It was a typical hot, humid Houston afternoon the day my mid-life crisis ended. That afternoon I dropped my ex-husband off at the airport to start his extended international trip. Our divorce had been finalized a few weeks earlier. I’d made arrangements to move out, but he threw another of his unpredictable tirades, insisting I’d promised to take care of the house in his absence. I didn’t really have anywhere else to go. The fifty-five plus community, where we’d bought this home a few months earlier, included a pool, walking trails and a miniature golf course - all useful for enticing grandkids to visit.
I decided to stay the few months he’d be gone to regroup emotionally, financially, mentally, and even spiritually. I had to deal with the surreal situation of living with a man I’d just divorced for a few more weeks; but I was confident I could manage the awkwardness until he left.
When I walked into the house after sending him off at the airport, a sense of peace and relief swept over me. It felt as refreshing as a gin and tonic on a triple-digit Houston afternoon. I’d done it. I’d ended the emotionally and mentally draining daily challenge of living with unpredictable moods. I didn’t know where I would go when he returned, but for that day and the next several months, I had a good home in a pleasant place to focus on writing.
I met this man on a dating service for older adults after six rather unglamorous years as a single-again middle-age woman. We had a whirlwind half year courtship, married, and travelled together to explore other countries. We traveled together well. We did not live well together. I ended this union after slightly more than two years.
As an extrovert, I don’t relish a lot of alone time. However, after the rigors of trying to figure what set this man off and how to mitigate the outbursts, the solitude proved healing. It gave me time to process what happened. How had I allowed myself to get entangled in such a situation? Why hadn’t I seen the signs earlier? With the mid-life, short-term marriage now history, I focused to an idea that’d been rattling around in my head for a long time. What was the Mayflower story like for the women on that ship? What was the event like for the Natives in 1620 who found the desperate new settlers on the shores of Cape Cod? My ancestors were among the passengers and I wanted to know more about them than I found in the sketchy notes I inherited from my reference-librarian mother. Now I had time to delve into the story in depth.
Ten years later the book is ready to release. I’ve married again. So far so good. I’ve met descendants of Massasoit Ousa Mequin, the Native leader who greeted the English settlers and negotiated a treaty with them. These descendants and my ancestors knew each other well. Ten years after resolving my mid-life crisis, I am in conversation with people who knew my family four hundred years ago. They not only approved of the way I depicted their ancestors; they invited me to come meet their Tribal Council. I plan to do just that whenever we get this COVID-19 pandemic under control. On that hot August day when I returned to an empty house, I never could have imagined I’d be communicating with people who knew my great x 12 grandfather. One door closes; another opens.
Kathryn Haueisen worked in public relations before launching a freelance writing career. Her forthcoming historical fiction Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures will be released by Green Writers Press in September 2020. She blogs about good people doing great things for our global village at www.HowWiseThen.com.
Kathryn would like to support the Lutheran Immigration and Refugees Services. Visit www.lirs.org