Rewriting history

It’s tempting to rewrite history and dismiss my 23-year relationship with my ex-husband as one gigantic mistake. Well, aside from the fact it produced my two divine daughters.

But that can’t be true.

There was a time when we were happy and in love … I just can’t remember it.

I know we were attracted to each other in the early days because people often moaned about our lovey-dovey behaviour at the pub.

And I know he once adored me because I discovered the love letters in the attic when I was moving out of the family home.

One card said: “I love you and I miss you and I will see you soon. I loved you all bright eyed and energetic when I left this morning. I look forward to loving you more when I get back.”

That’s pretty special.

And the photograph at the top of this post – that looks like love to me.

I have a rotten memory, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve forgotten the “good old days.”

I do recall a glowing holiday in a little cottage called Norma’s Place in the Barossa Valley. It was a dinky little place with a rambling garden filled with fresh herbs and flowers.

Two divine lunches remain etched in my memory: one at Bridgewater Mill, the other at Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm. The scallops in soy butter were insanely good.

I’m sure we were happy then.

But, sadly, most of my remaining memories are unhappy ones.

The night I drove from Sydney to Newcastle – where he was working – to celebrate his 25th birthday. I bought him a boogie board and headed north to take him to dinner. He was virtually comatose from after-work drinks, dinner was a wash out.

I was deeply hurt.

The time he threw stones at my dad’s window in the middle of the night. He thought it was my window. He’d been out carousing and had kissed another woman. He caught a cab to the suburbs to make amends. My dad was FURIOUS.

I was deeply hurt.

The moment he revealed he’d decided to go on an open-ended holiday to Asia to “find himself” and told me not to wait for him.

I was deeply hurt.

A driving holiday in France and Spain filled with anger and harsh words over narrow streets, my bad directions and pork sandwiches.

I was deeply hurt.

Actually, I was so deeply hurt that I fell out of love with him on that occasion. But I was too scared to voice something so awful, so I stayed and silently fumed and eventually – after about a year – forgave.

I could go on, but I won’t.

Why do I remember so many bad times and so few of the good? Is that the way memory is supposed to operate? Or is it a coping mechanism to help me through the pain of my marriage failing?

I still curse him sometimes. I was sorting through our old junk in the garage last week and snarling bile all over again.

But mostly I think he’s a good man who lost his way.

I think he’s found it again.

Well, I hope he has. Kids need happy parents.

While part of me remains very angry with him, I know that he loved me once, very much. And a big part of why he stopped is because I gave up on our relationship (and life, to a certain extent).

He wasn’t strong enough to keep things together on his own. He couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. So he slipped through an emergency exit and made his escape to freedom.

Now someone else basks in the glow of his adoration.

It’s a bright, glorious place and she should cherish it.

I didn’t.

It’s a precious gift to love and be loved in return.

I don’t want to forget that again.

Song of the day: Mary Hopkin “Those were the days”











3 thoughts on “Rewriting history

  1. I think it is part of our brain re-wiring so that you know you can’t and don’t want to go back there. He is still alive and he is still very much a constant in your life because of your two amazing daughters and will be forever more.
    Your brain needs to re-wire to remember that whilst you can accept and acknowledge there were goods times there were bad times too. And there must have been more bad than good because otherwise you would have stayed together.
    It is essential your brain does this re-wiring so that you don’t become bitter and twisted that he is moving on without you, it needs to happen so that you move on and find that happiness too. Otherwise life will be hell at family functions (like big birthdays, engagements, weddings, christenings etc) forever more. My ex aunt (although re-married) has entrenched herself so much into my extended family that she can’t understand why she is not invited to functions she has never moved on she technically hasn’t been a part of our family for 25yrs now, yet she can’t move forward. She constantly causes issues for my Uncle his new wife of 20yrs. You don’t want that. And that is why the brain needs to re-wire! So that you don’t get stuck in the past of the rose coloured glasses!

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