Storm skies, Back Beach, Bunbury Western Australia
I know I’m too busy when I’m dying for a cuppa and I’ve run out of milk. So it was on of those days when I popped into the local grocery store to buy some and I heard her voice. I walked past her while she was talking to a younger woman. It was the way she reached out and touched the woman’s arm that jogged my memory. She was someone who had moved out of the neighbourhood some twenty years ago. Our children went to the same school and were classmates. My children always liked her because she was such a warm person. I went up and politely interrupted her conversation saying, “are you X’s mum?”. As she said yes she scanned her memory trying to figure out who I was. “I’m XX’s mum”, I said. Oh! the hugs and oh my goodnesses!
She tells me she has moved back to the neighbourhood alone. I must have looked concerned, “Oh! don’t worry”, she adds quickly, “he didn’t die!” We both laugh at the black humour. She tells me her marriage of 40 years had ended. The children had left home and have their own lives. She had been a stay at home mother. One day she realised her husband had not addressed her by her name in a decade. It saddened her. She called it quits. They were just treading water. She said wistfully, “I wish I had seen the light earlier”.
People stay in defunct relationships for different reasons. Fear, often, is one of them. The fear of being alone, of never finding someone else, losing financial security, the impact of divorce/separation on children and extended family, of upending the status quo that has taken years to create. I can relate to all of this. Leaving was not easy, especially when holding the hands of little children. But despite the darkest clouds that hung around for years, there was a silver lining.
I found my faith grew stronger. I no longer talked about it. I lived it. I found compassion for others I never knew I had.
The lens through which I viewed life was softer around the edges. I found joy in small things every day.
I no longer wanted to change others. I sought to change myself. I found the more self-accepting I became, the more others accepted me for who I am. I wish I had seen this light earlier.
Until next time
a dawn bird
In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Light