Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Strength Has Been Unleashed in You?

Lilacs in September

Shocked to the root
like the lilac bush
in the vacant lot
by the hurricane–
whose black branch split
by wind or rain
has broken out
into these scant ash-
colored blossoms
lifted high
as if to say
to passersby
What will unleash
itself in you
when your storm comes?
-Katha Pollitt

It's been just over six years since I lost my mother, who died less than a month after D-Day #2, when I got the whole story of my husband's infidelities. All I could do during that emotional maelstrom was curl into myself and ride out the storm. I felt small and lonely. I felt abandoned.
But with my mother gone, without that person who fought for me, I had to learn to fight for myself. In many ways, without her voice outside of me, I carry it inside. I stand up for myself when before I would have backed down. I've learned to respectfully disagree instead of swallowing my words. I've finally understood what she meant when she urged me to "just show up." It took a time when showing up was all I could do. In the days following her death, just showing up felt Herculean. But it was enough. I was enough. All those years of thinking I had to perform or achieve to earn people's love or admiration or respect...when all I had to do was just show up.
It's a lesson I try and teach my own kids. That they're enough simply because they are. And I hope when the storms come their way, they'll wonder what strength and beauty will be unleashed in them. 


  1. Elle, You certainly did " just show up," for yourself,your mothers memory and for us at this site. I applaud you but also your mother for letting us share a little bit of her daughter and the wisdom passed down.

    If there was ever an upside to our situations, ( and if you are very new to DD you will think I'm mad) but the knowledge and comfort we gain from this site is empowering.

    You and your mother have both done a good job.

    Life's rich tapestry, I have a few threads in the wrong place, but boy what a beautiful interesting piece it is!

    1. Thank-you.
      I had one of those grateful-to-be-alive moments this morning. It just washed over me and I was able to acknowledge just how far I'd come. And how lucky I was.


  2. Thank you for "showing up"! In the weeks after d-day and just before joining a support group, I ached to not be alone on this journey. I had no idea where to find support and searched the web obsessively for information. And that is how I found your blog. I love my support group but only one of the women has been through this betrayal (the others are all married to porn addicts). It's so comforting as I am feeling a little more vulnerable than usual to come here to read the words of you and your readers. Thank you so much.
    As for the strength I've found, as I go through the 12 step support group program I have found strength every time I let go of things I can't control. It's funny and beautiful to find strength in that kind of vulnerability. But you gain the strength of hope, of faith, of releasing fear. Peace.

    1. I get so much out of this site. Knowing that it's a safe place where women who are experiencing such agony can find support and compassion from others makes me feel great. Out of something bad, we've created something good.




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