It takes what it takes.
Determined to do my life differently and recover my fragmented sense of self, I am grateful to be on my new journey, no matter how emotionally painful it is. Tomorrow I see Sharon, the highlight of my week.
I awake happy and I can’t wait until three p.m. to see Sharon. I have so much to tell her. I gladly get up and make coffee, skip the table, do the juicing and help Dad with some yard work, which was always something we enjoyed together. He would ask me, “What is taking you so long?” I would say back, “Because your yard is too big—that’s why. I rake and rest and sing and rake some more.
Friday is their day to go out for lunch at their favorite neighborhood joint where everyone knows your name. I used to go there when I was a kid with them. But I’m not really interested in the old crowd.
Back home Dad meets Jesse to work in the garage and Pete comes over and we talk for an extended time about intuition. I recall a scene from the movie Cocoon where the meteorite lands in a pool and makes the folks younger. That’s what this house should be called, I think, Cocoon.
At Sharon’s office I break down in the waiting room. It’s embarrassing but I feel safe. She greets me. “Come in my office, Honey.” It’s plush, serene, and calming. With comfy chairs and a spectacular view of the bay which makes it easy to be there. Soft hues of violet and lavender decorate the walls nicely. I relax as I recline in the chair. Tears flow as I realize why I am here and the severity of ending another relationship. Sharon gently asks me to tell her about Jack, the good, bad, and the ugly, and I do. Before I know it time is up but I am armored with knowledge that I am moving in the right direction. Taking care of myself and my parents, this is a good thing for me to do, let the past be the past, learn from my mistakes and learn how and why I end up in these relationships after all.
The next morning I get up super early to make the turnaround trip to Miami. Dad’s truck is a huge Lincoln and glides along the road. I am determined to listen to self-esteem CDs the whole trip trying to keep myself strong. The drive is a haze and I am still numbing out emotionally.
I meet Rebecca at the apartment and thank her profusely. Jack is pleasant and has packed most if not all of my stuff. I’m feeling grateful for that. We say hello and he is still apologizing. I firmly tell him I just want to get my stuff. I am hoping I can get as many of my things as possible to fit in the truck. With Jack’s help in a remarkably short amount of time I’m packed up and just want to get back on the road as quickly as I arrived. After that I have to let go and trust that whatever I need, will be provided. I say my goodbyes to Jack as fast as possible and hightail it out of there.
Rebecca and I go for a quick bite to eat and I let out my anger, fear, and regrets for being involved with Jack. She understands me and accepts me for who I am and does not judge me. I am so grateful for her help and friendship. When it’s time to get back on the road, we exchange sister bear hugs. What a day! I am mostly angry but can’t help but think about Jack’s good side, so wanting things to be different. I wanted this relationship to work. I wanted to be there for him and him for me. I wanted to help him after his divorce and I think I did. Feeling so confused, I just drive, numbing my emotions with loud music.
More texts from Jack arrive. I love you and miss you. You are so beautiful. If in six months you want to come back, I am here, you are the one. Oh, my God. Hope your dad is OK. I am on emotional overload. I wish I could believe him. I wish I could be mature. I wish we could be friends without me getting sucked into his drama.
More tears, more critical thinking about what am I doing? I arrive home too late to unpack, exhausted but complete. I receive more texts from Jack. I remember Sharon telling me to cut it off. I may have to change my number. I park Dad’s truck in the garage and go into the house. Mom can see the sheer emotional and physical exhaustion on my face. I am going to my room. I call Rebecca to thank her and just talk about my feelings and process. She shares with me the issues going on in her life. She reassures me I am doing the right thing. I look around my childhood room now and it feels warmer than ever and even more secure. I just rest and am so wore out physically and emotionally from the day I fall asleep early.
I want to recreate my life here in Tampa and continue on my spiritual path. I decide to check out one of the metaphysical centers nearby. I wonder if I am excited about my new journey or do I just need to occupy time and space? My sister-in-law Brittany knows of some good places. I’ll text her in the morning to see what she is up to.
I sleep soundly and awake later. By the time I get up for coffee, table time is over. Jesse has already unloaded the truck for us and asks me what he could bring inside. I thank him for his kindness and give the directions. Over coffee I text Brittany and she invites me to go with her to a spiritual center in St. Petersburg. I would love to meet her there.
“I have to get going, I may be late,” I tell Mom, and she is pleased I am connecting with Brittany. Shortly after, I quickly and happily prepare for church. I love the drive across the bay. Oh, great, only ten minutes late. I go in, it’s small and I like small. I slip into my seat next to Brittany. We hug and enjoy the music, the warmth, the calming energy, the positive uplifting message, simple and to the point, no hoopla. The sanctuary glows with hues of light blue and shades of green. The whole place is drenched in soft lighting and looks as if it’s been newly remodeled. After the drive we are off to lunch. I choose a place on the water; it’s lovely but after sitting there for a only few minutes, the tears come streaming down.
Brittany says, “Beth Anne—what’s wrong please just talk to me.” I just start explaining how good it is to be with her. I have always admired her and her stability, her long marriage to my brother. I express how overwhelmed I am with Dad’s protocol and all of the changes in my life now. I unload about Jack again.
“Beth Anne, that’s enough, I want you to realize this is all happening for a reason. You have a deeper purpose for being here than you think. Please take it one day at a time. And if you don’t start putting yourself first, you can’t help anyone. Make sure you do your yoga and go to your meetings and counseling.”
She is so strong, so clear. Nothing more needs to be said. I get it and am so grateful to have her in my life. She doesn’t judge me either. She just loves me and tells me so and I love her back.
Later that day, I juice for my dad but spend the afternoon relaxing and even go into Dad’s spa. It feels good just allowing myself to be at ease, sensing the hot water pulsating against my skin. I spend time on the swing listening to the birds and observing the beauty of nature. Dad stomps across the lawn to come and check on me. “Are you going to be out here all day, Beth Anne?”
“Yeah, I say, you should try it.”
“I have to stay busy; it’s time for my oxygen and exercise.”
“’OK, Dad. I’m coming”
I am starting to accept this is my new home for now, for today anyway. I help prepare dinner. But at the table Dad’s more upset over his pH balance. He needs more alkaline foods. I decide then and there I can only do what I can do. My tolerance for Dad’s directness is so low right now that I decide I might need to eat at the diner in peace.
I finish up my studies for class and e-mail it to the pastor and thank her for all her support. I e-mail a few of my classmates. I’m missing them so much, especially Monica. I think often of my life in Miami with Jack and before that in Fort Lauderdale with old friends. Boy, how things have surely changed for me. I find myself nostalgically going over the past, then through the present and future.
I often feel shame and condemnation about my life. I combat those with affirmations and journaling and talking to friends on the phone or by e-mail. I had wanted the white picket fence life. And I still do. I want to have successful relationships. Well, who doesn’t?
The next morning David arrives and Dad is so excited and upbeat. David is a whiz on nutrition and studies everything he can on fighting cancer nutritionally and confidently advises Dad and Pete. And oh my, do they love being together. The camaraderie is amazing. Dad calls Pete to come over and I juice for them. Nutrition, vitamins, enzymes, books, CDs, ozone water and or reverse osmosis. They laugh and are so happy. Everyone does a fifteen-minute oxygen while pedaling except Pete, no pedaling for Pete. Dad encourages him to pedal his feet and Pete ignores him.
Then it’s off to their favorite restaurant for lunch, where there is talk of more nutritional facts and discoveries. The guys see who can use the most cayenne pepper because it’s good for you. David wins hands down. Back at the ranch they all move into the office while David scans the computer for the latest and greatest discoveries followed by at least an hour-long debate. We all take a long walk. I end up staying with Pete as he stops frequently and when he mentions Edgar Cayce,The sleeping Prophet, my ears perk up. I ask questions and he changes the subject. I try to impress him with information from the few spiritual classes I have taken. I ask him to tell me more about Cayce who was a farmer in the 19th century who became the most famous trans-medium healer to date. I walk Pete home. Come in, he says, and I do and I am amazed that his house is a well-maintained library, bookshelves everywhere on every wall with no TV in sight. He certainly is an avid reader. And he has a book just for me on homeopathic medicine. So he heard me when I told him I was taking a natural stress reliever. I say goodbye and am amazed at the day’s events.
I am encouraged that my mind was off Jack for a while. And aware that between my parents’ active lifestyle and mine also, it will be so much easier to let him go, especially since I changed my phone number and e-mail address.
I am so grateful Dad has such good friends who care about him and his health and that he is not in physical pain. I return home and Mom announces we are all going to dinner tonight to a new restaurant in Clearwater that has great recommendations and it’s on the water. Nice, I say. Mom is a true southern belle, true to her name. Born in Tampa, she is the epitome of southern style and grace.
I decide I need some solitude after juicing and ride my bike to the bay, find my favorite spot and chill, just breathing in my new life. Brittany texts, “Reiki on Thursday night”.
I text back that “I’m in.” I feel like taking my time getting ready for dinner. I dress conservatively. I don’t want to be critiqued by my folks or anyone for that matter.
I get elected to drive and all have arrived and load up my parents’ new Land Rover. I happily drive with confidence to the seaside restaurant. I am feeling so pleased. I drop everyone off and find a parking space real close. Extremely excited to be a part of this evening, I find my party already seated. We linger over a wonderful dinner overlooking the intercoastals. The conversation is lively. David and Pete make for a celebratory mood. However, over coffee, I have an overwhelming feeling to go get the Rover, this message is strong and clear in my mind and it troubles me just as we are ordering coffee. I convince myself that it would be very rude to leave. I continue to ignore the messages with rational thinking. Finally the check comes and I rush to get the Rover.
Where is the Rover? I parked it here in this spot. Panic sets in as this just doesn’t happen in my family. No one parks in a tow-away zone; never ever. Holy crap! My heart sinks as I go to advise Dad. I feel as if I failed again and I can’t even keep the folks’ vehicle from being towed. Dad is going to be furious. I look at the signs closely, it is a disabled spot, however the disgruntled restaurant owner opposite the one we ate at has everyone towed that does not eat at his restaurant, his employee informs me. That is some relief, however I still get blamed and Dad takes away my driving privileges. I feel like I am a teenager being grounded. I laugh inside although the same awkward feelings of inadequacy surfaces. No dull moments here. David, a retired fire fighter, takes charge of the situation, calling the tow company to verify the Rover is there. He gets the location and calls his wife who happens to be nearby to pick us up. I quickly evade Dad and find a seat next to Pete where it is safe. Mom stares at me in disbelief. Dad’s patience runs thin. “I blame you, why did I let you drive, Beth Anne?”
David comes to my rescue, blaming the mean owner. I mentally thank David for putting out this fire and excitedly I tell Pete how my intuition was working at dinner but I did not follow it. No one is happy about that but Pete and me. I keep reminding myself that the book said you learn by mistakes and you have to be willing to make some mistakes. Too bad mistakes are not allowed in my family. Most of the time I feel like I was a mistake anyway. I feel myself shrinking, observing my parents who seem so fragile and old, unused to being out so late. But I continue to make small talk about the day’s events. Finally David's wife, Sugar, pulls up to save the day. I feel even smaller, as she is an extremely confident woman and everyone is pleased with her. We all manage to squeeze into her Infiniti sedan. Dad has to sit half on David’s lap and David is crunched up next to Sugar. David makes light of the predicament as we are driving down the dark alley to the towing company. I continue to feel smaller and smaller. David and Dad retrieve the Rover and we get in safely. Now for the long ride home. Dad somberly drives. Pete and I are in the back seat. Everyone is silent. I wish David was here to lighten the mood. Pete keeps expressing that it was truly not my fault. With the tow fee on top of the dinner, it is an especially expensive night. Finally Dad admits it truly was not my fault either. But by this time, guilt reigns in me. And once again I blame myself for whatever energy I must have to attract such a situation.
I kept the elders out late and they were good sports, all things considered. In the aftermath I realize I have always wanted to save the day and be the heroic child, but those roles fell to my older sister, Melissa, and older brother, Gent. I was the scapegoat or lost child in the family.
The days and weeks start to have a pattern all their own as I develop a life apart from my parents. So I give Mom my schedule, which consists of yoga three mornings a week, support group meetings almost every night, and my counseling appointments. And instead of the table every morning and night, I realize I need to get out and be around people my age. I discover a diner nearby and start eating lots of evening meals alone reading and absorbing recovery books. I find it easier to take Mom to her doctor appointments and bi-weekly acupuncture, as getting out is important to me.
The support group meetings take on a life of their own as each day becomes more unbearable for me due to the emotional pressure of the breakup and the demands of Dad’s protocol. I didn’t really plan on going out every night, but it just works for me. I also desperately need to be around people seriously working on their spiritual evolution, people who will be totally honest.
The weekly sessions with Sharon are extremely painful to me as the protective shell of denial is cracking all around me, exposing the brokenness of my life in general. I am aware I am in a meltdown all my own, living with my parents sharing their house, Mom’s kitchen, especially after being independent for thirty-two years. And I am beginning to understand how difficult the adjustment must be for them.
Jen, my other sister, will be arriving in a few days and I am looking forward to the visit and her emotional support. She really appreciates me coming back home and helping out and is always available to listen to me when I need to talk, making the adjustment smoother for me.
David and Pete are still coming over on a daily basis for juicing and oxygen. No matter how active I am, I feel lost and miss Jack and the good times. I desperately miss my independence, my freedom, my church, my condo, my friends, and my old life. Seems so much has been taken from me. Too many changes. I just want the time to pass. Mom always said time heals all things. I want to be healed yesterday. The healing cannot come fast enough for me.
The day arrives for me to pick up Jen, from the airport. I get there a few minutes late due to the new traffic patterns and I have just forgotten my way around this town. She has changed her looks and now seems very distinguished. Life has been good to her. Her designer clothes and blonde hair fit her Type A personality. After a few minutes in my car together she says,“I’m starving! And I want to visit with you privately before we go home.”
“OK, that’s fine,” I say.