Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008 from Frank!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 30, 2007

This holiday season has been a very quiet one for me. I suppose it is only right that this be the case since the nest is now empty and my marriage is over.

This morning, early, I drove #2 to the Baltimore airport and the tears began to flow as she walked away to her terminal. Thankfully she didn't look back...I suspect that she was feeling the same way I was. Sad that the vacation was over....that Christmas was just a memory...and it was now time to go back to the real life of responsibility and work.

On our way to the airport, #2 told me that this was her best trip home. She said that although the first part of this trip had started stressfully because she had to travel to her mother's bedside in the hospital, she thanked me for making the trip so pleasant during the last part.

She also reflected on the expanded role that the dentist is playing in the life of her mother's family. It disturbs her. It disturbs her aunts. It disturbs me!

The man is as the O'Lovey's home nearly every evening and is included in every gathering. It's really EVERY family gathering.

For example, #2 invited her grandmother to go to a Mexican restaurant on Friday night. Grandma announced that the dentist would be going with her. On Friday afternoon, #2 also invited her cousin and Lovey's baby sister and her husband. When #2 got hold of grandma to establish the time of the dinner, Grandma said that it would be up to the dentist....that #2 should call him to arrange the time. #2 said she would not call the dentist...and that dinner would be a 7pm. However, by the time I had gotten home from the office on Friday, #2 announced that the dentist would not be joining us after all because he was having dinner with his own daughter before she left the area.

Well, we all got to the restaurant. It began as a fun evening...and everyone seemed to have a great time. Just as we were finishing our appetizer, the dentist appeared! Someone said, "Weren't you supposed to have dinner with your daughter tonight?" He responded that he would probably have heartburn because he ate so hurredly in order to get to be with all of us. So he plopped down right by Grandma!

They then proceeded to have their own party. It was as if the rest of us had totally vanished.

Since all of us had assumed he wasn't coming.....I had picked up grandma and her sister and delivered them to the restaurant. To me, it was a bit rude when the good dentist took it upon himself to put the aunt in his car at the end of the evening. Grandma then joined them. The three of them vanished into the night.

It creeped all of us out.

Another thing that I noticed was that the dentist tried to invite himself over to the cousin's house to see video he shot during the annual Christmas Gathering. She told him that it wasn't going to happen and as he tried to keep pushing the matter, the cousin's husband said that they only had a DVD player and not a VHS player. At this, the dentist dropped the matter.

#2 wanted to say goodbye to her grandma on Saturday evening, but the dentist was there when we got to the house and #2 told me to go back home. We then got home and a message had been left saying that the dentist wanted #2 down at Grandma's house to see the Christmas Video. #2 refused to go. When she called her grandma to say goodbye, the dentist answered the telephone!

Finally she was able to talk to her grandma and told her that she was going to stop by to see her personally, but when she saw the dentist's car, she didn't want to interrupt.

This is a very strange situation. But, it's not something I have to worry about because I'm no longer a part of that family. I will tell Lovey....if I get an opportunity.

It just goes to show you how the drama continues in Lovey's family...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Reflections

As I said earlier, Christmas at my house was quite peaceful and enjoyable. I spent some true quality time with one of my children. During that time, I learned some very important things, namely, the fact that the divorce is just now beginning to affect #2.

Oh, it’s nothing major at this point…. But still it affects her and thus, causes me grief to know that something that has happened in my life has affected her so much.

She confided in me that she is beginning to feel pressure. She doesn’t like it at all. The pressure she is referring to is that that her mom puts on her in the form of guilt. You see, while Lovey was in the hospital, she kept saying to #2 things like, “I’m always short changed in your visits. You always stay with your dad the most…”

I guess it makes #2 feel like she’s in a contest.

It makes her self-conscious and looking at her watch to make sure that she is being equal.

The same thing happened at Thanksgiving. After that holiday I sent her a long note and told her to stop being pulled into that rut immediately.

I reminded her of this. I told her that I had no preconceived notions when she came to visit me. I was always glad to see her, whenever she chose to come by…..and that if she wanted to spend the entire time with her mom, that would be okay – as long as I knew she was safe, warm and happy.

Lovey came to her mother’s on Christmas Day to spend a few days with her. We were invited to attend dinner down there. A delicious roast was prepared and we were able to enjoy a nice meal. The good dentist was present…YIKES. Once again, Lovey sat next to me. (She sat next to me during the Thanksgiving meal too.)

When Mom O’Lovey started talking about her favorite Christmas….and she dragged out her scrapbook commemorating her 70th birthday, seven years ago, I nearly lost it. There in all the pictures was a picture of me with Lovey in much happier times. There were pictures of the kids….of us with the kids…….. All of a sudden I felt my eyes beginning to sting.

So, I excused myself from the table and went to another room.

Seeing those old pictures made me cry……and made me realize just how much things have changed.

God, how I hate change!

But I got it all out of my system and returned to the gathering. I don’t think anyone noticed.

I just put on my happy face and continued my meal.

A Peaceful Holiday

Meet Daughter #2 and my cocker spaniel, Davy.

This has been quite a peaceful and quietly Christmas. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of quality time with my daughter. She returns to Nashville on Sunday morning, then my life returns to normal!

#2 and I have had much discussions about my life as a single man. She’s made some interesting comments about her mother. She was able to spend the first few days of her visit in the Shenandoah Valley with her mother, who was recovering from her stay in the hospital. As a matter of fact, it was #2 who drove her home from the hospital.

We’re still not sure what medical problems Lovey suffers from. All we know is that her liver enzymes are all elevated. She was supposed to go in for some follow up tests today. Thus far, I’ve not been made privy to their findings.

Over the holiday I did get to speak with all three of my children. The marine called from Iraq. It was so good hearing his voice. I have to tell you though, that I will be very, very happy and relieved when he returns from Iraq in April. Likewise, a year from May I’ll be happy when #1 returns from El Salvador. She gets to come home for a vacation in early June this year. Then she’ll be back in May of 2009 permanently!

More thoughts to share later.

Friday, December 21, 2007

More On Lovey

As the day has progressed, I've gathered a little bit more information about Lovey's condition.

I've had to be somewhat of a peacemaker today, because the twins are sort of having a little drama right now. #2 in Nashville has been almost flip with her sister in El Salvador when discussing their mom. #1 finds this terribly disrepectful and is a bit miffed with her sister.

However, #2's points aren't without merit.

Let me provide a bit of background.

Lovey has an extensive medical history. Sadly, we all believe her to be a hypochondriac. My ongoing struggle with being gay only added to my guilt for her various aches and pains. I felt deeply responsible. After all, if I were meeting all of her needs, she would not have to seek affirmation from a host of medical people.

During our separation, Lovey told me once that she was expecting to be "healed" once the divorce was final...because living with me caused all of her medical problems.

So, yours truly had a whole boat load of issues to deal with.

In her last full year of marriage and under my health plan, she had over 90 medical visits and procedures in a 12-month period. In the first five months of this year, before our divorce, she logged almost 50.

Lovey also likes to self diagnose. She loves to talk about all of her medical problems....the various procedures....and the hose of medicenes she is on. In case you were wondering, she's totally behind CYMBALTA.

So, it is from this background that daughter #1 is somewhat dubious of this mysterious malady that has Lovey hospitalized.

"She probably provided her doctor with one of her self-diagonoses, Dad. You know how she is."

Yes, sadly I do.

It's akin to the boy crying wolf one time too many. I don't like to cast judgment....or make light of what's happening to Lovey now, but I'm left to wonder several things:

1) She has been grousing to #2 about how she (Lovey) is always shortchanged in the amount of time she gets to spend with her children during the holidays. She even did this from her hospital bed last evening. #2 is headed there this weekend and wants to head back for a hot date. Lovey wasn't pleased.

2) I get the impression that all is not peachy keen deluxe in the churches Lovey is pastoring.

3) I find the timing of these various maladies interesting. Here it is Christmas, and Lovey is in the hospital.

Could she be looking for sympathy? Might she be feeling intensely lonely? Could she be feeling a bit of remorse as to the breakup of her family and be haunted by thoughts of Christmas celebrations of years passed?

Could be.

#1 asked if I was concerned. I responded by saying that I was concerned...but that I had to figure out the right track to follow. This, after all, is brand new territory. Were I still married to her, I'd be at her bedside with a boat load of care and compassion and unconditional love. This is how I handled her during the marriage.

But now, since I've heard of Lovey's health problems all second hand, I'm not going to be breaking down her door to find out all the particulars. If she wants me to know, she can call and then we can have a discussion. But, I can care and be concerned from a distance. If this is a ploy for sympathy and attention, I won't give her fodder of condition her to do this on a regular basis for more.

Am I mean?

I don't think so.

It's just that I know her so very well and I suspect she's dealing with some serious psychological issues this year, that perhaps she's not had the time to ponder.

At any rate, the doctors say that Lovey has got some elevated enzyme levels from her liver. They're keeping her another night for observation. Hopefully she will get to come home in time tomorrow for #2 to visit this weekend.

So, stay tuned.

As of this writing, I'm doing very well and continue to look forward to the holidays. I plan to have a quiet Christmas with my daughter and then I'm open for discussion.

I'm looking for many happy days ahead.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I just returned from having dinner at Lovey's mother's house. She told me that Lovey is in the hospital and they have her under observation. She's also hooked up to a heart monitor. I don't know what the issues are...but it sounds like she has really been sick.

More info as I learn more!

"My Mom is Santa!"

Okay, here goes. This is my first video posting. Hope it works as easily as they say it does. This little clip is making the rounds in cyberspace this year. So enjoy!

A Holiday Greeting To You!

Dear Friends:

Warm holiday greetings from the my little homestead near Washington, D.C.! I trust that this finds you and yours well and happy.

This has been quite a year for me. I certainly know now what the empty nest feels like!

Daughter #1 left home on February 5 to begin her new career as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. She was thrilled to be there and entertained me with details of her first assignment: building a latrine! Since that time she has rented a house of her own, had some key pieces of furniture built for her, acquired a kitten named Tigre, visited with her new “neighbors”: the resident scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes; and, become accustomed to cold showers, and doing her laundry in the closest mountain streams. She’s made a host of friends, and is happy.

Daughter #2 continues to make Nashville, Tennessee her home. I helped her to move into her own apartment in a gated apartment complex in the Brentwood section of Nashville. She’s found a job as a receptionist to pay the bills, but still works quite hard on her music career. She’s completed writing five songs and is in the process of recording them as the basis of the demo she’s producing. Once completed, she’ll be distributing these far and wide to anyone who’ll give her a listen. Hopefully, a heavy hitter or two in Nashville will give her the opportunity she seeks and she’ll be on her way! She continues to broaden her contacts. I’m sure it’s now all just a matter of time …

My son attained the rank of corporal in the Marine Corps this year. In September he was deployed to Al Asad, Iraq and is still working as a logistics specialist. While there, he has made the decision to signup for four more years in the Marines. As of this moment, the paperwork has all been completed. His next four year period begins in June 2008. In the spare time he has in Iraq, he has enrolled in college and is working to get his degree in logistics. I am thrilled that he continues to do so well.

In the midst of all this, my divorce was finalized on May 29, 2007 after 25 years, 5 months and 17 days of marriage. When the end finally came, it sort of reminded me of the feelings one has when a terminally ill family member finally passes on. While it’s expected, the end brings a certain amount of sadness, shock, hurt, but also a degree of relief that it’s over. While I wish I could tell you that I handled it all beautifully and was basically a spiritual giant, I honestly can’t say this. It was hard….it felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest…..and I have spent much time in the wee hours only communicating with God in small whimpers and many tears. Thankfully, my cocker spaniel was there to offer comfort with a wagging tail, a sloppy wet kiss or two and a very cold nose.

Still I carry on.

I pray that your holiday celebrations are filled with much happiness and joy. May you be blessed in the coming year! I know that I’m looking for many better years ahead.

You’re loved!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dan Fogelberg

Did you hear the news?

Singer Dan Fogelberg died last Sunday Morning in Maine.

For me, his music defines a long ago era in my life. A much simpler time.....a time when I was younger....and when there wasn't so much wear and tear in my life.

His song, "Longer," is forever associated with my honeymoon. It's the song that was playing the morning after my wedding. It played as Lovey and I were running around our hotel room in Williamsburg, Virginia getting ready to explore the Tidewater Region that Sunday Morning -- 26 years ago.

Here I am 26 years later....the marriage is dead....and the singer too is dead.

Kind of fitting, don't you think?

I'm seriously thinking of driving down to Williamsburg in the next few weeks. I want to go to that same hotel....and to enjoy the sites and sounds of Williamsburg in the winter.

I want overlay new memories of the place over those old, sentimental ones.

I think I'll take some of Mr. Fogelberg's recordings along on the trip to associate his words and music with a new era -- the dawn of a new adventure, which is my new life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Some Other Signs of Healing.....

A dear friend told me early on in this process that you'll know that you're beginning to heal when you start sleeping in the middle of the bed...instead of the side you stayed on during your marriage.

I think this is very indicative of how I'm tracking.

For the longest time in these two years, I've actually tried to sleep in the middle, but invariably I wake up on my side. Or...I'm so far on my side that I'm right on the edge.

It's been very interesting.

So, let's fast forward to these past few weeks.

Things have changed....and it's almost like it was overnight. My positive happy thoughts......the simple joy that I have in drawing my next breath have just all "appeared."

Needless to say, I'm amazed.

And, this morning, I noticed that when I awoke, I am totally sprawled out across the bed. I mean my dog, Davy, barely has room to find a place to curl up on my QUEEN sized bed!

Am I healing or what?

Something has changed. Most definitely.

It's just a tad unsettling.

My West Virginia fatalism kicks in and I find myself wondering when something bad is going to happen. I'm just TOO happy.

But that is so silly. I've had such a sad life these past years.....and it's now refreshing to feel like I have definitely moved on.


Monday, December 17, 2007

The Healing Continues

One of the thoughts my pastor left us with yesterday as she concluded her sermon was, “Choose Joy!”

I’m one of those guys that just did ever do that because up until very recently, I didn’t have a lot of joy to choose from.

It seemed that the gay thing had caused my life to spin totally out of control and that I spent the majority of my time bobbing and weaving from one drama until the next. Or that I would just exists from one tearful outburst from Lovey to another. And the complaints. Oh man…I had to put up with all the complaints about everything.

It was a sad life.

But in my journey here, I have started to experience joy: the simple joy of living….of catching my next breath…….or watching my dog sleep peacefully in front of the Christmas tree.

Perhaps the greatest joy that I’m now learning to handle is the joy of entertaining others and of being a good friend. You see, my gayness served as a pretty impenetrable fortress on which to forge friendships. I avoided them. I didn’t feel that I had much to offer.

Who, after all, would want to spend time with me….an ugly old fag.

But I’ve found out that I’m not necessarily ugly….and that the friends I have made do seem to want to spend more time with me. And I can’t begin to tell you how much it affirms me to hear them say, “Frank, you have such a wonderful and comfortable home!”

After all, it wasn’t that long ago when I was fretting about decorating my home…..and feeling so very unsure of myself or my decorating.

But here I am al those months later….and my friends like what all I have done.

And all it took was me stepping out and doing it and giving it my best shot!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

26 Years Ago Today...

December 12, 1981 was my big day.

It was the day that every person hopes to have and when that day dawns, it is full of hope and promise.

I’m speaking of my wedding to Lovey.

As of this writing, I am doing very well. I’m happy. I’m content. AND…I’m very glad that the divorce is over in all respects.

It’s been over six months since things were finalized, and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with myself. I’m just enjoying the time of becoming more acquainted with me. It started off scary….but as I’ve gingerly found my way, it seems to be evening out nicely. So, stay tuned.

When I got home last night, I found some interesting mail waiting for me. I received Lovey’s Christmas Card and her holiday letter. This was a first for me. It also had a note that Lovey had made a contribution in my name to one of those charities that feed the underprivileged. I learned that whatever it was she gave, 800 people will be fed in my name.

So, she gave me a present. (At Thanksgiving, I had given her a photoquality print of the newspaper our son’s picture appeared in from my home town.)

I also had two other envelopes in my mailbox from Lovey’s retirement plan. A distribution had been made into an account established for me…. The original balance I was to be given had grown by $20,000!

So yesterday was a good day!

Life is going on rather nicely!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Time For An Anniversary!

Oh my!

It's THAT time of year again.

As of 2pm tomorrow, December 12, 2007, it will have been 26 years since I got married to Lovey.

Yes, it's another anniversary.

A day for me to pause and to remember. But don't count on me dwelling on the past. My present is keeping me WAAAAAAAY too busy for all that.

I suppose I'm still in shock. I mean, the separation and divorce and the aftermath were all such a black and bleak period for me. I never thought I'd see the light of day ever again.....or that I would ever be happy ever again.

Yet, within the past few weeks, I've noted that I'm a lot more happy and content than ever before. I'm not sad. I'm not depressed. I've finally forgiven myself for all my shortcomings. (And, there are many.)

Still I'm amazed at how subtle the improvement came upon me. I'm so thankful that I'm happy and seemingly adjusting well to the fact that I am single....a single gay man that is no longer driven to find a mate. Or one that is haunted by the past.

I'm jus a guy, who is working to be complete and content...and I am well on my way.

I found the attached picture on the internet. It made me chuckle because it wasn't that long ago that I felt like the groom on the cake... Actually, the cake is a "divorce cake." Obviously it is taken from the wife's perspective.

I guess different people, express all the different feelings,

In thinking about occurred to me that probably the epiphany started to hit me the night I drove Lovey to pick up #2 from the airport on the night before Thanksgiving. But there was a feeling of thankfulness on my part.......and I didn't write aout it no longer have her in my life. I mean...she still has a lot of issues. And, it is clear that she's not going to be happy regardless of anything.

Further, she's beginning to tug on the kids.....trying to lay guilt trips upon them about their spending so much time with me and not with her.

So, I just leave them alone. It's their problem....and they need to work it all out.

I'm just going on about my business.....and being available when the kids want me. I refuse to make any demands upon them.

Weddings are such strange events. Do I still celebrate the marriage...or do as I have done for the past 2 years....just leave it all alone? I mean, no matter what I do or say....When December 12 rolls around annually......I can't change the fact that on December 12, 1981, that I walked down that aisle with Lovey.

Last year I purchased china to replace the china that Lovey filched when she left in June of 2006. I then took myself to dinner. I laid down a whole host of new memories....for my 25th anniversary.

I'm thinking that I don't need to do anything like that.

It's over.

And I'm getting on with my life.

It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good to be healing.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Morning

Something has happened to Frank.

There has been a change.

I didn't see it coming....or feel it when it happened. It's just that I woke up this morning and most definitely there is change.

What is it you may ask?

I suppose it's a change of that a mindset?

I think what's happened is that I've finally forgiven myself for the demise of my marriage.

You see, one of those core values that defined me as a person said that once you marry, it's forever. When you divorce it is failure.

I had ownership of the divorce.

I had been totally consumed by the if onlys.

If only I hadn't been gay.

If only I had tried harder.

If only I had been a better husband.

If only I had paid closer attention to Lovey.

If only I had tried to make Lovey happier.

If only I had made more money.

If only I had not been so fixated on my needs and wants.

If only I had sacrificed more.

If only I hadn't gotten the dog.

If only I hadn't put wooden spoons into the dishwasher.

If only I hadn't left the toilet seat up.

If only I hadn't acted on my gay tendencies.

If only I......I........I......I.......I.

This gets to be quite unhealthy after a while.

So, it's time to forgive myself. I'm human. Trying to be perfect and god like isn't healthy and it puts you under a whole lot of stress that just doesn't have to be there.

I'm a gay man with distinct needs. I did the best I could with the knowledge and drives that I had at the time. Hindsight is always perfect, but there is no going back.

And I've forgiven myself.....

I've really forgiven myself....

I'm beginning to like me again.

I wonder if the new medications have helped here. Perhaps chemical imbalances have caused the psychological issues I've faced.

My whole attitude has changed. My energy levels are at an all time high.

I feel like me...from many years ago. The positive and forward thinking me from years ago.

Yes, this is getting to be kind of interesting now.

My attitude is definitely adjusting.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dr. Phil

Have y’all ever watched the Dr. Phil show?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been programming my trusty DVR to record him. It fascinates me.

But I’m just wondering if it’s me…or if someone else has noticed the tendency for Dr. Phil to bash husbands….and feel totally sorry for wives. I’ve never really seen him bash a wife for bad behavior.

Case in point: a husband has been separated from his wife for 6 months. They have been married for five years. He’s had at least 50 affairs and has several small children. She says that he is physically violent/abusive….he says that the only time he has ever gotten physical is in order to “restrain” her from punching his face. Dr. Phil and Bishop T. D. Jakes are horrified that he didn’t just walk away.

They spent much time harping on the guy’s affairs, which the man has said weren’t good…and realized they were wrong….but he said that she had her affairs too. Husband said that he spent a lot of time trying to get his wife to “grow up”. She never lifted a finger around the house. She has never learned to drive, even though he has encouraged her to do so repeatedly.

At one point during the discussion, the wife got “frightened” of the husband so Dr. Phil sat between them in order to calm her down.

Not once did Dr. Phil or the good bishop talk to the wife about her affairs….or how bad it was……or how inappropriate it is for a wife to attempt to punch out her husband’s headlights out.

Clearly I don’t get it.

Thursday Morning

Greetings from snowy Northern Virginia!

We've had an Alberta Clipper to move through and as I sit here and write this, the sun is dancing on the new fallen snow. It's beautiful outside....and the sky is a perfect blue. It's cold as can be outside, but still, it's so nice to have the snow.

I love it.

I apologize for not having written for a long while. I've been under the weather with a very bad head cold....and dual ear infections. Ah...the joys of diabetes. My doctor always says that with diabetes, you can be a whole lot sicker than you feel....and in my case...I felt so bad, I just didn't know what to do. I saw my doctor early on Tuesday.....she gave me an antibiotic, but yesterday I felt so very bad...I stayed home from the office.

It was so weird. I think this is the first time that I've been REALLY sick since my daughter moved to El Salvador... When you feel so bad, it only seems to heighten the feeling of aloneness. Gosh I hate it.

Had a busy weekend.

I went to church on Sunday and found myself, at lunch, receiving a pep talk from a lesbian couple. (I think I told you before that the lesbians in my church have all adopted me...and made me an honorary lesbo... It all stems from the retreat I attended in the summer and they all discovered that I was one of the few gay men present who knew how to throw a ball!)

What began the peptalk was the fact that they were going on and on about how they met. I'm always fascinated by hearing how gays and lesbians meet....and how the dynamics work. We then were talking about all our hopes for the New Year. I said that I hoped I'd my Mr. Right would become the coming year. They turned to me and said, "Oh,'re not going to have any problems at all." With this they started enumerating all my good qualitites.

It's funny....but after all the years of marriage.....and the painful separation and has been a long time since someone sat me down and proceeded to enumerate all the good qualities they perceive me to have. I felt like a dry sponge finally coming in contact with a small puddle of water. I sucked it all in. It made me feel great. I'm so blessed.

There's also a new friend of mine that I made while up in Providence. I think of him now as my life coach...and told him that I think he would do well in that kind of role. He's actually taken the time to talk to me.......via email.....via phone......and encouraged me. Sometimes, all it takes is one little word of encouragement that gets us through a dry place.

All I know is that I'm so very blessed to have such an arsenal of church.....who seem to genuinely care about me. think I've had up those very tall and very thick walls for so long. I'm glad I was brave enough to let them down.....and to be a blogger....and to go to the church that I'm currently going to.

I am VERY encouraged.

Thanks to all of you...for your words of encouragement throughout the year.

On a sidebar topic....I had a chance to check in with therapist #4 about how I'm tracking with my life after divorce. I did not mention the other 3....and I certainly didn't say anything about what they had told me. I just wanted to hear his thoughts. It was his belief that I'm doing well. Therapy isn't needed. He thinks that there is quite an adjustment to be made after having been involved in a relationship for as long as I have. "Of course there will be the sad and lonely times," he said. "But, look at how you're dealing with've made new've reached out.... You've not become a hermit or shut down." I also told him about my blog and my online support groups I am part of.... All of which he agreed were very healthy outlets to express my feelings and thoughts.
So I found all that affirming too.

So, today, I'm doing well emotionally.

One thing I've noticed....the bad times seem to be at longer and longer intervals.

This is a good thing!