September 18, 2015
TGIF. Except not because it’s a weekend that I don’t have my kids. And there is a school group walking just outside my office window, hand in hand, escorted by teachers and parents. They’re walking towards the train station holding ice cream cones just purchased from the A&W up the street. I’ll assume it was a field trip that they’ll excitedly tell their moms about later today. It makes my heart ache and, in spite of my breathing, my gut is wrenching at the thought of my sweet baby not coming home until Sunday night. And that I’ll do this again in two weeks and on Christmas. And it’s early in my grieving and recovery process. Technically it’s ridiculously late and long overdue.
On January 18th, 2014, I watched the life I had hoped to live for the rest of forever manifest itself as a devastating and humiliating pretense. My sometimes failing memory can perfectly recall the hours leading up to that Saturday evening in his truck on our way to see Nut Job as a family of 4. Though I rarely let myself go there, I remember vividly the conversation about, the text messages exchanged between and the pictures from my husband’s girlfriend. Oh God, I can’t live through this. Please not again, I am desperate not to lose another family, another husband, another life. Even typing this, a year and a half later, I stop, place my hand on my chest and focus on bringing the air into my nose and feeling it expand my chest. Repeat.
That cold Saturday, and so many that followed, were excruciating. I wished for death rather than to face the reality of another husband choosing someone or something over a life with me.
I would have done anything at that moment to make it all go away; to change the outcome of my life, of my children’s lives.
So with that in mind, I plowed forward with optimism and counseling and I acknowledged my failures as a wife and, like the care-taking Cancer that I am, I sought to heal my husband’s sorrows and addictions and shortcomings by loving more and opening my heart. That shit backfired. I got busy covering the trenches I had dug during a previous marriage to an addict and for the duration of this marriage to a habitual liar. I began exposing myself to further vulnerability and heartbreak but hopefully healing as well. But as I let down my walls and let in my husband, I didn’t find more transparency, I discovered layer after layer of fossilized deceit.
Each new revelation of a buried betrayal was like experiencing the aftershock of a 9.0 earthquake. In true ME fashion, I made a really shitty situation worse. I’m bloody brilliant like that. It was like I needed to ensure that he realized the magnitude of his actions; like it was my job to see that he hurt and that I needed to somehow force him into quickly remedying the situation. I would have stayed forever if he just would have been open; just show me that our future could be different than our past because he was willing to be honest. Even when it was hard, so very hard. Why didn’t he seem to get that? Why was he still willing to protect his life and lose his family?
So I made big statements and big actions. I moved out and filed for divorce and started dating. I read that it takes 18 months to recover from a divorce. I waited two. I wanted him to feel the seemingly fatal pain of having your spouse turn to someone else for attention, validation, friendship and intimacy. He probably did feel those things. But he shouldn’t have. I hurt him. I hurt other men. Really kind, loving and well intentioned men. And I continued to carve out that giant whole in my heart that had started because two broken people had tried to love someone else before ever loving themselves. So here I am, a year and a half after the Great Earthquake, clawing my way out from underneath the rubble.