Near enough

The bright and cheery sun failed to warm my heart this morning, as I woke up to one of those mornings when grief rules, and cannot be shifted. One of those days when I feel stuck in a bleak land, where the future looks all wrong and scary, and hurt sticks to me like a stubborn shadow.

As often happens, I ended up on the phone to my mum and dad, two deeply well-meaning people, who have pretty much always done whatever they thought was right to help my siblings and me, and have been the patient recipients of my incoherent middle-of-the night anguish, ranting and despair for the last eight months. They do not live near me, but do their utmost to be near enough, for the children and for me.

I can often read on their faces the pain of witnessing their own child’s suffering, the frustration of feeling powerless, the temptation to take over, because they surely know better, have a clearer vision, and just want to protect me. It does not matter how old our children are, we all grapple with the same limits to our power.

For all their flaws, I am blessed to have such loving parents, and fellow blogger Struggling Dad‘s immeasurable loss brought this into even sharper focus today.

This post is for Struggling Dad, who will always be his daddy’s boy

Lloyd Cole – Lost week-end:


18 thoughts on “Near enough

  1. Pingback: How much can a koala bear? | I think Divorce is likely

  2. E,

    I wrote a special thanks for your support. [I hope the URL thing works properly.]

    I kept myself too busy to mourn as long as I could today. Your kind post arrived at just the right time, literally a few minutes after I finally sat down to steep myself in this sad day.

    Our parents, with all their brilliance and blemishes, started us on this journey. I hope that you and I both can do well for our own kids in the same way. Your recent concerns about custody reflect one dimension of your care for your little ones. I hope we can both reach a point where our kids look back with gratefulness on what we sacrificed for them. I know I’m grateful for the sacrifices mine made on my behalf and you’re in exactly the same position.

    Thanks for the post and thanks very much for the song; I’d never heard that before.

    Cheers, SD xxx.

    • I hope that going back to Australia and being among your family will help share the burden of grief in a more concrete way.
      Now more than ever before, take care of yourself! xx

      • Thanks very much. I hope you’re right. As I understand it, funerals play an important part in our grieving process. Which makes me wonder if there might be some ceremonial thing we should do after a marital (or PACS) breakdown that helps us along the road to a “now is good” status that some have already reached. I’m not sure if this is a silly idea or an intriguing one…

        • Ha, this is indeed an intriguing idea…And I dare say a good one I will have to ponder. Maybe have a night out with my friends to help take my mind of the desolation when the papers come through to say my PACS no longer exists. x

    • Thank you for your support, Pat. Wretched days still come and still feel like the fog will never lift, but then it does… Hope your week goes well x

  3. This is so true. My children are now young but independant so I feel myself watching powerlessly from the sidelines: cheering them on and wincing at any setback. From having almost total control over them to minimul influence is a hard journey which we most of us will have to take

    • Yes, my own kids are still little, but already I cannot protect them from everything, such as the dreadful eight months they’ve been through for starters…And I can imagine how as they grow, I’ll be doing more and more of the wincing from the sidelines thing…

  4. The bad days still take me by ‘surprise’ I don’t see them arrive. They appear from nowhere and envelop. The surreal nature of what’s happening makes me blink.

    But these moments are getting further apart and they will for you too.

    Hugs and I hope your day improved!


    • Caroline,

      A very interesting comment of yours… it’s odd how bad days appear out of nowhere. Sometimes it’s a situation that’s uncomfortable, a smell that lights memories, or just some bad luck. Sometimes it’s a run-in with the ex, an innocent snipe from someone that hits home, or the accumulation of little things.

      Glad to hear they’re more infrequent. That sounds promising…

    • Yes, I think both of you are right, they do take you by surprise and get triggered by the most seemingly insignificant things. The obvious ones are anniversaries, milestones, and then there are tiny reminders of what was lost, smells,places, experiences, tiredness, in my case missing my children…
      They are already more infrequent but what I find surprising is that they still hurt so much. x

      • being secure with my feminine side…the immediacy of a “bad’ moment that comes out of nowhere still shakes me. Tonight it was just my son saying that he hopes I’m a coach in his dugout for the next baseball season so that “he can hug me” if he feels like it. As I was in public I had to reign in my reaction but I was touched, thrilled…and then thrown into deep sadness at the loss of all the promise of my family.

        “It does not matter how old our children are, we all grapple with the same limits to our power.” ….. every day I find those limits butting up against me. I can not protect my son from the snake his mom is with. I could not protect my daughter by making sure her source of security (my marriage to her mom and us as her “stable” family) remained intact. Emotions trump logic here.

        I remember the joy on my Dad’s face when he saw that I had found X. For the first 37 yrs of my life (yes I started when I was 1), I was a serial dater. X entered my life and until the breakup, I never dated another woman…even after we just started going out. My dad lived to see us married and died 4 days later. This was the first big event of our married life. But…he died seeing his oldest son in absolute bliss and I’m glad I could give him that.

        • I’m so glad to hear that your dad was able to see his son happy and embracing family life.

          But the best bit in this is that you will get there again. You’ve done it before, you have that ability to be happy, to accept someone in your life and to embrace the ups and downs of mariage. Not everyone has this ability, so you are lucky to be one.

          I cannot pretend to know you, but I have a certainty that you will find happiness again.

  5. Thank you for sharing Lloyd Cole – one of my favourite songs. I can certainly empathise with your dark days. My divorce is long in my past but I remember during dark days feeling that so much had disappeared from life. Divorce it seems seeps into every crevice of life. One of the things that made me sad was music, I found I couldn’t listen to it during this difficult emotional time. Music it seems touches the soul and mine was too battered and torn to cope. Then I remember being in the kitchen cooking and feeling the need to put some music on – things had moved on at last. They will for you too.


    • Mmmm, here comes the how long is a piece of string-type question, but how long was it before you put that music on again?

      I agree with you though, music has this funny way of going through me and summoning emotions…

      Good luck with your job hunt! x

  6. Thank you Lady E my shoulders are squared and I’m meeting my job hunt full on.

    As for the music and feeling a bit stronger I think it was about a year before I could fully appreciate that I was feeling better. I had been married for about 10 years and my divorce was really messy (are there any other kind). I think I only started to feel better when I could honestly see that despite all that was going on there was still joy in my life to be cherished and I felt strong enough to let the things go that I missed and yearned for (that I knew were no longer part of my life). Things moved on and I made new friends (lost many as a result of my divorce – but hey they probably were not really too friends, but that was really painful). I remember truly feeling as though I had jumped off the cliff. It takes a while to land on level ground but when you do I promise there is a foundation for you to build from. Be kind to yourself, you will get there.

    Interestingly I note that as since I’ve embarked on this creative writing class it is the strong memories from this time that seem to dominate my writing – it’s interesting to reflect on it all now many years later.

    Cooking was my de-stresser (still is, somedays I could cook for Scotland!). I used to keep a little box beside the cooker and when I was overwhelmed by some emotion or another – or even a bad witchy thought of something I wanted to do to right a wrong I used to write it down and put the emotion/thought in the box. Every now and then I would open the box. I discovered that many of the things I had written no longer were part of or applied to my life and I would throw the little bits of paper into the fireplace. It was a simple but effective way of reminding myself that even when I didn’t feel it I was making progress. Anyhow I pass this on to you as something that helped me.


    • Dear Jacqueline,
      Thank you for the inspiration, and thank you so much for the great tip! What a fabulous idea, I shall try it out and report…
      Fingers and toes crossed for your job.

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