It’s Just a Couch for Heaven’s Sake

I am not sure how to start this except to say that I feel alone.

I know that God is always with me. My other loved ones, both still on the planet and those who have left their earthly bodies are also nearby.

I feel like I have failed so miserably because I am not the success I think other people thought I would or should be, the success I thought I would be. And yet, within my dire circumstances are distinct possibilities so I put all my energy into keeping the faith.

But today I feel at a loss, like I need the “stop-it chat” from a trusted elder. They mostly all are departed already. And I don’t feel them coming back to visit. I don’t feel them at all. But I wish I could channel their wisdom right now.

I am alone with my dog and we get along just fine. But I miss having that special someone to share things with, to laugh with and disagree with and all of that fun stuff and not fun stuff.

I have new medication, new opportunities, and recently some very painful arthritic setbacks which make me crazy with frustration. I have felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels since my layoff in 2010 and Mom’s death eight months later.

Just four weeks ago I was beginning to feel I was coming out of this hellish sludge only to be slapped down by an arthritic knee, which yielded sprained or torn tendons in the rotator cuffs of both arms from lifting myself the wrong way out of seated positions. The ever-present physical pain has taken a lot out of me and is taking for-EV-er to heal. Still I stay on the bright side as best I can.

I see people in my neighborhood sell their homes and move on. Some move back to their hometowns. Some retire to a new place. I think that must be like getting married all over again. I don’t even know what marriage would be like. I thought I knew; I thought I was even married at one point complete with Olivia ceremony, ring exchange and house in the burbs. It was not meant to be.

When I feel so lonely like this, I wonder what is there in this life for me. What am I to do? I try to focus on how I can help other people. But I almost never ask for help. I don’t reach out to people. I guess it’s because I have been brushed off so much in the past, and have not spoken up for myself. Mostly I don’t. I leave people with their opinions a lot of the time and say nothing. And I ask God to show me a new way of looking at the situation, that maybe I can pick up the thread and start moving again. I have a lot of compassion and I learned well to “turn the other cheek.”

Tonight I feel despair.

I am wondering why I feel so sad. It wasn’t a big deal to get rid of Mom’s bed and linens a week ago because my friend Jean needs them and will use them well. I think Mom would be pleased about this, because she had a soft spot for Jean and always prayed for her.

But today I got rid of my couch. The couch I bought six years ago after Pam moved out. It’s a nice couch but I just needed it to GO. Jean needs a couch so I said, “Take it. I’m tired of looking at it.” And I think maybe that couch is a symbol somehow. Maybe it has caused old feelings to resurface.

Pam left me for someone else. When she left, one of the things she took was her couch from the family room, so I went shopping for a new one. Since we were going to sell the house, I thought it important to have furniture in the rooms. This beautiful, rich fabric couch was a placeholder in many ways, as I recall in hindsight. I didn’t use it very much; I mostly sat in the orgasm chair (a barrel chair I bought the same time as the couch that rocks and swivels and yes, is good enough to be called orgasmic in its comfort!!). The couch was there to fill the room. To make it seem like everything was okay, everything was almost the same as it was. I see now that I pinned a lot of feeling and responsibility on that couch.

It’s been six years since Pam left. SIX YEARS! I lived in our house alone for an ugly year before it sold. I still miss laughing with her sometimes. And she had an unbelievable knack for knowing how to organize. I mean awe-striking. I know now a relationship with her would not work because I have come to realize that The Four Important Relationship Things that I need cannot exist with her. The Four Important Relationship Things are my need to mesh with a partner emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. One big difference between Pam and me is that she doesn’t believe in God (at least at that time she didn’t) and I always have. It’s a deal-breaker for me now.

This past October, I came across my “Pam Box” in the basement. It contained old cards and letters that five years ago I could not deal with, so I took Jean’s advice and put them all in their own box and sealed it. Well, I opened the box and looked at what was there. I started reading some of the cards and then said to myself, “What the hell are you doing? Why are you doing this? What good will it bring?” And I had no good answer. So I fired up the chiminea in my backyard and released the whole works to the universe. I watched it all go over a glass of wine. Did you know that a chiminea is a mailbox to the Universe? It is! Sometimes it is good to write a letter to someone living or dead, and send it off in this manner. The act of sending all that stuff, releasing it, was really cathartic for me because it opened up room for me to accept new ideas, philosophies, people and experiences into my life. You can’t reach for something new if you’re still holding onto what has passed.

I feel that letting go of the couch (which turned out to be very well loved and used by me and my darling dog Lulu when we snuggled together, as well as several lively make-out sessions over the years that didn’t become more), brought up some sadness and made me relive that terrible rejection I felt at being left for someone better, richer, older… Rejection hurts. But I let it all go today. The rejection translated for me into not being good enough; it’s something I know well, and there is a comfort in what we know, what we are used to, even if it isn’t good for us. Letting go of something that is comfortable is painful. I know tomorrow I will feel much better for it.

So I am going to let myself be sad tonight and know that it is okay. It is okay to be lonely sometimes, to weep, to feel alone in this world even when I’m clearly not because I have wonderful friends and family. And a wonder-dog who smiles at me and gives me kisses and makes me laugh every day. Life really is amazing, even on the very sad days. I am grateful for that which I have and for that which I release.

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About Karen

Karen is a recent escapee of corporate america and was raised in the Chicago area. She is quick-witted, non-political and non-comforming, but an astute observer of everyday life. Loves women.


3 Responses to “It’s Just a Couch for Heaven’s Sake”

  1. *hug!*

    Posted by JT | July 19, 2012, 8:53 am
  2. Hi Karen…I have been where you are, and I send my prayers your way. Sometimes I think when God presents us with life struggles and despair…we are being called to ask others for help. There is such spiritual growth and fruit, both for the giver and the receiver. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may be surprised at what God has to offer you inside of that experience.

    Posted by Val | July 19, 2012, 12:06 pm
  3. YOU are an amazing and brave woman for writing this and I tip my hat to you for sharing. I have been there and after 3 years post my 7 year relationship, I shared a jug of cheap wine with my best friends and burned my box of cards, letters, etc. Keep yourself open to new people and God will guide you. Keep on keeping on…

    Posted by Jess Kaz | July 19, 2012, 3:05 pm

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