Where do we go from here?

My daughter just returned from her grandmother Rachel’s funeral. Years ago, Rachel was my MIL.  I never stopped liking Rachel, but I lost touch with her after her son and I divorced.  She told my daughter she missed me. She also told my daughter that she did not believe all the hateful things the EX told her, my children, and anyone else who would listen. 

The really bizarre thing is that Rachel had given me her one and only compliment just before I left the EX for good.  Apparently, I had finally molded myself into the creäture she thought I should become.

The summer before we split, I put up several dozen jars of tomatoes, green beans and other produce from the garden the children and I had grown on a 1/2 acre plot.  I had made our clothes for the following fall (the compliment had to do with my skills as a seamstress). And, I had done myriad other things housewives were supposed to do.

Meanwhile, I was working on a bachelor’s degree at a college a good half hour away, and managed to do all my homemaking chores and take care of my three children who were being bussed to schools located all over the county.  I tried to take over as a leader of a Cadet Girl Scout troop a half county away from my home at my daughter’s school. I was also driving my kids to Catechism classes on the weekends. 

 The EX was drunk every evening, on those evenings he was home (Later, my friend Sherry informed me that he had a girl friend; he admitted this years later to his children). 

Finally, one night, about half way through the semester, I must have finally reached the end of my rope, because I told my EX I wanted a divorce, and by the first of December, I had moved out of the house in the countryside, to an apartment across the street from the college I attended in Fredericksburg VA, and moved the children into city schools which were already integrated as had been the military schools they attended when we lived in base housing in Hawaii. 

That same weekend we moved, I took the children to the Episcopal Church and never again attended Mass. I loved the Catholic Church, and separating from it was the saddest day of my life. Years later, I attended the meetings of a Catholic singles group with the futile hope it would lead somewhere, but they were such a sad group of people, I stopped attending meetings after a while.

My sister went through a similar experience with her EX, but she filed for an annulment with Rome.  The Church granted her annulment largely based on the conditions in our home of origin (I was a witness), which did not prepare us for adult life.  Today she is a Catholic in good standing. 

I stuck with the Episcopal Church until it completely fell apart a few years ago. Since then, I have investigated many religions but found none that could hold my attention the way the Catholic Church did. 

I thought about that again this week as I do whenever someone dies.  My MIL was a Methodist and attended a church in Thomasville NC where her daughter’s BIL was the minister.  All the deceased family members are buried in the church yard  according to my daughter. My deceased family members are buried in Alabama, Tennessee, NC, Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan. The ancestors from before the Civil War are buried in Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Europe.  I have visited many of their graves, and always have the same question. Where do we go from here?

A graveyard in the Cotswalds in England (1995). Above, a scene in the French Alps. (1998) (Photos: Schmidleysscribblins)   

    

11 thoughts on “Where do we go from here?

  1. I am so sorry, Dianne. You’ve really had a very difficult life. However, I already know what a strong person you are. Your children were lucky that you were able to do what you had to in order to make their lives and yours better.

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  2. I like to think of the love in all of us being together ultimately with the love of God. In a sense I hope we leave the bad behind and go on only in those things that long for the good of others. But you are right, it is an unanswerable question…… we each have to find our own answer.

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  3. I agree that life is a mystery and the older I get the more mysterious it seems. Did you take the picture with the amazing rainbow? It’s amazing and I love the subtle coloring.

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  4. I loved my MIL she was very good to me and we got along wonderfully I cried more than my husband when she died. Even years later I missed her. Which is why my youngest daughter has her name as a Middle name which caused alot of flack with my own Mom.As for what happens to us all when we leave this life..I don’t think we end .I see a circle ,not a straight line with a begining and an end. Too hard to explain in detail here.

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  5. When the kids were in school, we attended Mass every week and were active religious ed teachers, eucharistic ministers, and outreach workers. Once they graduated from high school, we stopped attending Mass regularly. I still have a Crucifix and a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hanging on both sides of the beam separating the family room from the living room, and have not tossed the many Bibles we have. Why do I keep this stuff? Superstition, perhaps?

    As for the afterlife, I have many books on my Kindle and shelves regarding near death experiences, written by non-professional authors. They all mention the unconditional love and joy of being in heaven. You should read them.

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    • I have faith in a Higher Power. I am asking a rhetorical question that no one can answer. David was into reading all the “near-death” stuff after his son died, and now he thinks it is bogus.

      Doesn’t tell you much anyway, life is a mystery.

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