Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thank you and by George I think I got it!

First, thanks so much for so many of you posting to Robin, who needed to know she isn't alone. It was heartwarming to see how much people care.

So I'm reading this book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, a story about a divorced woman who goes on a trip to find herself or, as she calls it, One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.

I absolutely loved the section on Italy (being Italian myself and loving Italian food) and I was a little concerned that I really wasn't going to get into the trip on India (it moves a little slower), but last night Elizabeth hit on the big one for me. I recognized myself in various parts of her book...someone who, at times, wanted to run away from her current existence, someone who was looking for answers, someone who didn't recognize herself sometimes. I was, and at times still am, that woman. I would say that going through this journey really forces me to think, at times when I don't even want to. I have had to think about why, when I finally got everything I really wanted in my life -- a husband who cares about me, kids, and finally my freelance career (I had been freelancing, but I was finally at the point where I could go at it fulltime instead of part time), things had to change.

I know many of you wonder this too. In the beginning, I swear I was never one of those people who said, "why me?" I never (really never) thought this happened to me, it happened to my husband. He was the one who got things taken away from him, especially the children. He was the one who didn't have his life anymore. He was the one who couldn't touch or see (from what I know about life right now) the way we could before. Yes, I lost my spouse and my husband, but I'm still here with my kids, the number one treasures in his life and I felt like that wasn't fair and it wasn't fair what happened to him. I even remember when he died, turning to my mother and saying, "I want to talk to him. I want to tell him what just happened to him." That made no sense whatsoever, but I said it because this was about him, not me. I knew he would lead me to carry on, but who was he leading? I felt lost...

I have never been the same. I still have my same sense of humor, still have my same caring, loving (I think anyway) sense about me, but I'm different. There's a hole in my heart the size of the universe that no one will ever fill. Yes, I date and as a matter of fact, I have had very strong feelings for someone else (no, it didn't work out, sorry!), but that hole will always be there. I just learn how to live with it.

So back to Eat, Pray, Love. I'm reading this part about how, when she's in India, she realizes that she doesn't like change and when she was about to turn 10 years old it really bothered her that she was turning double digits (haha, it bothered me too!) and that it means from that point on, everything will eventually die. Her high school sister will die. Her parents will die. Everything will end. She'll get old and die. It just hit her. And she said that she wished at that time that she could have a stop button, like the one on the trains, that she could hit and everything just froze and that she could have time to understand it all.

And I got it. That's what's been bothering me. I've had no STOP button in my life. As soon as Jeff died, life went on. I had diapers to change and babies to feed and work to do and things to accomplish and crying to do and plans to make and people to talk to and food to eat and not eat and blah blah blah blah blah...STOP!

What the hell just happened? I just want to stop and say that. I felt gyped (jipped?). I felt like the times I was supposed to have with my kids were supposed to be fun, and while many were, I went into this robotic phase where I just DID to survive.

Now they are growing up. TWO of them are as tall, or taller, than I am. One is in high school, one in junior high heading to high school and my baby refuses to let me push her down and keep her a baby (LOL, that's a joke).

For those of you who are going through this you'll understand what I want to scream for the world to stop and for you to be able to understand or deal with everything before it continues. For those of you farther along, you know that can't happen.

So life has become learning how to cope with today -- no stop buttons, no do repeats. I have learned many things from Elizabeth, but this one was a biggie. I KNEW it, but I had to have it hit me. THAT'S what I felt all those years. Like I wanted my own stop button. But like Elizabeth, I'm figuring out that I need to enjoy the here and now -- even the little things -- because once I put them to bed at night, that night won't come again and I want to make every day the best I can.

It might sound like I had an epiphany and that's not the case, but when you realize that what you've been going through is normal, that everyone wants the world to stop every once in a while but it can't, it might be alittle easier to deal with what comes next. I've already tried to make lists of what i want my life to be -- what's important and not important, what do I really want to accomplish and what is just not worth fighting about. Life is short. We know that better than most. And Elizabeth has slowly started to show me that life is good and that I can be happy. I've known it and the last few years I'm trying to figure out how and thanks to her (and my great friend Meg!) I'm beginning to realize how I can make it happen. Jeff would be proud!

I can't wait for the section on Indonesia! Time to go back and start highlighting and underlining the parts that meant so much to me!

Has anyone else read the book?

Until next time,


Meg said...

Thank you Lisa! You are a great friend to me too. Eat Pray Love is a wonderful story, a resource for those of us going through changes in out lives that may not be prompted by the best circumstances -- being widowed or in my case divorced -- and a book that you can find new wisdom and solace in each time you read it. I read it when it first came out, when I was newly separated, and just finished it again, because you were reading it and I knew I needed to go back and reread it again, now that life is different. Thanks for the shout out and for reminding me of this fabulous book. Meg

Jen GG said...

Thank you Lisa for that word, stop. Such a simple word, and exactly what I've been searching for the past year. My husband John and his best friend were driving home from work Jan 28,2007 at 1:30am when they were hit head on by a drunk teenager. Both killed instantly. The police came to my door and my life has not stopped. Our children are 10 and 6 now. Everyone says how "lucky" I am to have the kids to "keep me going". They do keep me going, but sometimes I need everything to STOP !!! Bills, paperwork, phone calls, children fighting, homework, housework, cleaning up toys, etc.... Robotic is the right word, everyday I just do. Every morning I wake at 530 and say "Today is a new day. I'll learn from yesterday." Today I wont sleep all day or today I wont drink or today I'll workout. I try to do the right thing, but it is soooo hard and lonely. Thank you for your website. It makes me feel like I'm doing okay. Jen