January 22, 2016
This morning as I was doing my hair, I heard the little, sweet yet simultaneously demanding voice from inside my bedroom shout “come find me”. I love this part of my day. I adore this daily notification that my youngest child and only daughter is awake and ready to interact with her family. I set the blow-dryer down and put True Blood on pause, excited to scoop that little soul into my arms. I dive onto the bed and pull the comforter down to expose what can be seen of the tiny face peeking out between equally small fingers. “Oh good, you’re here” I say, going along with our morning ritual of hide and seek. Immediately I hear W set his breakfast spoon down and head up the stairs, equally anxious to share in this moment with his beloved, little sister. He too jumps on the bed and demands morning hugs. Laying in between her two admirers, she turns from one to the other, tenderly stroking W’s cheek and petting my head while making her sweet declarations of love.
I tell them how my heart absolutely swells in these moments that we have together; how waking up with them is my favorite part of the day. I say it aloud in hopes that they never question what they mean in my life but also because I won’t see them this weekend and, for me, that’s nearly unbearable. I also have this need for God and the Universe to know that I *do* recognize the blessings and abundance in my life even while I mourn the losses. Just like on every other Friday when I drive to work, knowing that I won’t hear their voices again until Sunday, my stomach becomes uneasy and my mind is unsettled. I have recurring thoughts on the events that led me to where I am today. And like all of the times before, I try to shoo them from my mind in order to get through the day.
I can only think of one way to describe this process and the world that I now exist in. And although I’ve never experienced the atrocities of war or the horror from which a soldier survives, I can only think of one term: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have no other way to describe the constant recurrences of these memories. I can’t seem to stop the recollection of pictures and text messages; of arguments triggered by a found condom, phone bill or bank statement. I’m haunted by the timeline I can now perfectly create of my engagement, honeymoon, pregnancy, delivery, anniversaries, vacations and holidays intertwined with each piece of found evidence of his affairs. I can vividly recall what was happening in *our* life and now create a parallel with what we were all experiencing because of *his* life.
And although I pray and meditate to find peace and forgiveness, I wonder when, if ever, these flashbacks will cease. I wonder how I can still mourn for who I thought was my friend, protector and partner even while I understand my presence in his life was fraudulent. I wish there was a network, a support group for survivors of chronic infidelity. I wish I had anyone that could relate to the absolute betrayal and devastation of learning that your partner was never truly faithful. Not because I want it to live inside me more than it already does, but because I want to know how someone survives this. I think the duality of his behavior is what keeps me reeling. I feel so exposed and vulnerable and unsafe knowing that someone could be so horrific to me while simultaneously being so devoted and loving.
I like my predators to be obvious. I like knowing that I don’t want to mess with certain things; Like a bottle of wine mixes dreadful with shots of tequila. Or really awesome, thigh-high, stiletto boots are a terrible choice for walking the Vegas strip. It’s like when everyone knows that Voldermort is all evil and villainous, but then you realize that Umbridge is actually a way bigger asshole in spite of her coiffed hair and pink suit and affinity for kittens. I’m terrified of a world in which you exist, Umbridge and #3. How you can love me and pursue me so desperately and simultaneously actively seek to betray and lie to me?
This has to ease up. There must come a time where it’s just nostalgic remnants of what was. I already recognize all the ways that I have become a better mother through this. But holy crap, you didn’t just fool my damaged self, you fooled my mom and my dad and my best friend and my boss thought you were a “stud” and my brother took you under his wing to bestow upon you bits of taxidermist wisdom. And how do I stop simultaneously wanting a rash to erupt all over his southern region while missing the multitude of thoughtful gestures? But maybe *that’s* part of the grieving process. All of it. And not even in the correct order, and sometimes jumping back to certain steps and maybe even having multiple steps collide at once into a cacophony of emotion. Maybe.