A week or so ago, our daughter blogged about the Pink Elephant that had been living in her house. She rightfully booted him out the door and sent him down the road.
Surprise, surprise. I think he's taken up residence here. As many of you have noticed and wondered about, my blogging juices have not been flowing recently. At first, I chose to avoid addressing here in my blog the marital break-up with which our daughter is dealing. But has it been affecting me? Ooooh, ya.
Even though my "baby" is thirty-eight years old, that baby is still the one entity I will instinctively want to protect and shield from all the ills of the world as long as I live. When she is struggling and in pain, my heart leaks a small, steady trickle of blood . . . which has apparently been traveling to my fingers and causing such swelling as to render me incapable of typing.
It takes two people to make a marriage work, but only one to end it. My daughter is not perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. (Oooops, I didn't mean to shatter the illusion.) I've watched my daughter give and support and carry the bulk of the load and do everything she could to "make things better." She would have even given up her beloved Swamp River Ridge and her dreams had she been asked. But she wasn't asked.
The crux of the matter is that she was "the last to know." When a person can choose to walk away from a commitment without having the moral fortitude to meet a problem head-on with honesty, respect is lost, at least to my mind. When that same person spills his feelings to apparently (many) random sources, but doesn't share these same feelings with his partner because he doesn't "want to hurt her," a large chunk of betrayal enters the picture. For all those involved. Even my husband and I feel betrayed.
You willingly offer all you have to give, but nothing of substance comes back. Granted, there have been issues with which to be dealt. True depression is a terrible thing. (Been there, done that. You don't have to explain it to me.) In hindsight, I can't help but wonder how much depression was involved and how much was basic lack of honesty, values and moral strength. Emotional core strength. Strong, sincere offers of help were extended not only from immediate family but from others who truly cared.
There were indications that substance was lacking. Why is hindsight so very clear? I think we simply refuse to see that which we don't want to believe. But when a person can choose to walk away from problems involving a marriage commitment without having the basic honesty to explain his feelings, whatever they may be, to the person your actions will most affect, hurt comes to all involved. If he had had the decency to come to us (let alone his wife!) and say that he couldn't explain his feelings, but this is what they were, we would have been crushed but able to understand knowing that each and every one of us has no chance of living a happy, contented, satisfying life if we aren't true to ourself.
I find it hard to excuse irresponsible behavior by saying "he can't help it," when he can explain his feelings quite well to many people, when he can make plans for the future which mean walking away from his present life with no closure or explanation before doing so. Nope, "he can't help it" doesn't do it for me in this case. There were vows broken, basic values missing. Am I being judgmental? If so, call me old-fashioned. I'll consider it a compliment.
My daughter has spent the last couple (few?) years giving and not getting. She's not had a partner to cherish her, help her, support her, or dream with her. And now this is a particularly painful, difficult period for her. She's questioning herself, wondering if she did enough. Aaah, that fine line between supporting and enabling. So hard for any of us to walk. I have the same conversation with myself (what more could/should I have done?) many times a day.
But she is one strong gal who is only going to benefit from moving on from this point. Rough days ahead yet, but she has so much to give and deserves to get so much more from life than has been the case recently. I have absolutely no doubt she's gonna come out of this in great shape.
I feel better now, and as I look out the window, I can see the tail end of that Pink Elephant slip-sliding his way down our icy driveway. Lock your doors. He's looking for a new home, and he's not a fun house guest.