What Are You for Halloween This Year?

Gusty winds arrived in the middle of the night. The morning is blustery and dark; the vivid leaves have been turned down a notch and failing survival. Our view from the living room is filled with branches void of vibrancy and color. The village crew worked hard this week carefully picking up every last leaf to clear the street; their hard work for naught.

The days in our new home have been good. Everything tangible, without exception, is falling into place. I'm still waiting for work, but not with bated anticipation. I know it will come. Our home is peaceful, quiet. Life has been easy. There are no dark corners, no crannies or nooks to clean. Everything has been scaled back. What a dream it is to have only what we need and nothing more. I wish you could see before and after pictures of our lives. What has been accomplished in matter of weeks, with help but also with determination, stamina and hard work, is phenomenal. I experienced strong losses while working with a client on a tight deadline, while reaching out and asking for help, while moving a home that had several basement rooms, a garage, and many other areas filled with years of living.

My eyes are opening to the amazing feat I've accomplished. A reader commented a while back about my bold efforts; of course I (we) give credit to God. At the same time, the old story about the person on the island who didn't hop aboard the several rescue vehicles because "God" was going to save her comes to mind. I know I did the footwork. I know I did what had to be done. I had to be honest with Oliver's father about all of it, not easy to do when I wondered if he would use it against me in court one day down the road. (For those of you who remember, I went to court with Bill and he did use sensitive private vulnerable information against me in court. Luckily I was strong enough to spin it as a positive, not get defensive or let it hurt me in any way.) Did I die? Did I end my life? No! I faced those days, days that were only a few month back as I write this! This just happened! I'm not that far out of it! I am stunned at what a human being is capable of doing in times of great stress and adversity. It occurs to me that there are far greater stories of defeat and victory. But this was mine, and it's my story to tell, chock full of events that nearly took me down.

The work I've been doing in my private moments has been stunning, garnished with answers and awakenings. I'm shocked. And the word that came out of looking at my life thus far is this:


It's exciting and sad, a story that has surpassed prior awarenesses. I have never looked at my life in the way I have recently and realized what I know now. I tend to minimize events, accept them as not so bad. I wasn't a prisoner of war or victim of repeated bludgeons. I have what people may call a normal life, normal upbringing sprinkled with bits of dysfunction. Don't we all have that?

Hidden in corners, however, are events that shaped me and made me into the woman I am today. Good and bad. And this is my story to tell.

I haven't told it yet, and I'm not sure I will here on RP. I haven't the courage yet.

The story exists however, and it's out of the locked trunk I kept it in. There's light on it. I'm looking and beginning to understand.

*  *  *  *  *

Today I came back from dropping Oliver off at school. He was in his costume: a 501st Clone Trooper (not to be confused with a Storm Trooper I was told). We are going trick or treating this evening, scary as it will be with the cold winds blowing.

It was three years ago this week that I met Bill for the first time. We met in a coffee shop. I swore I did not want to see him again after that. He was hairy. Big hands. I couldn't imagine them on me... I couldn't imagine my hands holding onto him, caressing his neck. He didn't smile. He cracked a stupid joke at the coffee counter and I was embarrassed. He looked at me thru eyes of fear, a little boy hidden in a grown man's body.

He asked me out for a second date as he walked me to my car. I told him I wasn't sure, buying myself more time to find the courage to say no.

As I drove away he texted me. Wow. That was all he said. I knew I looked hot for our first meeting. Boots with heels. Long hair. A slight 130lbs.

No. Not my type. 

In a way I wish I would have listened to that small voice inside me.

I took my son trick or treating 3 years ago as I am doing tonight. I was high on love and low from disappointment.

Today I as I walked out of school there was a clamp around my heart. It was aching again. Holding in what felt like an immense amount of emotion, I busted open the doors of the school and headed to my truck. Home. I sat in my truck outside my home. I was hurting. It's peaceful upstairs, I told myself. Go. I headed up. The emotions had been building and they are difficult to recognize when I have tasks to perform: Oliver's homework, dinner, bath, story, brush teeth, bed. Andrea time. Oh man I'm so tired! Sleep. Wake. Coffee. Breakfast. Pack lunch. School. Need more coffee. Bye Oliver! Leave school. Crap, anxiety. Why is it here? Oh, Bill. He's with someone else. He's giving his love to someone else.

The clamp... the dam holding it all in was intensifying, getting worse. More coffee. I want more coffee. Shit. That's it. I can't anymore. I can't hold it in anymore.

And the sobs come out in my kitchen releasing a wave of hurt, betrayal, grief, pain. Crap. If people knew I was still crying, what would they think of me? Oh God this still hurts. Bill probably has no idea how I'm still hurting. He's not anymore. Oh, wait. I bet he misses me. Oh wait. He'll never want you again. After what you did? He hates you. I'd hate him if he did that to me. I'd think he was crazy. You were crazy!

*  *  *  *  *

There's the mind of a woman who is torn, still dealing with rejection and loss. The multiple facets of this phase of my life: shame for how I handled the break up. Amazed at how well I handled the move and the two court dates. The courage I had to do just that. The footwork that I was able to do. The reaching out and humility it took to ask for help. And the depth of pain I still feel for the loss of a man that I thought was my soft place to land. Turns out he was not what I thought he was. Or was he? And would I take him back in an instant still? It would be hard to say no to him.

My reading the other day was spot on. I feel resolve in so many areas of my life but not this one. Not the Bill area. Not the break up. Not the betrayal. I hear Bill's version. My version. Your version. None of them coincide.

The Hardest Lesson

Wait and you shall realize the Joy of the one who can be calm and wait, knowing that all is well. The last, and hardest lesson, is that of waiting. So wait.

I would almost say tonight "Forgive Me, children, that I allow this extra burden to rest upon you even for so short a time."

I would have you know this, that from the moment you placed all in My Hands, and sought no other aid, from that moment I have taken the quickest way possible to work out your requests, and to free you.

There is so much you have had to be taught — to avoid future disaster. But the Friend with whom you stand by the grave of failure, of dead ambitions, of relinquished desires, that Friend is a Friend for all time.

Use this waiting time to cement the Friendship with Me, and to increase your Knowledge of Me.

Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20
From 365 One-Minute Meditations: God Calling edited by A.J. Russell. ©2008

Please send me your good thoughts, prayers and support. Some days I hurt more than others. I can function; I can put a smile on my face, my own Halloween costume: Andrea is Doing Fine and Moving On. (It's a very pricey costume, and socially acceptable too.) But the pain – silent – is constant and a reminder that he is loving a woman. And it's not me.


  1. I believe resilience doesn't just pop out of nowhere. You nailed it - it is work.

    I am sending good thoughts to you and prayers for you. Every one of us is wearing some variation of that costume, for various reasons. With God and each other, we'll make it through. The meditation is right - waiting is the hardest lesson of all. But a lot of the time, that's the only thing we can do.


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