First Position Parallel

A modern blog

The Magical Fifth Year January 26, 2015

Filed under: Acceptance — jenniphur @ 7:53 am
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I took a week off from work in November and stayed home to sort through the remaining bins of Ex’s things. I didn’t make it through all of it, or even half, I don’t think, but while sorting it didn’t hurt as bad as it did earlier in my grieving. Yes, I would dive into folders knowing what lay inside and feel the stab of sadness, but the stabs didn’t make me want to heave or cry so hard my stomach hurt. I even got a trick folder at one point where I thought it was photos, and maybe the folder had held photos at one point. The folder took my breath away, I opened it, and it had regular papers in it. I breathed out in relief.

Little Guy and I put up a Christmas tree this year, a fresh one that I sawed down, permitted by the Forest Service. I usually dread hanging the ornaments and all the memories that go with them. Ex made some of the ornaments, and they hung prominently on the tree this year without giving me pangs of anger. I haven’t kept a ton of Ex’s personal things, reminders that brought on too many negative emotions. I’m glad I kept the ornaments.

This year, I feel like I’ve accepted raising my son by myself, and yeah, sometimes I still feel like I’m wearing a giant “W” on my clothing when I walk into a room, but I feel less frustrated and resentful by becoming a full-time mother. The situation feels normal. I still marvel at people who choose full-time, single parenthood. Overall, I’m pretty content. I love having my son every day. I love the consistency in our lives. I love living with just him and no one else. I love that as far as disagreements go, those go as far as the two of us.

I know Little Guy still misses his dad. He probably always will. Ex let Little Guy eat doughnuts and candy and Pop-Tarts all kinds of crap that I don’t allow. They had some adventures that he won’t forget. Sometimes, Little Guy and I go for drives. I take him by the houses his dad built. It honors the memory of his dad and the splendid work he laid out in this county. I hope it helps Little Guy keep his dad close in his heart.



It’s the Most Horrible Day of the Year September 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 10:18 pm
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Sing it with me! Everybody!

Five years ago today, my life changed forever. I woke up with that thought. I laid in bed and thought, ‘Five years ago right now, I found my ex-husband dead.’ The memories from that day came back. How I didn’t tell Little Guy. That I crossed paths with my roommate that afternoon and asked that she just be home. How I went home after picking up Little Guy from daycare and slapped on a smile because my roommate’s dad was in town and I didn’t want Little Guy to know what I had dealt with that day. How grateful I was that Little Guy didn’t wake up while I cried in bed in the middle of the night for I don’t know how many weeks.

I never look forward to this day every year. I especially didn’t look forward to it today because I didn’t have to go to work, as I have in years past. In some ways, I wished I had to work today. It distracts me from the sadness. In another way, I felt grateful to have a day off from work where I could cry and tear up throughout the day and pull off on the side of the road on my way to pick up Little Guy and cry so hard I thought I’d puke. I couldn’t have done that at work.

I thought today would be a double-whammy. Little Guy had gone camping with a group for bereaved children. Leading up to today, I don’t know if I found it ironic or appropriate or just plain bad timing that I’d be picking him up from this camp on the anniversary of his dad’s death. It really didn’t make it any harder to deal with the day. It still just sucked. And, of all the people who would understand, a group of widows would definitely get it if I showed up a little red and runny around the eyes.

When I pulled over on my way to get Little Guy, I stood in the rain. I let myself cry it all out. When I had calmed down, I closed my eyes and let the rain sprinkle my hot face. I told myself, “It’s going to be okay. I AM okay!” I smiled and got back in my car to continue the route.

I really am okay. Think of how far I’ve come since then as a person. Think of how content I am now with my life. And I enjoyed a whole weekend of going to the bathroom without hearing, “Mom?” midstream. Life is good.


Can’t Spit the Words Out September 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 9:59 pm
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I ran into an acquaintance this evening at the recycling center. She doesn’t know me well, but she mentioned a fund raiser going on next weekend.

I told her that I wish I could attend but that I would be away while Little Guy attended a camp over the weekend.

“Can I ask a nosy question?” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

“Are you married?” she said.

I thought, ‘No, I’m widowed,’ but the charred, ugly words didn’t come out. Instead, I said, “I’m a full-time, solo mom.”

‘Curse me. Curse me. Curse me. Just say it!’ I thought.

She related to me by saying that she has a friend who has raised a child by herself since giving birth to him. She applauded me for getting some time to myself next weekend because her friend doesn’t make time for herself. She told me to enjoy raising a child, since she doesn’t have one and doesn’t plan to at this time of her life. I told her to enjoy her freedom.

I told her how jealous I was that she went for a bike ride this weekend. I wanted to go for a bike ride today, but I didn’t have the energy.

She said she never picked up on my solo mom status and that I always come across as strong and confident. I thanked her and started to wonder what ideas she has in her head about single mothers. Aren’t we all strong women raising children by ourselves? Is there any other way to be? If she thinks that, what do other people conjure up when they meet single mothers?

I hope that knowing me will set her (and others with skewed perceptions of single mothers) straight. I hope that one day I’ll also spit out the words, “I’m widowed. I’ve traveled a long and winding road the last five years to get to where I am now. I’m in a good, content place in my life, especially when it includes a nap!”


Sometimes, my eyes spit a little. May 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 10:55 pm
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Today I woke up early, a bit before 5. I enjoy getting up then because I know I’ll have a productive morning. I had slept well, but I had weird dreams. I dreamed that I had a few things left to get from my last place in order to finish the move to my current place. When I got there to pick them up, my things had comingled with the new tenant’s things and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to separate it all. I had left a large dresser there, and she had moved stuff into it. In the end of the dream, I decided to leave the dresser behind and have words with my former landlord. And that’s about as much as I remember.  

I got out of bed and made coffee, grateful to not dream any more about my dishonest, former landlord. I’ve wasted enough of my energy on him, and he doesn’t deserve any. While I waited for my water to boil, something jolted my memory of going to court for foreclosure. Maybe it was thinking about housing and moving and how grateful I am that I have the place I have now. I don’t know what it was, but before I knew it, I was reliving the day of court and all the feelings and things I didn’t say and things I wanted to say and oh, what a day! And my eyes spat out some tears that day and today. 

I don’t talk about that day a lot. Not many know about it. I had just started my current job a week or two before in August of 2010. I received the notice from the court the day before I was due to appear. I received it on Labor Day. Labor Day marked my wedding anniversary. It would have been my 10th, if I’d stayed married and he hadn’t died a little less than a year prior to that. The day before Labor Day of 2010, I had to send our dog to Doggie Afterlife. On this same weekend, Ex’s brother and father had come to Colorado to send Ex’s ashes into the wind. They had invited me as I drove far above the speed limit to the veterinarian’s office 45 minutes from my home, okay an hour from my home, but that day, it was 45 minutes away. All I could think was, ‘Not now, I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to think about you. I don’t want me or my son around you. Our dog is sick, and I don’t know why. It’s Saturday, and the vet’s office closes at Noon. Gotta go.’

I found out the next day that our dog had bone cancer that had taken over his body. I had left him at the vet’s overnight for observation. The doctor showed me the dog’s x-rays on Sunday. Our dog didn’t come home with us.

So I went to Foreclosure Court, the day after Labor Day in 2010 with a lot of grief in my mind and body. I represented myself and Ex in our case, but I didn’t explain why I represented us both. I don’t know why I didn’t explain that. I must have thought it wouldn’t make a difference, which it wouldn’t, and I didn’t want anyone’s pity. So I faced it in a room full of strangers, myself full of shame over losing my house and extreme sadness over Ex dying the year before, the dog dying two days earlier, the relatives spreading Ex’s ashes, the would-be anniversary of my marriage. I remember feeling so angry at Ex for leaving me to face foreclosure on our property by myself.

I made it through court without crying, somehow. As soon as the door closed, I melted. The weight of my world felt heavier than a barbell of a heavyweight lifter. I melted and the security guard reassured me. I don’t remember his name. I served him lunch almost weekly for three years, and I remember his face, but not his name. I told him I had just put my dog down on Sunday. It was just so much at once. 

This morning, it struck me again at what a hard day that was. I’m glad it’s behind me. I’m glad a lot of days are behind me. I carried my French press coffee and a mug to my bedroom to make some sense out of my winter and summer clothes. I smiled a really big smile when I got there because my French press allows me more freedom than a traditional coffee pot that doesn’t travel with me from room to room. 

In my off-season clothes bin, I found Ex’s glasses. This set off my eyes to spit more tears. I reassured myself that it’s okay to feel sad. Just when I think I have made it to a good point where Ex’s things won’t set off my crying, I find out, I’m wrong, or that some days I feel less susceptible to emotion. Not today though. I kept going though, shifting things around, dancing to Christina Aguilera and Barry White.

Today, I felt grateful to have many days behind me. Today, I felt grateful that I had already cried seven rivers or more over the last five years, and that I didn’t need to make another one. Today I remembered how strong I have become. 


This. Is. Love. May 8, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 4:04 am
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A couple of weekends ago, Little Guy and I went to visit my mom. When we stay there, Little Guy and I share a bed. Little Guy LOVES this! It’s better than when I fall asleep with him after snuggling at bedtime because at my mom’s, I stay all night. I don’t get up and go to my own bed.

I don’t always sleep that well because Little Guy sleeps like a tornado. I get woken up to an elbow in my face, feet in my back or I wake myself up worrying about the bed’s state of dryness. Normally, Little Guy brings a slew of stuffed animals to sleep with in his arms. They’re as important to him as packing underwear and a toothbrush, maybe more important than that. You know the part in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where the little girl turns into a giant blueberry? I would liken sharing a bed with Little Guy to sleeping with a giant blueberry tornado because with him holding on to the animals all night, it increases Little Guy’s girth. The animals can act as a good buffer to lessen the chance of elbows and feet jabbing at me, so it’s not all bad.

The last time we stayed there, I didn’t get up right away when I woke. A few minutes later, LIttle Guy woke up and saw that I was awake. He flung his arm around me and said, “I love you.”

This is love. This is love! 

This is what I want and this is what I have. Our bond and love is strong. What an opportunity I have to raise and love my child! 

“I love you, too,” I said before we bounced out of bed to start the day. 



The Last Page March 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 10:33 pm
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The last page of one of Ex’s notebooks contained more clues about his suicide than anything else I read. He had mentioned on the first page of that notebook that he would suffer no more. On the last page, he talked about how he just wanted to be loved and could not be loved, could not find love. We had split. He had traveled overseas to meet a woman he met online who did not click with him in person. He didn’t believe that anyone cared about him or loved him.

He talked about how much pain he felt. He suffered every day. On the last page, he wrote that the moon was full, he had his gun loaded, and that his dog was the only reason he couldn’t go through with his selfish act that night. It sounded like he attempted but that the dog would whine or bark, reminding him of a reason to stay, so he didn’t do it. Not that night. 

I looked up when the lunar calendar for September 2009. We had a full moon on Friday, September 4th. I didn’t know he had prepared himself for the two and a half weeks preceding the day he decided he’d had enough of this life, that he would “suffer no more.”

It has always made sense to me that he took some excursions through the forest on 4-wheel-drive trails during the two weeks prior to his death. He loved the Fall and the colors. They don’t last long here, about two weeks in September. I only know he made those trips because of the photos he took with the camera that we shared.  

What does not make sense to me, not that suicide makes sense to me anyway, but it does not make sense that I found no mention of our son as a reason to stay.

That boggles me!

I have never understood how he could leave his own child. I know I will probably never understand it. I will stop trying to understand it. It makes me sad though. It makes me sad that he left him, us, that he gave up on a chance to make his son’s life what his wasn’t.

Our son makes me a better person because I want a good life for us. He gives me a reason to stand up for myself and for him. He gives me a reason to mother to my best ability. He gives me reason to always learn and question and wonder and dream. He makes me smile. I love him more than words can express. I can’t imagine life without him. 

Ex had also written on the last page that he didn’t want to talk to his dad because he would talk him out of “going through with it.” He did not refer to his dad as his dad, though. He used a special term to signify that expressed Ex’s regard for him in the same manner that he did when he was a child. It wasn’t foul, but it wasn’t nice. The physical abuse Ex endured as a child tortured Ex his whole life. From conversations we had, I don’t think he ever understood why his parents brought him into the world. Maybe his parents didn’t know either. They were so young!

Ex’s dad told me that at the end of the last conversation they had, Ex didn’t say, “I love you,” at the end. He just said, “Bye.” Withholding his words probably made it easier for Ex to let go, let it all go. 

So I put off reading those notebooks this long. It feels good to have done it. Reading his words has stuck to me the last two days like a layer of gauze with static cling that slowly releases. I will let go of those words, too, not forget but let go, and I will always, always, love my son. 


Of All the Things March 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniphur @ 11:16 pm
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Of all the things I got rid of during my last move, a mere 7 and a half months ago, yes, I wish I had kept one thing: the boot dryer.

Why, oh, why did I ever think getting rid of the boot dryer would be a good idea? 

It wasn’t. 

I hadn’t used it in years, three years, so it fit the criteria for getting rid of stuff. I remember giving it to the thrift store without question. 

I want it back. I have to buy a new one. 

The new one will have new energy. It will not remind me of Ex or how I planned to get him that boot dryer one Christmas. He loved it and used it every day. 

The new one will remind me to make wise decisions, such as, keeping boot dryers when you live in a snowy climate and to never, ever get rid of any kitchen item, even the candy thermometer that gets used once a year, if that. 



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