Nothing Lasts Forever

February 19th, 2013 - filed under: The Farm » Family


As summer was drawing to a close, it was becoming very clear that neither Damian nor I were willing to face another Portland winter. We had tried, very hard, to make Portland feel like “our city” again, but the dead-weight dread we both felt in our guts each time we considered the impending autumn – well, that was enough to tell us that we had failed. A person should not have a panic attack when the seasons change.

Return trip from Santa Barbara to PDX. It started off so well . . .

I Instagrammed: “You know that one flight where the kid got air sick and vomited all over himself and the seats, and you had to clean it up with diaper wipes and napkins, and then you had to change his clothes, and then later he pooped all over himself and his seat and you didn’t have any wipes left, and you had to change his clothes mid-air for the second time? Remember that? That was the flight you took advantage of the complimentary wine.” Yeah, turned out to be a rough trip.

We continued to see our couples counselor, although of course the focus had shifted. The strange thing is, from the time we decided to separate in late August, to the moment we actually did it in early October, there was this entire, like, month of living together. September. And you’d think it would’ve been hard – well it was in many ways – but it was also . . . sort of nice?

See, I decided to marry Damian because he is a Fucking Awesome Person. I decided to bear his child for the same reason. And when we decided to separate, he didn’t stop being a Fucking Awesome Person. And I didn’t stop loving, admiring, or respecting him.

Luckily, that feeling is mutual.

And so, in that month of Limbo, we maintained our love and respect. There were tears, yes, but there wasn’t any yelling. There was sadness, but not anger. Grief, but not blame. Ours just wasn’t a combative separation. If anything, it was entirely supportive. We talked a lot about Waits – about how to tell him, how best to ease him through the transition, and about shared-parenting strategies. We planned out ways to split responsibilities, disentangle our financial obligations, and how the next few months would unfold. Each of us remarked on several occasions how that month, in many ways, we felt closer than we had in years. We’re a good team.

And, we decided that we had to move back to Santa Barbara. As soon as possible.

Moving sale.

I spent a lot of time in September worrying. Well basically, it was constant. I was about to become a single mother. I’d spent the past few years raising my boy, I had no “career” to speak of and my income – if you could call it that – was pitiful. Of course Damian would help, at first, but we were moving to one of the most expensive cities in the country (literally) and would need to be renting two places as opposed to just paying our one mortgage. Plus, we’d decided to keep the Portland house, and since rent wouldn’t cover the mortgage there we’d be taking a loss each month.

And I worried about where I would live, since the Craigslist ads in my price range were mostly for studios – yes, a single room for Waits and I, living-eating-sleeping in one space. Santa Barbara is really, really expensive as well as really REALLY NOT dog-friendly. I worried so much about how it would all work out.

One of our last play dates. *sigh*

On 9/24 I wrote:

I feel like time is flying. The days are whizzing past me and I’m just standing still. Paralyzed. I want to take a step towards my future, but I have no options.

On 9/27 Jo had her baby girl. I wrote:

. . . and sad, for myself. Today I wish that I had the body constitution to thrive in the Portland climate. I wish that my marriage was happy and healthy. I wish that it worked. Today I wish that I could have another baby, because I wanted one. I wish that things were different, but they’re not.

On 9/28 I saw Amanda Palmer live. Synchronicity. A blessing.

And on 9/29 I watched this TED Talk which still gives me chills, and I felt hope knowing that this was only one September of many.

Still. As Septembers go, it wasn’t an easy one.

October, coming soon . . .

  • Scaredofeverything

    Such a raw and vulnerable post while still exuding such strength and
    bravery. I think I can feel through your words what I believe you may
    have been feeling, and I can relate in my own way. I’m so happy for you
    that you no longer have to deal with the grey, dark, cold that is
    Portland. I envy you! What I wouldn’t give for a warm day at the beach.
    Anyhow, much respect for sharing your journey with us. The world needs
    more strong women who are willing to share the highs and lows of life in
    such an unabashed way. We all struggle. Or as Oscar Wilde so eloquently
    puts it “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

  • Liv

    You are amazing lady. Thank you for the honesty. It’s what helps us all. LOVE

  • Cécile

    Thank you Seyward, this helps.

  • bitt

    I hope someday you write a book. I always want to read more. I know you have one but I’m not sure I’ll ever be pregnant so I vote another topic too. ;-)

  • jacqueline

    Thank you for sharing–we all have moments when we want to move forward, NEED to move forward, but don’t know where to go. You are very brave for sharing your life, but I think it’s wonderful and real and there needs to be more of this in the world wide web. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    What a strong lady you are. It’s so brave of you and admirable to go with your heart even when you know the outcome of your decisions may not be easy. Wishing you all the best.

  • B M

    Separation is always such a difficult thing to cope with. I have such respect for how you two handled your situation, and even though this event occured last year, I am sending positive energy your way and pray you are in a happy and loving place.

  • MathTutor

    I was about Waits age when my parents divorced, and I don’t remember it because I was too young, but I do remember the fighting years after. It takes more of a toll on a child than one would anticipate, and it is good that you and Damien were so civil with your separation. That will reflect on your relationship in the future (since y’all have a child together, y’all will always have a relationship in the sense), and provide some stability to Waits that my parents divorce did not provide me.
    I have been loving these posts and your honesty! Your maturity is so refreshing.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for blogging again. My favorite blog of all time. I missed your writings so much and am so glad you are back. You are so courageous and so many people gain so much from your words.

  • MeShell

    Thank you for sharing that video, and sharing your September. It’s refreshing to see such honesty and openness, and I’m especially awestruck by the (seeming) maturity and amicability of your separation.

    I also second Bitt’s suggestion for a book :)

  • GiRRL-Earth

    I have been officially divorced for one year now and my Ex and I are closer now than when we were married. Go figure! We started off as friends, and we continue as friends. It’s probably the way we should have kept things — friends. He’s an awesome guy and I have zero regrets. I have a feeling you and Damian will have the same relationship, granted you both have Waits to think about, but I suspect even without Waits, you two would remain close. There is no reason for a bitter nasty divorce — who wants that?!?! My Ex and I sure didn’t. Am I sad that my marriage ended? Yes. But in the words of Ellen Barkin, “A marriage doesn’t have to end in til death do you part to be successful. I had a successful marriage.” Amen Ellen!
    I always think of her words everytime someone makes me feel (or think) that my marriage was a failure. It wasn’t. It just wasn’t meant to last forever.
    Best wishes to you.

  • Alina Hall

    Thank you, Sayward. I recently split with my parnter of 5 years this past Thanksgiving, and your posts are really helping me recognize and process my emotions… tearing up now… We also had a similarly awkward and wonderful period continuing to live together and discuss our relationship, memories, flaws for a short time before parting ways. My two best friends also split with their partners this past fall (interestingly, the three of us also found new loves shorly after around the same time.) Something we all noticed is that the things that were keeping us from leaving for so long- financial enmeshment, pets, emotional manipulation and control, etc- were easily taken care of (often on their own, magically) when we finally made the brave decisions we needed to make. I am hoping that you also received the support you needed, and that this community can also serve as a form of support for you, and for eachother. Thanks again.

  • Judy

    you are so amazing, I can’t believe I know someone as cool as you.

  • EPH

    I just realized today that you were back. I’m so glad to know what’s going on, but so sorry that life had been tough. Take care, dear.

  • Annie

    The rebuild of anything is so shitasticly overwhelming. Change is scary, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
    This is riveting and kind of devastating and kind of lovely. Good luck, I hope it will/did work out.
    But hey, Roam by The B52s wasn’t written a day.

    More Defiance, Ohio lyrics spring to mind:
    “This time, this year, is bigger than us, it goes on long after we’re gone!
    This town has taken it all out of us, made us look at our lives through new eyes.
    I love you in so many ways. You taught me to give, to lose, to love, to be lost.
    And now, how to want.”

  • skeptk_vegan

    What a fantastic TED talk! That’s all I watch these days are those speeches. Thank you for sharing that. What an emotional-encompassing photo at the end too (including the bunny!).

  • Annie

    * wasn’t written IN a day.

    Also, love the fancy plastic cup wine.
    Direct quote from last week: “Nothing like sitting back at the end of the day and drinking wine from a Spongebob glass that used to be a chocolate spread jar.”

  • Jessica

    I cried a little bit while reading this. Thank you for sharing your life the good and the bad.

    I hope you don’t mind if I ask, what happened to the chickens? Did you find them a place to live or take them with you?

  • Rachel Jacobs

    Well I am happy to see that you all made the choice to move to SB together, it will definitely make parenting easier. I feel quite a bit of sorrow for the end, but look forward to the future you have.
    Be well Seyward.

  • Rachel Jacobs

    Ok well not a good plane ride at all…there is always next time :)
    I am encouraged to hear about your future, as I can only imagine things are going to go up (after all you are moving to the beach). I feel sorrow for the end of your union but encouraged that you all are moving together (it will make parenting a little easier).

  • Kelly H.

    Aw. :o( I’m truly sorry it didn’t work out, but I do appreciate and respect the thoughtful process you and Damian took to come to the decision. I have such a strong romantic desire for relationships to last an eternity, so I am always sad to hear/read of endings, no matter the doors that open to new beginnings. Best of luck!

  • Rebecca

    Sorry to make this post about me, but it was just so timely. No, I am not a mother (one the many things that panic on a regular basis since I feel I’m “running out of time”—oh yeah, and makes me feel like I’m not measuring up to my peer group. i.e. failing :*( ) However, my life just finally “fell apart” (yet again). And, like you said, “I have no options”—that is the recurrent tape running in my head. Morning.noon.night. I too am now in the position of finding a new job and needing to find an affordable (and dog-friendly!) way to live. Yep. Pretty much freak out mode 24/7 on top of a multitude of other emotions. While this was several months ago for you (and I haven’t read the next follow-up post as of yet), I have no doubt that you came through to the other side of all this with bright, shining, flying colors—hoping my story has as happy of an ending as I’m wishing yours does!

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