked if I would be willing to meet with my husband. I couldn't have been more hesitant. Counseling with abusers is difficult. In my husband's case, he uses counseling in manipulation against me. I expressed those concerns and she said she would ponder and then let me know if she wanted to proceed.

I offered him dinner tonight. He turned me down. He knows it hurts me, because I told him so. He made excuses of a headache and not wanting a confrontation. I know he'll be on Facebook the moment he walks in the front door.

Some days I'm not certain why I even want to have hope that all of this is fixable.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Might

My husband hasn't been to church in three weeks. The first of those was because he was with his family in Idaho. The second because he said he was suffering from an ear infection. I haven't spoken to him in depth for over a week, so I don't have his reason for week three, but it is definitely suspect. I was leaving the neighborhood 10:30 p.m. Saturday after tucking my kiddos in bed and I pulled up behind him at a stop light as he was heading west. Not normal.

Ward members are catching on. My bishop instructed me to tell them, "We're having problems, but we're getting help to work through them." 

I have modified my response slightly to include, "One way or another, everything will be okay."

I believe that. But I'm not so naive to believe there isn't difficult growth between point (a) and point (b). One of my favorite scriptures of all time is 2 Nephi 2:11: 

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Knowing true happiness is contingent on also knowing a great deal of misery and discomfort.

For instance, I'm having pregnancy symptoms. I've done this before and either miscarried very early or menstruated and nothing came of them. My husband is aware of my concerns, and because I know how anti-have-a-child-with-my-wife he is, when I had light spotting yesterday night I texted him to pass along the info that my period came. And then the spotting stopped. I'm three and a half days from when I should have a clear answer, but I'm a bit anxious that this may be implantation bleeding. It's what happened when I miscarried.

A small part of me wants to be pregnant for the sake of loving being in the midst of my higher calling. A larger part of me doesn't know how I would deal with it. I've even thought about giving up a child for adoption should one actually be on the way. I have two couples in my ward in mind.

I'm really looking forward to getting into school. A pregnancy, and the exhaustion that goes along with it, would not be conducive. And selfishly, I don't want to deal with a separation, school, taxiing between South Happy Town where I live and The Arboretum where my kids live to be a good mom, and pregnancy all at once. And I think it's at least somewhat fair that I feel that way.

The sealer who performed my marriage came up to me again in church yesterday and asked, "So are you happy now?"

I thought for a moment. Does he have any idea what is going on? Does he know that in the past week since the Lord told me not to go back to my husband that I've found peace and contentment in focusing on me and my kids? Does he realize that I'm in the same situation now that I was before he sealed me to my husband?

"Yes," I said. "I am happy." I answered him honestly.

"See. I told you happiness was a choice and not dependent on a situation."

Sacrament meeting was focused on 2 Nephi 2:25: 

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (Italics added.)

The purpose of our lives isn't guaranteed long term, and it doesn't come without leaving the safety of happiness for long enough to recognize that we have found it again once we are back nestled within it's brief, yet satisfying umbrella. And it only comes through obedience to the precepts of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lately, I do the point (a) to point (b) dance at least two or three times a day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Clear guidance

There is change. And then there is the appearance of change.

I've been passively threatened that if I don't return my husband will stop trying because he "knows himself." I have been told repeatedly that he can't be expected to put forth effort to show interest in me because the bishop told him to let me make the "first move." I have been told that he learned more at work from the principles of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" than he has from the self-help chapters on abusive men. And when I reminded him that at one time the Lord warned him not to attempt to snuff out my desire to bear him  children, I was told that there is so much more to women than bearing children (to which I agree, except I do not believe there is anything higher or of more divine purpose), that my husband's grandchildren should suffice to fill that desire for me, and that the Lord has told him he isn't required to fill our covenant to multiply and replenish the earth. When confronting my husband with the information that he went into the Bishop's office pointing fingers and placing all blame on me, describing me as Bipolar, emotionally unstable, that he never knows to which wife he will wake, he flatly denied responsibility.

I left, cried, composed myself, and returned.

We laid down Sunday night with the intention of sleeping through the night at his house, but I woke at 2:30 a.m. in so much emotional distress from the suppressed conflict that all I could do was dress and go to my apartment.

I texted a brief explanation and the scripture D&C 132:63. I cried for the rest of the night and for large portions of the rest of the day, interspersed with long drawn out prayers and scripture study.

Tuesday morning I rose, knelt and asked for a contrite heart, a humbled spirit, and for the Lord to teach me what I needed to know. I then went to the temple.

I have received three spiritual warnings in my life. The first two I ignored to near calamitous events, all involving avoidance of relationships with men; the latter being my second husband. Tuesday's warning was by far the most powerfully unmistakeable and clear; more a commandment than direction that I MUST NOT return to my husband.

I received further clarification and guidance into our relationship, namely that nothing has changed of the Lord's acceptance of my righteousness desires, but that my husband does not love me enough. 

I left the temple still electrified and went directly to my Relief Society President's house for our weekly cooking club. She and I were the only two in her home that afternoon, which was perfect for what I needed to share with her. As we discussed the directive the reasons why became even more clear in my mind, as if the Spirit opened my brain and poured the information in, sometimes by means of mental clues, sometimes through deposit of whole recitation of scripture.

I have been an enabler. My error was in allowing the need for a man in my life to supersede the importance and sacredness of the righteous desires of my heart.

And sure as our relationship has been for two years, though I have repeatedly reiterated my needs, my feelings, and my beliefs to my husband, he continues to wear his impervious helmet to the reality of our marriage beyond what he allows himself to see and accept. Today, after four days of silence he began the guilt trips (because he still seems incapable of instigating any contact or concern unless it is accusatory):

"I am trying to cope with these feelings of abandonment again and the idea you have decided you can't be with me. Being that's how it is I will respect your decision and space."

I explained:

"Sunday was terrible for me. There were things said during our conversation that I didn't understand and I felt may have damaged my spirit. And so I went to the temple, contrite and asking to be humbled and taught what the Lord needed me to know. I was given commandment with unmistakable power and clarity that I MUST NOT return to you. When I went to ask how long I was prevented. An so my life is in His hands. My focus is on my children and my education. I do not know what the future holds, but I understand that there is agency in the balance that is not in my control and with which I am not meant to interfere. My prayers remain with you that you will undergo the growth and change necessary to by happy. This is not the decision to abandon you, but to obey the will of God. My hope is that the time will come that His will is that we will be together again, but now is not the time. I will arrange for my things to be removed from your home and will be in contact to arrange for that to happen. Be well. Remember that Christ's arms are always open."

He fired back two subsequent emails in rapid succession:

"So are we going forward with divorce procedures?"

"I'm not sure what was said that would damage your spirit but I suspect I will never know."

To which I answered, but not as quickly:

"No. Prolonged separation. That is what the bishop advised yesterday after I spoke to him about the matter."

"Like so many other aspects of our relationship that I have tried repeatedly to communicate with you, and that never seemed to be received, you are perhaps correct. I truly hope that as you get help and are able to heal and change that these things will become clear to you through the Spirit."

He is angry. I know it. And as I conferred with the After-Care specialist at the women's shelter, she assured me that his correspondence is oddly dramatic and manipulative. My mother has mentioned that my husband may possibly suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. If such is the case, therapy may not be enough. He may never be able to see the world and his own situation rationally, nor mine with sympathy. In short, he may not be able to change.

I hope that is not the case, but this man cannot accept what he is told repeatedly as fact. It's as if his brain isn't wired to see the world clearly. There is something terribly, terribly wrong, and he desperately needs this help. I pray he sticks with it, but I won't be there to mommy him to make sure he is doing all he can to acquire the aid. I suspect he is engaging in the therapy merely as a means to prove that he is not in need of  change, but that I am, as he stated, bipolar, unstable, and unpredictable.

I am going through stages of relief and grief with this guidance. Life is hard. Very hard. But "the desire" has been completely lifted, I am able to walk away from my struggle to help him with no twinge of conscience, and as my bishop assured me, marriages can be worked on separately. I just know my husband doesn't see it that way...

Which is typically Borderline. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to go back to your husband

My stipulations for returning:

*Counseling. Which he says he wants to get anyway, so I'm perplexed as to why he's not calling her up to schedule a time. I know denial is still battling for premium seating in his stadium of consciousness. I'm hoping he doesn't wait so long that tickets are sold out when responsibility comes to call.

*Read and process this. I printed off both chapters and put the pages in neat little page protectors inside a binder. I couldn't have possibly made it easier for him. It's still sitting unopened on his dresser.

Simple enough, right?

I stayed with him Monday and Tuesday nights. When I hadn't seen any progress I decided to go back to the townhouse with my roommate last night. My husband called and asked why and I told him as directly, and sweetly as I could that it felt as though my return was just assumed and that he hadn't done anything that I'd asked him to. As is his way, he shrugged my decision off like it didn't mean anything to him, but was sweet in return.

This is the waiting game. I honestly don't know how it will end.

Meantime, I think I ovulated early. Like around Thanksgiving. I woke up early Tuesday morning with a sense that something was different. I've been a little sensitive to smells, a little sensitive gastrointestinally, a little fuzzy down there, a little tingly in the breasts. I don't know what to think. I've been under a lot of stress. Sometimes the hormones do funny things to me when I'm under stress.

I'm going to University of Humble Pie in a few short minutes to assure myself that they've received all my admission materials. I've been approved for full PELL grant.

My husband admitted that he is jealous that I'm going back to school.

M— won first place for visual art at her high school for the annual Reflections Contest. E— is struggling to manage his grades and his life. L— tells me that the 10 minutes of reading from the Book of Mormon is making all the difference in her life. B— has the hardest time letting me go at night.

As mother and children, we're surviving on a single family prayer and personal scripture study. I think the Spirit and its guidance is and has been far more present in our lives than I've ever given him credit.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First steps toward what comes next

Remember the whole college threat from a couple of months back? Well, it's gonna happen. The Lord rigged it so that I'd catch on today. 

My home teacher/first counselor in the bishopric gave me a blessing after church today. I was ready to emotionally implode, so it lined up nicely with my goal not to completely lose it this weekend. I have just enough direction and guidance to begin to move into the shadows. 

So first thing tomorrow, I must call University of Northern Jell-O until I reach a bonafide human who can help send my transcript to University of Humble Pie, which (Miss Meliss) I'm diggin' on at the moment. I'm still thinking English with a Creative Writing emphasis unless someone who knows better can change my mind. But I'm in no real hurry to finish any longer. Anything to constructively funnel all this pain and need for patience.

My home teacher/first counselor in the bishopric is also a financial aid guru for a technical school. He has offered to go over my FAFSA with me tomorrow to ensure that I get as much help as I can for living as well as for tuition.

Next item up for bid: To continue to live separate from my children or to hit up the bishop for further help to rent that house that's just opened up around the corner? My husband offered to vacate the house we shared for my use during the separation, which is kind and all. But who's to stop him from moving back if it doesn't work out? I guess I should get a hold of the bishop and ask what he thinks. Under current circumstances my kids are struggling to maintain. I'm struggling to maintain. Maintenance it shall be until we settle on what to do.

I could leave it at that, but tonight I'm feeling a load of resentment again for my husband. I texted him last night that it made no sense that we're in this mess because he hurt me, and instead of doing anything to help he's off playing and basking in the camaraderie of family members who don't have the slightest clue what's gone on and who won't because he's not going to 'fess up to everything he's done. 

I'm hurt. Wounded. I'm trying so hard to have charity and to be forgiving, but in the broad scheme of fair my slice is wanting.

I need to not stay here too long, but I think this is part of healing. Tonight I'm going to allow myself the ache and I'm going to put the responsibility where it belongs.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Solo, the days blur together

I feel like I'm losing it.

I spent three hours in the temple with M— doing baptisms. Mary's husband Jacob is baptized and confirmed. My husband said he'd do the initiatory and endowment the next time we go together. Only a short time away from sealing Mary and Jacob and then Josie to them. When I am doing the work I feel "together" and at peace. I feel direction and calm.

Outside the temple I think I'm slipping, and I don't really know how to deal.

My husband is in Idaho. I'm the one falling apart and he goes on vacation. Not gonna lie, I'm resentful.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

M— and B— took me to the mall for Wreck-It Ralph. It was my way of celebrating.

I am no longer a shelter resident. I moved into the townhouse owned by a recent divorcee in my ward. I have a private room and a private bath, and as much as my heart reached out to the women at the shelter, I have peace of mind knowing that no one is going to hit me up to share drugs or constantly be inviting me to go out for a smoke or to just have a morning cup of coffee. I have survived a week and a half of being surrounded by old vices that I used to turn to when in need of the comfort I need now. 

Thanksgiving was just about the strangest I can recall. I was worried about talking about it previously because I was still at shelter and under strict rules not to contact my husband. I suck at the rules. We had a "dinner date" at Zupas on Wednesday night that I had to lie about, and I decided to risk spending Turkey Day with him too.

No, I'm not going back to him. At least not yet. But a couple that means to work it out has to start repairing damages sometime and my scheduling didn't jive with the shelter's.

So I made chicken salad sandwiches. I bought craftily shaved carrots called "baby", a bag of SunChips, two oranges, and a box of cocoa mix. I told him to bring quilts, firewood and matches, and a thermos of boiling water. We met at the staircase at the southwest corner of LDS University of Choice at noon and then drove into the canyon. There is a park on the right side of the highway a few miles in from Happy Valley Falls. We turned in here and wandered into the hills until we found a campsite that featured fire pit, stream, and picnic table. And there we cuddled next to the fire, gave thanks, and ate chicken.

All this may seem picturesque and surface-level, but these encounters lead to long hours holding each other, and unraveling the puzzle of our limping marriage. My husband is facing facts about himself that I don't think he's ever acknowledged before. He knows he needs help to overcome tendencies and behaviors that are damaging to our union. I, in turn, know what I need to overcome to love with charity and to get the love that I deserve. We're only just scratching the surface, but at least there is a starting point. The wound is beginning to heal. Repentance has begun.

My husband will be going to counseling, because he wants to, because he knows change must happen to save "us". I will continue with Anick for all the same reasons. He asks me for a time frame because he wants me home, and I can't give it. I know this may take many long months. Only the Spirit knows when it is truly safe. I continue to pray that we can stay on course.

It's not time to go home yet, but if we continue in this path that time will come.

Meantime, I am trying to keep my chin above water. I am still very, very blue. Emotional and physical exhaustion are taking their toll. I am so so weary. My kids are wanting less and less time with me and I ache. I'm in a state of loneliness like the peanut that the elephant sat on. No light. No air. Just crushing weight.

I'm dog paddling for hope, gulping the current like it is release.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Solo, day seven

The first week is over.

Yes, I've still done the right thing. No, I'm not going back. And after four hours in the temple today doing work for Mary, my great-great-grandmother Josie's mother, I came away with direction. It's never been absent. My husband desperately needs help, and I can't, CAN'T go back unless and until he gets it.

After the endowment session I sat for some time in sealing room six, where my husband and I were married. Experiences like that, when the spirit is so strong that it radiates through my bones, leave me certain that the Lord is over all, watching, guiding and directing. My sealing is intact. My covenants stand resolute. My only sadness is that in the present situation I cannot enjoy such moments with my husband.

I didn't ever panic, but when I came out of the temple I noticed that he'd called. I listened to the pocket-dialed voicemail: Arrow 103 radio and my husband's voice obviously not directed at me saying something or other about his vehicle getting 110 miles to 1/4 tank. I listened once more before I decided to text him and ask if I could see him briefly. I needed to know where his heart lay amid the past weeks' uncertainty.

He didn't respond for half an hour. I picked up M-- to go shopping for dinner for the women and children at the shelter that evening. And then he texted back asking when and where. I drove to his work with M-- asleep in the passenger seat next to me. I roused her enough to explain what I was doing. She didn't seem alarmed and nodded back off.

I got out and walked up the stairs to my husband's office. He came out and met me halfway. It was awkward. I mentioned his haircut and shave. He said it didn't itch as much this way, and I said that was good. And then somehow we were holding each other and he was shaking with tears and emotion in my arms. He apologized. True, heartfelt, tear-laden words of apology for hurting me as he had, so many times. He said he didn't mean to do it, and I told him I knew, but pleaded that he must, must get help. I told him I couldn't come home until he got the help and it was safe for me, and he said he knew. I said I would wait for however long it took. He said I wasn't obligated, that I didn't have to. And I said I didn't feel obligated and that I wanted to and that I knew who he was under all of that and that I want to. His eyes were wet with humility and remorse. I said I would only wait if he wanted me to. He said he only wanted me to if I wanted to, and I told him flat out that that wasn't good enough. Of course he wanted me, he said. I told him to give it all to the Savior, all of it, whatever it is, and I begged again for him to get help. He nodded.

The bishop has told him not to pressure me or contact me unless I contact first. I told him that was good. I didn't know when I would see him or contact him again, but I would. I told him I loved him and that I forgave him the moment he finally walked out the door last Tuesday. He said he loved me in return and thanked me for loving him so purely. I told him I couldn't help it, that's just how it is. We embraced again and I kissed him, and he kissed back. Then, I knew the briefly was over and that I needed to leave.

I told him I would be in church again on Sunday if he is there. He nodded and said goodbye. He watched me  leave. He waved.

My heart is comforted that I have done the right thing. I am doing the right thing. I don't know how it's all going to play out during this separation, but this is how it must go.

M-- and I drove to the shelter and made Amish Breakfast Casserole, a creamy fruit salad, and tossed greens for dinner while M-- played with the babies. When it was served I've never seen the children eat so well. Some of them came back for fourths. Their mothers thanked me profusely and told me to go spend some time with my daughter. We gave a ride to one of the women to 7-Eleven to get her smokes, and decided that since it was dark we would give her a ride back.

I feel a little guilty because I know the "rules". But I haven't backed down. I wasn't manipulated. In fact, I know my course better than I did before. In that I am basing my justification.

However long it takes. 1 Corinthians 13. The atonement of Christ and charity are the only things that can save this marriage. I can live alone knowing that is the long term goal.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Solo, day six

Dejected. The separation from my kids, and yes, even my husband, is taking its toll. 

I'm losing hope. I can't see what's ahead. I pray and yet can't tell for certain what to do or where to go.

My bishop spoke with my husband yesterday. Their appointment followed immediately after the bishop stood at the pulpit in Sacrament meeting and offered a fiery directive to center our homes and families around the Savior and his atonement and a powerful blessing that if we will the righteous desires of our hearts will be ours. I knew his words were meant specifically for my family. I folded an origami lily and took it to the bishop to deliver to my husband. "He'll understand," I said.  I've heard nothing from the bishop since. I'm trying to be patient, but my heart is aching. 

E-- told me he sat next to my husband in priesthood meeting. He admitted that he'd told my husband that he hated what was going on. My husband told him it may take some time, but that it would all work out. I don't know how that's supposed to be deciphered.

The Relief Society president informed me that there are housing options available for me in the ward. The bishop is supposed to be filling me in on those as well. Nothing was said as to whether those arrangements were for me only, or for me and the kids.

M-- called me at 12:30 a.m. in a panic attack. I spent the next hour on the phone calming her. We prayed together, I talked her through prep for bed, and then I play the "think about" game as my mother did with me when I was small...

Think about rainbows.
Think about kittens.
Think about all your favorite Homestucks.
Think about me there stroking your hair.
Think about Jesus.

She told me it would be best if I hung up first.

I went to the high school this morning to request assignment deferments in her behalf. M-- is a straight A student. I knew the teacher would understand. I could see she wanted to reach out and hug me when I explained our circumstances, but my defenses are up and I didn't welcome more than a pat on the arm. After school was out I picked M-- up and we spent some alone time, even catching the closing performance of "Hello Dolly" at the high school. By the end of the show I'd made the decision to leave a post-it on my husband's vehicle. 

All it said was--"Ditto."

His last text, Friday, was simply I love you and I miss you. Hopefully he makes the connection. Hopefully it matters.

I know what the rules are, but it is difficult for me to make decisions without communicating with him, without knowing where he is on the page. If we're even on the same page.

I'm so sad I can barely deal. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Solo, day four

I didn't have the time to get to the library yesterday, and staff wouldn't allow me on the computer yesterday. I apologize to everyone who may have been concerned. 

To be honest, I'm a little scared. Not because I think that I'm in any real danger, but because my hits have gone through the roof and I'm not always certain of their sources. I've only given the URL to about ten souls. I'm praying they account for all 300 pings of interest in the last week.

I am once again in possession of reliable transportation. It makes a world of difference. Sleep is ever illusive, so I push through days doing my best not to give in to exhaustion.

Today my ward Relief Society held its holiday Super Saturday. I'd signed up for far more crafts than anyone should, and paid for them before I knew I was leaving. I arranged to pick up my daughters at 10 a.m. and together we joined the throng of Mormon women from our ward making holiday gifts and crafts for a couple of hours. It's so unlike me that it was quite lovely; entirely nice to abandon the reality of where I'm at in life to glue and cut and trim and stamp. We came away with one muffin tin advent calendar completed, two more in the works, and several jeweled trinkets my youngest daughter had fashioned with metal stamps and crystals. Maybe this is why women do this sort of thing in the first place--to immerse oneself in decoration and forget reality.

I picked up my youngest son and between him and the three of us girls we stormed Deseret Industries for a pair of dress slacks for my boy, a coat for L--, a lengthy phone chat with my mom, and an NIV Bible for one of my sister refugees who is Southern Baptist and was stranded here by her husband with absolutely nothing. Of the two spiritual confirmations I received today, the fact that she needed that Bible was one of them.

Once that task was completed I finally got to making dinner for all the women and children staying at this location. M-- worked on an acrylic  portrait of me, L-- played with the babies, and B-- was himself in his private world while I put together two pans of chicken enchiladas (my specialty at home), a green salad, and a barge of a bowl of grapes. Talk about warm my heart. Seeing the kids dig in, and hearing the women mmm-ing and aw-ing as they did. I told them I'm up for it whenever they like. I even take requests. This evening, no matter how small, I made a difference in the world of people who are stressed and somewhat frightened and entirely unsure what the future brings. Tonight this location felt like home.

It pained me to drop off my children, but I'll be back tomorrow morning to get them for church. We'll see how well I can orchestrate that. I'm nervous. I'm not going to lie. My husband texted me midday yesterday, just to say he loved and missed me. Today, he hasn't texted at all. I haven't spoken to him since he stormed out of our house on Tuesday morning yelling that I was a child, over-reacting to his belittling mistreatment by crying, and that I was damaging my son by holding him and protecting him from the shouting and anger. 

B-- told me tonight, "I know what you could have done different. You could have just let dad take me to school, instead of telling him that you would do it when he was yelling."

My mom says B-- feels he's at fault since he wanted me to take him.

So tomorrow, should I run into him, I really don't know what I will say or do. I can't return. Not until he has accepted that he needs help, until he's received that help, until he has changed sufficiently that it is no longer an emotional threat to me or my kids.

I tell myself that if he is willing, I can wait. I will too. I just pray that I get the chance. I'm praying for miracles.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Solo, day two

I'm together on the outside. I even had one of the kids here ask me if I'm staff. 

Inside, it's a different story.

I miss my husband. He texted at 3:20 a.m. begging me to come home and talk, to fight for our marriage, that he was sorry for hurting me, that he can't nor does he want to do this without me. Kudos to the real staff who listen when I finally break down at the end of the day and level what I'm feeling. I asked the night manager how many women come here thinking that if their husbands get help and change that they'll be able to go home. She told me the answer was half, and that of those that return to their original situations none of them go home to healthy, lasting relationships.

I know what that means. I'm separated. I'm going to be separated indefinitely. I may even divorce based on whether my husband is willing and demonstrates follow through to reach out and get the help he needs.

I still feel like I'm the one who was left.

My bishop called to tell me that my husband had emailed him to find out where I was and what was up. He's only been told that I'm in a safe place and that I'm mulling over the situation, considering my options. They will meet to discuss the present circumstances in greater detail on Sunday. 

I'm still trying to figure out how to get myself and my kids to church without having a confrontation. I'll have to bring it up with staff in the morning. (I'm on the computer in my undisclosed location. Perfect considering the upcoming info...)

This day has been packed with events.

8:45-10:30 a.m. I had the root canal done. The infection was the nastiest thing I've ever smelled. Thank you, ex-dentist from four years ago.

11 a.m. I dropped off my van at a shop in the next town up. Gas leak. They brought me back to town.

Noon-2:30 p.m. I slept. I'm still physically exhausted, and it's difficult playing catch-up when I have the future bearing down on me.

2:30-4 p.m. I received an email from OAKE National Children's Choir informing me that my daughter L-- had been accepted to next year's conference in Hartford, Connecticut. I started spreading the news. By 3:30 she called to inform me that her vocal teacher at school said she hadn't been accepted. L-- and I began efforts to contact the teacher about the discrepancy. 

4:30-5 p.m. I walked to the local Coffee Shop and learned that some dear, anonymous friend had left me a $40 gift certificate. I sat and enjoyed the late afternoon light, sipping my yerba mate, and wrote a bit of poetry. L--'s teacher emailed me apologizing for the mix-up, but verified that L-- had not been accepted. I called L--'s dad with the news. He volunteered to break it to her. Because I don't have a vehicle I haven't been able to see my kids today. It's probably the hardest part of the day.

6-7:15 p.m. Group. There are tough cookies at this place. The support is phenomenal, and for the first time I felt the cracks in my "with it" exterior coming to light. Tissues.

7:15-8 p.m. One of the women dropped me off at the grocery store to purchase my evening meal. Yogurt smoothie, banana, granola bar. I have to remind myself to eat.

8:20ish-9:30 Open mic poetry back at the Coffee Shop. I read. I saw people I love. It was the best I've felt all day.

9:30-10:30 I caught a ride back to my location and got down to helping with daily chores. I'm starting to open up to the other women here. We all relate on different levels. We've all been hurt. We're all just trying to move to the next part of life as gracefully as possible. Some of us are worried about whether or not we'll go back. Some are worried about what man they'll go to next. Some are just looking to secure long-term housing. 

My biggest plan is to cook dinner for everyone tomorrow night. I'm not doing well not taking care of people. I think that's my coping mechanism. Service. Love. Being positive.

The staff all say it, I'm emotionally healthy. I have a great attitude and an honest view of the situation.

So I'm just keeping the dialogue open with God that he'll take the helm and steer this ship to port. Show me the way through the fog.

I'm hoping to get to the temple tomorrow. Even if I have to walk a mile in heels.

M--, if you read this tonight, I love you. I miss you. Take good care of each other and I pray I'll see you tomorrow. GIGANTOS HUGS!!!

G'night world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Solo, day one

I'm safe.

Where to start? I'm a the library, which seems the only place I'll be able to update SSW for the time being. I'm actually not allowed at present to disclose my housing location. Nor am I allowed to contact my husband, which is difficult. He texted at 9:30 last night asking me, "Please [Gudri] come home and talk to me. Please."

I'm glad I left. I know it was the right thing. But as is usual with domestic violence victims, part of me wants to go back.

My Relief Society President is hugely supportive, having known my husband for sixteen years and, while caring about him, isn't blind to the abuse that is his pattern of conduct in familial relationships.

Might I say for the record... Everything that my husband told me his first wife accused him of and that he subsequently denied, everything, he has also done to me. I've dealt with her on some account, and I realize there is emotional maturing that needs to take place on her side (Who wouldn't be emotionally stunted after 22 years of this treatment?), but my husband's ex is a saintly, strong woman who has sacrificed much for her kids. I have wronged her any time I may have spoken of her in unkindness. I am remiss.

That said, my heart's desire is to be reconciled with my husband. I'm not stupid. I realize that in order for this to happen he must undergo intensive, long-term individualized therapy to overcome learned behaviors that presently he will not acknowledge. He must change. Going back just enables further abusive behavior. I haven't been able to speak to him, so I don't know if this is even a possibility, or even a reasonable hope for the future. But it's where I'm at, and what I want.

What that would entail... A lengthy separation. I have resources available to try and establish housing for myself. My children are all presently with my first ex--bless his heart--and they may stay there for some time. I'm doing my best to stay in close contact with them through texts and phone calls, and I visit as often as I can. For being gone only a day, however, it feels I've been without them for a lifetime. Not having them constantly around, not having the routine of caring for them hampers my spirits. But I've taken children into houses of safety before, and while it is "safe", it is discomforting and not emotionally nor geographically stable when familiar surroundings are. So I'm sacrificing having them with me for their well-being over my own. 

Tomorrow, my first order of business once this root canal* is completed will be to reapply for housing assistance. I've spoken with my bishop who is a phenomenal support. He is hopeful that I would be able to find housing for myself within ward boundaries while I wait out the duration of the separation should my husband agree that a separation with intent to reconcile is what he wants. If he doesn't choose this option then I haven't left my husband; he has abandoned me. (Which runs in line with the emotions I was swamped with last night. It's funny. I don't feel like I am the one who's left.)

My bishop hasn't yet been in contact with my husband, so I am uncertain how my departure may have impacted the situation, for good or ill. What I do know is that I'm being encouraged not to return unless it is absolutely what the Spirit prompts me to do.

And so as friends have asked me what they can do I tell them to pray that inspiration and mental clarity will coincide and that without doubt I will know the Lord's will for me and my family. Also, if those offering prayers in our behalf would pray that my husband's heart be softened... The night before I left my family read the scripture from 1 Nephi 18 where Nephi's brothers had bound him on the ship in crossing to the Promised Land. It came to my mind last night. 

 20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their ahearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.

I sense the Lord on the conductor's block, baton raised, and a great storm brewing around my husband.

I am free to come and go as I please. I need time in the temple for reflection and spiritual refueling. I need to be there often. I also need my friends around me. If you have my number, please call if you have time available and maybe we could visit the temple together, or hang and pretend like life is normal and it's just girls getting together to be girls.

I love all of you. I feel the strength from your prayers for me. 

Someday, I'm going to be there for all of you in some way or another. These blessings do not go unnoticed.



*I don't have a cavity. A former dentist left a deep filling in my molar which has irritated and caused infection in the nerve of the root. The infection is now destroying the tooth. I'm in the beginning stages of an abscess that the dentist claims wouldn't have been detectable even a week ago on x-ray. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my brushing habits. My ward is covering the cost of all the dental work.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm leaving

I'm packing and heading to safety as I type.
I'll be in touch when I can.

Toothache and tyranny

I was up all night with pain in my jaw.

While I was up I wrote and sent this:

I’ve been laying awake, praying and pondering for hours.

I’ve decided to share these thoughts with you. It is not my intention to hurt you. I am searching for solutions and I need to be honest.

B— came to me this afternoon and asked, “Do dads sometimes break moms’ hearts?”

I was struck and asked him why. 

He said, “Because I hear you crying when you are with dad and I think he is breaking your heart. If dads do break moms’ hearts does that still mean that they love each other?”

I told him not to worry, that he is loved and all will be well.

For a year and a half, perhaps even before that, we have found ourselves in a cadence that some would call the cycle of abuse. I acknowledge that neither of us is without fault in participating in and escalating this cycle. Bishop Clark has advised me that rather than counseling he feels we need the Atonement. As I’ve thought long and hard about what that might entail I have realized that the gift offered us is not simply a request that we forgive and move on. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. Without active repentance and change happening on either side the cycle will continue. At present we are in the lull of that cycle, exchanging patience and pleasantries while tension builds before the next eruption. I bring these thoughts to you now to try and dispel that tension and hopefully address the issues before the next cataclysm.

It is no secret that I am struggling. Emotionally and physically I can’t take much more relationship stress. My ability to allow myself to trust in you to treat me well and to protect me will not return even when I ask it to. Whenever we are together I am in fear that the state of affairs is only seconds from crumbling. I am ever on my guard and the tension is taking a toll. 

I am certain your own wellbeing is suffering too.

Presently, I feel trapped in the situation. I do not see how to make the marriage better, and I wonder if walking away would indeed be the best option for all those involved. I do not feel safe expressing myself when we are together, and I do not feel you take my concerns, thoughts, feelings on problematic topics seriously. Our expectations of one another seem ever in conflict, even when we exert our best efforts conditions deteriorate, and our children are on the sidelines witnessing the downward spiral.

I have wondered many times since if we made the right decision to marry. That question is neither here nor there as we made the choice and must now answer the consequences. 

I had hoped initially for an equal, a confidante, a companion, a fellow parent, a partner in faith. I rarely feel that I am viewed as any of those things. I feel, instead, that you view me as a child and forget the strength, wisdom, and vitality that I offered you at the beginning of our union. 

As you said once, you felt you had a lot to offer the right woman. I felt the same of the right man. Anymore, I feel I have nothing of worth to give you beyond my presence at your arm in public to complete the appearance that you have your life in order, and then occasionally when you decide you want company every other weekend. Granted, I believe I have expected you to be there for me as a friend and companion far more than is sometimes reasonable or right. And perhaps I should take off my rose-colored spectacles and re-explore my life without you by my side more often. Though if I return to not needing or wanting you around, what was the point in marrying in the first place? I wonder at the words of the apostles who say that marriage can be the most fulfilling and satisfying relationship a man and woman can have on this earth. I don’t know that I will ever know what that is like as our expectations clash.

And then there is the trouble of allowing myself to be sexually, emotionally and spiritually close to you. Frankly, I no longer want it. Not from lack of love, but that the resulting desire to bear you a child is far too painful and confusing in its loneliness. I have studied, prayed, and fasted long for help, but even in the calm the Lord imparts all I am met with are stark, constant reminders that this is my role and purpose within this marriage, regardless of whether you want it or feel you need me for it. I could share scripture and prophetic counsel and point to indications that you would choose not follow, but I will spare myself further pain. The Lord has guided me to ask you again and again. I see the Lord giving you signs as well that you refuse to acknowledge. I see faith that you are unwilling to grow. I see the blessings of Abraham open and unaccepted before us. I see the restoration of Job offered to you, and I am, truly, heartbroken that you will not partake. 

Aside from the unborn, I have children who need a father, the linking ordinances of the gospel, a spiritual guide, and a priesthood leader. I do not believe it is a coincidence that when you prayed for a woman to be dropped in your lap bearing all the gifts and attributes that you requested, that she came to you physically and mentally strong, of childbearing age, with children already present who were in need of your guidance through the second veil.

Where much is given, much is required.

I cannot make this marriage or this family blending work on my own. At present it is you and your children, and me and my children, and no sense of unity even in our marriage. The lot of us are no more than roommates. I need you to join with me and actively help lead in the scripture study, family prayer, FHE, observance of the Sabbath, and peace that existed in my home before I met you. I need us to pray as a couple. I need us to study the scriptures together. I need what I believed you had offered in asking my hand in marriage. I had believed we would create our own house of the Lord.

I have hoped since day one for the healing you spoke of in your letter to the First Presidency when requesting permission to be sealed to me. I hope now for that hope to return, but I am left without recourse. I need your help to know what you want to do. I already suppose that you are either fine with the present situation as often happens, and that you believe these words harsh and ungrateful, or that you too are unfulfilled and need to be able to express your concerns and desires for our marriage. 

It does us no good not to wash out this wound, air these problems and actively work to create a plan together to correct them. There is no forgive, let go and move on without joint repentance. 

Please. Think on it.
Please, don’t be angry.
Please. Try to understand.

I found a cavity in my molar this morning. It sent him into a rant about my brushing habits. That I brush before I eat. And sometimes I do, but not every day, and never the only time that day. He scolded me like I was a child until I had crumpled and broken. I said I would take my son to school and he flew into a rage. In the door, out again, repeatedly, mocking my fear with mimicry and more taunting.

"I'm not leaving until this is fixed."

My boy was confused and afraid. I knelt over him to protect him from the yelling. Finally my husband left. I drove B— to school.

"Are you going to get remarried?" he asked.

I emailed my bishop via FB as soon as I returned home because my husband won't give me the bishop's private email unless I tell him why I'm emailing. It's only been a week and one day since my husband's last verbal and emotional tirade.

My mistake was that after I wrote the letter I softened and curled up next to him in bed. I know not to leave myself exposed like that. I know.