Divorce

The line that a blogger needs to draw between the personal and the public is always somewhat tenuous. How much to tell, to what depth and level?

Added to just life itself. What’s “normal”? Is this getting better? Is this what typically happens? I mean, everyone says marriage is difficult; is this what everyone deals with?

I’ve never really known the answers to these questions in any kind of a clear, definitive way. Maybe nobody does.

But I know that for myself, I was exhausted by Mikey’s anger.

It was always simmering, ready to boil up and erupt, lash out at me or the kids through words or objects thrown. This had been going on for years.

Beef, Beans and Grief – this post – was of the last day we spent together as a family. I didn’t tell you in this post that I woke up that morning having had the same recurring dream of Mikey with another woman. I laughingly told him about it over coffee, “can you believe it?! I had the same dream again of you and that lady!” He was angry with me, “dammit Meriah, why are you doing this?” and stalked away.

Gaslighting: that’s when someone manipulates (someone else) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Mikey was a master at this. He would make me actually feel bad for questioning anything like recurring dreams I had, like catching him in lies, or asking why he was “busy” all the time.

Back to that day, that morning, that post. He was angry, angry with the kids for not moving fast enough, not getting their jackets, not doing something or other as they prepared to leave for Beef and Beans at the Grange. Micah was so used to Mikey yelling at him that he just tuned out, which made it worse.

Driving to the Grange, Mikey’s hands were tense on the steering wheel. I remember that so clearly – I can see it all in my mind’s eye. The day was gorgeous, the light dappling and streaming through the trees lining the road, the world on the hill road we were driving upon alight in late morning glory. Amongst all that light and green and beauty was Mikey driving tensely, angrily. I didn’t want to talk because I knew he’d get angry with me for something.

When we arrived at Beef and Beans, I showed you the photos of Mikey walking ahead, of the funny car sticker that I saw. I showed you the photos of the line and food. I told you about the woman at the next table who had known my brother Dana and how upset I was, overcome with sadness.

I didn’t tell you about the fact that Mikey was angry through the meal, sitting resentfully with the kids and I. That, as usual, my first photo of him was one like this:

I never posted those. I always asked him to smile or act like he loved me, so I’d get something like this:

On and off. He could turn on and off, with the shake of a camera.

I didn’t tell you that when I followed Moxie into the hall, he came eventually, angry that he had had to do something (what was it? pack up the leftovers or was it wash off the plates? I don’t remember). I was so tired, so absolutely drained by his anger, constant, constant, always there, always in the background, always ready to rise.

I didn’t tell you about that; I didn’t take a photo of Mikey glowering at me; I took one of Moxie dancing in the grange hall and showed you that.

We went home and as we drove, he started chastising me over something. I saw the kid’s faces in the rearview mirror and I saw that look on them, like ‘oh, again‘ and I tried to stay quiet. Out of the blue came a memory of my Grandpa Jack talking about my Grandma, how they couldn’t ever go someplace and have a good time; she just had to fight. I looked at Mikey and knew he was cut from that cloth.

Mikey got home, yelled at us about the messy house, stomped off to the barn to smoke some pot and calm down, returning later. I put the kids to bed and slept curled on my side away from him, as I always did.

The next morning he was full of apologies, he always was the day after an anger eruption.

I was tired. I was leaving with the kids to go to Eureka to check on a dog, cats and house that I was going to care for a friend of a friend. I couldn’t wait to get away from him and just be able to be happy with the kids, have space without anger.

I didn’t tell you any of that on this blog.

I didn’t know how to tell you. Or I am so hopeful, I don’t know which. Or perhaps I am just very good at focusing on some bright light that makes me happy. Maybe it’s all a combination.

I didn’t tell you that Mikey broke my foot by shoving me off the camper in Mexico.

I didn’t tell you what I was thinking as I lay there with the bones of my right foot broken. I didn’t know what to do – just like I didn’t tell you that when he threw things, he threw them at me, only they were never directly at me so there was always this margin for doubt – did he really mean to do that? Was that an accident? Do normal people do that?

I didn’t tell you that Mikey never gave me gifts, not even when I made lists for him and posted them on this blog sort of half-joking.

It hurt, but I felt like maybe that was just him, and I should learn to be okay with it, because he was different from me, and I shouldn’t mold someone into me, right?

I didn’t tell you that we’d come home early from traveling so that he would do things that he had promised me he would do like set up fences to protect the kids from wild animals out there, like cut the tick-laden grass so that the kids could play outside. Like build the playground that I had purchased from money that my Grandpa Jack had left me. But instead, he would disappear, be “busy” and I’d be left in the house with the kids again, up there, isolated, with no-one around, and with it unsafe to go and play outside. When I’d ask him about why he was “busy” and couldn’t do these things for us, he’d gaslight me into apologizing to him for asking about anything at all.

Meriah’s crazy, Meriah’s depressed, Meriah must be bi-polar, Meriah’s got stuff wrong with her, mentally. Right? Why is Meriah asking about these things, damn, doesn’t she trust her husband? Look, he made bread for his family from yeast he collected from the fricking air! 

I didn’t tell you how I ended up calling on my brother Dana for everything.

Dana came to build the kid’s playground. Dana drove 2 hours to come and mow the grass for me so his niece and nephews could play outside. Dana built the fences. And then when Dana died, there was no-one to help me.

Mikey was gone always gone, “busy”.

Confused, sometimes I’d ask why he was “busy” when all of the other farmers in the valley would be at community events with their wives and families, but I was almost always alone with the kids. Why did Mikey “have to” work and they didn’t, when we were all growing the same crop in the same way, with the same conditions? I didn’t understand.

You don’t appreciate what I do for you and the kids, Meriah, how can you even be asking that of me? My shoulders hurt so much, can you please just rub them for me? 

I didn’t tell you how Mikey remained “busy” after Dana was shot, how I was with the kids and my brother was in the coma for 3 weeks, how Mikey came to help me only for one night, staying with the kids so I could sit and hold my brother’s hand through the night.

I didn’t tell you how my nephew’s wife took care of my kids while we removed the life support from my brother.

I didn’t tell you how what it felt like to be dealing with my brother’s body needing to go back to the Humboldt County sheriff’s office to get the bullets taken out of it, and how we were in Shasta County, and swimming in thick currents of grief, while dealing with this and tending to 3 small children, alone.

I lost the person I loved most, whom I was closest to in the world, and my partner did nothing to support me.

My partner was “busy” – and left me to care for three kids by myself while my mother and I dealt with the details of things that made me throw up, like what casket to bury my brother, her son, in.

I didn’t tell you any of that.

Or rather, I just focused hard on things that I could, things that brought me a measure of joy or things that felt like real things that were huger than any other – like the grief I have been walking through during this past year.

*****

Back to Beef and Beans.

The day after Beef and Beans, I went with the kids to Eureka to check on the animals that I was caring for, and I was, as I said, just happy to be outside of Mikey’s anger.

I wanted to get the iPhone 7 (the camera! the water-resistance!) and stopped off at the Verizon store. They got the phone all arranged for me, and it suddenly came to me that I should give Mikey my iPhone 6! Wow, he’d like it!

The 10th year anniversary of when we first got together was coming up; that would be perfect! So I swapped his number over to the iPhone – I was leaving to go back to the Lost Coast that afternoon, after doing some grocery shopping.

Within half an hour of swapping the number out, I received a text on my old phone (- his new phone). The text was a sexy photo of a young woman with a sexy message.

I felt that brain explosion – that tingling, like, ‘holy shit, this is going to change my life’.

I wrote back to her, asking who she was, saying who I was. No response. I wrote to Mikey’s other number (forwarding the photo and text of course), asking who she was, saying it would be kind to be honest.

He said they had exchanged numbers in June.

My brain exploded again in that tingle, and I nosed the car back to the house that I was sitting, deeply grateful to have space away from Mikey for the next few weeks to figure things out.

When Mikey didn’t come forth and try and save anything about our marriage, I filed for divorce.

He still did nothing.

I moved to Blue Lake, to Dana’s house, to live with my mom, with the kids, he did nothing.

He didn’t come to see the kids, he didn’t call them, he didn’t FaceTime them, he did absolutely nothing.

Or rather, he did a lot, as I found out through his girlfriend posting a photo of them on Facebook and foolishly tagging him.

He had been busy with her in my house, busy with her in my yurt on the hill of the Lost Coast.

She had gleefully reported all aspects of their love on Instagram, easily found through her linked Facebook account. She had loaded her account with photos of my home, her having coffee (drinking from my mug) on the deck that my brother had built for me.

Photos of my Buddha.

Photos of Mikey, a photo of her playfully wearing Mikey’s glasses, photos of the gifts he gave her for her birthday.

She just turned 23 years old.

So, Mikey had been “busy” – and two and a half months later, he still hasn’t seen the kids nor contributed a penny towards their care.

I didn’t tell you any of that, no, I didn’t.

But with the final pieces of the divorce are in place. I have been awarded full physical and legal custody of my children.

It’s all over.

It’s all beginning.

 

 

 

Meriah
Nomadic photo-junkie, cat-lover, peasant-legged mom of 3. Life is never dull.
Meriah
Meriah

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33 Comments

  • Mariah, so often I had wanted t ask where Mikey was in your posts as I had a gut feeling something was wrong but it was not right to ask. My heart aches for you, for the lost dream of a beautiful family life. But I feel in my heart, as much as all the hurt is there, a calmness will come and much joy now you are removed from the negativity. Sending you and the children huge hugs from across the sea. Xx

  • How awful. Thank you for allowing us to see that part of your life so we could offer support. I send prayers and thoughts of peace and healing for you and your family with this new beginning.

  • I wish I had something inspiring to say to you. Your words always inspire me and challenge me to think differently. I look forward to reading your blog and am honored that you’ve chosen to share your journey with us.

  • Well, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. I could have written this blog myself, substituting Larry for Mikey. My divorce is proceeding slowly and my three kids are happier for it, but I am still devastated. I lost my dad, my mom and my brother the the last 5 years. I have no family support. I think about my husband living with his girlfriend, taking vacations and trying to sell my house out from under me. And still we persist.

  • Your life will now flourish now that the black cloud has chosen a new place to hover over. You can now be who you are. Love you!

  • I saw the title of this post and just cried out, oh no! I’m just an older woman who found your blog years ago thru some disability blog links (my son has some disabilities) and have followed your journey. Cried when your brother died, I understand grief and I understand divorce and gas-lighting. I just want to tell you I am so very sorry you are going through this, well, have been going through this for a long time, as it turns out. You have a huge heart, a great and talented mind, and such bravery and stamina. (I can’t believe he broke your foot..I remember your Mexico travels…I was so impressed with your courage to do something so extraordinary with your kids). You have shared so much with your readers. I wish you the best life has to offer, I wish you healing. Thank you for sharing your life with us, your readers. I think you must be amazing.

  • Thank you for writing this and sharing your story. I too wondered if something happened so I’m glad tho know thou are feeling stronger and ready for the next chapter. You inspire me with your honesty and eloquence.

  • Oh, Meriah. Thank you for sharing. You are a very strong woman. You will find peace and happiness with your new beginning. Thinking of you. Hugs.

  • I am so proud of you. We have a bird here, I have no idea what it is called, but I used to also hear it just outside by dorm bedroom at boarding school. It sounded like it was saying ” Be Free, Miriam, be free”. You did it. You did something so fucking hard to do, but you did it. You are free. good on ya.

  • I read this and think when does it all start ? When does the turning point take place ? I feel Sad and happy for you at the same time because I know that once it gets to this point it is best to break free. Im happy for you because I know love can happen again, I’ve seen it many times. Im sad for you because I know history with someone is still something to grieve. Hugs and well wishes to you I am rooting for you !

    • I wonder when the turning point takes place, too. I think in our case, it was a direct line with his narcissism, so it dramatically changed after my first son was born – when I was fully in his grip. It is still sad – I am grieving the loss of what I had hoped would transform. Thank you for your message. xo

  • I am so sorry. I have lived that very life. For me, parenting without constantly having to walk on eggshells was SO much easier. That is not helpful to you now, I know. Someday you will look back and see how much these changes grew you. For now, heal, live, love on your kids.

    • I’m so sorry you had that experience, too.
      It IS easier. It is infinitely easier being a solo mom than it ever was with my husband glowering around and ready to be angry.
      thanks for reaching out and your advice and support. xo

  • I don’t know you – saw this through a friend. Want you to know I was with the same type of “partner” and you will (eventually) feel BETTER than you have in years … being away from his anger, always having that anxiety in your stomach, aching with sadness and loneliness even though the person you love is right beside you… It’s been 4 months for me since I left the man I loved for 10 years (still love) who SUCKED as a partner, cheated on me with no remorse, etc… I hope that you find the beauty of yourself and that fierce amazon of a woman inside you takes you through the pain to a place of beauty.

    • Oh, yes. I felt better the instant I discovered that text, because it was that sudden realization that it’s not all in my head, that he actually WAS cheating on me. And then YES, just being away from all the anger has been wonderful. The kids are happier than I have ever seen them too.

      4 months? And with him for 10 years? Our timelines are identical! Amazing… Much love to you, and thanks for reaching out.

  • I am so, so very sorry Meriah. No one deserves this agony and the pain is even greater when children are involved. You are an amazing woman who has helped change the world already. Now you’ll do it in a new way, all the wiser. Love you, my friend.

  • Oh my dear, I will repeat the song that so many others are also sharing. I was there once, too, and stayed because I feared doing it alone. And then I learned that alone was so much easier! To the point, “It takes a damn fine man to be better than no man at all.” So true! All these things led me to a better life than I knew, or even dreamed for myself before. There is no doubt that being a single mom is hard. Best wishes for a new and stronger support network that is true to you and your children. Much Love, Mardra

    • I love that! “It takes a damn fine man to be better than no man at all”!
      It’s already much, much easier alone than it was with him.
      Love you, too. xoxo

  • Oh Meriah, I have no words. Thank you for sharing such an intimate difficult time. Social media has made it so easy for us to hide the sometimes very ugly truth and portray a picturesque life, and mostly I think people do it hoping it will come to fruition if we just try hard enough.

    Thank you. You have probably helped so many other people with this real life behind social media we all try to achieve.

    I hope your new beginning will afford you the true happiness you deserve and empower you to live and share your true self❤️

    Julie K

  • Even though we never see each other now, reading this makes me feel so much closer to you. Knowing you went through this alone…I am so amazed at your strength. just remember you always have us ladies in your life to root you on, to support you, listen and care. cheers to a house hold of love, of Moxie and harmony. miss you.

  • Ugh. So sorry to hear the rug got pulled up from under you. Been there. Keep doing what You’re doing. You’re a strong, resilient, talented woman. If you have any doubt, you will make it through, better than ever.

  • Oh Meriah, I’m so sorry. But so proud of you too. I’ve always been so impressed with your strength – it takes strength to choose new paths in life and commit to them the way you do.

    I worked in a DV legal centre for a while and did a lot of study to write some presentations for them. Everything you have written fits into the patterns I saw there, over and over. I don’t know if it helps to say it is “normal” with a DV framework, but yep, “normal”. Less normal, unfortunately, it your ability to forge a new, better life for you and your kids.

    You should know how strong and brave and right (righteous?) a choice that was, and rarer than it should be. Let alone the braveness required to tell your story. My admiration and respect for you (which wasn’t in short supply anyway) and increased exponentially.

    I’m glad you are all finding happiness in your new home. Sending you guys all my love. Dani

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