Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick's eve and croppy holes

It is fitting that the post be on the eve of St. Patrick's Day.  It's been a hell of a year.  It's been a hell of a ride. 

It really has been a long strange trip.

St. Patrick's Day gets me thinking of Republicanism (of the Irish and certainly not the American kind).  A drive everyone a bit crazy playing Irish music in March.  But hell I'm the boss. 

One song, "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" has come to the fore this year.  For the more literary minded Heaney has a poem in Door into the Dark called "Requiem for the Croppies" that speaks the same incidents.

After dying in the struggle, the United Irishmen were buried in unmarked graves by the English.  The next year though barley or other grain would appear where the unmarked graves were.  The rebels often would carry grain in their coats as rations. 

The barely signified two things.  One was to mark the grave.  The other to show that in the midst of death life can spring up unexpectedly.  And in remembrance give hope for a better future.

Now I've not spent the past several months on death or the sadness.  Rather I am amazed that I am doing so well.  C and I get along quite well.  We went out the other night to the symphony to celebrate her birthday.  The kids all seem to be doing okay as well.  Certainly, they have had issues, but nothing compared to where I was at the same ages.

More importantly, I don't spend a good bit of each day wishing that I would or planning how to die.

Life has sprung up well.  Certainly it is like the wind though the barley.  There is a bittersweet remembrance followed by immense gratitude for the life that has sprung up out of a croppy hole that I thought/feared would be an inescapable abyss.

I think it's time to end the blog. 

I'll leave it up for folks on the journey to see.  The journey is a hard one.  But it is not undoable. 

Don't do it alone.  Those were the darkest times when I kept it all inside.  "Reach out, touch faith" you are not alone unless you choose to be.  There are a fuckload of us (mixed orientation marriages) out there. 

You aren't alone


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy fuckin' anniversary

A week. An eternity.  

It's been a week now since I've moved out.  I spent much of yesterday with at least a few of the family.   The middle child it turns out is not taking things well.  

The apple doesn't fall far from the dysfunctional tree.  She is like me in keeping things bottled up.  We have connected her with the help she needs.  

Yesterday was particularly rough since it was/would have been our 28th anniversary.   The day was rough for both C and myself.  For most of it I was down.  Especially in the evening.  As always with me depression is an all too attractive alternative.  Or likely if not attractive. 

This morning however I got up and ran for 7 miles.  I am continually amazed at the difference running makes.  The attitude shift is amazing. 

I'm watching the third swim for a bit.  Tonight C, the kids and I are going to a baseball game.   

At this point I'm getting used to the new arrangement.  My plan is to do that through mid-August.  At that point kids will be back in school.  Two big projects at work will be done.  At that point I think I'll be willing and able to volunteer some time and skill toward LGBT projects - a good way to meet folks and to do good.  I've increased my meetings with a focus on gay or gay-friendly groups.   

All in all doing okay at this point.  It's amazing how much has changed and how little has changed.  

Random picture of my new table cloth.  I think I'll have to iron it later.  

Now let's see if this posts from my phone - the wonders of modern technology ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's done, well almost

A big day today.

But first to recap.  I had intended, but don't think I wrote about Fathers' Day.  C and the kids bought me things for the new apartment - for my new apartment.  Very thoughtful gifts as well. 


The kids continue to appear to be doing well.  Given the situation so does C.  We are able to connect meaningfully.  At least when I don't hold back in an attempt to not hurt her - which of course does.

At work and church the story or parts of it have spread.  By this time tomorrow I should have filled the board of my organization - that I'm gay and that separation is imminent.  It's always interesting how people interpret events when they don't have the full story.  My more perverse side doesn't want to correct such "interpretations."  But given that one person who is a friend of C's heard only that we were separating and seriously thought she was moving on because of my stroke is sufficient not to allow that perverse nature to prevail. 

So today I put down a deposit on an apartment.  It's about 3 miles from C and the kids.  I was a mess before I went to give the landlord the deposit.  But have felt peace since. 

I still get stuck in the "I don't like how all this is working out; it's not fair!"  Sure it's not.  A lot in life isn't.  And I've had my share of good things as well - starting with that stroke that by all rights should have been devastating.  The birth of child #2 which should have been devastating and somehow was not. 

But when I can get beyond such this is still the best option that I can see.  And one that I am looking forward to.  Gratitude matters a great deal and changes a lot of my outlook.

I get the keys on Saturday.  Gas, electric, internet and tv are all set up to be connected on Saturday. 

My goals:

  1. Keep a clear head. 
  2. Keep clear communication with C.  We met 30 years ago and have depended on each other heavily for at least 29 years.
  3. Breathe.  
  4. Do things for me to get me into the community.  There's an organization that works with LGBT youth in town.  Perhaps volunteer there.  This will get me knowing more than the guys I've met at meetings and will be an opportunity to give back.
  5. Breathe some more.  
  6. Cry as needed; feel joy as needed.
Early day tomorrow.  I have to be out of the house by at least 8 to help C with a chore.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Deafening Silence

I bailed on a meeting earlier today.  A meeting aimed at supporting me.  I've been doing that a bit recently.  I've bailed on meetings, turned paperwork and contracts in after they were expected.  Been distracted at work and inefficient.  It's been worse this week since C is off with the kids visiting her parents. 

At the same time I am searching for an apartment and beginning to collect things I'll need.  I found a dining room table and chairs and leads on apartments on Craigslist.  Who knew Craigslist offered such things!!

I've been busy - out each evening for a support sort of meeting with LGBT friends or work (or both).  I was sort of planning to stay in tonight, but we'll see. 

When I'm home the silence really is deafening.  I like silence.  I have at times regularly sat in meditation for 20 minutes a day.  Something to add to my to do list.  But it is different when something is missing - the voices and the presence of C and the kids.  And you realize that soon you will miss those voices even more. 

Soon you will move away from those voices. 

Side note:  Google Images is interesting.  I searched deafening silence and got a number of images like the above.  But one of the images was the one below.  It is true.  And right now it is no easier that I have decided.  But I believe that it will become easier.  Indeed it is easier in that now I have a direction.  It's impossible to know how to get to where you are going if you don't know where you are going.

Back from eating and to work.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ceteris Paribus - all else being equal

C and I  talked with the kids Friday last.  I began in such a way that the kids were pretty relieved that I wasn't going to die of cancer soon.  C's dad is sick and I had my stroke so it's not all that far-fetched.  To be clear I did come out to them and told them that there were welcome to tell whomever they pleased, but that with some friends there could be repercussions - not on the parts of the friends necessarily, but on the part of the parents.  It is clear to us in subsequent conversations with the kids that they do understand the gravity of what is/will be happening. 

The advice we got from just about everyone was off in significant ways.  Tears and confusion followed.  We left time for questions and there weren't many.  We left time over the weekend and there were not a lot of questions.  Their world was not rocked.  One of the kids in conversation with C both hoped that she would be able to have another relationship and that it never occurred to her how difficult divorce is for the parents.

I'm not sure what we've done to raise kids with so much maturity - actually I do have a few suspicions.  But I am certainly not complaining.

That leaves me with the bittersweet task of finding a place to stay.  We've bounced a lot of things off of each other - right now the thinking is that I'll get a two bedroom apartment so the kids can be over 2-3 times per week.  I'll pop over at least once per week for a meal we'll all eat together.  The kids have requested that I should be close by.

At this point two emotions are competing with each other.  One is guilt.  The other is a combination of anticipation and peace.   I feel a peace in a way that I have not in quite a long time.  I know there will almost certainly be things that are very difficult with the kids going forward.  But since the kids seem reasonably unharmed by my revelations I can look to the next stages.  The peace and anticipation come in when I look forward to who and what I can be.

- - - - -

So after a couple of days of writing the above I feel on a roller coaster again.  The change I'll undergo in the next few months is profound.  I don't like change much; I never have.  Generally, it causes me to freeze up.  Which is what I've done albeit briefly.  I don't want, I cannot, live in the pain of yesterday for any period of time.  C noted that a lot of the pain on her part has already passed.  Yes I know and she knows that the next bit will be tough. 

That (freezing up) is not something I can afford to do.  If I do that nothing will change.  And nothing changes until I do.  If I don't change, the circumstances around me will not change.  And that will be harmful to C, the kids and to me.  It is time to again write goals down for the coming week so I can hold myself accountable. 

Most of all I want to be accountable for moving through the pain.  I noted that C has moved through some of hers.  I have been less able to do that.  I've been holding on, trying to maintain the status quo. 

I've worked hard for things to be otherwise.  But they are not.

I've tried to maintain the relationship with C and we have done well.  Ask folks who know us about our kids.  But I cannot maintain it as it currently exists.

All other things being equal we have a wonderful relationship.  But things aren't equal.  Things cannot be equal.  There is that one pesky independent variable floating around.  I'm gay. 

It is time to change, to be the change I wish to see, to honor who I am.  More importantly, it is time to go to bed so I can play hooky tomorrow to take two of the kids out. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


It's a time of transition.

Our oldest graduated from high school this evening.  She grown up a lot in the past bit.  She was going to celebrate with a friend afterward and as she was getting out of the car she said, "I love you."  She thanked us all for going to her graduation.

Unfortunately, we haven't made a big deal out of it.  Our transition has taken a lot of energy.  C is beginning to feel the reality of the pain of our impending separation.  It's made some of our conversations a bit more difficult.  It does not help that a person who she was beginning to depend on has wigged out.  The person was beginning to be able to be a replacement sounding board for C - a role that is less possible for me concerning the separation.  As much as possible we are walking this together in the same way we've done the whole process - healthfully.  I am grateful.

Our plan at this point is to tell the kids before the end of the week.  More C's timing than mine.  I tend to procrastinate such things in case that's not obvious.  C and the oldest then have a trip planned later in the week for orientation for our oldest.  Then C and likely all of the kids are off to C's parent's to visit her dad who is not doing as well as we'd like.  He has cancer.

The word is getting around.  C took it upon herself to tell my mum about the situation.  C has a good relationship with her - not telling, but one of those situations where in C's conscience not telling the whole truth is a lie.  Not telling my mum meant C was speaking to her.  I've begun to tell folks at work some of what is occurring.  Have I mentioned before that C and I work together and that I happen to run the small nonprofit?  What a tangled web? 

And while all this is happening I've begun to look for apartments.  I saw one today; I have two scheduled for tomorrow.  Getting an inexpensive one bedroom apartment that is still livable should be interesting.  Fortunately, we've moved away from Boston, NY and DC where the rental market is markedly worse than here.  I think either of the places I'll  see tomorrow could be fine. 

Not that C and I have talked about a date for moving out yet.  Contingency planning on my part.  I think we both realize that since we are doing this, it is better to do it quicker.  The hanging on is not making it easier. 

The biggest stress now is the kids.  Cameron has it right in the note to the last post.  Kids are flexible.  Not that this will be easy.  The reactions will likely get to what does this mean for me - it was when my folks got divorced.  Since  there is no drama between C and me and since we plan to emphasize our love for them, there will be a lot less disruption than I felt.  Of course I won't disappear unlike my dad.  We have a roughed out plan to continue to eat together at least one night a week. 

Once we've told the kids we'll have to do the work of separating. 

I am reminded again that contradictions can live in the same space.  I dread and yearn for that time of separation.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Good Week

But a tough one all the same.

I've been back at work full time for a couple of weeks now since my stroke.  That seems to be going well.  I seem to be distracted, but that is at least as much a reflection on what is going on personally.

I've been running again.  It's been a while since I ran regularly.  I've begun logging runs.  Time to think about a 5K.  Perhaps the one at Pride.

C and I have had a few tough chats.  A likely direction is that we'll keep the kids where they are and move around ourselves.  Some of the details of this could messy with competing needs.  I have to keep in mind that I need to be firm about things I really need and giving about things I do not, but C does. 

Most of all we're talking dates for telling the kids - early in the first week in June.  The kids start summer break and C needs to go see her dad who is sick.  My therapist has suggested we write down notes about what we'll say to the kids.  With luck we'll go over them this weekend.  Suggestions about what has worked are more than welcome :).  Most important on the list is that we still love the children, this is not their fault and we'll work with them to make this manageable. 

On my part this all feels surreal.  Great joy and great sorrow really can live in the same place at the same time. 

But I've moved on.  For some years I've been stuck in Stage 3 of  "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" in this post.  I've been culpable for walking down the same street, seeing the same pit and falling in.  But now I've avoided the pit.  And soon I will be on another street.  Perhaps Frost's less traveled path.