Five Years of Blur and Two Timelines

Fortunately, my daughter-in-law remembers everything because the last five years, for me, were a blur. I’ve worked two jobs most of the time and three jobs a lot of the time. When I finally got a full-time, benefits, paid vacation days job, I slowed down a bit. Enough to notice that I really couldn’t say what had happened in my 1/2 decade.

I knew the big stuff. My husband left for a woman he said God gave to him. God confirmed the gift of this woman through a Scripture verse and a dream, according to my ex. (The good thing about somebody saying something like that to you is this: 1. You entertain the notion that perhaps God did exactly that. After all, God can do whatever God pleases. And, if he did give your husband a new wife, well then you’re left speechless regarding the matter. 2. You look at your husband and think, dear God, you’re insane. Which again, leaves you speechless. Likely the only time I was speechless during our divorce. So, there’s that.)

What I couldn’t do was fill in the day-to-day stuff, or the traditions. What had my family done, say, last Christmas?

My daughter-in-law to the rescue. She helped me fill in the gaps from holidays to my own daily life. She remembers every stinking detail, but she also cares, and that’s huge for a daughter-in-law and for a young mom with gaps of her own to fill in.

She helped me make a timeline. I am floored when I review it. Some of the highlights: New job, new home, new friends, new town, new church (that’s a lie, still no new church), new hair, new clothes, new dog, new furniture, new car, new, new, new.

The lowlights: My dear Donna getting brain cancer and dying. This July, it will be a year. I still don’t know how to think about that. My mom dropping over dead in her home, alone, three years ago in July. I still don’t know how to think about that, either. My brother-in-law dying unexpectedly, another dear friend and teacher of my children, an uncle, my father-in-law, all have died. I suppose you never really grow up until both parents have died. I can say I’m a grown-up now.

Big highlight: Two more grandchildren were born, and now I have three completely adorable granddaughters who will one day rule the world for good.


I went on a trip to California for 10 days, and it completely cleared my head (for ten days). I should do that again. I went to the Keys for 9 days with my grandchildren which did not clear my head but was a blast. Moment-memory making stuff.

Oddly, I spent time with all my old boyfriends. Not because I called them up, mostly because I ran into them. I feel certain they all breathed a sigh of relief after seeing me at almost 60. Likely, I am no longer the one that got away. And, maybe they aren’t for me either, now.

I spent a ridiculous amount of money establishing this new life, but it was necessary.

I have been doing life these past five years with a determination and defiance that astonishes this introvert. Where did all that drive come from? It is amazing how quickly life can wake you up, out of your doldrums, and get you moving when money is needed to put a roof over your head and food on the table. What the ex did stings, but there’s no time to think about him and his new woman. (She’s gone now, too. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.) There’s no time to think, period. And, that is a good thing. I used to think too much.

Sometimes, reflection is good. Sometimes, reflection is paralyzing. Going through my divorce I was terrified to make a decision for fear of making a wrong one. I processed what went wrong, what I did wrong, what I could have done differently. I don’t have time for that now. Now, I am quick to make decisions because there is no time to luxuriate in the what-ifs. And, when I make a bad decision, I don’t have time to fret over it or beat myself up. I only have time to get back up and go to work. Work is a huge blessing.

I remember once, while still married and mom to little ones, I did the same thing, came to a full-on stop and wondered, what have I been doing for the last decade? I made a timeline then, too. The result, as I reviewed that timeline? I realized how much I loved my life. I wasn’t missing it because I was busy with two little boys, a husband, a home and all that entails. I was living it. It was perfect and I loved it.

The result as I read over this current timeline? I am in love with my life. There are so many people I miss, dear Donna, my parents, but they are here in a way I didn’t really expect them to be because well, I don’t watch Hallmark movies. (Okay, another lie, I do watch them, I just don’t believe they’re true.) I didn’t expect to “feel” their presence with me every day as I do. Donna’s voice is never far from my ears, coaxing me on in my faith. Mom’s sheer force of will pushes me when I’m not sure of myself. My faith tells me that I will be with them again, and, I cling to that. I am looking forward to everyone not just being in the same time zone, but literally in the same world.

I admit I didn’t expect the result to be that I loved my life when I reviewed this latest timeline. I mean, come on, I am never going to be able to retire. That alone should make me stomp my feet. But I do love this life. For several reasons. 1. It is life. I am waking up each day. 2. I have so very much to be grateful for and content about. 3. Turns out I haven’t a clue if God gave my ex his new woman or if he gave him the newer woman after her. I haven’t given it much thought, really. But here’s what God gave to me, myself. Aside from the gifts of himself, my children, my grandchildren, and my daughter-in-law, I’m one of his best gifts he’s ever given me.

Turns out it isn’t that so much has happened in my life these last five years that it was a blur. Again, it’s that I have been living my life. The life that didn’t go as I had planned, perhaps, but that is still my life. The timeline presents no theme, no plot line or thread that one can follow and say, oh this is where she came from and this is where she is headed. But it does show you that she is alive. And that is a good thing.