41st Anniversary: Not What I Expected

We’re moving through summer and fast approaching August 5th– the day that would have marked our forty-one years of marriage. I’d expected that David and I would grow old together as a long-married couple. We first became friends in eighth grade and maintained that friendship through college. Afterwards we dated for a year and and married– to what is now fifty years of knowing each other. But what we didn’t know, was that our marriage would not last for our lifetime.

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Instead, after Mama’s birthday celebration with my extended family last Saturday, I sent an email letter on Sunday sharing with them the news of what I didn’t expect:

 “It is with sadness that I’m writing you to tell you of a change in our family. Over the past years, David and I have experienced a lot of tension in our relationship. I have been hopeful that we would work through things and arrive at a better place. But I could not foresee the point where we have arrived.”

I went on to say that my husband and I have separated, that we’ve found that we can’t reconcile the problems in our marriage. I’d expected that as we entered our senior years and life settled down, as we moved into being grandparents together, and as we mellowed with wisdom and perspective, we would come together. But that has not happened.

While I’m writing about this now, I’ve been struggling with this new reality for several months. We had to give our family time before we could tell others. I’ve gone back and forth through all levels of grief in grappling with my new reality. In spite of all my efforts that have included seeking counsel from God, my pastor, and my therapist, I can’t change this situation.

I’ve always tried to be honest in my writing and I needed to share this with my readers– whether you have faithfully followed my blog or you’re just stopping in to read for the first time. It’s been difficult to do my weekly post since coming to understand at the end of April that I was losing my marriage. When I took my solo journey to the Outer Banks in May, I traveled carrying a heavy heart. That was the context for the post that referred to the prayer wall at the Charis Coffee Company, Charis Coffee Company: Places in Our Path

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I was feeling very alone that morning and when I happened upon that faith-based coffee shop, I interpreted it as a bit of grace to help me that day. When I saw all the tags of prayer requests on the wall, I scribbled mine and posted it beside all the other seekers.

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I have never been on a solo journey where I felt that Solo. As I scanned the waters of the bay for dolphins, and explored Ocracoke Island, and spent the morning with our group searching for wild horses, my new reality kept pushing through.

I remembered other difficult times in my life that I didn’t expect– like when I had breast cancer. How did I make it through those days?

What helped me most, was trying to stay present in each moment. If I could just deal honestly with whatever feeling came up, acknowledging it as part of my reality then letting it go, I could make it through a moment at the time. I came to realize God’s constant presence even more during those difficult days. While I didn’t understand why I had to experience cancer, I did come to see that ultimately, God could work for good in my life during that time I didn’t choose.

While I was keenly aware of what I’d lost in my life with cancer, I tried to go from that sadness to thinking about what remained. Now, with losing my marriage, I think about the good that remains: our family that we’ve created.

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Older son, Brooks marrying Emily, younger son Ross on my left

David and I have always worked well in raising our sons. Now they’re adults and Brooks is married to Emily, and they’ve given us our grandson, Baker. We are dealing with this change in our family in our various ways, but we’re all together in knowing that we will continue in our love as a family. David and I share the joy of our precious little Baker, marveling at the changes that occur daily with his active curiosity, the world opening up to him.

We will grieve what we’ve lost but continue in the love that remains. We appreciate the support we’ve received from our family and friends, and I am thankful for the support I receive from my readers.

 

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Family picture from Easter worship service 4/19

 

Links to referenced Outer Banks Solo Journey May 2019:

Dolphin Morning: Animals in Our Path

Wild Horses Drew Me

Charis Coffee Company: Places in Our Path

 

 

 

41 thoughts on “41st Anniversary: Not What I Expected

  1. Your opening statement cleared up a feeling I had in regard to your last three or four posts. The Dolphins revealed the hidden. I pray for you at this time and are confident that you will work through this like the Champion that you are. If there is anything you wish to share, visit my Blog’s About Us or Contact page.
    There you will find an email address. Feel free to contact me for anything. At the reading of your post title, I was afraid to read the rest. At whatever means, you are great at telling your story. John 🙏🏻

    Like

    • Thanks so much, John. It’s been very hard to hold this story inside, but we needed time. I think we’d all be better off if we shared honestly, to the degree that’s appropriate, about what’s going on in our lives. We’re all hurting for different reasons at different times, but often feel we have to put on a sunny face.
      Thanks for your offer of support.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Connie and David for letting us know. I’m so sorry for your pain. We love you and will be friends forever. May I call you the first week in August?

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  3. Dear Connie,
    What sadness I felt while reading this post. With all the courage you have shown in recent years, through breast cancer treatment and survival, through your employment at the toxic research company and through all the times you have made yourself available for friends and family and kept true to your publishing goals, now you will be digging deeper than you have ever done before. Know that you are strong and complete within yourself and that you will triumph. You are grace and grace flows toward you.

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    • Hey Mary,
      What kind and beautiful sentiments you have shared with me. Thanks for these words of encouragement– reminding me, from your perspective, the challenges that I’ve already faced that give me what I need during this difficult time.
      You have been a good friend and a supporter of my endeavors.
      Best to you, Mary,
      Connie

      Like

  4. Dear Connie, I am very saddened to hear your news. And nothing I could say is enough to express the emptiness I feel or my longing to give you strength. Perhaps it is something you experience right now. Thinking of you! Very warmest. Karin

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    • Dear Connie – I have not seen you in a while and I miss you. I am saddened by your news but I do understand that sometimes in life we must find a new journey with someone we have loved. My ex-husband and I are on a different journey together for the rest of our lives – we will always be connected because of our two children and I think we know how important the family love is as we go forward on this different journey together. If you need to talk about anything, please let me know – you have my support and love. Take care until we see each other again.

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      • Hey Cheryl,
        Thanks so much. I have missed seeing you and talking. I can begin to understand what you’re saying about your journey continuing as parents to your children. It’s not the journey I thought David and I were on, but like you and many others, sometimes we just move forward with what we do have.
        Hope to see you before long!
        Connie

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    • Hey Karin,
      I feel your kind spirit and that you are sharing in the sadness that I’m going through. There is nothing any greater that you can give me.
      It’s so nice that we have this friendship–even when we haven’t met in person– I feel like I know you.
      Thanks for helping me and helping so many others.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Like

  5. Connie, I’m so sorry you are dealing with this pain. Sometimes life just stinks, doesn’t it? My prayers are with you as you navigate your way through this new sea. I can tell you are strong and I believe once you reacj the other side, you will come out of the water even stronger. Hugs to you today.

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  6. I’m very sorry to read this news and can only imagine how difficult it was to write, yet maybe somewhat cathartic, too.

    You are not alone and the two of you created a beautiful family and will always be connected through them, your grandson, your memories, and more.
    Love & light as you journey forward and please keep us posted on how you’re doing ~ ~ we are here for you, too. Hugs, MJ

    Like

    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks so much for your kind response. I do value the years we had and the family we created from our love.
      I appreciate your good wishes and I’m sure I will be posting on this new Solo Journey, this path I have taken. Writing is cathartic and how I deal with life.
      Best to you this day,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for trusting us enough to share openly and honestly this new journey. At times, more often than we like, life’s path takes us to to and through unexpected and unplanned places. God is still with us – ever faithful – reminding us through the heartache, hurt, and pain that He will NEVER leave us not forsake us. He is WITH us and FOR us until the end of time. He WILL give beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair. He will turn your mourning into dancing.

    Praying for your peace & strength,
    Rhonda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Rhonda,
      Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words. I do trust you and my readers and I’ve received so much support by doing so.
      I do believe God will bring joy where there has been sadness, beauty from ashes. Thanks for your prayers and your constant support.
      Hope to see you before long.
      Best to you this day,
      Connie

      Like

  8. VERY nicely written. this will help so many others for sure, May God grant. You peace and comfort be Yona human comprehension. Harriet

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  9. Connie,
    As I read your article this week, I couldn’t help but feel some of the pain you must be feeling. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’ll keep you in my thoughts & prayers, my friend.
    Frances Thacker

    Like

    • Thanks so much, Frances. You know the pain of losing your husband– though mine is a different situation. But grief is grief. I appreciate your good thoughts and prayers. I intend to dance more to help with the stress and to just have more fun. I hope you’ll be doing more dancing too, Friend!
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Like

  10. Thank you for your honesty with us your community who care deeply for you. You aren’t alone in going through this but that doesn’t make the pain any less through this time – however, it is of some solace to those of us who are always walking this path right now to know that we aren’t alone. Sending love and light, grace and peace your way xxx

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    • Thanks so much, Marie and our JBBC community,
      I appreciate your empathy and compassion. Just like with our individual breast cancer journeys, it’s hard no matter what, but it does help to know that others have trod the same path– and somehow made it. The specifics of our cancer like our lost marriages differ, but there are emotions that are similar and knowing this helps ‘normalize’ what can feel strange.
      Thanks for that love and light, grace and peace radiating across the pond.
      Connie

      Like

  11. Hi Connie,
    Life can certainly deliver the unaccepted. I’m sorry you have to experience this pain. I’m sure it was hard to publish this post, but I’m so glad you did. Sharing the hard stuff, too, is so important. My best to you as you navigate this transition and life-altering change.

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    • Thanks so much, Nancy.
      I appreciate your support. Yes, all these posts since our separation have been hard to write. But they’ve also helped me to deal with my confusion and pain, and I hope they’re helpful to others facing the same thing.
      Thanks for your good wishes for me as I go forward on this new path.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Like

  12. Hi Connie, While I was walking this p.m. I thought that if David is not content and happy with himself, he cannot. Be happy with you or anyone else, did he ever forgive his father and make peace with him before his death? you don,t have to reply but I just thought about that. Take. Care, H

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    • Thanks for reading Harriet.
      These questions are best handled in private conversation or emails. Ultimately, each person tries to understand their own life, their relationships, their struggles– so I can’t answer for him.
      Connie

      Like

  13. Sent from my iPad. Nice party this night. Good turn out this week I. Ed to. Is it Mama on Wed, as I need to make a visit in Sanford that day. next weekend is taken care of, H >

    Like

  14. Sent from my iPad

    Begin forwarded message:

    > From: Yahoo > Date: September 29, 2019 at 7:14:43 AM EDT > To: Harriet Carter > Subject: Re: Dates in Oct. > > If it works for Connie, it works for me. > I will plan to go Sat., Oct. 5th unless I hear from you. > > Sent from my iPhone > >>

    Like

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