If you know me at all, you know I have organized a little community around Post-Single Motherhood. I defined it in 2009 and had some wonderful support creating and publishing it. Both watching it grow and connecting with women going through the same struggles and triumphs have been invaluable for my (any day now) recovery. The website is here. The Facebook page is here. The local chapter is here. I blog on that site as well, but this week's post is a crossover into the heartstrings of my personal life, so I'm posting it here as well. Ridin' redundant this month.
I've always said that PSMing is a grieving process, and while I absolutely do not mean to minimize the actual unbearable loss of a child, I stand by my belief that being a post-single mom can, at times, be a distant second.
I had picked a really good theme for January: intuition. We'll get to it, because it is so important. We single moms transition from factual, methodical, list-making machines to thinking of ourselves as unproductive and useless. We slowly begin to think from our hearts, not from our heads, and learn how to listen to this new place, this intuition. Ah, change. Is there no end? But, I need to put that aside for a minute because I've been blindsided with a PSM trifecta and feel the need to expose myself a little related to the depths of pain we PSMers can experience. This has been one helluva quarter.
In November, a friendship of 11 years ended with a long series of nasty, name-calling, and, I need to say because I never responded in kind, incoming texts. So, my ruminating began (and has yet to end). Is the quality of my friendships so low that they can end so quickly and with such meanness and no second thought? Am I that unworthy? Am I that bad at being and recognizing a true friend? I admit I didn't have a lot of experience at any kind of adult relationship while raising my son. I was so driven, so financially focused. And, after all, and I know other single moms and post-single moms understand this: I had a best friend. My Spawn. (Poor kid.)
In December, I lost a dear friend and fellow PSMer to alcoholism. 2012 was her 5th year of recovery from Stage 3 breast cancer. She had a 17-year-old daughter who was just looking into colleges and a 20-year-old son who had recently transferred to a school 90 minutes away. She was alone over the Christmas holidays, as was I, but we didn't check in with each other in time. We were supposed to go to the movies the Thursday night before Christmas, but she couldn't go because she said the kids were coming over. Patricia was the coolest gal pal I ever had. Just cool. And inspiring and positive and supportive and so fun and funny. We clicked. I knew she was fighting a battle but really thought it was something we could overcome once she got through that initial blast of aloneness. I was wrong. I value the fact that we met through the local PSM group here in Indianapolis and that I think we were a huge help to each other her last two years here. We got tattoos together in October and had such a fun time that day. She taught me so much about empathy and patience and kindness and openness and peace and acceptance. I loved her and told her so and for that I am truly grateful. And so sad.
This brings us to January. In less than two weeks, Spawn, recently college graduated (a year early if you're thinking you lost time somewhere), is road tripping to Nevada for a year-long job as a botanist for the Bureau of Land Management in Lake Tahoe. Yes, I know, the lucky bastard. LOL. I'm ecstatic for him. And proud. Yes. Yes, I am. Yes. Definitely. But it's damn near the west coast. I'm in the midwest. I'm from the south. This is no place I've ever been before, so I feel even more distant not knowing anything about what he's going to experience. What if he gets lost? What if a cowboy wants to fight him? (He's not a fast draw.) What if he runs out of Burger King coupons? What if he gets nibbled on by a bear? For the first time, I can't get to him in a day. Of course, I can by plane. Of course. But it still feels a world away. Mostly, though, he's just gone....again. When does all this leaving stop?
I usually like to pinpoint a Stage so I can identify it, get to know it, and work through it, but I can't even pick one. Though, I know I'm not irritated or anxious, because I haven't resorted to watching Brady Bunch episodes yet. Jane Austen movies, yes, but not the Brady Bunch. I suppose that's healing and hopeful. Rehab. And talking to you has helped. :)