Dear friends. I’ve waited to write a bit until I felt a little more settled, had a little more perspective. Truthfully, I’ve struggled a bit being on my own- or at least away from Tom and the girls. I live with the most lovely, generous and caring people. But of course, I miss my family and the connections I have with family and friends at home.
In particular, disease and trauma can be hard on a marriage as it is. To add distance, a time zone change, and single parenting to the mix…well, it has us tumbling head over heels down a steep hill. It’s hard. It’s sad. It’s taxing and we are both struggling.
I find I do much better when I am distracted and busy. It seems like that would be an easy target to hit in a big city like seattle. However, this is an expensive city. Everywhere I go costs more than I can afford. At the end of the day, I was spending a lot of time just wandering, trying to outrun the aching sadness that was eating away at me. And really, it wasn’t working.
I dissolved again last night when talking to Tom. Everything has been so hard for us this year. Cancer, finances, parenting through trauma and trying to share this very stressful and too often isolating experience together. Everyone expects that you would go through the hard times like magnets- drawn to each other by the intangible pulling forces of fear and safety in numbers. Instead, I believe it is common for a marriage to fracture deeply through the hard times.
There were cracks to begin with, of course. That is the nature of any long term committed relationship, even the best most successful ones you can think of. But the extreme pressures of illness and its nasty tagalongs of uncertainty, financial stress, physical setbacks, etc. expose the weak spots. The weakest part of you and your relationship are subject to constant assault. It can be hard to get your bearings let alone find the space for true connection. You hunker down so deeply in survival. It’s a bunker that really is only built for one sometimes.
Then there is more grief to be had. The light, carefree, unencumbered people you used to be are gone. I do believe now that they return, and that someday Tom and I will be able to rest more easily in each other’s arms. But for now, we both know and accept that we have to cautiously walk through each day. We have to have faith when it feels like there is none to be had, and we have to practice turning to each other in our times of fear and deep sadness. Somehow, despite the limited resources and the thieves of grief and suffering, we have to find a little extra to give to each other. We have to keep patching that line, making sure we stay connected and resilient.
I feel like I’m learning a lot about love. I’m gaining wisdom I wouldn’t absorb until years and years in the future had it not been for this trial. I’m learning about the slow, patient, process of commitment. How it bends and flexes around the needs and expectations we set for one another. How critical it is to slow down the panicked mind that screams “WORST CASE SCENARIO STRAIGHT AHEAD!” How you have to trust that some day, some way, this will be behind you and you will have a future together to look forward to.
A wise woman recently told me that you do get to be happy again some day, you just may take different routes to get there. That made sense to me. It quieted the urgency and sorrow I was trying to wade through at the moment. I realized that once again I have to fall on faith and patience to get us through another day. And while we still have a long road ahead, the best sign is that we are both sad and longing for the other.
Besides, we are Mazureks. We are a special brand of fight that just doesn’t quit. Even when it feels like I have nothing left to give, I still find something left for him. Not just because I need him, I do. Not just because I love him, which I also do (very much). But because he is a man who is deeply worthy of love. My commitment as his spouse is to make sure he feels that, even on the days that grind us to the ground. His well being is still my commitment and my honor to keep. So I’ll continue trying to mend my heart and his until we are back on solid ground.
Until then, my love, stay with me. Keep the faith that we will get through this, too. I cannot promise you what our future will look like, but I believe happiness will be there if we arrive together. I love you.
Give ‘Em Hell