I’ve Searched And Searched – And He Was Right There (under the old wedding dress)

I started this blog as a way to find myself prior to when I was a “Mrs.” – yet the path that I thought would lead me to my independent self, led me emotionalbaggageto my “satisfied” self; my loved and accepted self.  These past four years, I’ve discovered my mistakes, my baggage and have embarked on the journey of “single” life.  During this time I nursed my sister through cancer and, eventually came to grieve her death.  Lived through a fire, after losing almost all that I treasured and held dear; only to find new friends and ‘things’ to hold in their place.

Since my move to “Small Town America”, I’ve discovered a new love for the simpler things in life and I’ve rediscovered my love for that one man who I fell in love with back in 1986 – Doug…  Yes, we are back together again and will be remarrying sometime in 2015.  It took sometime for us both to realize our own baggage and contributions to the demise of our marriage, but we are ready to move forward.  Doug will be moving in with me to “Small Town America” as he enjoys retirement.  I will work and hopefully publish my book.  I figure that it is time for him to live the “retired life” for a change.

HoldingHands-LoveI just find it funny how these things work out.  All this time, I thought I would be oh so much happier – living independently, or with someone else; when all those other men I was seeing were being compared (in my mind’s eye) to Doug… Nobody would ever love me enough or care for me enough.  Truly loving me for me, in spite of my faults (and I have plenty of them, believe me… I talk to myself; you know that?).  All of the men I dated would try to change me, or would be threatened by me, or would simply use me and dismiss me (remember “Honey?”)…  Anyway, after a few months of going round and round and his persuasive “wooing”, I came to realize that I’ve always loved him (something I’ve never denied, actually) and that we should be together, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

There is something to be said about “true love” – you know the kind?  Where you just fit together…  right in that ‘crook’ in the neck while lying in bed, or finishing each other’s sentences… knowing what the other will want for dinner (as if instinctively).  And still being able to look at them, through all their faults, with love in your eyes.  When I returned into his life and into his home, I noticed that all the little things I loved, he kept.  All my little collections, the sheets I bought, the salt and pepper shaker collection, my hearts – everything.   As if to say, “if I keep it, she will return.”  I was endeared by the fact that he kept these items, while, at the same time, any other man would have destroyed them.  That was when I started to realize, truly, that he never fell out of love for me.  And,  I guess I never fell out of love for him.  Something my friends noticed, even when I was still stating “we are ONLY friends… Nothing more.”  We went to a memorial for a dear friend of ours and a few weeks had passed before announcing our engagement.  I spoke with a mutual friend who was at this memorial and she told me how she could understand and that she could see it in the way I was looking at him and him at me… It was in our eyes.

And that about sums it up, doesn’t it?  There were plenty of reasons to end the marriage, but all has been corrected with acknowledgement and time; and with that, NOW we can move forward.  Of course there are many who think I’m on some “pity romance” and to them I simply shake my head and state, “you don’t know me and you don’t know us.”  Those are the Haters that say that.  I know our history and know our present.  I’m perfectly clear of what I can expect.  Doug isn’t well, he has had a couple of strokes; that doesn’t make him any less of the man I love.

We go to brunch at this little place (have been since we were first married), there is this other man who hangs out there who had a fancy for me. He seems to enjoy telling me that Doug’s only intention is to take advantage of me… To never work, and states that he has a problem with that and why don’t I?  Doug has worked over fifty years; over fifty years of backbreaking work – working freeway construction and owning a roofing company, which included many years of performing his own “tear-offs” (which are brutal enough without the triple digit heats we have).  I do believe he has more than deserved his retirement and if I can give that to him, damn it I will!

It has been over four years since I’ve left him, and I’m finding myself everyday.  It’s a daily trek for all of us, don’t you think?  But the journey continues on and I continue to learn.  Oh, I’ll still continue writing as I’ll still be Finding Ann MacGregor.  Who knows?  Perhaps F.A.M will even get published.



“The One” – Does this mean “One” is all we get?


Love…  Some say we only get one true love in a lifetime – then there are others that say it is open to all, so long as we open our hearts and minds.  I’ve been reminded of a lost love these last few weeks, which must have prompted my subconscious mind to spark dreams of him, which birthed thoughts of “what if” – poisonous if taken in large doses, especially to those of us already riddled with regret.  No… I know what you’re thinking, the dreams were CLEAN.  Just him and me in different ‘life’ scenarios; actually they were dreams of our life – present day – as if we were together.  Some were with him as he’s aged and some were with him as he was back in high school; either way, they were pleasant, as if we were “us” again.  Two peas in a pod.  And we were, you know – two peas in a pod.  There were many who thought of us as an unusual couple – especially for high school students.  There was so much love – it was as if we were One.  When at a party, I could be out back visiting with guests, while he was in the house and anyone who didn’t know us would know; no, feel our feelings for one another.

I had the opportunity to marry him, twice.  And, twice I turned him down; only after accepting his proposal.  I don’t know why necessarily.  I think that I wanted to be sure I was able to stand on my own two feet.  Also, I came from a family where education was very important.  My mother was educated, her mother was educated and so on.  I, on the other hand, dropped out of college and didn’t finish until I was thirty-eight/thirty-nine.  But most importantly, no woman in my family married at eighteen; nobody!

I found a job as an Underwriter in what is known as a Wholesale House (in the Insurance Industry) and was doing really well. Craig and I were dating again and were very happy.  Craig was working as a waiter in a restaurant and we would see each other as often as we could; well with him now two counties over.  We had grown up and I was pregnant.  Yes, pregnant!  I just didn’t know what to do!  So I waited, saw a doctor and it was confirmed.  I paced and worked and did just about anything to get my mind off of it.  But  I knew somehow, I had to deal with this and figure out what I/we were going to do.

Finally, about a couple of weeks or so passed, Craig had been busy, I tried to call and our conversations were short ending with him saying he’d have to call me back.  But I wasn’t able to see much of him; so I felt it was time to ‘drop in’ and spring the news.  He loved me, this I knew.  Would he “LOVE” the idea of a baby?  Well, this, not so sure…  But, I had to do this sooner or later, so after work I made the drive and dropped in.

Craig was living with his mother and she had a special liking to me (thank Goodness).  I asked if he was in, she said, “no, no he isn’t; but won’t you come in and visit for a bit?”  So we chatted as laughed – I did like her a great deal.  And she told me something that made me feel oh so uncomfortable; she said, “You know, you are just glowing; you really must be enjoying your life.”  I was bursting to tell her, but couldn’t.  After about an hour or so, I left for home.

Later that same night I got a call from Craig asking that we meet in ‘our park’ at the usual place – young people… so dramatic with the meeting places and the counting the stars, talking, making out… – so I got in my car and drove over and met him.  He apologized for not calling me in a while, I told him that I understood and that I had something to tell him; he had something to tell me as well.  So, being ‘me’ I let him go first… He had to break things off with me.

It was as if a bullet went off inside me – tearing every organ apart.  My heart felt as if it was tearing in two as he continued; “I’ve been seeing a woman I met at work.  We were actually in the back of the house when you were by the other day and she gave me an ultimatum to break it off with you or she will break it off with me.”  My eyes were welling up with tears as he continued, “I will always love you, but I have to see where this leads.  She has been so wonderful to me.”

I could hear his words, but nothing was really sinking in – I was pregnant; over the past several years it was I who was the center of his love and affection; I who gave my virtue to him as he gave himself to me and it was beautiful.  He was always there for me, always there to snuggle with, to wipe my tears away, to laugh with, to talk with.  I imagined that we would, eventually, get married.  When I imagined having children, they were his children.  Now what?  How will life look for me now without him in it?

We talked and cried well into the night.  I did tell him about my pregnancy and told him that I was going to raise this child on my own – I never expected anything from him.  We both cried buckets of tears (I can remember that night like it was last week) and he just didn’t seem like a man who wanted nothing to do with me.  But he made up his mind and we said “Good-bye.”  There was nothing more I could do.

Then again, maybe I should have fought for him more.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time?  Just to see.  And then again, it’s a great thing we can’t.  There are no “do-overs”; there’s no going back.  And what’s worse, we can never know the infamous ‘what would have been?’  I don’t quite understand why I’m being plagued with dreams now of all times.  Perhaps it’s because I’m on the dating scene (which sucks by the way) and I’m feeling a bit lonely.  I had a great marriage with Doug, truly – aside from the drinking – he was/is a wonderful man.  But, Craig was the One – I’ve never felt that way about anybody before or since.

So,  do we get a second chance at love?  Is there more than one “soul-mate” for us out there?  Or are ‘soul-mates’ just a made up term by the ‘self-help’ gurus to sell more books?  Is there Love after fifty?  What about sex, does that exist or is it extinct?

Obviously, I’ve since come to some resolution with Craig; in fact we are still friends – wonderful friends, best friends (platonic friends).  And I do think the dreams are my sub-consciences way of reminding me what I’m missing – no, not Craig – a life partner.  I’m not sure I want to get married again – maybe – but I do know that I’m a woman who prefers to have a male partner… someone who is kind, loves me for me and makes me laugh (laughter is a must).  I’m not sure, but the question plagues me; by being young and stupid, why did I throw all that away.  What I mean is that it was for no other reason that the fact that I didn’t marry him for fear of ‘displeasing’ my mother.

Which leads me to today.  I found out I have Shingles.  Shingles are usually brought on by increased stress.  My doctor this a.m. said that this is my body’s way of telling me “hey, take care of me for a change!”  And, as I’ve written in past posts, most of my life has been spent doing what I thought others wanted from me, not what I wanted to do with my life.  Understand, I’m not blaming the world for my shingles or my decisions.  But, I’ve made some life altering decisions because of what I feared my mother or sisters would think.  And I’m finally in a place where I want to ‘live’ my own desires – and I am.  But if there was anything I could teach youngsters (of if only that were possible) would be that there are no ‘do-overs’; your life is yours.

When we are young we have this fantasy that life is going to go on forever – sort of like that feeling when you go on vacation?  You know that feeling?  “Oh, we have a whole seven days – wow!  Nothing but time to relax in the sun…”  Only to find yourself at the end of vacation looking back thinking, “where did the time go?”  I can’t say I have so much regret as I do questions of “what now?”

These dreams have stirred in me some new drives, the making of new goals.  Reopening some old projects and looking at them in a different light.  They’ve taken the veil off, giving me a clearer vision of what I want.  They have also reminded me that I was loved, very much by not just one man, but at least two.  Which brings me back to the question – Is there still love out there?  I believe so, as long as we are open to the possibilities.  And the possibilities are endless.