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Life is Good

I had a tough conversation with an old friend yesterday. I hate it when my experience comes in handy, because it means that someone I know is suffering and really, no amount of experience has given me any clue about how to make someone else suffer less. It breaks my heart. I’m left with offering practical assistance and uncomfortable honesty and deep sympathy, none of which are all that helpful. Although just now, that offer of practical help panned out into an opportunity for me to hang out with an adorable toddler for a couple of hours. I might have to reconsider my jaundiced view that no good deed goes unpunished. Board books! Swings! Hooray!

My friend asked me if I am happier now. She saw me a lot Before and During, but due to various life changes for both of us, a lot less in the After. I think what she was actually asking was: Was it worth it, that whole thing where your life fell into a million pieces and your soul writhed around and you spent a lot of time staring at walls because that was about all you could manage safely?

Yes.

There is an e e cummings poem that thanks God for a lot of things, ending with the words, “for everything that is natural, that is infinite, that is yes! yes! yes! yes!” (Apologies in advance for whatever errors there are in that transcription from the Janet’s Abridged and Remembered Anthology… too lazy to go look it up.). I mean that “yes” up there in the paragraph all by itself in that way.

No apologies for what is to follow, because I have no shame. I am blessed. I have wonderful children, an ideal husband, a charmed life. I got here the long way, through my own personal brand of stupidity and it is entirely to the credit of a kind providence that I get to be here at all.

Life is good.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
shadowsmark
Jun. 27th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, indeed, your life is to be envied. Though I am quite certain that "stupidity" is not the only one of your qualities that helped you get there :).
happy_potterer
Jun. 27th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
I've been there too and it is totally worth it. After a while, I realized that what I was doing, in leaving my husband, was making the decision to turn off life-support on a marriage that was already, in the ways that mattered, dead. The grief I was feeling was a product of that loss, and recognizing that the situation was hopeless wasn't going to make my grief any worse. As it turned out, I felt vastly better after the decision was made.

I offer this simile with apologies to people who have had to make that life-support decision about someone they love. Even though those months of deciding whether to get divorced were excruciatingly painful, I'm sure even worse. But still, they are comparable. One of the things that can make both situations so torturous is that there is seldom 100% certainty. There's always that little hope that life will reawaken, and the dread of shutting off the support before it has its moment. I don't know if that speaks to your friend's experience, or your own.

I also have a marriage made in heaven and a wonderful child, and other blessings like good health, interesting work, and no financial worries to speak of. But it would have been worth it even without these vastly-more-than-compensations. Another thing that told me it was time to leave Matt was that I knew I would rather risk spending the rest of my life without a partner than stay in such an unhappy situation. Sad, but true.

Hugs to your friend.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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