Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Just gonna leave this here…

Our Prime Minister has shown incredible grace, humility and empathy in her leadership of our country through this extraordinarily awful time including and since the Christchurch mass shooting.

Being so far away has been hard. And it is interesting as most people we have been around are impressed by her style.

This abhorrent act of racist/religious terrorism is not who we are. We are generally a mostly secular nation of relatively tolerant and welcoming people.

Of course, this is an enormous generalisation, and the rise of white supremacy globally has now included us.

I love how Jacinda has ensured the focus is on the victims, their families and communities, what we as a nation can provide in the way of support, and her deliberate unnaming of the terrorist.

Kia kaha. Arohanui.

Ngā mihinui.

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Fading

Here I am in Porto. It is a truly fascinating city. I love it.

But tonight, I’m struggling. The waves of pain never stop rolling in. As many of you know. This shit never really goes away. Mostly, I have found I am just much better at putting on a happy face in public. I am fun Paula. Joking with fellow travellers, having a laugh.

It fucking sucks.

Kate is feeling better.

Thankfully.

She really did get very sick. And slept for most of our journey here, then another 12 hours last night.

In her absence, I “adopted” a lovely 21 year old girl from Melbourne, travelling alone. We went to a couple of tourist spots together – mostly involving Harry Potter, yay! – and shared massive gin and tonics that evening. And I got chatting to a couple of very fun, well travelled Australians, from country NSW, a couple of years older than me, with three kids about my kids’ ages and a four month old granddaughter with the same name as my youngest daughter. As the night wore on, and I had invited them (rather, they invited themselves, jokingly, but to their surprise, I agreed enthusiastically) to come and stay with me at our lake house, as he is a keen angler, and she a tramper (we have planned to do the Tongariro Crossing together) the conversation naturally turned to my single status.

Neato.

How do you talk about it, when as soon as it is brought up, you feel your chest tighten and the tears welling up?

God! I hate it so much.

So yeah. Just said, a bit wobbly, that my much beloved partner of 30 years left me for a widow he met online, 12 months ago.

They were aghast.

“WTAF??? How many years? 13? Oh, 30! No way! What is wrong with people? What’s her issue? Fuck. Did you see it coming? (Noooo!!!) Are you okay, babe? You look like you’re rocking it.”

I just sat, and thought, how do I answer that?

Just said, “getting there. It’s been hell. But I’m here.”

Ugh. Jesus. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

They both hugged me. Oh Lord. Then I changed the subject and we made plans for them to catch up with me later in the year.

Anyway, then tonight I heard my son will be moving down south before I return home… I knew it was coming, but hoped I would be there before he disappears again.

Today we toured a port wine cellar. It was really wonderful.

I bought a bottle of very special vintage port, from the boutique, family owned cellar, from my son’s birth year. The name of the company has my son’s name in it. I will take it down south for his May graduation ceremony, to share with our family.

A view over the Douro river, towards the port district from earlier tonight

Kate and I ate at the most wonderful restaurant tonight. I had an enormous tuna steak with pineapple, coriander and fresh chillis, which I could not even finish half of! The atmosphere was sophisticated and warm. We walked in to The Cure playing softly on the sound system, one of my favourites, and a band that seems to embody my love for Roger somehow. The lights on the wall opposite where we sat were deeply nostalgic for me. They reminded me of the beautiful bathroom renovation Roger and I did on the third house we owned together. A five bedroom semi-villa style home that had a bad 80s vibe from its most recent renovation. The huge bathroom had a red claw foot bath, on shagpile carpet, with a gold “tardis” shower. We spent so little money, buying rejected consignment tiles, and some paint. Working out how to get the fall right to tile the wet area shower we built, was a mission. And because we shifted the shower head to another wall, we planned on industrial, exposed copper plumbing, not unlike the piped lights as pictured in this restaurant.

God. I loved that house, and the extensive gardens we had. So much. We were so damn happy there!!!

Then he fucked it all up by selling it from under me.

Ah well, triggers. They never get old.

Tomorrow, we move on to Lisbon. Hope my mood lifts, as I have to play nice, when all I want to do tonight is cry. Hard. I looked at my dark cutting scars in the shower tonight, with my nose pouring blood for some reason, and was thankful I am travelling, and have nothing sharp to access.


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Poor Kate…

Has got violently ill overnight.

We have a long day ahead. Hours on trains and in minivans. Vomiting and diarrhoea. Not ideal.

Trying to support her, and stay well myself. Hopefully my immune system is back, fully functional after being completely wiped out by the radiotherapy. My last bloods looked a lot better…

Anyway, much as this is an amazing trip, the triggers remain.

This was supposed to be what Roger and I worked for for thirty years together. We planned travel and adventures together at this stage of our lives. We patted ourselves on the back for (unplanned) having our children young. We could explore the world together while we were still young enough to enjoy!

It is hard, this trip obviously lots has happened to challenge me. But I am here. Doing it.

The hardest part is seeing the older, loved up couples. The intimacy of sleeping on each other’s shoulders on trains and buses. Holding hands walking to dinner….

Love. Lost love. That was supposed to be us. I still have some things at home of his that still smell of him. When the pain gets too much, I occasionally wear them, or sleep with them, inhaling his scent.

Just like a widow might. Holding her love close.

Except, I’m not allowed to grieve for my dead love, because someone else walks around in his body. Someone else sleeps on his chest. Someone else holds his hand. Someone else is planning her future with my lover.

Anyway. That is the agony of grief and loss.

Last night, the most incredible, modern, stylish tapas restaurant! 😍

I was too hungry to photograph much. Here are the rabbit croquettes, and sardines…

Today, Portugal. Poor Kate…


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Right. Travels.

So, I am currently in Madrid. About to leave for Porto tomorrow.

A week in. Barcelona was lovely. We did loads of cool things. Most of my better photos are on my camera, which I haven’t managed to synch with my phone. But briefly, my absolute highlight was a food and wine walking tour, with a 32 year old local sommelier who has lived all around the world, the likes of NYC, Brazil, Czech Republic, London, Madrid, Paris…

He was personable and quietly passionate (is that an oxymoron?) and knowledgeable about food and wine. We ended up being the only two in the tour group as he had a party of four cancel last minute. We think the Barcelona v Lyon champions league football match…we tried to get tickets but could not get any seated together, and in a stadium with a 100k capacity….and tickets starting around 120€…Yeah nah.

Good call. As this was the best night. Five restaurants with beautiful wine matches

We were staying on La Rambla, just a block from a wonderful market. We ate there a bit too.

We of course did the usual tourist attractions. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia…

Park GΓΌell. The pride in Gaudi’s work is everywhere in Barcelona…

And the views over the city were magical

We day tripped out to the ancient city of Girona (on camera….damn) and Figueres, to the Salvador Dali Museus.

Girona was fabulous. Of course, many of these things are improved, or not, of course, by the knowledge and enthusiasm of local guides. We had good ones that day.

We had to try the local delicacy, xiuxo…

Yep. Like a cronut, but better 😍

Dali. We all know the narcissism, lol. Great for those of us who have dealt with this shit! But, I found it fascinating, nevertheless

But the jewels…my favourite!

I bought a ring in the gift shop…not usually such a sucker.

Then, we did a three countries in one day trip into France and Andorra. Meh. Okay, made better by a good guide, with a plethora of dad joke style humour…

Also mostly on camera.

Funniest thing was we arrived in the capital Andorra la Vella, on their constitution day! Nothing was open!!! Kate was gutted. She is a collector of kitschy fridge magnets. Nope. Not today!

So. That is Barcelona in a very brief nutshell.

Kate was informed while we were on the train to Madrid that one of her nicest work colleagues is missing, presumed murdered, from the Christchurch mass shooting. And of course, our grief, quiet rage and deeply felt national disappointment that such a hateful and violent act has befallen our beloved homeland. We are a nation who generally pride ourselves on tolerance and acceptance. There are not the words.

I made contact with my brother and sister-in-law in Christchurch, to check on kids who I assumed would have been at school on lockdown. They had been at home, with a teacher only day, and she sent me a photo of my wee niece laying homegrown flowers and a soft toy for the victims at one of the city’s many shrines, in the Botanic Gardens.

Devastating.

Our trust is forever broken. And our much admired leader is advocating love. Thankfully.

So familiar.

I tried to love Roger back to truth and honesty. Unfortunately, he found it easier to transfer everything he felt, or made me believe he felt, for me, to an easier target.

Anyway, trust is such an incredibly fragile thing, so difficult to repair. It takes time and commitment. You cannot waiver.

Ever.

I think my ability to trust, hugely dented after being brutally raped by a friend, but repaired in no small way by loving Roger, will never repair again. Especially when I trusted a betrayed spouse would empathise, and stop fucking my love when I pointed out his lies.

Not fully. They broke something that was already very, very fragile in me.

Better get going, off to the Prado for more kulcha!


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Up

Have been awake for a bit.

It’s 2.30am.

I am usually awake now, and struggle to get to sleep again.

Today it is for the horse race, but my alarm is set for two hours time.

Not now.

And yeah, of course I read for a bit once I realise I am not going back to sleep.

I think about how I was never a priority for Roger.

Never.

Thirty years, and I never meant enough to him for him to put me first.

I was incredibly tolerant and supportive. His life never changed much once our children were born. He still went out drinking regularly with his friends. While I mostly stayed home caring for our babies, paying bills, preparing tax returns, etc.

CrazyKat has recently been dealing with her husband’s selfishness resurfacing under pressure, or just the passage of time. Being better, doing better, is almost too hard for these guys.

She is feeling it five years out.

Five years is when I started to really struggle. Roger had not changed. He was getting more and more selfish and impatient.

And then I went sexually numb for a while. WTAF??? That was a special kind of hell, all on its own…

Coincidence?

Kat wrote this to her husband:

There are so many things you can do, but you don’t. You do what is easiest for you. You continue to make excuses and rationalize. If I was a priority, I would feel it.

Yup.

I knew, deep down, that Roger did not want to change. He liked being the central person in whomever-the-woman-was-who-adored-him’s life – it wasn’t me, I thought it was, I desperately wanted it to be, because I really, really loved him – wanting to please him. He had no interest in supporting me. He loathed everything about me doing anything for my healing. From what he did! Buying books. Researching infidelity and personality disorders. Getting counselling. Going back to uni. Me feeling scared/anxious/doubtful/accomplished about my academic journey.

The kids knew it, commented on it.

I was a little blind, hearing his words, not properly absorbing his actions.

Exactly his intent! Why else write me achingly loving notes, telling me I was absolutely the love of his life, he could not have what we had with anyone else. He didn’t want anyone else?

He never got excited for me. Instead, he would sigh and say, well, of course you got another A+. Like they were easy to come by. I would have been feeling doubtful and anxious I may not have quite got what was being taught. But he would roll his eyes impatiently, and dismiss the hard work that went into each achievement.

That is how much he loved me. I was never his everything. Never the only woman for him. It was all just words to keep me hooked on him until he could find a replacement model. Like the job you keep, hating it, until you find another, so you can escape the one you detest.

Why else have at least three online dating profiles for two years????

Why else cause such total devastation to your loving partner? He knew I adored him, and rubbed my nose in his affairs. It was an unbelievably cruel way to treat anyone, but me? Who totally loved him? Fucker. So unbelievably cruel. My heart may never fully recover from that.

Unlike the lovely couple from Chicago we met two days ago, travelling to celebrate 25 years of love and marriage.

At least, that’s what it looked like. This experience has made me doubt love, doubt whether what is on display is real. After all, I believed Roger’s facade….

Right. Better try to get the link active on my phone to watch our filly race!

Squeeeeeee!


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Hardest week since all my D-days

And still here. Getting shit done.

I will of course post some of the amazing things we have been doing asap. I haven’t brought a laptop and my camera doesn’t easily synch to my phone. But will definitely get there.

I promise travel pics!

The past 24 hours has been especially emotional. My daughter went to the funeral of my oldest friend’s son, representing my now very changed family.

She said she was so glad she went.

And she reported back that it was an achingly beautiful service, representing the values and love that this large extended family and community has for my friend.

B exemplified these values. Yes, he grew up the fifth of five children in a very privileged home. But those genuine, rooted values, that I have despaired J had lost touch with, were to the fore. She and all four of her daughters spoke. The youngest, closest in both age, and bond with B, sang. J’s husband closed the ceremony with some very loving words about the values and love J brought to their children. It is now 1.20am there, I’m on a train to Madrid, and I am still getting Snapchats of the wake. A big party at J’s house. Music, singing, dancing, food, love. I knew they would grieve well.

And, as D was updating me via the group chat I have with my kids, S, the eldest mentioned there was breaking news of a terrible mass shooting, gunman still at large, in the city my brother and his family live in. The kids schools were in lockdown.

It is by far and away the worst thing of its type that my mostly peace loving country has ever seen. At present, 49 dead. 48 in hospital. A group of hate-fuelled people killing mercilessly, based on hatred and intolerance. We are a nation in shock.

I am aching to be held.

But know he’s gone, loving someone else. Someone who just walked in and replaced me after thirty years of damn hard work and damn passionate love.

Oh well. Can’t change what selfish people do.

They will be curled up in bed in the capital together, awaiting our filly’s start in the biggest race we have ever had a horse entered in. Some of the syndicate members and myself have been excitedly sending messages.

I hope she runs well, to give us all a thrill after such a dreadful, dreadful week.

(I even refrained from hoping Trinket breaks an ankle as she teeters about the racecourse in high heels tomorrow πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰πŸ€£.)

Well. Almost πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

Adios x


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I’ll be brief

Today was busy. Three countries in one day.

Exhausted.

And now, the build up to B’s funeral. I can hardly bear it. Being here, not there is an especially lonely type of agony. I desperately miss my bear.

You know the drill by now. My love of three decades, not the man who lies curled around Trinket.


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The battle

Having a low moment on tour today. Battling hard.

I am on the trip of my lifetime – so far – in many ways.

My friend planned this for me about a year ago. I grasped the idea of travel and empowerment straight away. I’ve worked so hard for this trip. The organisation at home, sheep, cattle, dogs, chooks, lawns, rubbish, recycling, yaddah yaddah.

When Trinket messaged me a week out, as in my last post, my heart sank. It was nearly a year since my love kissed me hard, saying, one day we might find our way back to each other, and drove off after 30 years of love, betrayal, hard work, deep connection and belief that we were a fabulous match for each other, leaving me to do all the cleaning of our home for the new owners.

It was the worst day of my life.

There have been more to rival that since, as I thought I would fly away from the utterly mind fucking lying, cheating and diseases he imparted.

I haven’t flown fully yet. I walk purposefully towards a healed future, but my heart is still completely in tatters. It is trauma. I finally accepted that a few months ago. I had stalled. And the pain levels were rising again.

So, I engaged a shrink, who has agreed that I am dealing with complicated grief caused by a multitude of life traumas, culminating in Roger leading me to believe he was trying to work with me to heal from his betrayals of me over a long period of time. But actually just using me as a place holder until he met the ‘real’ love of his life

Fuck. You have NO idea how hard it has been.

I have been so disappointed in myself for not being healed. It was never what I visualised when I thought we might be best apart. I have said it loads of times, but I never stopped loving him. And I believed he had learned to be open and honest with me. When he begged me to stay, I believed in him. He’d made a mistake, he truly wanted me.

Finding out he was still lying was truly life alteringly devastating. Finding out even later than that, that he had secretly been chatting to and meeting women blew my mind.

Why?

What did I do to make him feel I deserved this treatment? I honestly could not have tried harder to be a terrific partner.

Of course, I do know it isn’t me, but something very cruel in him. I cannot describe the pain.

So, very mindfully trying not to hurt so much has been excruciating torture.

To have Trinkey message me then was extra painful. I did not know what to do. So, I asked advice of two trusted friends. And decided to answer her message with kindness.

Yes, I would meet her.

Then, I had a major panic attack and decided to block her on the only means she has of communicating with me.

To get my head straight. I only blocked for an hour or two, to breathe. To process WTF.

When I unblocked the woman who stole my love, I heard nothing from her, not realising until early this morning that she had replied almost immediately to what I felt was the olive branch I offered.

And supposed she had ignored me.

It fucked with my head too much, and I worked extra hard to centre myself, try to forget her cruelty.

Then, after the worst two weeks of my working life, I got on a plane.

To find out three quarters of the way around the globe that my oldest friend’s young son had been killed in an horrific accident. I was already teetering, and it has been a massive blow. I am trying to carry on, but there are massive lows. I have started waking in a burning hot sweat after dreaming about the accident. So yeah, a big lack of sleep, both in transit (I used to sleep well when flying) and since landing three days ago, probably a big whack of jetlag, which I usually don’t suffer from, is a factor in my current high state of anxiety. I never used to get faint, or throw up for no reason. Today, at a tourist spot, I had to rush to the bathroom to empty my stomach contents.

I am fucking sick of living like this. I bear no resemblance to the woman I once was, the woman I know I must be inside all of the trauma. Ugh.

Trinket sending me a message around 3am, exposing the fact that she must read this blog was completely devastating.

And I must retract here what I said earlier about her not replying. That was incorrect.

It is the only way to explain the message. She sent me a copy of the message she sent, which I never received.

I actually read it and wanted to die.

Then replied as firmly as I have been able to manage with her, ever. I was far too kind to her in the beginning, thinking she would relate, as a betrayed wife, and retreat.

I expected her to do the right thing.

God, I am dumb.

To which she replied this

My thoughts about my deep disappointment in my intense grief and heartbreak are only tempered slightly as I try to be kind to myself.

I am brave.

I am kind.

I do try hard to be a good person.

Every day is hard.

But I keep fighting.


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Let’s talk. Mmm Kay?

A week before I was about to leave, Trinket sent me this message.

WTAF?

So, not content with fucking with my mind by dating my life partner openly, while I made it obvious he never told me he was online dating, or giving up on us – you know, that adult conversation you have saying, hey, I’m out. I don’t want to be with you anymore. I have three online dating profiles and have sent over twelve thousand text messages in the past eight months to other women, let alone those for the year or so before that. Instead, writing me loving notes telling me he couldn’t live without me, that I am the love of his life – you know, that stuff. Then seven months of travelling twice a week to fuck her, go holiday home viewing with her, coming home and sharing that with me, making love to me….

So, yeah, okay. Let’s talk now.

I received this message a week short of the anniversary of the last time Roger and I had incredibly hot and heavy sex.

Yeah, I wanna talk to you, Trinkey.

I was thrown.

Badly.

I cut that night, after two weeks of not doing so. I felt the suicidal feelings ramp waay up. I fought to stay in the world that night, and the next two.

I did reply after 24 hours of consideration. I said, yes, we can touch base. May I ask what it is regarding please?

She has never replied. That mean, husband stealing cunt completely fucked my world, then pokes me with a stick, and runs away.

It laid me so low. I was anxious and had a few major panic attacks at work, just as I was trying to do a month’s work in a week. No one is replacing me at work.

It was hell. Utter hell.

And then, I got going on my trip, planned nearly a year ago to help mend my utterly shattered heart, to find B had been killed. Honestly universe, stop already. I don’t know how much more I can take. Take me. Not a good, loved, 13 year old boy.

Trying so damn hard to enjoy this trip. But I am terribly distracted by the agony of this loss…not mine as such. But really? B? I know it happens. And I know J has incredible support. All seven siblings, and all their cousins have assembled, flown in from around the world. And me, the ninth sibling, is not there. They had a great wake for him last night, the way this large, Irish Catholic family do. Drinks, song, fire, love.

And I am not there.

The eldest, and matriarch, who is a good friend of mine, messaged me last night, saying my job is to travel well, have fun, and celebrate life. That J will need me when I return.

I’m trying C. Really hard!

Out to the Salvador Dali Museum today….

Appropriate surrealism for a terribly tragic surreal situation.


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Tragedy

Been a bit quiet. 27 hours of flying can do that to you. There has been a bit happen. But first this utterly devastating news.

I flew a 17 and a half hour first leg. On arrival at the transit airport, we only had 45 minutes before boarding. I flicked my phone back on, and immediately a text showed. It was from the dear friend whose uncle died of cancer I spoke of recently. The message was a little cryptic…

This friend, Katy, has twice tried to stage an intervention by contacting me with information that this friend, J’s husband, has been abusive. He was charged a few years ago as he had her on the ground, choking her. My belief is that he has turned this around, he owned his appalling behaviour, and got (court ordered) counselling, etc. But I think he still lays into her verbally and emotionally at times.

Of course, this was my first thought. They had two weeks earlier taken possession of a luxury holiday home on an exclusive “waterways” development. Maybe the tension had tipped him over?

When I logged into the airport Wi-Fi, I got about 40 messages on Messenger. Wow!

I opened the most important to me, from my wonderful local to me friend, L. She used to live next door to J (My BFF since I was 10 years old) and me in our second year at uni, and is just the most wonderful friend. Her message asked me to call her.

That concerned me, so I messaged back, “good time to call now?”

“Yes!”

So, I did. L informed me that our old friend, J’s 13 year old son, her youngest, had died in a tragic boating accident at their brand new, just taken possession of, holiday home pretty much just as I took off on my journey.

The horror. Just utter horror. My next message I looked at was a missed call from J to me about an hour into my first flight.

I called her back. And amazingly, she picked up.

Oh fuck. My heart. My poor, poor friend. Her little boy. Gone. Horrific accident. She was incredible. You know that shock that gives you almighty strength in tragic and devastating circumstances? That understanding, but denial?

J had it in spades. All about, he’s gone, please don’t come home, please have the best trip for me and B (her boy.) I just said I am with her, to keep talking if she needs to, that I will come any time if she needs me. That I will be there as soon as I arrive home.

I didn’t make it to her mother’s funeral, who died suddenly in the playground of the school she taught at, just weeks before retirement. I had a just born baby.

Now I will also not be there on the day she has to put her baby in the cold earth. WTAF universe???

She is the fourth of 8 incredibly close siblings, and has the most amazing community and wide circle of friends for support. Her husband, while sounding like an asshole, is actually a great dad to their four older girls, and I totally have confidence they have a lot of love for each other, and they will hold each other through this unending grief.

Then the tears and shaking came. Not sobs. Just wet, devastated tears, the kind I am so familiar with since my grief.

Which of course is totally irrelevant in this tragedy.

I didn’t sleep the next leg, of course. Every time my eyelids got heavy, a huge pain wave for my grieving, shocked friend, and her funny, cheeky, talented little sportsman, with an EQ that was right up there, would hit.

I mentioned to my travel companion how these are the EXTRA times. When Roger and I would support each other. He sent me a very kind message about the tragedy, worried about me being so far away.

My body and heart ached to be held by my boy. To be comforted by my life partner. That man I have always totally loved and adored. That one, not the cruel cheater and abandoner.

Just needed to put this load down here. My trip is otherwise starting well. I am being brave. Missing my love like crazy, triggered by the fact that Barcelona is so like Buenos Aires, that city Roger and I travelled together in not so long ago. The place I started to feel I was going to heal from his betrayals. We both loved that trip, that city, so much. The art. The architecture. The culture. The political and colonial history.

Will get to my travels when I have time, and good Wifi. Arohanui πŸ’”πŸ˜š