My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Saturday, November 20, 2010

patty's story

I told you I had something special to share. It's special to me because it highlights one of the big reasons I blog - because I know that out there in this great big world of cyberspace, there are a lot of women (and men) just like me who don't quite know where they fit. I have learned there are a lot of people who just need someone to identify with... someone to model hope... or, sometimes blind optimism... someone who is transparent and shameless enough to share their sometimes humbling truths... and (hopefully) wise enough to turn those little episodes into a stepping stones, not stumbling blocks.

Over the five years I've been blogging, I've "met" a lot of wonderful people... people who truly, truly care about me. People who have been my closest confidants, who have shared my greatest triumphs and most devastating failures. Sometimes I don't even realize how closely people are watching or how strongly impacted others are by the journey I'm taking... Patty is one of those people. We've emailed back and forth a dozen or so times over the past few years but ... we've never talked on the phone, never visited in person... and so the other night when she sent me a very sweet message... I was really humbled and honored. I asked for permission to share and she granted...

I had told her a little more about the Red Flag Guy... and the tragic situation that drew me to him. I don't have permission to share that part of the story... so I'll protect his privacy (see, I have learned a few things along the way!) but that's where the message from Patty begins...

Oh my gosh, Heather. I have goosebumps! Oh boy, now I have tears. You are SO ready ... don't worry about THAT. Can I just tell you that I am where I am now .... because of YOU! I'm in a healthy and happy relationship with a man who cherishes me and loves me (warts and ALL). The reason I've come so far is because I found strength to BELIEVE in ME by reading your other blog when you were becoming so strong, loving yourself and questioning whether Barry was as committed as you were. That is what gave me the courage to put my 7 year half-ass relationship to the test to find out how sincere MY guy was. Well ... he WASN'T!! Guess what ... I had the last laugh, because I decided to end the relationship and he later told me that he had to go through 6 months of counseling because he was "all jacked up" over it. Whatever! Anyway, your example of strength gave me the wind beneath my wings to face life with courage and self confidence. It wasn't long before I met my Kevin at (of all places) the hardware store!! I was there to pick up sprinkler heads and he was in the same aisle to buy plumbing parts (he's a contractor). He started a conversation with me, which I responded with polite pleasantries and promptly made a b-line to the back of the store to make my way up to the register and avoid this guy. I didn't think I was ready to entertain that sort of thing YET. Well ... he came right up behind me in the check out line and kept talking to me. We made our way out to the parking lot and after 20 minutes of conversation, he asked for my number and said that he wanted to invite me to dinner whenever I was available. Me ... single MOM with 3 kids (ages 13 to 19) ... they were my PRIORITY ... so this guy was going to have to wait a while!! But, I heard YOUR voice in my head that night in the parking lot ... and it said, "What can it hurt ... go to dinner with him ... get your feet wet ... it's not marriage ... it's dinner". Well, that was June of 2006 ... and he called me every stinkin' day until I finally went out with him the end of August ... 2 months!! Heather! We now have a 2 year old ... he's gorgeous ... and between the two of us, 5 children all together!I can tell ... you will be a blessing to this man no matter what. At the very least, he needs a friend like YOU! .... You and he can be wonderful friends for each other ... and if it ends up being more, I have the feeling it would be such a beautiful thing! He will totally understand that you want to take things slowly ... HE needs to take things slowly too!! DON'T STRESS! Trust yourself, Heather. You will never make the same mistake that you did with Michael ever again. One day you will see that as much as that whole experience was hurtful, difficult, painful and unfair ... it also was instrumental in you learning to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST. Damn, you gave that guy so much ... and you deserved so much better than him!! None of what happened was your fault ... and the very qualities IN YOU that he took advantage of, are the qualities that make you a perfect mate for the RIGHT man! You just needed to learn to take better care of Heather. And, you're doing that. You're in a peaceful place ... doing the right things each and every day to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit.I'm proud of you Heather. You have rebounded from what that monster did to you in a way that is unbelievable and speaks of your substance.Also, I think your Dad had great advice for you this morning in your blog. What a wonderful Dad you have!Okay, I'm going to attach a picture of Kevin, myself, our son and his daughter for you to see what a difference you made in MY life! Big Hugs~patty

p.s.... Landon was born when I was 46 years old, with no medical intervention. Now, tell me that wasn't God ordained! And, Kevin was adopted (then emancipated by his adoptive parents at the age of 16 yrs 1 month) and NEEDS family. God saw both of our needs ... and filled them!

and when I wrote to ask if I could share her story...

You most certainly can. You've been my friend for a very long time ... sometimes when none of my other friends could/would be. I've always had many, many friends throughout my life. But, the years that I spent in a relationship that pretty much ALL of my friends and family were against ... were the loneliest times ever! People judge you and turn on you when what you really need is for them to love you through an unfortunate circumstance that is obviously a chapter in your life that you need to go through to learn what ever you're meant to learn from it. I was doing everything right ... people always said I was a great mother (and my grown kids will tell you I was the best mother AND father to them) ... I was careful to be responsible with my finances and was able to provide a lovely, but modest home for my children ... and continuity despite their father stepping off the deep end into drug abuse (and the predictable unpredictability that brings to the children) after 15 years of a pretty solid marriage. BUT, when that 7 year dead end relationship began ... and then when I found myself "stuck" in it (for the same reasons you found yourself proceeding into marriage with Michael even though it didn't feel totally right) ... EVERYONE turned away from me. I know you experienced the same thing, and I just don't understand it. But, it was extremely lonely ... and actually, the man who was in my life at the time had an even easier time of taking advantage of my good heart and inner insecurities once no one was around (or looking) to care about me. But, YOU were there anytime I needed to connect with a friend. I would read your blog and I knew that if we lived closer, you WOULD understand ... and you would not judge or turn away. That helped me through a lot of the most painful times in my journey from "then" to "now".So, yes ... be sure and share. I know there must be others whom you've meant so much to, as well. You know why? Because we were all looking for you to return to blogging after Michael made you quit. We all saw that he was choking you off from anything that would keep you healthy or provide a mirror for you to see how terrible he was and what that was doing to you. So, we all waited ... and kept googling your name to hopefully find that you had returned to blogging ... and that you were okay. So many of us were so relieved when you came back. I know that YOUR "happily ever after" is coming, Heather. It will happen in God's perfect timing for YOU! When you are ready for it (maybe that's now!). And, I will be so happy for you! I can honestly say that I don't think I've known another woman as strong and wonderful as you.

Honestly... I don't see myself as strong... I see myself as someone who just plays the cards that are dealt. If I manage... ever... to find the grace or humor or lessons in those cards, I count that a blessing.

There was a time, honestly, when I felt like the world had turned it's back on me. Truly... there were always some people in my life who stood by me no matter what. I would not have survived if not for my brother Jim and his wife Angie. They never stopped praying for me... they were always willing - are still willing - to be a safety net for me. They always have my back. Any strength I have comes from the confidence in knowing there are people out there who love me unconditionally. They aren't the only ones. My friend Mary never quit on me... never stopped caring... never stopped speaking the truth to me. Because she's known me almost my entire life, she can speak with authority about who I really am... and although she's the least confrontational person I know... she is quick to speak up and correct any falsehood that is spread over me. My friend A.T. took time off of work... stood strong for me... she held on to me... provided a boundary for me. When Michael came to talk to me the night before I left Jacksonville she absolutely refused to let me out of her sight. She stood in the parking lot of that hotel at 1am keeping watch over me. She let me sing showtunes to her the whole way out of Florida when she has no interest at all in musicals. And there are so many others... people who supported me (and still support me) financially. People who remind me constantly of who I am and whose I am. People who genuinely give me a reason to get out of bed every day.

So... whoever I am and whatever wisdom I have to share is the sum of a bunch of great parts of my life... from my daddy's wisdom... to my sister-out-law Candice's frequent emails... from the people who have helped bring me here to the people who help KEEP me here... Patty... ultimately... who I am and what I have to share and whatever strength I model comes from all of those beautiful people and it's my joy to share them - and those stories - with cyberspace.
And I am living Happily Ever After...


Adirondackcountrygal said...

Wonderful story!

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, I'm crying now. You have come so far Heather and I am really touched by Patty's story. I want you to be okay with YOU, even if there never is a Mr. Right. You touch so many people in your life in such positive ways. You have always had a way with words ~ I can vouch for that when you would do my English homework and I would do your math homework! You probably don't remember a thing about math, but then again, I don't either, but I've always been impressed by the way you can put words and sentences together to express your true heart and self while others of us just stammer along and can't find the right words. You do have a true calling, a ministry perhaps, of touching the hearts of those who are struggling emotionally. I do hope that you can find that outlet where your ministry and your pocketbook connect and you get paid for all your wonderful and hard-earned wisdom!

Unknown said...

You are strong!! I wish you could see what we do! thank you and Patty for sharing your stories!

(The other) Becky said...

This story gives me hope, too! Thanks to both you and Patty for sharing.

Anonymous said...

You are in a wonderful place in your life, Heather. I'm so happy that you are taking the time to take care of YOU. It's so awesome that you will not compromise yourself for a relationship now. That doesn't mean that you aren't loving, flexible, selfless and willing to be a good partner. It just means that you are making it a priority to be good to yourself in the process.

And you ARE ... strong, and beautiful ... with a determined heart. You are giving and selfless. You show us all how to make the best out of whatever the day has in store. You do that EVERY day!

I'm so glad you're where you are. You are right ... this IS your happily ever after. Everything from here on out, is a beautiful gift waiting for you to open ... because you're in a good place with YOU!

Oh, and keep listening to your Daddy : )

big hugs,

Anonymous said...

... I say that because he gives you advice from a man's perspective, but with a Daddy's love for his daughter.

Your Dad is awesome. I read his blog when I have time. I'll bet you all love him so much!