Oh, Annie!

The sun will come out tomorrow, but it can also come out today.

I can feel myself transitioning from the sadness and into something brighter. The raw emotions are finding their way back to normal, if there is such a thing in my life right now.

Tomorrow you start your job at the U… we waited years for that job to come along and looked forward to taking time off together. I realize now that perhaps you weren’t excited about taking time off together, but rather you were excited to have a job that offered you benefits and a steady paycheck. Be assured of this my husband, I do wish you the best at your new job but never again will I wish you the best at the expense of myself.

My friends have rallied around me in a way I never could have imagined and I know that I am being held. The bitter sting of hearing the retelling of conversations you had with people about us, about me, is starting to lessen and I realize that it was not a reflection of me at all. The weekend you told me you had an affair you also told me that you didn’t think you owed me an apology and you weren’t sorry about it. I told you that the worst part was that I always had your back and I always fought for you but that you didn’t want to fight for me –you didn’t argue.  I now realize that I don’t want you fighting for me. You aren’t strong enough.

The reminders of you around the home are losing their shine… the empty shower caddy that seemed to scream at me each morning after you left now has a new home… the trashcan.   The “bat light,” our once common signal for a daily reminder now stays off. My mornings aren’t measured anymore by second glances to make sure the signal is set. It’s laundry day and there is just enough for one load of whites and one load of darks. I’m amazed at my free time.

Unfortunately, the reminder that is with me constantly is the impression on my ring finger where once my wedding band was worn. I used to spin it when I was in meetings … now, I twirl a pencil and it’s not the same. My fingers reach automatically for my ring each morning from the jewelry box and I have to conscientiously focus on just getting earrings. The house is still incredibly deafeningly quiet and I feel like this roller coaster ride of emotions right now is just at the top and I wonder if I’m going to come screaming down fast.

Sleep is still sweet when I can get it and I still hope that you are the tiniest bit uncomfortable on your “couch.” I shake my head writing that. When you came back to the rental and told me that she offered you her couch, I thought to myself…surely you think me a fool—she offered you her bed just two weeks ago, you think I believe you’re on the couch? I’ve questioned so much over the past fifteen days and rightly so. Even now I find that while what you tell me is not always a lie, but it is also not fully the truth and it’s hard to accept at face value what you tell me.

There is however much that I do accept. I accept that while you can’t/won’t love me like I need to be loved, that doesn’t mean that I am unlovable. I accept that I looked to you to be the things to me that that I should have looked to the Lord to be for me. I accept that my life will forever be different but that different can be good. I accept that you may never offer me an apology and I can’t put my life on hold waiting for one. I accept that today may be a good day, but tomorrow may not. I accept that choices have consequences and both of us are living with the consequences of choices we made, but only we can allow them to define us. I give myself permission to mourn the loss of a life that taught me so much and I give myself permission to move on.

As I look back over my journal entries, it is amazing how the first few days were filled with aches of reconciliation and revival and now they are filled with acceptance and forgiveness…of myself. Today is the day that the Lord has made, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it.

Goodnight? No, Just Night

There is only peace in the quiet when we believe that the sound will return.

Once a week we used to carpool. Today was that day. Today was the first time in four years that you didn’t drop me off at work, tell you me you loved me and that you’d see me at 4pm. I miss our routine… but the truth is that’s what got us to where we are now. After having lost everything and then having the chance to get into a rental home of our own, I think we just worked fast and hard to get back to what we used to have.

I was proud of myself for making the most of our budget and learning how to use coupons to get a box of name-brand cereal for $1.50. I was proud that thanks to coupons, we had not paid for toothpaste in over a year. I felt proudest when I could take four random ingredients from the cabinet and make something delicious & satisfying for my husband. I thought that I was making you happy and proud of me too. But really, I was just making an existence.

Everyone on the outside saw me as strong as I persevered through each day to keep a life for us. What people saw was the constant force in me that shouted S U R V I V E and I did. But in that, someone and something else didn’t—my husband and my marriage. I am by no means making excuses for you or even excusing the decision you made. Truth is, you made a choice and now there are consequences. You claimed there was no spark with us anymore. Well, your spark created a fire with someone else that you have to deal with now… and all you had to do was fan the flame at home. I recognize that we did probably sometimes function like roommates and fall into a routine. I accept that, but make no bones about it, I do not by any means think that gave you an excuse to go out and have an affair.

It’s late now and I purposely put off going to bed, our bed. Rest does not come easy nor does it last long. Remember how you used to read to me? I loved the sound of your voice as I fell asleep. Last night, I put on the audio read of Psalm 119 just to have the sense that someone was there with me reading me to sleep. Max McLean and I may develop a relationship through Psalm 119. I’d rather it be you. For three thousand nights, you wished me good night and now nothing. Oh how I wish I had not taken them for granted.

All Aboard

What if we both agreed to stop playing the what-if game and now got on board the what-now train?

I’m embarrassed that I had to text you today to ask you about the trash. I didn’t know when it was to be taken to the curb. I also don’t know how to back up my computer to the external hard drive or how to connect the DVD player to the TV. I feel foolish for not knowing these things but you were my constant and now you’re gone.

You were my constant in the midst of a whole heck of a lot of craziness. I thought I was yours. And maybe I was too constant. Thinking back, what if I wasn’t always worried if you were Ok, that you remembered your appointments, had your favorite cereal for breakfast, made it to work on time and reminded you to call so and so? You wonder what if I had stopped to consider you more, to be more affectionate. What if I had just come out and asked you if something was going on because surely you would have told me (so you said). What if we both agreed to stop playing the what-if game and now got on board the what-now train?

What-now is that we were on the verge of our first “second-guess” of the other.  A week ago, you did not want the china cabinet so I said I would take it because I didn’t really want to sell it… it is a great piece. Now you say you want the china and the cabinet and I don’t know why. You didn’t seem to want these things when we were together…could they possibly mean something to you now? You should know that my gut wonders if you are giving them to her and I get nauseous. 

We meet with a lawyer in a couple of days. What I once thought was going to be amicable may now have some meat to it and that also makes me nauseous. You betrayed me and yet I still love you. I offered you forgiveness you didn’t ask for and you don’t think you need. Your heart has no emotional attachment to me, but it does to our stuff. I don’t understand. 

Will I find the peace to trust again? Not just you but anyone? I know in my mind that I will, but my heart wants to stop and stay on the side of Distrust Trail. I have to purposely slow down and let it come back on board. The what-now train may only have two passengers, but I wonder if the conductor knows that we’re on board.  

Tears like Rain

Who is this girl that weeps endlessly? Certainly not anyone that I know–certainly not– because she would never let anyone see her cry.

I have no idea where they come from but they don’t stop. Tears like rain, I never understood that expression before. This morning, I woke up crying and not just sniff -sniff crying but full out sobbing. I had cried in quiet for so many years that the explosion of sobs that came from within me sounded like thunder in my ears. The sound of my sobbing was foreign to me. I didn’t understand where they kept coming from.

Cousin T. called to check on me. Mostly in response to my text “when does the crying stop?” She told me it was good and that I should cry, cry, cry. I told her that it wasn’t a choice, it was just happening. She reminded me that I was mourning the loss of my marriage. She said no matter, whether good or bad, no one knows the love I had for you and therefore they cannot be expected to understand the sadness that I feel.

I got out of bed today at noon. Might I add, a completely inappropriate time to go out and about in this small town on a Sunday when all the church traffic was descending on the businesses and I wanted to stay anonymous. But I had to get out, mostly because I felt it was the right thing to do. I will admit that staying in bed seemed like a good option at 11:59 am, but at noon, the reality struck me that I needed to move. So I headed into town and successfully avoided the masses by driving to an obscure store to get a phone charger that plugs into the wall. I “will” my phone to ring and hear your voice or see your name come up on the text message log, but it doesn’t.

I was looking back at a journal entry I wrote five days after D-day (Disclosure day). As often happens in my journal, I start out writing and it turns into a prayer. I do pray for her,  and I can’t say why, just that she come to my heart when I start to pray. I also pray for you, my husband. I pray that you and I will come to a place of reconciliation however, as I prayed on this one particular day… I accepted that there was no obligation that you must repent or apologize in order for me to heal. That’s what I’m realizing…. that I have to heal on my own. And I do hope that you will seek help as well. Your choice brought about a consequence that only you have to bear, but the burden of that choice is felt by all of us. Part of my healing will involve leaving our rental. The memories are too much for me and I can’t stay. It’s so quiet that I hear echoes of our relationship when my mind stops its restless rambling. And the echoes coupled with the emptiness are just mirrors of how I feel.

I’m working on a plan to get moved the best I can. I know that several weeks will pass before you can get your stuff out of here. I need to go, I want to stay but I can’t. I also can’t believe that in our almost 11 years together, I never packed or unpacked for us…either from your apartment to mine, our apartment to the house, our house to the basement, or the basement to the rental. And now, it’s overwhelming to me that I need to consider what is “yours” and what is “mine.” I’m trying to be very grown up about it but I feel like a child. It also occurred to me that no one is around to get things off the top shelf for me. When you met me I had rabbit ears on my TV, and my toolbox consisted of a butter knife, which served as a screwdriver and a hammer, which served as everything else. I’m going to have to learn how to really vacuum and to use a plunger (although if I recall correctly, that wasn’t a problem for me as much as for you). <smile>

As I was out and before I left my parents this afternoon, there was a moment of recognition of a life that might exist in the future. And I got what you said on our way to Atlanta that day you left for a week. You saw a future for you and for me but not for us together. I got it…and maybe one day when the pain subsides, I really will be able to pass you on the street and smile and maybe we’d get coffee or in my case hot chocolate. Only this time, I promise I won’t spill it on my sweater or your chair. Could we actually be friends and good ones? I’d like to think so. I’ve always been on your side, your greatest advocate and I will always wish you could have my eyes to see how much you have accomplished over the years. In all sincerity, I do believe your dad would be proud of you.

The phone accounts still haven’t split and you should know that I still check the chat log. The entries look so “normal.” Now that you are with her, there isn’t the steady stream of texts with her name like visual diarrhea to my eyes. What was once a reminder of how far from me you were now seems to be the very thing that still makes me feel connected to you.

Heart Attack or Heartbreak

They say heart attacks are the silent killers of women, I disagree, I think its heartbreak. A piece of me wilted when you told me you had an affair but a piece of me died when you left.

Its 6am and “last night, I didn’t get to sleep at all, no no no….. “ That song is applicable on so many levels but this level makes me the saddest. I hope you had better luck sleeping… no, that’s not true, I hope you were miserable, more so than me, and at the very least, a bit uncomfortable.

I thought hearing the news of your affair was the hardest thing I would go through but the hardest part was yesterday… watching you come back up the stairs after your bags had been collected and dropped off.  I stood in the doorway and handed you your helmet and keys knowing that if you were to cross that threshold, I would hold you and kiss you and not let you go. But you had to go. You knew it and I knew it.

It seems like forever since you told me and it’s only been 10 days. I wonder if I’ll ever stop measuring the days by that “one”? I don’t know if it was a blessing or curse that you had a planned vacation which would give us a week apart but it seemed to give us both some perspective to be away from each other. Those first few days of your vacation, I prayed so hard that would come back and ask me to love you again and tell me you were sorry for what you had done and that it would never happen again. I replayed over and over again our conversations from that night and the next. I heard myself manipulate the conversation to get you to give me some tiny shred of hope, a thread of possibility that you could love me again but you had already “checked out” of our marriage and the affair was your way of “paying the bill” for your stay.

Over the next couple of months we’ll plan our futures, plural… never again to be one. I have so many memories and yet not enough of them. I’m so thankful for the firsts that I experienced with you… our fun adventures and even in the not so fun times, the fact that you were who you were and I loved you.   Our future now will be handled very matter-of-factly… with pieces of paper and the separation of “stuff,” the same stuff that just 4 years ago we were trying hard to keep. Four years ago, packing up the remnants of our home after losing it all and looking to start over again, four years ago moving across country in one car with two dogs to live with in a basement apartment. And now, in just a few months, instead of celebrating our eleventh anniversary, we will likely be signing divorce papers.

The house is so quiet, just the hum of the air conditioner and my fingers on the keypad. No soft snore coming from your side of the bed. Your side… will I stop having a “yours and mine”? Maybe I will just sleep in the middle for a while so that it doesn’t feel so real. I have been alone in our home before but it feels especially empty now. I don’t think I can stay here. I thought that I could and very easily dismissed others’ comments about being around memories — but its true. It’s not the dresser that is still in the corner or the flat screen TV that was the center of Michigan football season… it’s the laundry that I won’t be folding and putting into that dresser, it’s the armchair coaching sessions that you used to give me during game time. Yep, definitely can’t stay.

I look at my fingers as I type this… I put your ring on my finger and then my own to keep yours in place. I slept on your side of the bed last night, trying to will the scent of you to stay with me forever. The pot of spaghetti that I made for us still sits in the fridge. It’s been there 3 weeks. I know I need to throw it out but it’s the only thing I have left to remind me of what was once normal. And even that day wasn’t normal. We had just put little “Peanut” to sleep. I think I’ll throw it away today, but check with me tomorrow just to be sure.

I want you to understand that you hurt me- truly, badly, deeply, and I will never ever be the same… for better or worse. But mostly, I want you to know that I loved you, probably badly but definitely truly and deeply, for better or worse.