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CHAPTER I - Possibilities


   When was that magic moment? That one thought, that one feeling, that one inspiring, connecting moment, that one event which served as a gateway to what lay ahead? When was that moment, the one which lifted me from the mundane into the land of Spirit? Was there one? If so, perhaps this was it.

   December 2000, travelling to Alberta to visit family over the holiday season, my sister and I walked into the gift section of the filling station. I was captivated by the display of porcelain fairy figurines. I admired one in particular, drawn to it for some reason, as it perched delicately on a tree trunk pedestal, rising from a mossy forest bed, one leg kneeling on a limb, holding something - perhaps a blossom - in her hand, looking as though she was intoxicated by it's scent. The woodiness, the lightness, her contented expression, all seemed so appealing to me.

    As I was about to walk away, my sister asked me if I was really interested in having it. I told her it was a little pricey, and really, I thought, an odd purchase for a grown woman; but the child in me, enamoured by it, said "Yes!” My sister then said she would gift it to me. My heart sang as hearts do when something special has just happened. Perhaps that was the moment when spirit began revealing itself to me, opening that small crack in the window of my soul, allowing the breeze to enter into the seemingly empty, stifled room.

    Thirty-two years of marriage, tumultuous in nature, empty-nested, and having come to an end six months earlier, feeling lonely and hopeless, this fairy seemed to represent "Hope." The look of it lightened my heart, reminding me of my childhood, carefree and responsive to the moment, times in the woods seated with my back pressed into the base of a tree, sensing the fairies, the elves and the magic around me - or bounding across a meadow, free as the wild stallion I was imagining to be, hooves pounding on the turf, not a thought in my head except for my task of keeping my herd safe. Hope that what my reality had been was not necessarily all there was or could be. And, as I was to find out, so much more lay ahead, bringing real meaning to the phrase "there's always hope!"





   As the days following the break-up came one after the other, the pain of the past sank deeper and the need to sort out the future grew stronger. Life was lonely. Friends had been divided as happens when couples go their separate ways, some completely falling by the wayside, not attaching to either. Those first few months in the beginning of my new single life seem foggy now, steeped in sadness, doubt and mistrust, generated by a marriage that had been ravaged by negativity, anger, betrayal and emotional distress. I bore a heavy burden of guilt and self-loathing and wondering what was wrong with me for having allowed such things to happen. Later, I was to learn how this past was affecting me now as I struggled to move forward. All of those years of anguish and unhappiness were being held in a place deep within me.

   Throughout most of our 32 years together my husband seemed to be on his own path, reconnecting from time to time in matters related to family life, but mostly living his life separate from mine. Why and how this marriage had become so toxic I really don’t know. Conflict seemed to have been the prevailing theme in our relationship. Yes, we did make several attempts to reconcile our differences but soon after we slipped back into our old ways and habits, thus undoing any good that had been accomplished, and perhaps even adding to the negativities and resentments we held toward each other. We lived a life of secrets, keeping our reality – as best we could – hidden from others, seemingly to preserve our family unit and, perhaps, our own sanity. I, for the most part, held myself responsible for the situation, being full of self-blame. I knew I had internalized the responsibility for our dysfunctional relationship - as if I was the only one responsible or in control! Throughout the years, in spite of the difficulties, I felt a strong commitment to the sanctity of the marriage, even though I was so very young and inexperienced when I took those vows.

   Now, with so much pain buried deep inside of me, how could I move forward with new relationships; in making new friends, in dating, or in life for that matter? I was not able to find comfort anywhere. Workmates were kind and generous in lending me their ears; a counsellor was supportive as I spilled my feelings and emotions onto her lap, showing me these were common feelings experienced by all who go through these types of changes. In spite of all this support I continued to feel alone and isolated, clinging to the words on a wall plaque I had purchased several months after the break-up. The words read: "Faith makes things possible….not easy". I had hung it where I would see it often in order to remind myself of the potential for the future, somewhat like the essence of a fairy tale which reflects hardship but gives the promise of a happy ending. If the artist who designed that plaque and who decided on those words could only know what those words meant to me! Had the moment I saw that plaque been another moment of spirit communicating with me? In retrospect, I believe it was.

   Then a colleague gave me a brochure describing a Singles Group in a nearby city which as well as providing a new social network offered a ten week facilitated self-help group titled "Rebuilding After Your Relationship Ends." It looked exactly like what I needed - a fresh start, new people and some help in establishing myself socially. Even so, the fear of the potential hazards held me from pursuing the program. I had never considered myself to be a social person. Although I longed for close friendships, my life thus far had not produced any such potential. Childhood acquaintances had drifted away and in adulthood friendships seemed to remain superficial and short lived, attached to particular activities of life or associated with my partner and controlled by him. This left me involved with the care of our children, the home, my job and in personal health and fitness pursuits - which I embraced as they served to escape my empty life. Now, however, life had changed; children were no longer a part of everyday life and, in fact, had lives of their own, not needing any of my attention, and nor did I want to cling to them or become an emotional burden. I wondered what I would do with the rest of my life! I was at a standstill.

   As time went on the drive to begin a new life strengthened and I knew that if I was to move forward I would need to take action. One day the will to move forward overpowered the fear of the unknown. I made the phone call to meet with the organizer of the program, joined the social group and signed up for the ten week course! Fear of the future continued to permeate my very being but the greater fear of remaining as I was carried me forward. Now, as I recall those feelings and emotions it is difficult to pinpoint their source. How can something that is virtually unknown generate such intense fear? It felt like I was moving into a war zone although I must confess I've never been in one! I believe my main fear was that no one would like me and that I would fail at this social stuff. Where these feelings of inadequacy came from were to be revealed later.

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