Friday, 18 May 2012

News on my arm, and an interesting holiday in Antigua where I bumped into my ex-husband and wife

It seems an age since I last blogged.  So much has happened, I don't really know where to begin.  Time seems to move so fast (I think I will have to do another blog on that subject!) it scares me sometimes.

My arm/elbow has shown no sign of improving, and is still only semi-functional.  I have made the decision to go ahead with surgery, have all the metal work removed, and hopefully free the joint up so that I will have greater range of movement.  My aim is to be able to get my hand up to my neck and ears so I can wear jewellery again, and to be able to get my hand to my mouth.  I also want to be able to straighten it more.

29th May is my 'big day'.  It will mean 6 weeks in an arm brace, and a couple of months of not being able to drive again.  Looking ahead though, once I have had it done, I should be able to get back to some sort of a fitness regime, and shed the unwanted pounds (or stone?!!) I have managed to gain since I had the accident.  My dear old Aunt said to me 4 weeks ago "Oh my darling girl, I didn't know you were expecting again?!!"  I replied through gritted teeth "I am not expecting, it is called 'middle-aged spread!'  Grrrrrr!!!  She is 85, so I guess I can forgive her for the not so helpful remark.  I am determined to get my figure back!!

In anticipation of the surgery, I booked a 2 week holiday to Antigua (actually I was supposed to go last November, but had to cancel because of my accident) to get myself healthy, rested and fit.

I arrived at the hotel, hot, sticky, sweaty, make-upless, haggard, and bedraggled from the long journey across the Atlantic ocean.  As I stumbled out of the car, the first person I see..........my ex-husband and then his new wife!  Small world, they had decided to have a second honeymoon (they were married last November) at the same resort as me, coinciding it turned out by 2 days.

His wife looked picture perfect, glamorous, tanned, slim, chic and totally wonderful.  The two of them looked ecstatically happy and relaxed.... laughing and smiling in the Antiguan sun.  I gulped, knowing how dreadful I felt and looked.....and old feelings of inferiority swept over me.  I walked towards them, head held high, but inwardly feeling somewhat diminished and a little shaky.   I managed to pull myself together enough to greet them in a reasonably friendly and cordial way.  Of all the places in the world to choose from, they chose the same destination as me.......freak coincidence!!

I was shown to my room,  plonked down my case,  and collapsed on the bed.  I may have drifted off to sleep for a short while (it had been a long old journey).   When I awoke I threw open the windows.  In front of me lay a beautiful sight, white beach, blue sky, palm trees, and turquoise sea sparkling in the sunlight.  What I also saw right under my nose......my ex husband and his beautiful wife lying side by side chatting away happily on their sun-loungers.  I felt a dull ache in my heart, and suddenly very alone, and very sad.  A sense of loss and grief for what could have been between my ex and I, and what we  could have had together.

Holidaying alone isn't easy at the best of times.  You are completely surrounded by couples and families, enjoying themselves together, and it just seems to emphasise your 'singleness'.  This particular hotel seemed to be popular with honeymooners.  I sighed as I thought what a 'dipstick' I must seem.... like some sort of 'Billy-no-mates'!!! (which of course is not true, as I have many wonderful friends back in the UK)  So what is worse? being somewhere beautiful with someone who doesn't love you, or being in the same place when you are alone full stop?

On my second day there, my ex-husband and wife were flying back to the UK in the evening.  They graciously and kindly asked me to join them for lunch (I was on an 'all inclusive' deal, so he didn't have to pay!!)  I accepted happily, as it would be nice to have some company.  I must say though, it was a totally surreal situation, Mr Marsh having lunch with the new Mrs Marsh, and the old one, all at the same table!!!

Having spent some time with them, I think I have more of an insight now as to how and why their relationship works in a way that it didn't when we were married for 22 years.

I suppose you could say that she is an all singing, dancing and much better version of me.  She is EXTREMELY attractive with a lean, slim, willowy, lithe body......not a smidgen of cellulite on her to be seen.   Her long limbs are evenly tanned, and go on forever.  There are no fat rolls, and not a scar in sight......unlike my poor body, covered in the damn things from all my various operations, accidents and mishaps!!  Her complexion is flawless,  wrinkle and blemish free...she is as fresh as a daisy.  She is classy, elegant, fashionable and has an exquisite taste in clothes, accessories, shoes, make-up etc (rather expensively so!!)  She is everything I am not, and everything I would like to be.

She is also intelligent, savvy, extremely capable, and very, very (scarily so) efficient.  It seems she can turn her hand to most things, including making my ex-hubbie a very happy man......in a way I was sadly never able to, and wish I had.  She is a brilliant cook, interior designer, gardener and house-keeper.  She can sew, do DIY,  is the perfect hostess, and the perfect wife.  Their home (which once was our home) is now palatial, spotless, pristine, immaculate,  colour co-ordinated, and furnished with top of the range furniture and fittings, bespoke kitchen, bathrooms, toilets, dressing rooms and bedrooms.   What was our family home with all the mess, clutter and chaos that comes with having a large family is now perfect......just like her.  I pale into insignificance and feel like a mere maggot next to her, and totally inferior.   She is a lovely person in every way, and I can find no fault with her.  She is a brilliant step-mum too, and my children all love and adore her.

Theirs is a comfortable relationship, and they seem to get on very well.  I wouldn't say that it was overly passionate, but it certainly works.  They are obviously very fond of each other, and their happiness is very evident.  She looks after him exceedingly well in every single way.  She takes very good care of him, meeting all his day to day needs in a way I never could, with four children to care for.  She does absolutely everything for him, so he does not have think or worry about a thing.  In return, he looks after her and lavishes her with all she wants or needs in life and all that money can buy.

I like her, she is very agreeable.  I found her to be witty, amusing, and fun to be with.  She understands my ex down to a tee, and accepts all his funny little quirky ways.... in fact, she finds them amusing,  and even endearing.   It is evident that they both want the very best in life without the stresses and strains of children around them, and they have the wealth, time and freedom in which to do so.  They can lead a very happy, stress-free, rewarding and fulfilling life together without the all the worries, financial or otherwise that most other people have.  I can hardly blame him or her for that.  It is probably what most of us can all but dream of......I certainly do!

Given a second chance, I think I would want the same.  Perhaps we could have been as devoted and as happy as they are now.  Too late now though.  I concentrated for all my 22 years of marriage on raising and bringing up the children.  Raising a young family of four was never easy.....one girl, and three lively boys.  They were four little bundles of mischief and joy, and I put most of my time and energy into them,  trying to keep on top of things in the home.   My ex put all his time and energy into his career while we were married, and left the child-rearing and domesticity to me.  We were like ships that passed in the night.  He had his job in the city, and I had mine at home with the kids.  We had little in common other than our four children.  We both worked hard at our different roles, but had little time for each other, or for intimacy or fun.

Now my ex is semi-retired, his career peaked about 6 years ago,  and he and his new wife are reaping the fruits and benefits of all those years of hard slog  we endured over the years.  They as a couple do not have the stresses and strains of life that we did when we were together.  The are free to come and go as they please, and are able to do whatever they want, when they want.

Do I feel sad?  Yes, very.  I grieve deeply for the relationship we could have had.  I regret bitterly the rift that our divorce caused amongst family and friends.  The family unit now ripped in two,  and will never be the same, and nothing can heal that.  The ripple effect and repercussions go on for ever.  Sometimes I think had things been different, we could have worked it out.  We were both inexperienced and young when we met, and we had our rose-tinted spectacles on when we married.  In reality, neither of us knew how to make the other happy, and we lacked intimacy.  When problems came, we didn't know how to deal with them together, and seemed unable to communicate.  Grievances were left unresolved and festered as the years went on.

All I wanted was a soul-mate,  a friend and lover, but my ex was none of those to me.  I suppose you could call it an arrangement, he was like my boss, and I was like an employee.  I did what was expected of me, and what I was told to do, and as long as I did, all was well with him, but if I didn't, or if things didn't go according to plan, then that was another story!

So there I was holidaying in paradise with a hotel full of couples and families.  My ex husband and wife had gone home, and I have to say, I suddenly felt very alone.  The first two days that coincided with them were great, as I had someone to talk to, and I actually got on quite well with the new Mrs Marsh.  It sounds weird, but I kind of missed them when they went!  Antigua like all the Caribbean islands is all you could wish for and more.......but the only thing lacking for me was good company.

All in all it was a great experience, and once again, I have learnt much about life, myself, people and what makes the new Mr and Mrs Marsh tick.  I guess you could say I feel happier within myself, and now have a deeper understanding of myself, and why our marriage failed.  Not that I can right the wrongs, but I think I can finally now accept,  move on and draw a line under things.  I can be happy that he is happy, and that he is with someone wonderful and lovely.  Somethings are just meant to be, and maybe......just maybe I will find someone who I can be happy with and spend the rest of my days with too.  As I always say to friends and family 'Time will tell'.




13 comments:

VBScab said...

As ever, Jo, straight from your heart

Jenny Many said...

Post some of your pictures! We'd love to see it. Antigua is such a great place.

Antigua Holidays

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Josie Bisett said...

Wow! Jo - I'm very impressed with your forgiveness and just how incredibly nice you are about your ex's new wife! When I started reading this post I was expecting a few snarky remarks.. not a one!
I am a Mom of two young boys, with a little girl in the tummy - and the thought raising my wonderful family for 22 years and ending up feeling lonely in Antigua of all places makes me incredibly sad :(
But I feel you do yourself an injustice - MANY injustices! there is no way the new Mrs Marsh can be so much more wonderful than you are - yes, perhaps they are more compatible (at least today), but you have raised Mr Marsh's children - no one can hold a candle to what you did for that man!
I love your openness in this story. I was actually reminded a bit of the movie 'Forgetting Sarah Marsall'.. just because of the situation ;)I wish you'd found a gorgeous receptionist to fall in love with....

Joanna Marsh said...

Hello Josie, thank you so much for your kind words. I realise now that much of what you say is true....I do tend to under-estimate myself, I think it is a matter of low confidence....I am working on it!! xxx

Fi0nai0na said...

I can't believe you ended up in the same resort. I also can't believe how gracious you are. Just your kindness towards the new mrs marsh is testament to the falseness of your comparisons between you and her.

Fi0nai0na said...

What a coincidence turning up at the same resort. Your gracious remarks about the new Mrs Marsh prove that you are more than equal to her

mika jones said...

Like a good romance novel you will always come out better.
love yourself and be healthy again. Opps it's for me too.

Joanna Marsh said...

Thank you Mika and Fiona.......I am getting there :-)

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Carol E Wyer said...

What can I say? This is such a poignant yet beautifully written post. *sniffs dramatically* I don't kno who wyou dealt with it so well. I'd have been eaten up and so upset that I'd have wasted the entire trip.
You are a much better person than me and I am sure there are quite a few people who could learn heaps from you. xxx

Joanna Marsh said...

Seems a long time since I wrote this, life moves so fast. I am still trying to better myself, slow progress!! Getting there (perhaps!!)