Remember When?

I was sitting with a beautiful woman this weekend….just chatting. She was remarking about her thirty years……of building a life.  She simply cannot understand how it was so easy to throw away and now how to move forward knowing she will never say…”.Remember that time when….” .and ” Do you recall that person….?”

A life lived with someone else that simply won’t be able to be wholly shared with someone new.

I have spoken to others about it.

Some of them are happily married. They tell me that there is that sadness. There is a portion of their life that was lived elsewhere that cannot be fully shared, and it is OK. It can be somewhat shared. It can be opened up and talked about.  It can be healed even….in that new relationship certain things can be healed as memories. But the actual day-to-day life…..all the memories inside a person cannot be shared unless they were there.

It made us cry as we sat at dinner feeling the loss.

So no…..I will never be able to say to someone new…”Remember that day when this baby or that baby was born? Remember when……?”

It is a painful part of the healing process to allow yourself to grieve over the remember when’s.    They are important parts of the dream that my friend and I  had for our marriages. We talked about how we thought we would be those lovely old people walking on the beach hand in hand with our husbands; the kids and grand kids trailing behind. We thought we would have all the stories in tact and able to be pulled out in  a moment’s notice…..”Remember when?” …….and out a lovely story would flow.

I realized today though that as I heal……those remember when moments are not as painful now.

In fact, I am looking forward to sharing those stories….with someone else. I can tell them to a new man or a set of grand kids just as easily by myself. I can pull on the stories and draw in those newcomers to this family by using the stories of the past. I don’t have to chuck them or stuff them or never mention them simply because the man in them is no longer my husband. I was still there. I was loving and living and becoming who I am today. That daughter’s exciting ride in an ambulance as she was being born…..the harrowing start and tiny weight of the next baby….my sunshine and roses girl and her 7 am wake up call birth that was textbook perfect and my youngest…..her afternoon arrival in the shortest time possible as the nurse had to do most of the  delivery since this baby was ready to greet the world in a hurry. I have stories of places and events and all the times that built these little girls and this now middle aged woman I have stories of my family and friend and past……all of them are going to be told. I don’t plan to shelve certain ones simply because one of the characters decided to leave the story.

I will build new memories too…perhaps I will be married again someday…… when the first grandchild is born….and then I can say”Remember when we were there for the birth of the first?”

Perhaps I will be married again when one of the daughters gets married, and I will be able to say…”Remember when that girl’s wedding was so beautiful?”

There will be remember when’s for meeting my girls….for Christmases…..Easters…and Thanksgivings. There will be remember when’s for family vacations and vacations just for two. There will be remember when’s for moments and difficulties and growth and challenges. There will be remembering when’s for painful things and passionately beautiful things……

Remember when’s can be painful. There is no doubt. But I am finding that as I move into a new phase of healing….one in which I am able to feel my heart and find myself apart from my past…….. I can feel both the sorrow for what was lost and the joy for what is coming. I am able to grieve the broken now and also rejoice in God’s never-ending healing of all of this into something even more beautiful than I could have imagined. I know there will be moments and times of further grief, but I am no longer drowning in them. Walking forward….blindly at times….through tears at times…..into a future that I trusted God had for me…….has been scary and difficult and filled with tears and heartaches. I am simply more able to look at them as blessings and healing measures now. I am able to have a fuller measure of hope and joy and expectancy as I move into a time of remember when…..

I remember when all of this was so terribly painful that I thought I would not survive it. I can now say, ” Remember when God came and walked me out of the dark and broken place I was in so lovingly that no amount of begging on my part to make it quicker would change his hand and make him shortcut my healing?”

Remember when I never thought looking forward to a holiday or an event would ever happen again?”

Remember when those empty days of a life being destroyed were finally and for all time put asunder so something glorious and vibrant could take its place?”

Remembering together will eventually become a joyous reminder of something new that God brought out of a very dark place.

6 Replies to “Remember When?”

  1. This is a main event, like a graduation, ready to receive your honors! Mission accomplished! It’s like you are walking up to receive your reward, wearing the banner of “” clothed in His amazing grace and His righteousness, shining with true joy. Welcome to these moments. Moving forward.

  2. I am so glad that I found your blog. All of your writings seem like I could have written them, as they perfectly describe my roller-coaster emotions. This entry, in particular, hits home. My divorce has only been final for 6 weeks, but I knew the marriage was over 2 years prior when I discovered he was in a relationship with our church pianist. We were married for 29 years and together for 36. There really is a lifetime of “remember whens,” and I would have to say that is a particular kind of loneliness that I never expected… nor would I have known how to describe it to someone. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Oh Laura…..I am so sorry. Thirty-six years is a lot of memories to process. This is a particular kind of loneliness….that was well said. I will be praying for that roller coaster to slowly slow down and for God’s joy to break through more and more as your heart heals.

  3. It sounds as if you are saying, “I am going to make it”. So many days the greatest sadness comes from my saying, “I do not think I am going to make it”. I hope you never have another day where you go back to that place. These sick, evil men steal a part of you, and leave you questioning your whole life. All I want is justice, but possibly justice may come someday when I can become a person again, the happy, self-assured, successful person that I used to be. One day at a time, one conversation with God at a time.

    1. I do believe I am going to make it, Joan….even on those days I don’t feel it. It is getting easier….little bit by little bit. There are days when it returns….the grief….in full force. There are days ewhen fears can sneak in. But overall….the general flow is toward more health for my heart. I am slowly finding who I am without anyone but Christ and that is a GOOD place to be even in a marriage. I believe you will find yourself. You are strong and beautiful and lovely without anyone or anything……just because God loves you and made you for himself. I am praying for those conversations to come and soften those places that feel so hard and difficult. Those conversations are definitely important….and I know….they can get pretty heated as we feel deeply the loss and injustice. I am praying for you and for joy to sneak in around the edges as you look forward to an eternity of faithful love!

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