Thursday, November 3, 2011

History Lesson

I think the adage “Forgive and Forget” must have been coined by a man.

The process of rebuilding my life out of the ashes of “our” entrepreneurial disaster has been a challenging undertaking for me. Our marriage became so entangled in the frustrations and failures of running the restaurant that it has been a monumentally painstaking process to separate the two. And for my marriage to survive, they do need to be separated.

Forty-eight months into the stint, I felt that the intricately knotted mass was wrapping around my neck and pulling me down into…what; I had no idea. But I knew it was dark and ugly and I didn’t want to go there. When the opportunity to walk away presented itself, my first instincts urged me to cut myself loose and run like hell from the whole mess—café, husband, and everything associated therewith. I’m convinced a lesser woman would have done exactly that. Exhausted, burned and hurt as I was, the task fell to me to extract the shreds of my marriage from the wreckage and try to piece them back together into something that was at least peaceful cohabitation, if not happily-ever-after.

Scraping off the business part of the mess has been relatively easy. I don’t have to go to the restaurant every day and try to pretend that everything is fine. As far as the café goes, it’s gone, I’m free, and I can brush off my hands and walk away. With it safely behind me, the sting of any lingering wounds will fade pretty quickly, and I can process the lessons learned at my leisure and move on.

It’s ever so much harder to try to be IN a relationship while attempting to undergo the healing/assimilating/going forward process. One needs to adopt the talents of the proverbial duck—what you see is a bird gliding serenely across the surface of the pond, but under the water, her feet are paddling like crazy.

The husband, however, doesn’t want a duck. He has no patience with a duck. He wants a phoenix. Or maybe that’s not even quite accurate, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t believe there are ashes from which to rise. In his mind, emotional trials don’t leave anything behind. No lingering effects whatsoever. The principals involved merely forgive, forget, and leave it at that. End of story.

If life were meant to be that way, why should we have memories at all? Why not just flit from episode to episode, always surprised, never prepared? Maybe we wouldn’t be unhappy. But we wouldn’t get anywhere, either. We’d never learn anything. We’d make the same mistakes over and over. And we wouldn’t be allowed to pick what kinds of memories we get to have. If “forget” is the prime directive, we don’t get to keep the good and ditch the bad. No history is NO HISTORY. Period. Not much of a life, for my money.

In real life, if it wasn’t for my memories of the good things about our relationship, if it wasn’t for the fact that I wished to honor our HISTORY together as much as anything, I might very well have become that “lesser woman” and walked away from the whole sinking tangle of our business and our marriage. In this day and age, people do it all the time.

But I didn’t. I considered everything, past and present, and opted for us. For the marriage. For continuing the partnership with the man I fell in love with a long time ago. Good thing I didn’t forget that, huh?


  1. Dear Lisa:
    Since I came back a few months ago to read blogs (ha, talk about a sabbatical) I have been following your posts.
    Sorry I haven't commented, first there was blogger dysfunction, and then I just read. But now I feel you need a little encouragement! The darn restaurant almost killed your glorious soul, but you are coming through all that chaos now. I sure have empathy, I still remember by bout with owning a restaurant and that was years ago. Haven't recovered financially and never will. We sure have learned (something) the hard way. As for your relationship with hubby, I can only hope it will mend. I have hung in there with my partner but it hasn't been easy. Like you said, the good history is there along with the not so good. Concentrate on the good- and I hope the future will find you coser. Lots of hugs, Dannelle

  2. One day at a time I guess. We're pulling for you down here. We do need to get together somehow, somwhere for lunch maybe.

  3. Dannelle--Thanks for coming by. I did wonder where you had got to...

    And thank you for your encouragement. We ARE going to make it...because that is what I have decided we are going to do. It simply takes doing a lot of what I really suck at--keeping my mouth shut and pretending things are fine when they are not. It's just that once in a while, things get torn open and we are smacked in the face with the reality of the things we are trying to process. Well, it smacks ME in the face, anyway... :/

  4. Twenty six years into my marriage, which at times wore me thin, we are in a good place. Half the struggle was just the decision to stick out and work for the better. So, I hope that having made that decision yourself, you will come to a place of peace and contentment, even if the marriage is never all of what you wish it were...