I took this photo many years ago when we were still living in northern New Hampshire. I happened to notice the sunlight coming into our tiny bathroom window, and ran to get my camera. Balancing one foot on each side of the tub’s edge, I snapped this photo because the scene absolutely spoke to me.


Later, when I got it printed, it moved me even more. That tree was me.

That’s me – that tree, standing there alone – exposed to the elements, with nothing (or no one) for shelter.

“But she wasn’t around, and that’s the thing when
your parents die, you feel like instead of going
in to every fight with backup,
you are going into every fight alone.”
Mitch Albom, For One More Day

More firsts. (edited)


Friends have told me that the “firsts” will be hard to deal with.  The first birthdays, the first holidays, etc.

I’m not bothered that I’m “alone” for the holidays – i.e. I’m not in a romantic relationship with someone.  If truth is told, Chompy and I hadn’t been in one in several years.   We were in the same house, but we weren’t of the same heart, same mind.  We didn’t sit down on Christmas Eve, after the presents were under the tree, kids tucked in bed, and appreciate each other and the holiday together.  We went our separate ways, to our separate beds, to wait for the morning.

What is already weighing on my mind is that I will be physically alone on those days, without my kids around, for a portion of those days.

I will be left alone with my thoughts, memories, and broken heart.  

That’s the bad time for me.   Left alone to re-think all the things I did wrong in my broken, heart-breaking friendship.  Time to imagine how Chompy’s life is now, how his relationship is obviously so much better than ours was, and how he gets a do-over, and I don’t.  This past weekend, he picked up the kids for what was supposed to be them raking leaves.  When he showed up, it was them and she was driving.  My oldest had already left for the day, and so I was left alone, physically, in my house.  I tried to keep the tears at bay, playing my game, listening to music, doing some stuff around the house.  I cooked a little bit, but mostly, my emotions just took over and I couldn’t stop from imagining them one of those picture-postcard days of romping in the leaves, everyone smiling and happy – with MY children – while I sat here eating spaghetti & crying.

Because he never gives specific times, I couldn’t really go and do anything. He controls me even now.  “I’ll drop them off by or before 7pm.”  He dropped them off at 6:58.

The last time I wasn’t home when he decided to bring them home, he took them and dropped them off at his parent’s house, a place that I do NOT want them.  I HAVE to be here when he deigns to drop them off. And no, he did not text to let me know he was on his way back with them on Sunday.

So I will be alone on this first Thanksgiving in my new life.  I will be alone on this first Christmas in my new life.  I will be alone on this first New Years in my new life.

I don’t know HOW to do alone.

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is
the most terrible poverty.  ~Mother Teresa


In reality, creating a new normal for myself and my kids wasn’t nearly as hard as I feared it would be.  That fear had kept me from acting on what I knew, in my heart, would be the best move for us.  The act of leaving.

I’d thought about leaving for years. I’d been encouraged by well-meaning friends and family to leave for years. I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to spend another year hating my life. But going through that door into the unknown scared me more than the reality that I already knew.

What I did not know was that my children’s reality was vastly different from what I had assumed.  I did not realize that they knew what was going on.  I did not realize that they were being victimized as well.  I did not know that they were ready to leave too.

Him being the catalyst for getting us out the door turned out to be a good thing, because it is something I probably never would have done.

I don’t hate my life anymore.


The way with which my 8 year old son that certain words stays with me long after we’re finished with our conversation. Yesterday, he asked me “mom, I’ve actually been thinking about this for like 5 days now. I  was wondering what happened to Dad.”

Given that he and I don’t talk about his father very often, I took a deep breath and tentatively asked him what did he mean. He said “well I’m just wondering like did he move away or where is he.”

The fact that my 8 year old should even wonder where his father is makes me sad. 8 year olds should be playing ball or going to scouts or building model airplanes with their dad.  They shouldn’t be wondering where their father is, a man who lives in the same town less than 10 minutes away. Nor should they look forward to visitation with dread, and regress to bed wetting when they spend too much time with their father.

Their father hasn’t contacted me to see them neither on his regular days or any day in almost 2 weeks. For the entire month of October, he has seen them approximately 3 hours. In two days time, I will again return to Family Court while he and his lawyer attempt to get child support lowered because it’s causing a financial burden on him. Meanwhile I care for our children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without a break, without a date out with friend or someone special, or an event of any kind. I do this not only out of my own sense of obligation as a mother to my children but also out of a sense of decency because I’m raising people, not pawns. Yes, my children are told sometimes that we can’t afford to do something or buy something or go somewhere, but my son is now weeks dry. My children have not returned from their father’s house in tears nor have they waited for him to pick them up only to cancel at the last minute. We no longer dread visitation days because they simply do not occur.

On Wednesday, I will again inform the State’s attorney that we do not have a parenting plan on file with the courts. The parenting plan that I was browbeaten into accepting back in July still not been filed with the court by his attorney and so apparently he feels no need to adhere to the visitation that he insisted on. I have since given up feeling frustrated that he doesn’t show or that he refuses to spend time with the children that he confesses to love so deeply that he’d rather die then be apart from.

Actually, my littlest boy, I just can’t believe that he has turned into this kind of father.

Words can’t always heal

words1My heart was recently – absolutely – shattered by someone I never expected to do it. One friend flat-out said “I don’t know how to help you” – another just didn’t answer the phone or texts.

Telling someone who has lost someone – that it’s for the best, or that you are better off, or – in the case of death – that they’re in a better place – causes MORE rage. It does NOT help the person who is mourning that loss.  It makes them feel even more alone, isolated.

While this began as a response to a facebook post by someone who was discussing how to help someone who’s lost someone, I realized that it’s a subject too close to my own heart to merely comment on something that will soon be gone.  I don’t KNOW how to comfort someone whose heart has been shattered other than reciting the same cliche’ responses other people have.  NOTHING and NO ONE can make the hurt go away.

And it sucks.

an innocent question

“Why didn’t you say something?”

My oldest younger brother asks me this as we sit at his patio table, eating and enjoying a spectacular New England day.

It would seem he’s forgotten that for the majority of my youngest son’s life, until 2 years ago, he, his wife and their whole family, had disowned me.  Our mother’s death had brought us back together, but until then, there’d been zero contact in nearly 5 years.

The abuse had been going on much longer than that, but had gotten truly out of hand almost 5 years ago.  That’s when he took off the mask he’d been wearing that portrayed him as a loving, caring partner, father.  That’s when the cheating, lying, ego maniacal control freak stopped pretending.  That’s when he declared that he was done living “for other people” and was only going to do what felt good for him.

What would I have said, if I could have?

“Help, he’s being a jerk.”

“Help, he’s being selfish.”

“Help, he’s cheating on me but I can’t prove it.”

“Help, he’s cheating on me and I can prove it.”

“Help, he’s mistreating the kids, and I can’t make it stop because it’s so covert.”

“Help, he’s trying to make me lose my mind.”

“Help, this is not the person I once knew and had spent 14 years with.”

“Help I hate my life and what I’ve become.”

“Help, I’ve thought about just ending it all to escape the pain.”

What is the politically correct way to say “THIS ASSHOLE HAS BROKEN ME”?


Note:  I originally wrote this shortly after returning from a trip to Rhode Island and visiting my family.  I’ve not published it for who knows what reasons, but now I am.  If my family reads it, please do not be upset with me.