November 13, 2012: On this day, 24 years ago, I got married to Mike. Our wedding was small and simple. Our families and close friends gathered in the Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia. My father gave me away for the second time. It was a second wedding for both of us. Mike’s first wife had died of breast cancer and my first marriage ended in divorce. We were two people grasping for each other in the pain and confusion of lost hopes.
Our first two years were spent in marriage counseling as we tried to deal with our relationship and personal issues. Though our dating months had been filled with romance and happiness, our first years of adjusting to living together were difficult. We had our two children, two boys, Alex in 1991 and Adam in 1992. We bought a three-story colonial in Oakton, Virginia. We went as a family to pumpkin patches and apple orchards and Paradise Island and Hilton Head. We dressed our boys as a fireman and Dalmatian and took them trick-or-treating in a red wagon. We watched their softball, soccer, and basketball games. We took two overseas trips together, without our boys, one to France and one to England. We took our boys back to France. We had many happy years.
Sarah, Alex and Adam in front, Mike in back, in our house in Oakton, VA
Sarah gives Mike flowers after he completes a triathlon
Mike in Provence. Rousillon, France
Alex, me, Mike and Adam in Maryland
Mike and I canoeing on the Potomac River in Georgetown in our early days before we married…
Alex the fireman and Adam the Dalmation at Halloween
our wedding day, November 13, 1988
hiking in the Maryland mountains
me and Mike in Virginia Beach, 2004
in Hilton Head, South Carolina
our wedding day, November 13, 1988
In 2002 Mike lost his job. I lost my mother. Problems started. Amazingly, we rarely fought. However, on my own, as I went about my days as a full-time mother and housewife, I began to think: Is this all there is? This is it? For the rest of my life?
I felt nothing. I felt like a dead person. For five years, this feeling grew in me. Now I see it was my unhappiness. It had nothing to do with Mike. But at the time, I began to increasingly feel that my restlessness was because I was tied to him and that suburban lifestyle in northern Virginia. I needed to escape. I left.
That was 5 years and 9 months ago. We have been separated all this time. But we haven’t divorced. Why, I don’t know. Well, there are lots of reasons, many financial, but I think there is another reason. Maybe we don’t want to let go.
It’s taken a long time, but I’ve now learned that the problem was simply my own. I could never quite believe Mike loved me, even though he showed me in ways too numerous to count. Because of events in my childhood, I was unable to feel or accept his love. I couldn’t believe he could love me in the aftermath of the loss of his first wife to cancer. I felt I was his rebound and I didn’t believe I was worthy. The problem was inside of me, and I needed to fix it.
Now I’m stronger. I feel content in my skin. This is a new feeling for me and it has been hard-earned. I needed this time on my own. But in the process, I hurt a man I love very much and I don’t blame him if he never wants to reconcile. In the last year, I have come to realize I want just that. We talked about the possibility of reconciliation with our counselor when I was home this summer. Mike’s on the fence, and I can understand that perfectly. We decided that until I return home, we should work on our friendship. We should continue to date other people. Because he’s not ready. I am, but he’s not. That’s where we are.
Today is the anniversary of 24 years of an evolving relationship. I don’t know what it will be. I hope we can reconcile. I miss having him in my life, my best friend.
This quote says something I would like him to know: “It is now one of my biggest regrets in this life: not to have seen the extent of your love for me.”
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
~ George Moore
There are chapters in every life which are seldom read and certainly not aloud. ~ Carol Shields
Man is almost mad – mad because he is seeking something which he has already got; mad because he’s not aware of who he is; mad because he hopes, desires and then ultimately feels frustrated. Frustration is bound to be there because you cannot find yourself by seeking; you are already there. The seeking has to stop, the search has to drop… ~ Osho