A SACRIFICED LIFE…
I am sure that there will be those who will read this and find themselves experiencing the full range of human emotions from sadness to anger and back again. Then there will be those that read it and will not understand one thing I have said as it doesn’t affect them or their lives, but either way it is my life and while I have spent many an hour pondering it, until now I have not felt the need to put in into words for other to see.
Most of my life has been one of sacrifice. On the surface that may seem a noble cause to some but for me it has been an epic journey I neither asked for nor wanted and for sure never dreamed of. As a young girl I always dreamed as most do of having that fairy tale life where your prince or knight sweeps you away and you live the “happily ever after”. Well, because of choices I made early on my “happily ever after” was going to be a fight from start to finish.
It started early on when at 19 I made the sacrifice to be a Mom without a husband or even boyfriend to share the task. I had my parents to lean on so that made it at least tolerable. Ok so yes, I could have taken the easy way out and opted for an abortion or hell even and adoption, but as life would have it neither of those options were something I could do and still live with myself, so motherhood it was and the sacrifice of my youth would follow. Don’t get me wrong I never regretted it and still don’t.
At 23 I had a career in line and was working towards that goal. Not just for me but for the daughter I had as well when I met and fell in love with a young man. Because he was military I knew that it was going to mean another sacrifice on my part if we were going to marry. I didn’t take it lightly by any means and as youth is want to do, I gave up my dream to follow him in his. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the “dream” he had of being an architect was just that a dream. The reality was that he was going to spend his life swinging a hammer and hoping for the next job. So I again sacrificed the life I thought we would have and made due with the one we did have. It wasn’t a bad life but with 4 kids it was a struggle all the time. I was a stay at home mom because we believed it was more important that I be there for the girls when they were young than it was to be a “working” mom, so I did just that. I worked at home being what I thought was a good parent providing a safe place in which my children could grow up. But again life intervened and I stepped up to make the sacrifice. I packed up my family and moved them hours away from everyone and everything I knew because I believed in my heart that it would be the opportunity for my brothers and their children to forge a better and deeper relationship with my parents. There was a resentment felt because I and my kids were close to my parents and I didn’t want to live that way. So it was with the best of intentions that I relocated us and hoped the rend result would be a good one for us all. I never went back.
I spent the next 20 year devoted to my family. Making ends meet when there was never enough to go around and feeling like a failure most of the time. I longed for a different life but was tied to the one I had in bonds so tight that it was hard to breath sometimes. I gave up the idea of having nice clothes or the other little luxuries that most women have because it was more important that my kids eat and have a roof over their head. No, I can’t complain about the husband not doing his part because he worked long and hard but because he had never followed his dream, we were left to the whims of others most of our lives and I sacrificed having a home of my own because it was never something we could afford and I never thought we would. My family came first no matter what and it had become a way of life for me to think in that fashion.
When my kids were in their pre-teens we again moved because of the promise of a better life and I again sacrificed the friendships I had worked hard to get. I uprooted us again and believed with all my heart it was going to be for the better this time. For the first few years it was rough and then something magical happened. Our lives changed as our income suddenly became one that allowed us to have some of the things we never had, but so many years of conditioning myself not to need anything was not something I could overcome so instead I gave to my kids and my husband as much as I could. Their joy was my joy but I was still sacrificing myself.
When my oldest daughter decided to marry I was looking forward to the joy most mothers feel in helping to plan a wedding but I ended up sacrificing that joy as we did not have the money needed to produce the wedding she wanted. I don’t even have the memory of helping her to pick out her wedding dress. The tensions were high between us because I didn’t know how to deal with my own feelings of failure yet again and she saw it from a completely different view that left us at odds and both floundering. I ended up just stepping back and sacrificing more than the memories so that she could have her dream.
When daughter number two married the rift was much wider and it resulted in my not even being invited to the wedding. I again sacrificed the memories of wedding dresses and helping to plan her special day so that she too could be happy.
In the midst of all this I found myself making the ultimate in sacrifice when I lost both my parents. It was both expected and unexpected at the same time and the pain of that loss is something I don’t think I will ever overcome. From there is spiraled out of control and I ended up having to sacrifice my brothers, the house it took us 20 years to buy, and everything of value that I ever owned or that had been left to me by my parents and in the end it turns out it was all for nothing.
The fallout has cost me the better part of the relationship I had with my youngest two daughters and the relationship I had with my husband. Maybe its just to many years of anger, frustration, depression, resentment, and sacrifice that put me at this point, but I don’t know if any of it is salvageable anymore.
I have been told by more than one person that I have created this life. That I have to fix it. That I have to find a way to do what has to be done. I can’t help but find that humorous because that has been all of my life yet I get no credit just blame. I don’t wish anyone any ill, but it is hard to swallow such notions when those expressing them are the recipients of my sacrifices. Now let me clarify that statement because I don’t want it to be misunderstood. I did not sacrifice anything I didn’t want to and I will never regret the sacrifices I have made for others. I don’t want or need anyones pity, I just want their understanding.
Now I sit here at 50 looking back over a life of sacrifice and wondering if this is what was supposed to be. When I look in the mirror I see the broken reflection of a bitter old woman looking back and I know that feeling that way is wrong. I dont’ want to be that woman but I have sacrifice all of me getting to here….a life sacrificed.
LIFE LESSON: ?