Monday, 27 August 2012

sad eyes tell a story, even if you don't know it...

These two pictures are decades apart, in the first I am in my mid thirties, and in the second it is today when I own up to being 67. I was trying to get a recent photo to juxtapose to the earlier one, and on looking through, I realise that despite the smile, my eyes give me away!

I was married the first time to my first love. I was 21 just and he was 20 and we had to ask permission from his parents to marry.. I left out telling mine until the deed was done, as I am sure that they would have tried to make me wait and take time to make such a momentous decision. I was three months pregnant and eager to be a wife and mother. I did have a good job, but was waylaid by the idea of marriage and babies.

Looking back, my husband was doing what he thought, was the right thing to do when you get a girl pregnant., but although I am sure I think he felt he loved me, the responsibility is only now seen by me after all these years. It might have been ok, if I had not gone on to have another four children within a 12 year span, putting the onus of finding money to pay rent or mortgage or food and all the other necessities of life with a family onto his shoulders.  He was already of a nervous nature if only I had realised, and whilst I will never regret having and keeping my darlings, the pressure on him was enormous and I was completely oblivious to it. I thought that my day to day running of the house and trying to make end meet was enough to worry about. 
Being parents at such a young age, I thought was advantageous as I've said in another post, I thought we could still be young and going out when the kids were older, but of course it never worked out like that. He found that using alcohol as a sort of escape was an easy choice and whilst we always seemed to manage to have just enough to feed and clothe them there were never planned holidays or much going out and socialising and I guess the extra money was going on the drink. Unfortunately as the years went, the booze intake got bigger and bigger the more successful he became, and eventually was the reason for our split as we could not go on hurting each other.

All the years I was with him I told no one of my difficulties ,and his drinking was never discussed although my parents had an idea that it was getting out of hand. I carried on and smiled away the pain, and just tried to make it alright for the kids... Of course I fooled not a single one of my children, they all knew what was going on, and still I made a stab at trying to keep the family together, because like many others, when he was sober and alert, he was the best person you would ever want to know.

But gradually as the years went it got too hard, it was now every night that we would have to put up with his rants and outrages and even though the children would be all in bed, of course they could hear him going on downstairs. To this day they all flinch at loud voices and I know that is a relic of those ugly times.

I have always been a positive person, and the best way I could cope was to focus on the kids and make sure they all got on ok.. Once we were called to one of the children's school to discuss behaviour and attitude, and we were asked outright if all was well at home, what else could be worrying this child.. So, what do you think was our  first reaction? Of course we said no... nothing we could think of that would bother the child so much that behaviour was questionable... what an outright lie, but this was what happened, you covered up, you dealt with it in silence.!

My husband's own home life was awful, with him being picked out by his father when he came home from the pub, to be stood in a corner and ranted and shouted at for all hours, even when he had school to go to the next day.[ His mother had reasoned, better one child took the brunt, rather that the other three..] so I had a lot of sympathy with him, but as it was replayed in our home, the structure of the drinking and the shouting and the going over and over of matters that he thought were important, became more and more harder to bear. In the end I put down unreasonable behaviour, as a divorce matter, but he wanted that changed to Adultery,, when I knew he had never strayed, but felt that it sounded better on the form..

Ah well, a long time ago now, but all that angst and hurt and destroyed love, left its mark in my eyes and now I see that as I get older I cannot keep a lid on it and my eyes are telling the world that I knew other times that were not the happiest..  I don't know how you get the sparkle back, because when you stamp on anything, that thing dies, and I think that inside my soul I did die a little bit... not enough to kill me, but enough to effect me and the life choices I have made since.

When you decide the second time around, if you do get the chance, I think you might go to choose just the opposite of what you have known.. I chose my present husband because he didn't drink much, was solid, dependable and reliable. However, I think I must be harder to please, because all the above good points over a long period of time develop into little quirks, like not liking travel or visiting places or people, or socialising much except with his own circle of friends, not being adventurous, not liking driving out for the pleasure of being in another place for a few hours.... these little quirks I have to live with and adapt as well as I can, but its been hard, and not the easiest of road... however, I must not get on the boring grumbling tract that would be so easy.

So I do a lot of what I want to do, but do not expect him to be accompanying me every time.. solitary it might be at times, but at least I do get out from the house. I wish I could have told my younger self to listen to my parents, to take time to make big decisions, but then I wouldn't have my wonderful kids, and I would have missed so much joy that I have still when we are all together.... and my first husband, gave up the drink for a long while after I left, and gets together with me and John when we all have family get togethers like weddings..

 He will always be my first love, but the hurt was too deep for it ever now  to be anything but a distant memory.


  1. I read this yesterday, but haven't commented until now because I was trying to digest it all. I am so sorry for both you and your ex-husband. When we are young we think we know everything and the whole world is before us. We learn things the hard way, don't we. Hurts run deep and often never go away. The secret is to live above them which is what I see you doing. Good for you for not staying locked in your house. You are a strong lady.

  2. It's good that after all that went before, you and your ex can still be in contact and be friendly - much healthier than constant rows and disagreements that go on between ex partners.
    It's a shame that you cannot share some good times with your husband, but be glad that you have the freedom to be able to go out alone - some women never have that either (I am not one of these women, but I know a few who are.) Continue to be strong and have a life with or without the company of your husband....
    Rose H

  3. This is such a frank and moving post. You were brave to write it and I bet many people will identify with your story.

  4. I was going to send you an email but I can't find an address. My blog has moved to wordpress but you can find it at the same url: mockingbirdhillcottage(dot)com. You subscribed via Google Friend Connect and it will no longer update my feed. You can resubscribe via my RSS feed or via email on my blog.


  5. This is such a poignant post. What I love most about it is how gracious you are towards your ex-husband. Alcohol leaves so many people biter and angry, an anger than never really goes away. Alcoholism also brings that sadness you speak of. It sort of rapes your spirit in a way. It is a monster that keeps on hurting even years afterwards.

    I really understand the sadness in your eyes. But the sadness brings a love and compassion that was not there before. Sometimes I ache for the days when life was all 'roses and sunshine' but in those days I was empty and had little to give the world. The sadness and grief has made us better people. It is a gift in a way.

    1. thank you my friends for leaving a comment... after I had posted I wondered if it was too raw to read, or put out there. I realise there are some who are still in this situation and no where to turn to... but there is another life waiting if you are brave to leave and try it on your own.. Hard but not impossible. thank you again for your lovely input.. makes me quite humble that anyone would read and then leave a comment for me.. bless you all..xx

  6. wow, you and I are truly kindred spirits. Your life has pretty much mirrored mine although you did it first. I remember being stuck home every night alone from the age of 21 while my first husband got drunker and drunker. As the years passed he became more and more aggressive too. We both had large families and we think that we're doing the right thing by staying with the father for as long as possible. My big children had lots of material things but were only shown love from one parent. When I see my second husband around out boys, I am so proud and yet it's bittersweet because my older children deserved to be shown the same love..Anyway, i just wanted to check in on my fav blogger, it's been a while since I checked in, so much has happened here and I must update my own blog too. Keep up the good work, your honesty will be helping so many people, sally xx