I intend to live out my purpose, being happily grandiose

I wrote this poem a year ago.  At that time, my deepest fears had become a reality and I was dealing with a great deal of heartache.  I was beginning to accept that nothing is certain in life and was starting to let go of the perceptions I had about myself and others.  Looking back now, a year later, I am able to start connecting the dots.  At the time of writing this poem I was still learning to love myself and let go of the outcome, truly trusting the process.  So, I am sharing this poem again, as the words are now music to my ears. Time, as the old adage goes, IS a great healer.  Life cannot be forced, there will be wonderful times and times of great sadness, when we struggle to understand the reasons and purpose of certain situations, but remember, we are never given more than we can handle and in the depths of despair, seek comfort in the fact that these moments will pass and you will emerge, as I did, stronger than you ever thought possible.  Seize the day my friends.  Seize it and run wild with it!


The book bound by sadness, is reaching its end

It’s a one-off edition, no sequels to be penned

Held safe, spine to spine, it has really been my mate

It has taught me it’s wise, not to know my own fate


There are many, many chapters, all charting the course

Of a heart-broken woman, getting back on her horse

Tear stained pages, still hold their print well

And on reading them back, I am eased from my shell


My repetitive mantras, all laced with emotion

Held me responsible to myself and have set me in motion

I turned, facing my fear and caught my own eye

Recognising limitations, were what made me shy


Allowance. Allowing. We are designed to be our best

By letting go of control and letting life do the rest

It’s okay not to know, it’s okay to have joy

It’s fantastic knowing I’m everything but the boy


The final pages of resolution, all fill up with light

The potential and possibilities, revealed in plain sight

It is now and forever, the door is open and won’t close

I intend to live out my purpose, being happily grandiose

Chapter Six

@sarahklugman (31st December 2011)

I turn the page to another year, a new chapter to start without fear. I have now stepped into my light, with gratitude and new found might.

There was a life to be lived, new people to meet and new places to explore.  My spirit was in me and I knew that I was an extraordinary human being, one in seven billion.  I had crossed a threshold within myself and for the first time in my life, was not shying away from feeling my emotions and was seeing myself afresh through new eyes, recognizing all that I was and all that I could be.  I knew there would be dark days, days when the sense of loss would engulf me and feel like it was more than I could possibly handle, but these days would pass and it would start to feel easier through the passage of time.  I knew that I must allow this process to happen as the universe intended, to not fight it, or force my own outcome onto it.  All I needed to do was to remain authentic and be honest with myself and with all those around me.  This was my process.  This was my time.

I was being offered an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, to enjoy life and embrace my feminine power, taking the time to think about myself, think about what worked for me; it was a time to be brave.  To embrace the pain, but not become engulfed by it and most importantly, to not let it stop me from moving forward and do what felt right for me in that moment.  It was time to get up close and personal with the doubting observer in my mind, to open my eyes fully to that part of me, the part of me that sought to hold me back.

I believed in life and that every experience we have ever had, everything we have ever learnt, through both wonderful and painful lessons, were all for a reason.  I recognized that I had lived my whole life through other people, making them somehow responsible for my happiness and my sense of belonging to this world.  As this became clear, I started to awake from my fear riddled slumber and see my world, through my own eyes.  My mantra, was to strive to be the best me I could be.  My own happiness was very important and I knew that I should and would never be reliant on another, to give me what I needed and wanted, to be able to give myself.

One of the most interesting changes I experienced at this time was listening to music.  Growing up, music had not played a large part in my life and my exposure had been limited to soundtracks from musicals and the music my parents listened to, such as The Beatles, Rod Stewart and classics from the sixties.  I remember when my husband had first come round to my flat, before we had even started dating and had laughed, like many had, at the puny collection of music I owned.  I have a lot of style in many things, but my taste in music was atrocious.  For some reason, music scared me.  I didn’t know what I liked or what I was meant to like.  My husband on the other hand, listened to music ferociously.  He loved discovering new music and his collection was vast and forever growing.

During our marriage, there had always been a backdrop of music and more often than not, I found it very distracting.  It irritated me, clouded my mind and made my thinking muddled.  I never really listened to the words of the songs; I enjoyed some of the tunes but never felt held by them, or comforted by their intent.

This changed after my husband left.  The iPod I had always given such a wide berth to, became a loyal friend.  I would put it on shuffle and with over 5000 songs on it, I began to listen to the lyrics and I would hear my story and my pain in some of them and feel the joy of what could be in many, many more.  The synchronicity of the random selection became obvious to me, with the ‘right’ song coming on, at just the ‘right’ moment.

There were so many changes in motion and I embraced all of them, firmly believing that flowing with life, was becoming far preferable to fighting upstream, against the current of my life.

@sarahklugman (31st December 2011)

The end of an era, the end of a year. A lot has been learnt, there’s reason to cheer. Eyes wide open, stepping forth, reality created henceforth.

It was the last day of the year, a traditional time of reflection, of letting go and moving forward.  It all felt very exciting; it was the eve of 2012.  Somehow everything felt very clean and fresh.  I had an immense feeling of pride for how I had conducted myself over the past six or so weeks and despite being in the very early days of becoming aware of, well, being aware, I knew that I would be okay.  I think it is really important to allow yourself to feel proud of your actions and how you conduct yourself in life.  It is all too easy to fall into the trap of accepting and expecting the worst.  It is how we are programmed, which is so absurd when you really think about it.  Who are we not to shine and be free, to fulfill our potential, to live our dreams, to truly soar within our own lives?  I had been holding onto so many misguided beliefs about what the purpose of my life was supposed to be.  As women, we are brought up to get a good education, get a good job, with good prospects, marry well, have children…  The list of what we should be is endless and totally limiting.

I had always assumed I would be a Mother, my husband and I tried to have children, and went through a total of four IVF cycles.  We hadn’t really known if we wanted children at the time, or what becoming a parent really meant.  That hadn’t mattered, because we were faced with only a few hours left on my fertility stopwatch and society deems that you resort to whatever means possible, to achieve your right, as a human being, to give birth to and raise a family, joining the masses who believe that is the next step after marriage.  I don’t ever remember my husband and I actually having a conversation about what it would mean to have children; the responsibility of bringing another pure born soul, into this mad, mad world.  I think perhaps, that we got carried away with everyone else’s ideas and opinions.

When you are told at the tender age of thirty-one, following several ovarian related operations, that you have a small window of opportunity to have your own children, love and ego can take hold of the reins.  Despite the mental and physical trials of the first year of our relationship, we felt a deep connection and love for each other.  No other words can explain our union, well not in my mind anyway.  It was the obvious next step.  Twelve months however, can only equip you with so much.  We hadn’t quite nailed honest communication and were still presenting our best selves to each other.  I think this was because we were both, quite defensive individuals, defending our unspoken insecurities.  I yearned for him to see through my feelings of not belonging, of not knowing how to be in this life.  To show me how I was meant to think, feel and behave; to show me how to be happy.  I was so deeply entrenched inside my own mind, that my body felt surplus to requirement.  I had felt like this all of my life.  I was always looking for approval and reassurance.  It’s a very tiresome way to go through life.  Draining, to the point of exhaustion.  Looking back, I am amazed at how well I managed to move forward and take risks in my life, given the fact that I was barely present.

In all of my relationships, my ego had continually enforced the misguided belief that I wasn’t good enough and that I would never, ever be good enough.  That’s all that’s required really, to keep you in a sealed, self-created box.  Despite its discomfort, it offers you a false sense of security and safety.

I had absolutely no idea that it was self-created and that it was my own choice to remain locked inside myself.  In my husband, I saw daring and I saw safety.  I saw a truly wonderful man, with whom I believed, we could co-create the lives we were both, at that time, unconsciously and consciously seeking.  I saw a lover, a friend and a true ally.  I saw greatness.  I just didn’t know how to vocalize what I saw and was scared to speak my mind, because I didn’t know my mind, nor, must I say, did he.  I just believed he did, as I wrongly assumed that I was the only human being on earth, who didn’t believe in themselves, who didn’t feel they would ever be good enough.

It was also around this time that we moved in together, several months after we had started dating.  I have such fond and wonderful memories of that time in our relationship.  Long weekends spent in bed, making love, giving each other a massage ignoring the phone, the door, blissfully oblivious of the world outside our front door.  My husband loved his bed, if given the choice, he could have remained horizontal indefinitely.  I am not sure if this is an inherent male gene, which becomes dominant in all men when they hit adolescence.  He could spend the whole day in bed, reading, watching TV, writing, eating…  I also enjoyed lazing around in bed, but only up to a certain point and then my ‘doing’ drive would kick in and I had the need to fill time with action.  Fill it with cleaning, shopping or worst of all, mentally beating myself up for not doing enough, for wasting the day.  This was my mode of operation.  I would start the day knowing how I wanted it to pan out and then spend the rest of the day, with a feeling of not belonging or feeling comfortable anywhere. Mix that with an inner dialogue, not suitable for the ears of young children and you have the makings of a very unhappy life.

I think to a certain extent, we both had many insecurities around who we were.  I think we were both striving for the same things and that was one of the reasons we came together.  Together, we could find our life purposes and live them, yet we weren’t evolved enough to see that we already had everything we needed, that we already were everything and more.  We were both asleep, like most of the people around us.  We were following the masses, in a confused state, unable to communicate the fact that we both felt lost.  So, in this un-evolved state of mind, we embarked on the difficult path of IVF treatment, which brings up a whole bundle of issues and uncertainties, most of which, we were ill-equipped to deal with.

I am not sure how I really felt about the treatment, I wanted it to work, in some way believing that becoming a Mother, would propel me out of my head and into a semblance of a normal life, yet I sabotaged myself continually.  I was a torrent of negative thought, continually beating myself up, thinking that I was not a good enough person to have a child, that this would work for everyone else, but not for me and I had absolutely no idea how to shift from this way of being; I was totally clueless.  I would beat myself up all day, every day, within the haze of artificial hormones.

Fuck, the IVF was hard, really hard, yet we kept going and after each failed attempt, they would increase the drugs I had to take and my body took a real battering.  Eighteen months into the treatment, with three failed attempts behind us, we became engaged and with that I felt my first inner shift.  I relaxed into knowing that he did really love me and that he did want and need to be with me.  Up to his proposal, I had always had a niggling feeling that I had never been good enough for him and that he would about-turn at any moment and leave, further reinforcing my belief that I was inadequate in every way.

Prior to our wedding, we did a fourth and final IVF cycle, using eggs donated from a friend.  We got as far as the embryo transfer and a positive pregnancy test and then I miscarried.  It was a devastating time for me.  I don’t know how my husband felt about this ‘failure’, as we never discussed it and I didn’t know how to tell him how sad I felt about it all.  Like many other difficult issues within our relationship, they got swept under the carpet, unresolved and unsaid and we instead shifted our focus onto our upcoming nuptials.

We married in a beautiful celebration in my parent’s garden, surrounded by family and friends and then honeymoon’d like kings and queens.  The high of the magical trip, held us both in a new place and we closed the door on the IVF.

Outwardly, we were the golden couple.  Inwardly, we were and we weren’t.  Communication was still a real problem and personal grievances were often mishandled and taken personally, resulting in profound introspection, each of us retreating into our own mind-made rooms of silence, sulking, with a loud, unspoken expectation of the other person.  I know that I was completely guilty of this.  I was so frustrated with myself and just wanted something to happen that would silence my mind once and for all.  I was a victim of myself.  Everything had to be perfect, all in its correct place.  I just couldn’t sit still, I had to always be doing and if I wasn’t doing, I would generally get stoned, resulting in a cycle of behaviour that achieved nothing more, than making me feel shit about myself.  I had no confidence in my body, no confidence at all and found it increasingly difficult to get out of my head, especially during sex.  I wanted to be pounced on, wanted my husband to know me better than myself, to know how to communicate with me better than I knew how, and I know now, that I was expecting the impossible.

During the final days of our marriage, before he came back from Berlin, my heart knew he was pulling away; it was probably far too late by then anyway. I had such a deep feeling of regret, that I hadn’t been able to push past my ego and just live, that I had not pounced, fought through his clouded mind, and rescued him, in the way I myself had wanted to be rescued; too much realization, far too late.  So as the new year dawned, I made the choice to live my life and enjoy the journey, knowing that in not knowing how it’s all going to look, you open yourself up to many more possibilities, than your mind could ever have imagined.

I asked myself how I wanted my life to look.  Believe me, this felt so alien.  I had been brought up to put others before myself.  Taught that it is selfish to put yourself and your own happiness first and it finally dawned on me how limiting and more importantly, how untrue that was, and I resolved to have joy and love in my life and fearlessly move into the new chapter of my life.

Chapter Five

My mind was spinning.  I ached for him, I longed to be held by him and I dreamt about him every night.  I also dreamt about her.  Even so, I was still leaving a door open for him to come back to me.  How could I not?  He was my husband; my soul mate.  There was no clarity on his part and in turn I couldn’t make any definitive choices.  Was I totally misreading the situation?  I knew that I was mad to let one text throw me into such disarray.  He had not been honest with me for months and months, he had sat in our home and lied to my face.  In a couple of days time, I would be going back to that same home and I was leaving myself far too open and vulnerable.  I could not put myself in the position of having my fragile heart mangled all over again.

@sarahklugman (27th December 2011)

Sat on the stoop with a joint in my hand, I wonder where all the pieces will land. The rug has been truly pulled, but I am no longer fooled.

My intuition was screaming at me to back away, ‘Sarah, your heart is not safe’.  I knew I could not be near him and more than anything I had to stop sending texts!  Stop reaching out to a man who did not know his mind, or his heart.  Even if he did come back, how would I know he was back for anything more than himself, again testing the water, only to leave again, as he had already done before?  I was not his priority, I was not even sure I was anything more than a safety blanket, a human security net, a familiar face, in his now unfamiliar world.  I was desperately trying to be honest with myself, writing daily in my journal, looking for a semblance of direction.  What did I want to happen?  What did I need?

His texts were sporadic and all very much about him.  There was still no empathy and absolutely no accountability for his actions, or his behaviour.  He hadn’t told me he loved me.  He hadn’t in fact asked how I was doing.

@sarahklugman (28th December 2011)

Sitting rocking on the porch, watching my dogs by the light of a torch. I know that I will be okay and just live my life day by day.

How can that type of hurt be repaired?  He cheated on me and prior to the reality of that, I had always said that if one of us ever cheated that would be it, game over.  How easy it is to be so decisive about a decision you might have to make ahead of time?  It’s comical to even think that you’ll know what you’ll do.  You can’t possibly get your head around that type of behaviour, when you have pledged wedding vows to one another, promising to be there for each other, through the good times and the bad times, supporting each other when things really get tough.  He wasn’t saying what I really wanted to hear, he was in another country…  I was reading between the lines, filling in the gaps from a state of disbelief.

@sarahklugman (29th December 2011)

Time to step back and take stock for a while, for my heart has been through enough of a trial…

I knew I was being foolish to read love and regret into his electronically written words.  I had a choice and I and only I, could remove myself from what was unacceptable.  I loved him, but I was in love with the man who had loved me.  Yes, it hurt like hell and it was going to continue hurting for a while yet, that’s how it is with grief; it doesn’t work nine to five.  But I had to keep the facts straight in my head.  My husband had stopped caring about me and our marriage.  He hadn’t cared enough to be honest with me, but far more important than that, he hadn’t cared enough to want to work at what we had, which could only mean that he saw very little value in it.

I reminded myself that I was strong, that I was a wonderful woman who deserved to be respected.  I was being swept along by all of his (in)decision-making.  I still cried and cried.  The tears just didn’t want to stop.  Conversations had been limited to what he wanted and needed, but what I wanted and needed was to feel strong.  I wanted and needed the pain to stop, the physical and soulful pain I was in.

Despite feeling scared and uncertain, strangely enough I wasn’t fearful.  I knew that I was choosing to hold myself in this painful place, to keep reminiscing about the wonderful times we had had together, looking through photographs of our wedding and our honeymoon, doing nothing more than self-flagellating.  I knew that I was the master of my own life, that this was my journey.  He had left our journey and what once was, was now no more and I would have to accept that maybe I would never know or understand why he had made all the decisions he had made.

Society tells us that there is a cause and effect.  Perhaps there were never going to be answers to all or even some of my questions.  Perhaps I would never know and therefore in order to move on with my life, I would have to be more accepting.  Accepting of the fact that I had no idea about what was going on for him and therefore, I must move forward bravely and create a truly wondrous life for myself, with new adventures, new challenges and new faces.

I kept coming back to the words he had used.  ‘There are no certainties in life.’  This is a very difficult concept to fully accept and integrate into life.  It means that there is no fixed destination, beyond the desire for a certain outcome.  It means letting go of everything you think you know; letting go of the desire to know in advance that everything will work out in a particular way.

@sarahklugman (30th December 2011)

Time to clear for the future I want; not a time to be stopped by can’t. I won’t be held in limbo land, it’s time to trust and play my hand.

When I got back home I felt surprisingly liberated.  I love where I live.  It is a sanctuary, a calm beyond the storm of society.   The house held me and from the moment I crossed the threshold, I knew that I was going to be alright; I knew that I was going to survive this.

My wonderful girlfriends all came round the next day, laden with words of encouragement, loving support and wine.  I had bought boxes and tape to pack away the most prevalent of his belongings, to make living in the house less of a stark reminder of what had been.

Most of these friends had been at our wedding.  They all respected the sanctity of marriage and knew that any relationship needed to be worked at.  More than anything though, they all wanted me to be and feel safe.

I could see the pain in their eyes, when they looked at me.  I had lost so much weight and was dulling my emotions with wine and marijuana.  They knew how much I loved my husband and how the shock of what had happened was effecting me, so they enveloped and cocooned me with their love.  Great friendship is such a gift.

We had the most wonderful lunch together.  We all laughed and cried and I was truly grateful to have all of these wonderful women in my life.  They took turns to stay over with me, sharing my bed and holding me as I shook with grief.  They shared their insights into life and formed a protective cape of positive affirmations around me.  Reminding me of my strengths and my courage.  They worked hard to keep me grounded.

I visualized myself as a tree; a grand tree, with branches reaching up as far as the eye could see and strong roots burrowing into the ground.  My friends showed me how much I was loved, how important I was to them and they reminded me of all the possibilities of my new future, that this was not the end; it was the start of something new and wonderful.  They urged me not to wallow and to start thinking about me and only me and to start being more kind to myself and give myself the time that was needed to get strong and feel whole, reminding me that this too shall pass.

Chapter Four

He left the following morning with several packed bags, saying that he would stay in touch; letting me know where he was at all times.

I thought I would have screamed and shouted, maybe even lashed out physically, but I did none of those things.  I just let him go.  What was the point of begging, when he wasn’t listening or interested in my words?  I felt the raw pain of my heart breaking, there was nothing that required defending either to myself or to him.  My world, as I knew it, had ended, but I also resolved in that moment, that I didn’t want to have any regrets about my behaviour and would be the best me I could be, no matter what happened.  I was going to be kind to myself, allow myself time to heal.  I had seen first hand, how bitterness and anger only serve in the short-term.  Anger can ease the shock and bitterness, but gives you nothing more than the illusion of being hard done by.  Then the anger starts to consume you, eat you up from the inside out and can lead you to say and do some very regrettable things, words spoken in the heat of the moment, actions performed that can never be undone.   I was not going to become that person.  I was going to be guided by my intuition and my heart.  Accept that I was going to have some seriously wobbly days, but that they would pass and over time, those wobbly days would slowly disappear.  When someone asked me how I was doing, his or her own ego searching for the drama of my situation, I would never be disrespectful about my husband, or engage in what would undoubtedly become gossip fodder.  Regardless of what friends and family thought, I asked them to keep their judgements to themselves, as I was determined that anger would not fill my heart and become the overriding emotion I sought refuge in.

Honestly, looking back on it all now, I know without a doubt, that I was keeping a space in my heart for him to see sense and come home to me and rebuild our marriage.  I just couldn’t believe that this was what the Universe had planned for us.  Yet at the same time, the Universe was pushing me to be honest with myself and to accept that it never gives you more than you can handle.  I was starting to let go of my perceived control and learning to allow the world to unravel; for life to unfold of its own accord.  Because, to be perfectly honest, at that moment in time, everything had most definitely gone tits up…

Untitled (16th December 2011)

A union, a promise, a declaration of love

A marriage meant to fit, like a kid glove

A desire to work, to keep our hearts safe

Now it’s up in the air, just suspended by faith

My husband, I love you; help make your heart whole

So you can face the dark corners, that lurk in your soul

My love is so pure, I’m an Angel of your heart

Don’t make this the end, when it should be the start

Dear guides of my spirit, what should I now do?

Iron out the wrinkles and give me a clue.

My strong resolve evaporated quickly and gave way to sheer panic and shock.  Some days it was all I could do to breathe.  I missed him so much, so very, very much.  He had been my best friend, my lover, my sounding board and my confidante, all of those things and so much more besides.  How could I just erase over a decades worth of love, like it had never existed?  How could I have got it so wrong?

It’s fair to say that mentally and physically I was not in a great space.  I was drinking every night, taking sleeping pills to get even a few hours respite and smoking far too much weed.  I wanted to make it all go away and not feel anything.

Purely by chance, a girlfriend came round the morning after an especially low night for me, when I desperately needed to talk to my husband, yet despite his promise to answer my calls, the answering machine continually kicked in.  The night culminated in an unnecessarily nasty conversation, in which he intimated that he was allowed to do whatever he wanted now we weren’t together and that my behaviour was unacceptable.  The man had broken my heart, left me, cheated on me, come back begging forgiveness, only to leave again and seemed incapable of having even one iota of respect for how I was feeling.

I was spiralling quickly.  My parents didn’t yet know about the cheating.  For some reason I was still remaining loyal to my husband, protecting my husband’s honour and had only told a handful of girlfriends about his affair.  I know, I know…  So my girlfriend called my Mother and told her what was really going on.  Three hours later they arrived and gathered me up like a child and for the second time took me back home with them.

The cat was now well and truly out of the bag.  I hadn’t wanted to say it out loud, hadn’t wanted to make his actions real.  Yet the truth was starting to dawn and with it, a huge gaping hole between the man I thought I knew and the man he now appeared to be.  I remember telling a close friend, that it felt like my husband had been abducted by aliens.

Untitled (22nd December 2011)

My chest’s in a vice, I feel like I can’t breathe

You’re gone from my life, just taken your leave

You’ve reneged on your promises and left me alone

And not one ounce of caring or love have you shown

I don’t want to hate you, to reduce us to nothing

When my heart is so full of you and our loving

I do not deserve, the way you have treated me

And am left still not knowing how this can be

You’re a coward; you are! If you know that it’s over

Show some respect, just as much as you’ve shown her

Christmas is a horrible time for a break up.  Oh I’m sure it’s shit whenever it happens, but festivity surrounded me and I felt as flat as a pancake.  Happiness filled the radio waves and everyone was making plans to celebrate.  I was the counterpart to all of this festivity, the true Antichrist of Christmas.  I was miserable and I could feel my husband slipping away at great speed.  I was still trying to reach out to him and desperately needed to know where he was and whom he was with.  Was our marriage really over?  I had no closure and had not believed him, when he had told me he felt nothing.  No one feels nothing!

Cocooned at my parent’s house, an email arrived, a couple of days before Christmas.  The subject matter may well have been, ‘the marriage is over’.  It was brief and all about him.  He said he was feeling under enormous pressure to make a decision and had left the UK, going back to Berlin, to spend Christmas with some friends and he would be back in January or February and we would talk then.

Untitled (22nd December 2011)

The coward sent me the news by email

Couldn’t tell me to my face that he wanted to bail

The past ten years mean nothing to him

I feel like someone has severed a limb

You bastard!  I gave you my love and much more

You’ve reduced us to nothing, for you alone to soar

You have no respect for my head or my heart

So a new life for myself, is what I must start

I stayed when I doubted, because I believed in our vow

And I carried on giving, what a fool I am now

You lied to my face, reduced our life to a sham

I don’t want to hate you, feel like I don’t give a damn

How dare you treat me, like your father before?

I trust your fate will arrive, come land at your door

I was furious with him.  I needed to speak to him.  How dare he send an email like that?! The written words, were those of a stranger.  Who was this man?  The email didn’t explain anything and I wanted, no, needed, to be told.  Was he with her?  Had he lied about what had happened between his head being turned and sleeping with her?  Was he in love with her?

@sarahklugman (23rd December 2011)

My chest’s in a vice, I feel like I can’t breathe. You’ve removed yourself from my life and just taken your leave.

On Christmas Eve, he finally returned my call.  He was obviously in a room with other people and uttered monosyllables only.  I was forced to ask all the painful, pertinent questions.  When the five-minute conversation ended, I had been informed that he loved her and that he had stopped loving me a year ago and that our marriage was over and that was that.

@sarahklugman (24th December 2011)

I was sat in my childhood room when I heard, the truth I knew, but hadn’t wanted observed.

I screamed at the top of my voice, ‘Let him go. He has gone. Let him go. He has gone. Let him go!!’  How could he behave like this?  How could any human being treat another with such disrespect?

Christmas Day was just another twenty-four hour period to get through, aided and abetted by champagne, Valium and far too much wine.  I was numb.  I was in pain.  I felt lost in the world.

My day was spent keeping a low profile, I walked the dogs for most of the morning, attempting to clear my head, but more importantly, remain as strong as I possibly could.  But I was heart-broken and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.  He had taken my love, my trust and my unwavering belief in us, and turned it into something of such little value.  My family skirted around me trying to get me to eat something, eat anything.  I was as fragile as a porcelain doll, and the weight was dropping off me.  My Mother attempted to keep me grounded, asking me very pertinent questions.  ‘Who I was crying for?  Myself?  Him?’  She was also trying to make sense of the situation and understand why he had stopped working at our marriage and why our family now meant so very little to him.  We all felt like we had been conned.  Completely and utterly conned.

@sarahklugman (25th December 2011)

On Christmas day I bit my tongue, for there were adults with their young. I sat alone without my mate, drowning thoughts of his new date.

I woke up with a surprisingly clear head on Boxing Day.  Undeservedly so, given the self-medicating that was going on.  I knew I could not wallow in self-pity indefinitely. I knew that I was doing myself a huge disservice, sidestepping all the possibilities and potential of my own life.

I had to get my mind clear, gain clarity of my situation.  Yes, I was sad, hurt, disappointed… I had a monopoly on every adjectives ever used to describe the end of a love affair; the end of a marriage.  I screamed and screamed, a primal cry from my very source.

@sarahklugman (26th December 2011)

Sarah enough! It’s time to move on! Regain your composure and keep yourself strong.

I didn’t understand how he could behave like such a coward.  I have always had such a strong ethical way of being, a clear code of behaviour toward my fellow beings, be they man or beast.  He had insisted during our Christmas Eve conversation, that the issue was that he loved me, but that he was not ‘in love with me’.  I honestly don’t think he even knew what love was, not beyond a conscious, thinking concept.  It did not coarse through his veins; only his neurons.  Did he even love himself?  He appeared to be so very, very lost.  Was this why he had no empathy or compassion?  How could this just be all about him?

Then out of the blue, I received a text from him.  Some vocabulary strung together grammatically, with a slight semblance of intention.  He had read the heartfelt, honest texts that I had been unable to stop myself from sending and they had pulled at his heartstrings.  Oh hindsight where were you?  I had been so desperate for him to see what we had, to see the potential of us, that I had recklessly thrown my heart back into the land of dreams, in countless texts, that I berated myself for as soon as I had pressed ‘send’.  The love forlorn should not be allowed near any form of communication devices; for no other reason than their own safety…  So, without any thoughts of self-preservation, I instantly replied to his text, believing his regret, projecting my own feelings onto their meaning.

I said that I was only interested in certainties.  That I was not interested in maybe’s.  How could I, my heart had been battered to within an inch of its life?  The reply came back saying that there were no certainties in life.  I sat there stunned.  There it was in black and white.  He really had no idea what he wanted.

But why had he even sent the text?  If he was wavering, did that mean that he wasn’t in love with her?  It was all so confusing.  I had to remind myself of the facts, in terms of what I knew.  He had chosen to walk away from our marriage, to walk away from our friendship.  He had chosen to sleep with another woman.  He had chosen to return to Berlin.  In that moment, I also saw a glimmer of the reality that I too had choices.  I was choosing to open up my heart again to the man who had broken my trust.  I was choosing to put his wants and needs above my own.  No one had a gun to my head.  I was choosing to hold myself in his dishonest limbo land.

I had to remind myself that my own needs had to take priority, that I had to be honest with myself.  Remind myself of the facts, because if I didn’t do that, I would remain very unsafe in my own world, yet at the same time, all I wanted was him…

@sarahklugman (26th December 2011)

I’m raw and I’m sore, but I’m all kinds of sure, that the Universe is belly laughing from it’s very core.

Chapter Three

@sarahklugman (1st December 2011)

I won’t be beat, that’s not my style. I just need to lick my wounds for a while…

I spent hours talking with my father.  His down to earth male perspective was honest and filled with empathy.  He knew the pain I was feeling, for he had felt a similar pain himself in a time gone by.  He also loved my husband as a son; warts and all.  All of my family did.  I heard my father’s words, but to be honest, I wasn’t really listening; I did not want to accept that my father knew my marriage was over, that my husband had already made his decision.  My mind was totally quiet, silenced by a deep, sad pain.  I was unable to join the dots and make sense of the speed of his actions.

Then we spoke.  I had to hear his voice and hiding in my room, I called him.  He said that he had spoken with his Consultant, who was very concerned about his mental health, as a result of the dose of his steroids.  The Consultant, he said, had told him in no uncertain terms, that he should not make any life changing decisions until he had completely finished the course of drugs, which would take a further four to six months.  I am not sure that my husband totally heeded that advice; or perhaps he did, albeit very short-lived.

My husband said that he felt like he was living life on speed or cocaine; he felt totally invincible.  He admitted that he had been feeling manic and that traveling helped him maintain the high of feeling separate from everything in his life, and he admitted that he was not in touch, or even within the perimeter, with his emotions.  He was living at the epicentre of the storm currently engulfing his head.  He said he was so very sorry and that all he wanted was to come and collect me, take me home and spend time alone with me.  I will honestly admit that I was so relieved to hear those words, that I failed to ask any pertinent questions.  I told my parents that he was coming to collect me and that everything was going to be okay.  I was stronger now and would be clear about my own intentions and needs.  I would hold him accountable for his actions and ensure that he explained himself and was completely honest from here on in.

When he arrived at my parent’s house, he hugged me like we hadn’t seen each other for years.  I held him close, taking in his familiar essence and felt safe and complete.  My parents insisted that we stay for dinner; they wanted to understand what was going on in his mind and be sure that my heart would be safe.  He spoke eloquently, appearing to take responsibility for the pain he had caused and promised my parents that he would do whatever it took to make our marriage work and that what had happened was a mere blip, a temporary loss of sanity.

We left my parent’s home an hour later, and he drove the whole way with one hand on the wheel, the other in my lap.  We collapsed into bed as soon as we arrived home and held each other close that night.  In the morning, we awoke lazily and spent the day relaxing back into each others company.  By the evening however, I could feel the energy charged with unsaid words and I think that I already knew what was coming, before the words had formed a sentence in his mind.  “I slept with another woman in Berlin”, he blurted out, “it was a huge mistake and I regret it; a moment of temporary insanity”, were his exact words.  Then he said that he had done this woman, whoever she was, a real disservice.  No mention of the disservice he had done me…  Oh hindsight, dear hindsight…

I asked if this had been the same woman who had turned his head a few months earlier.  “Yes”, he replied.  ‘But you said you had not been in contact with her since she turned your head’.  “I hadn’t”, he said, “she emailed me out of the blue when I was in Berlin and we just happened to meet up”.  ‘So none of this was planned’, I asked naively.  “No, of course it wasn’t.  There had been a connection between us, but on an intellectual level, I was not physically attracted to her.  It was a huge a mistake and I am so very, very sorry”.

You must know, that at this time, I was in fact falling in love with my husband all over again.  Believing we could create something truly wonderful, now I was becoming more aware of myself and my emotions.  More than that, I wanted to fight for my marriage, fight to keep my husband.  I told him what I thought about this woman, this woman who had knowingly slept with a man with a wedding ring on his finger.  In my mind, you just do not do that, not if you have any integrity or respect for other women.  Yet I still told him that I loved him, loved him very deeply and that we could work through this, so long as he was completely honest with me.

So I asked if it had just been the one time? “Yes it had”, he replied. ‘ Did you use a condom?’ I asked,  “Of course I did!”, he said.  ‘Will you be in contact with her again?’  “No”, he said, “it’s over with her, it was a huge mistake”.  ‘Okay’, I said, ‘okay…’ and after a long pause I asked if he loved me.  “Yes I do, I love you very much and I really want to make our marriage work.  I promise.”

I knew that I was prepared to accept what he had done, providing there was remorse. The thing was, it soon became apparent that he wasn’t remorseful.  He wasn’t in fact displaying anything that could be remotely identified as a remorseful emotion.  He didn’t appear to have any empathy or compassion for me.  He didn’t recognise the enormity of the situation, in terms of the broken trust.  It was all about him and what he wanted.  On the one hand he would be drawing sketches of how we were going to refurbish our bedroom and then on the other hand, he couldn’t even commit to where he would be next week.  He was starting to enter his fight or flight phase.

I wanted to understand what he was so scared of; I wanted to be given a chance, for our marriage to be given a chance.

We carefully skirted the big issues and the depth of eggshells on the ground, deepened daily.  I could see that he had no idea where the hell he wanted to be and appeared to be waiting for a eureka moment, when he would fall ‘back in love’ with me and then everything could and would be fixed.

I don’t know what was worse…  The thought that he was with me, but slowly slipping away, or the dawning reality that this was nothing to do with me and that there was absolutely nothing I could do to fix it.  I was feeling strong, beginning to feel grounded in myself, yet at the same time I was living in the twilight zone.

So we made plans to go away for Christmas, to find a quiet space to talk everything through.  He booked a cottage, deep in the Scottish Highlands, the plan being to escape everyone and spend time reconnecting.  The problem was, he wasn’t talking and as the date for us to leave drew closer, he withdrew into himself more and more.  I had to start every conversation, pushing him to open up and be honest with me about his feelings, yet all the while he sat there oscillating.  Terrified of saying the wrong thing.

So the reality was, he was back with me, Christmas was looming and I had been hurled into limbo land.  He wouldn’t talk.  Couldn’t verbalise anything, well not to me anyway.  He didn’t really need to say anything, it was obvious; there was an enormous bloody elephant in the room.  I saw it.  He saw it.  Everyone around us saw it.  But I would damned if he was going to make me take the lead, make this be my decision.  This was his process and he would have to utter the unutterable.  I was really clear with myself about that.  Despite my pain, I knew that I did not want to be with someone who didn’t love me, but he would have to say those words, take responsibility for his actions, explain why he was unable to make good on the promises he had made.

I started to see clearly that all that was keeping him in the house was a sense of duty to be with me.  I was so disappointed, disappointed that he had stopped caring about our marriage, whenever it actually was that he had stopped caring and disappointed that he had kept that such a big secret.  As far as I was concerned, yes, people fall out of love, but don’t be a coward.  Have some integrity and don’t be unnecessarily cruel out of nothing more than pure indecision.  You cannot have your cake and eat it.

So just a fortnight after he had come to collect me from my parent’s house, declaring that he loved me and would do anything to make it work, he was now saying that he was feeling pressured by everyone to make a decision and that he needed some space to work out what he wanted.

By now my heart had been totally wrung out and I found myself writing the same words over and over again in my journal.  ‘I am present.  I am safe.  My heart will heal.  I will become whole.  I must remain grounded.  I know I will be okay’.  I filled page upon page.  Along with reminders of what he had done, in an attempt to stop myself projecting a love onto someone who clearly no longer loved me.  I started expressing my pain and awareness of my situation through poetry, finding solace in the rhymes, as I tried to make sense of my situation and mend my broken heart.

Untitled (18th December 2011)

You held me back; I know it too

Whilst I kept you safe, whilst you alone grew

I’ve seen your soul; I’ve seen your pain

To see us now, it’s a crying shame

You’ve packed and left to find your heart

It seems our paths for this moment must part

I ache for your body, your feel and your touch

But know it’s not safe to think of that too much

You’re a good man; it’s true, like the words of the song

Reconnect with your heart, heal and grow strong

I’ll miss you and cry for what was and could be

And keep a space in my heart for you to come back to me

Chapter Two

Life doesn’t need to throw the curve balls; we do a great job of that all by ourselves. Freewill is merely the choice; the choice to listen to our heart and listen to our intuition, or choose to ignore both.  If we choose to ignore our feelings and stop taking responsibility for our actions, we become unaware, living without compassion.  Bad behaviour is then justified, truths remain untold and defensiveness dominates…

@sarahklugman (29th November 2011)

We have to talk is what they say, to clear the obstacles, clear the way. A conversation void of blame, an open space to speak without shame.

I awoke with such a heavy heart the next morning, unable to reconcile anything my husband had said to me.  My chest felt tight and tears were welling up in my throat.  I quietly got out of bed and sought refuge in the kitchen, where I sat, as the tears streamed down my cheeks.  The plug had been pulled and everything I had held true was being washed away.

When my husband appeared, his face looked tortured.  He made himself a coffee and sat down.  When he started to speak, he spoke slowly, censoring every word that left his lips, weighing up every syllable.  He said a lot and yet said nothing.  I couldn’t make any sense of what was and what wasn’t being told.  He stressed that no decision had been reached.  No decisions were being made.  Nonetheless, I could see that he was testing the water.  I could feel that his energy had shifted, as he sat uncomfortably within his own home.  ‘Just be honest with me’, I pleaded, ‘talk to me, tell me what you are thinking’.  But he wasn’t capable of doing that; he was a rabbit caught in the headlights.  His face however told me everything I needed to know, but didn’t want to hear, as his mind turned over the thought, “How does it feel if I am no longer with this woman?”

There was nothing I could say and I was scared of hearing words that could truly mark the end of our marriage.  I left him with his indecision and took our dogs up to the woods, seeking comfort and grounding amongst the ancient trees.  Every part of my body churned away, as I recalled the previous nights conversation.  I was so confused.  I felt cast adrift from everything I had thought to be real.  I had never felt so alone in the world.

When I returned, my husband’s Mother and her first cousin had already arrived at the house; they were over from Holland to celebrate his sister’s birthday.

The weekend was completely surreal.  My husband behaved like the past 24 hours had never happened.  He was chatty and attentive.  He spent the whole weekend behaving as if everything was just peachy, as if he cared about me, cared about us.  He had mentioned to his Mother that we were going through a difficult period, but gave no outward indication that he was about to turn both of our worlds upside down.  He talked animatedly of his time in Berlin, singing its praises.  He talked about his work, cajoled by his ego.  He talked and talked and talked, about everything and anything, just not about how he felt about us or me.

I felt betrayed by the man who sat so calmly, chatting away with his family.  How could he pretend so easily, pretend he was still my ever-attentive, loving husband, holding my hand when we went out for dinner with his family, draping his arm around my waist protectively, whilst inwardly preparing to call time on our marriage?  The previous night he had labelled our time together as being for a ‘Reason’, as opposed to a Season or a Lifetime.  I felt like I had been thrust into a play, with no script or direction; standing centre stage in the spotlight.

It wasn’t until the Monday evening, the house now empty of our weekend guests, that I attempted to start a conversation.  Over the weekend I had written a list of what I needed and wanted to know.  I again asked if someone else was involved, as he seemed so detached from the enormity of his revelations, so uncaring, buoyed by someone or something else perhaps. He reiterated his previous answer.  Irritated that I was insinuating that he had cheated on me. Nothing he said made any sense.

What was clear though, abundantly clear, was his repetitive insistence that he wasn’t in love with me.  He started digging around the foundations of our shared history, questioning decisions made years ago, questioning our ideals, our plans…  I felt defenceless and utterly disappointed.  He wasn’t able to give me any reasons and couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me how he was actually feeling.  He didn’t trust me, not one bit, censoring every word that came out of his mouth.  Something was not being said.  I could feel it.  I knew it.  Yet, I didn’t want to venture too far down that path.  I had asked him, twice in fact and he had looked me in the eye and answered me, “No.  There is no one else involved, I have not slept with another woman”.

He didn’t sleep in our bed that night, instead falling asleep on the sofa and when I questioned him about this the next morning, he said that he hadn’t been sure if he was welcome in our marital bed.  Oh hindsight dear friend, where were you when I needed you?

He was a bundle of nervous indecision.  His energy was like a piano pendulum, swinging from one side to the other at breakneck speed.  He again sat down opposite me at the kitchen table and for the first time since he had returned from Berlin, he started to cry.  He said that the marriage was definitely over; he didn’t love me and that was it.  I sat in believed, disbelief.  I couldn’t believe he was actually saying the words.  ‘What the fuck!?’, filled my mind and my heart.

And with that he left, taking a small bag with him.  He would stay with his sister for the night, as he was due to travel back to Germany the next day, for another meeting.  “We will talk when I get back”, were his parting words.

Six hours later, he sent a text, asking to see me and talk.  His sister had listened and talked to him for several hours and he said that he knew that he didn’t want our marriage to be over.  He wanted to make us work, stressing that he would do whatever it took and that we would and could find our way through this.  So back he came and we spoke for several hours, holding each other close.  He returned to his sister’s house that night, to get a few hours sleep before leaving early the next morning.  He would be gone for four days and on his return we would start rebuilding our marriage.  I believed him.  I wanted to believe him.  I needed to believe him.

When he left the house, I felt numb.  I was playing catch up, frantically searching for clarity.  Was this a result of his medication?  Was he having a midlife crisis?  What was real and what was fantasy?

The next morning, before his flight left, he sent me a flurry of texts full of promises, assuring me that he would make everything right and that he loved me.  Twenty-four hours later the texts stopped.  My inquiring texts were ignored and he remained off radar until his flight landed back in England three days later, calling me from the airport to say he would get a train back home.  When I asked how he was, he dismissively said that he was living ‘moment to moment’.

I could feel my heart in my mouth when the call ended, yet I also felt slightly defiant.  How dare he behave like this?  I was his wife.  Our eighth wedding anniversary was on the horizon.  I wasn’t scared.  I was feeling indignant.  I wanted to hold him accountable.  I had questions that needed answering, many questions.

During his trip away, I had felt a great need to write, to make sense of my situation.  I had dug out an old notebook, containing a few sporadic entries dating back over a decade, all written as if I were writing for an audience.  I had never been able to keep a journal, an account of my thoughts and feelings.  I had always wanted to, recognising the light it could throw on the darkness within.  My ego, the voice of judgement, had always stopped me, so on the rare occasion that I did write, I would edit my words, in order to avoid writing honestly, scared of facing how I actually felt and what I really wanted.  Writing meant that I would have to face the very thoughts and fears I had spent a lifetime hiding from.  I had perfected the art of giving my feelings a very wide berth, scared of shining that torch inwards.

@sarahklugman (25th November 2011)

Remember the moments, pause in thought for a while. Keep your heart full of love and don’t let your life become futile.

I knew that I needed to write without thought, to open the floodgates and purge my pain through vocabulary and at the same time get some clarity on my situation.  It was time to be honest with myself.  Neurons were moving at lightening speed, as they attempted to assimilate a semblance of order to the past nine days of my life.  My head felt like it was going to explode, held in place only by my weighted heart.  I was exhausted by all the revelations, exhausted to my very core and wanted to feel the sweet relief of nothingness.  Primal sounds emerged from my throat and were screamed into the world.  Yet within all of this turmoil, a feeling kept emerging, well, more of a knowing really, a knowing that this would not defeat me.  Something in me had shifted; something inside me had changed.  I filled pages with melancholy and pages with questions.  How had I not known that he no longer loved me?  Why was he throwing everything away?  Where was the man I married, where was that empathetic man?

I felt totally bulldozed.  I had been flattened.  My heart was in pieces and all my vital organs knotted in fear.  I was on total autopilot and as the words poured out, a self-preservation started to take hold.  ‘I must keep myself safe’, became my inner mantra, as I shook with tears. ‘I must keep myself safe’.

The decision to end our relationship may be of his making, but there were two of us in this marriage and I was not naive enough to believe that everything about our union shone brightly.  I knew that I had lived in a shroud of fear; being the person I thought I should be, as opposed to, well just being.  You need to understand, that up to that point in my life, I was the eternal doer, a person in perpetual motion, the ‘doing verb’ equivalent of a being human.  Everything had to be just so, I had to keep all the balls in the air and if God forbid I dropped one, well that would be it, Game Over.

So for the first time in my life, I asked myself profoundly searching questions.  Was I living the life I really wanted?  Was I meeting my own needs?  Did I feel safe in my marriage?  Every question was answered with a ‘No’.  I wasn’t happy with my life and I wasn’t speaking my truth to myself, or to others.

I knew that I was being given a choice here, an opportunity to step up.  The Universe was literally shoving me forward, forcing me to get in touch with the pain and feel the emotions.  So I wrote and wrote, writing list upon list, asking myself what I needed, as opposed to what I wanted and for the first time I saw the difference between the two. I wanted to feel loved, I wanted to be looked after, I wanted to be wanted…  What I actually needed though was really interesting in comparison, quite a contrast to my perceived wants.

What I needed was to be present, to be living life in the moment, to be in touch with my emotions and to remain aware of myself within and throughout this process, wherever it took me.

Despite the pain and deep, deep hurt, I knew that the Universe was offering me a unique invitation and that I could feel safe in the knowledge that it would all be okay, albeit in the form of an almighty kick up the arse.  But I knew the invitation was genuine, I knew this because the continual chatter that had been the background noise of my life had stopped.  My head was clear, free of criticism and doubt.

When he walked through the front door, he was buzzing from his trip.  He avoided my gaze, and launched into his pre-prepared monologue, calling time on our marriage.  “It is over”, he said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t love you and I need to leave”.  An hour later, with two bags packed, he walked out of the door.  I called him a coward and I called him disrespectful, but I didn’t scream, nor did I plead or beg for him to stay.  He attempted to place the blame at my door, saying that he had tried to talk to me over the past year, but that I hadn’t listened.  Oh please!  I most definitely would have recalled a conversation that started with ‘we need to talk about our marriage’ or ‘I am not sure I love you’.  He had done no such thing.  He may have formulated these conversations in his head, but had not uttered a word.

‘Go’, I said quietly.  ‘Just go’.

Through my sobs and tears I sent texts to my girlfriends and within half an hour, Sharon was by my side, wiping my tears and plying me with white wine.  She couldn’t believe what was happening.  I sat in shock, unable to move or talk.

The next few days are a blur.  Sharon called my parents and they arrived the next morning, wanting to take me home with them.  I fought them on this, that I clearly remember.  I was scared to leave the house, scared of leaving the marital home.  ‘What if he changes his mind and comes back and I’m not here?’ I cried.  I couldn’t think straight.  I was a mess.  Bags were packed and I was bundled, with the dogs, into the car.

I was devastated.  No other word can describe how I felt.  I hadn’t realised such feelings of sadness were humanly possible.  My parents delivered me childlike, back into my old bedroom, where I sat rocking backwards and forwards, sobbing my heart out.

Ironically, the more I felt the loss, the greater my love for him felt.  Two days passed, the daylight hours engulfed in Kleenex and Sauvignon Blanc and my dreams were full of nightmares.  On the third day an email arrived, a long-winded email, attempting to explain and justify his behaviour in equal measure.  Again, many words yet very little content.  Talk of chapters coming to an end and new books now to be read; metaphors for life, wrapped in the cowardice of avoidance.