Juxtaposition

juxtaposition

A noun. A noun that is defined as “1) an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”

Two years ago today, I began to find out that my life was a juxtaposition. Two years ago today, I got an anonymous email from someone I consider a hero who began to pull the edges off the covering that would reveal that side-by-side to my life as I knew it there was another life.

Two years ago today, I began to have a glimpse of the (current) woman who had been placed together, side-by-side to my life and my marriage that I had no idea existed. A woman that HUSBAND used for comparison or contrast and she knew it but I didn’t.

I can remember that life before knowing, but the memory is fading. I can remember that my marriage wasn’t perfect, but that it was not bad either, and that I thought it was for the long run despite challenges and dark moments along the way – actually believing we had weathered the worst. I can remember that I thought there were lots of good things about HUSBAND – fabulous cook. Even keeled (okay, at that point he was completely detached and unemotional but I rationalized that it was even keeled). Hard worker. Always returns things in better condition than he found them. Adventurous and would always take care of the cars and cheer for the same college team that I did and was gracious to my family and friends. And we had 27 years of marriage history, four amazing children, a beautiful home, a life together. Yes, we were together for the long run and any yearnings my heart had I just stuffed away because obviously they were just the things of fairy tales and youth and dreams. We had life, together, and it was good.

foodprep.JPG

I can remember walking up that specific morning…my daughter was in town and she took me off to a barre class first thing in the morning – my first one…so that day already held special meaning for me, and is memorialized with an instagram post. Then a few simple hours later, I got another first when I read the email. I will never forget where I was standing or what I was wearing or what I was thinking when I handed HUSBAND the printed out copy of the absurd anonymous email from ‘Sid Breeze’ and he told me it was true. That split second, that instant began to reveal that my life was a juxtaposition and that there was someone close together that I knew nothing about.

These two years have been the journey of me extricating the two lives and looking at both of them with brutal honesty. Of dusting off memories and ideas and thoughts and understanding the comparison of what I thought and what also was. But there is also what he thought and what was. And I can see that our life together was a juxtaposition in itself…that we lived a life together, married, yet saw things differently and just assumed the other saw it the same. Our healing journey has required that we face these things individually, and then intentionally, together, write the story of our new marriage. The story in which there is no juxtaposition because we are one.

lovers

A challenge in the process is the other juxtaposition. The one of the wife and the Other Woman, who off and on during my marriage, also lived side-by-side. The juxtaposition of the wife and the other woman. Living side-by-side but oh, so different in nature and method. That one is moving slowly…and in fits and spurts…and is a story for another post.

The Squirrel. God. Me.

Ten years ago, my youngest son was playing outside in our back yard. Suddenly he was at my side excitedly working to get my attention. Follow me, mama…you need to see something…

We went out back, and he held my hand, pulling me to a corner where our off-grade house foundation came together. There was a tiny squirrel, squawking and pressing his little body into the structure as best he could, obviously terribly disturbed by the presence of looming and large humans.

Mom…we need to save him…can we, mom?

I went inside and got sturdy leather gloves and a shoe box with a lid…and we got the poor, scared little critter. Immediately I went to my trusty source of all information, google, and quickly read about the likelihood of the age of the little squirrel, how/what to feed him, how/what to put in his enclosure to help him feel safe and secure, how/what to help him potty…

My precious boy didn’t leave my side…helped to scald the milk…said soothing and comforting things to the scared little squirrel…found all the items we needed and put them in a big box…filled the syringe with the milk…and quickly calmed the squirrel to the point that he could hold him and feed him.

Babysquirreleating3

Meanwhile I went back to google where I learned tons about wild, abandoned squirrels in no time at all. I found squirrel rescue sites and read their advice and information, and learned about the potential of re-releasing this little guy back in the wild after he was old enough. My son was completely captivated, and the squirrel seemed content to curl up in a nook or cranny of his body and sleep.

It was really sweet.

This went on for four days, with all of the family enjoying the antics of the baby squirrel and regularly talking about how and when we would release him. We each enjoyed holding him and feeding him, but it was the youngest son who adopted him for his own.

Until day four.

Day four, the baby squirrel was obviously not feeling as perky. He barely ate, he just wanted to stay curled up, and my mama heart knew we were in trouble. I went back to google, and frantically searched for some answer, some resource. I emailed several of the rescuers and tried calling a few more, leaving messages. Meanwhile, the baby squirrel was failing fast, and I held him, frantically willing him to continue living. I ended up in my living room where I have four large windows, two which look out into our back yard. Tears began to stream down my face…and I began to pray…no…PRAY…God…please God…please save this baby…I know, I know you have thousands of squirrels out there, and I know, squirrels don’t live that long anyway…but I am asking you to save this squirrel…God please save this squirrel…

Before I knew it, I was sobbing, and from deep within came this.

God…You are supposed to love us, not just “us” but me…God, please…please let me know that you hear ME…that you love ME…please God…save this squirrel…please let me know that you care at all about ME…

DesperateWoman

The squirrel died.

HUSBAND had come into the living room midway through my begging. He had stood by me, put his arms on my shoulder. I begged him to pray, too, and have a vague memory of him doing so in some stilted fashion. But even with him there, I was alone. I was alone with him, and I was alone with God. We were there, the three of us, but we were there.                    And there.                     And there.

Alone-RobinWilliams

A little of me died that day too. As the story of my life unfolds, however, it ended up not being the end of the story. In a very odd way, it was the start.