September 22, 2015
Yesterday was my weekly counseling session. Now that she’s stopped wanting to choke me out because of my utterly screwed up view of appropriate meal planning, we’re discussing my “trauma”. I’ve always viewed my trials and mistakes (mostly my inarguable poor taste in men) as really unfortunate luck or consequences of my equally unfortunate decisions. But it’s through this process, my individual counseling and group meetings, that I’m beginning to think that maybe there is some value in grieving these losses. Because that’s what a divorce is right, a loss? The death of a marriage and family and a life that you knew as well as the future you had prepared for and dreamed of.
There is some value in grieving these losses.
I exited those marriages as quickly and decisively as possible. I picked up and moved on and severed ties and threw myself into all possible distractions. I started drinking for the first time in my life; I instantly put myself back in the dating scene; I obsessed over my diet and workout. I joked with family and friends about the hilarity and absurdity of my inability to keep a husband. And the times that I was alone, I played my music so loud and hateful that my mind couldn’t go to the place of sadness. And yet while on my honeymoon for my 3rd and final marriage (HA!), I passed a sign in North Carolina for *insert 2nd husband’s surname* County, and my mind went there. But it was just nostalgia on that day. And then a month down the road, at my first discovery of #3’s inappropriate FB messages, my mind went there again. I thought about the immense love that I had for #2, and yet how deceit crept into our marriage and destroyed our lives. And then I compared #3 to #2. And I thought of the sweet way #2 spoke to me and the gratitude he displayed every day just because I was his wife. And I compared that to the way that #3 was disconnected, unattached and short tempered. And I started to realize that I should have put space and time between that loss and a new beginning.
My therapist asked me to tell her about my last day in the house that #2 and I shared. I’ve summarized the details of that last day perhaps a dozen times in the last 5 years, briefly touching on the major bullet points. Never resting on the literal fear I had for my life on that Friday night. Earlier that week I found the keys to #2’s truck on the garage floor and stuffed them in my pocket. I wasn’t sure if I’d turn the keys over if asked about them or if I’d hang on to them as my only way to protect one of our many assets that was in my name. #2 had been under the influence of prescription drugs for the last year and a half. But the last 7 months, had become an episode of the walking dead. He was so high that there wasn’t any part of our former life and relationship recognizable in the present. I had been hoping against all evidence that things would change. But earlier that week, he had picked up my son from daycare, something that was completely unexpected and out of character. Rather than being thankful in the interest he was finally taking in my child, I was struck with terror at the knowledge of my barely cognizant husband driving with the most precious thing in my world.
I could no longer hope that through my love and support, he could get better. The time had come for me to take action to protect our lives. I knew that my life would never be the same in any manner. Including financially. By taking the keys, I hoped to protect the only asset I wasn’t upside down in before he destroyed it or killed himself. On that last Friday night, I came home from my new job to find him passed out in his recliner. So I called a friend and went to the gym. I came home from the gym to find him passed out in his recliner, this time with a spilled bowl of cereal in his lap. So we went to a movie.
I honestly had no clue how to proceed. Or I did, and was dragging my feet. When we got home, he was still passed out. I then enlisted a very brave friend, to keep the truck for me and sell it. #2’s immaculate, very customized and beloved truck. Well mine, as was everything else that we owned. I did not anticipate coming home to a semi-alert husband up and looking for his phone and wallet. Those things, I hadn’t touched. I also didn’t anticipate him going to look for said missing items at midnight while highly intoxicated.
What followed next had me truly fearing that I might not live to pick up my son the next day. When he went looking for his missing items, he discovered that his truck was gone. Not only that it was gone, but that the contents of its bed and cab had been emptied into his office. Even in his intoxicated state, he knew what that meant. Thus began an hour long tirade in which my adoring husband morphed into something completely unrecognizable to me until he finally passed out. I called the friends that had offered to help me get out over the last month, but when actually presented with the opportunity, none were available.
All but one of my family members was on vacation. I called my brother. My oldest brother, whom I hadn’t been close to, grabbed a gun and a friend and came as fast as he could. My best friend didn’t hesitate to pull her husband and his best friend (who, unbeknownst to me would become #3) from their chosen activity of the day, find a babysitter and head my way.
It’s hard not to be super emotional when recalling these events, ironically, it’s the incredible love of these friends and family members that make the tears flow. It was on this hardest of days that I spoke my first words to husband #3. On that day, and many days that followed, I considered him very literally a savior. And now here I am, five years later, asking God why someone would enter my life at its lowest point, to give me temporary safety just to throw me down farther and harder than I’ve ever been in my life.