"Goodness. I didn't divorce him! How can you even ask me that?"
But I do ask that.
Am I better off without him?
This whole idea came up when I looked through old files in my art studio yesterday. I hate to admit it, but some of these files are nearly twenty years old. There are snippets of articles and notes.
I found a note my late husband wrote to me on March 26, 1996.
Dear ____, What we did last night was devastating, and I'm still angry. Yet I see you and our union as a blessed gift from a loving God. I am sad that we hurt each other from our woundedness. Love, ___
I guess the argument he's referring to was a doozy. We had rough times in our marriage, especially a six year spell from 1991 to 1997. Often, during this time, I seriously contemplated this question "Would I be better off without him?" I stayed on the fence a long time, and some would say circumstances merited my departure. Then, in 1997, I jumped off that fence toward him, toward us. Not that circumstances were a lot better. But, like the pearl which forms around an intrusive grain of sand, we faced what was hurting us and held on together. We learned. We grew. We shed entrenched beliefs that were really harming us. We had five very very good years beyond 1997. And when his terminal disease hit in 2002, I unleashed every tool and effort to add months to his life, as did he. Together we added 36 long months, each a hard won pearl in our strand.
Am I better off without him? I'm better off without the pain and daily struggle when times were tough. Now that my grief is spent and I'm tickled to be alive, I'm better off without the pain and daily struggle his death left me. And the pearl necklace we created? It is in my past, in my heart. Every once in a while I see evidence of it, like this note, which I'll hang on to.
Am I better off without him? I am better off because of him.
And, I am better off today because of the help I've received, and because of the choices I make. Well, not all the choices. But enough good choices mixed with these have added up. I am better off than when I first lost him.
A new strand of pearls is emerging now. I have to remember that making pearls isn't fun, but it is worthwhile. Turns out the strand won't be all pearls. It has diamonds here now, sparkling in today's light.
Am I better off without him? Difficult question. I am blessed to have diamonds in my life at present. I hope I will have more diamonds in that thing called the 'future', but the future has no guarantee. In any case, I know I can make pearls from grains of sand, and try to do so every day. If that most terrible grain of sand called death intrudes upon me once again I'll ask for help. How would we make it through life without each other?
Do you see the day when you will be better off without your late husband?