Mirror, Mirror


I have been more reflective lately. I’m not sure if its because the numbness is wearing off or if my normal routine is feeling more normal, but every now and again I’m brought back to the beginning by a question that cues up the memories.

Even harder than the question of Why? which I have no control over, I’m often asked by the professionals in my life the questions of possibility…. Do you want to harm yourself or others? Do you think about killing yourself? Do you think of hurting or harming yourself? Are you planning on doing anything reckless? 

When my therapist started asking me these questions I was just numb and answered too honestly. She made me sign a piece of paper – a commitment saying that if I found myself in a dark place that I would call a friend to take me to the hospital. I rolled my eyes, and even now if she makes reference to it I simply respond… it’s just a piece of paper. When the doctor gave me a “standard measure of depression test” and got to the question on harm, I told him I refused to answer.

In my divorce support group I expressed my frustration with the constant repetition of these types of questions. I guess what makes me so frustrated is the fact that there really is no right way to answer them. If you say No then you aren’t facing your real emotions. If you say Yes, then you’ve got to learn to control your emotions. M saw a therapist every week for the past five years and what purpose did the answer to those questions do for him. No signed piece of paper or affirmative response prevented him from picking up a gun.

When the pain hurts so much that to breathe take a constant reminder to exhale, you will think about every possible way to make it stop. That’s the answer I want to give — but finding someone who understands that level of pain to understand the intent behind that answer is harder that just dealing with the pain. What is the right way to answer those questions and is there a right way? M chose to make a decision that while to me seems negative, at that moment it was positive.. for him… at that moment it was the right thing to do… for him. But it was his choice.

Today for the 190th day in a row I made a positive choice… for me.

Blessings


…..And what if trials of this life, The rain, the storms, the hardest nights, Are Your mercies in disguise? Blessings by Laura Story

I was recently challenged by a dear friend to write about my goals, dreams, and plans, no matter how lofty they might seem. I have given it some thought and I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have any right now. It’s been a long time since I’ve considered those for myself. They always took “us” into consideration and the question was pretty much what do I need to do to help our family?

For so many years, any goal or plan I had was to help improve our station in life. My goal was to have a good job so that we’d have insurance that was sufficient to meet our needs. I wanted to return to school to improve my skills so that I could get a promotion to get more money for us, when people liked my handmade cards enough to pay for them, I worked to find events and stores that would carry them so that I could bring in extra income to help us.

Now that its just me, and I guess its time to take her sage advice to heart. She so eloquently shared that now its my turn. It’s time to make choices for my future, choices that don’t include you.  So today, while I don’t have an answer for future plans outside of just remembering to breathe, I am going to choose to focus on my blessings and maybe soon I will be able to share some goals, dreams, and plans for my future.

  • I am blessed to have a Savior who loves me no matter how many times I present myself as unlovable with my words,  actions, and attitudes
  • I am blessed to have an amazing network of friends, many of whom are traveling this road with me, quietly holding one hand and handing me tissue with the other
  • I am blessed to have the most supportive brother who upon hearing the news started the conversation with “First of all, I love you and you are strong enough to get through this” and ended it with, “Its a good thing he wasn’t there when I was”
  • I am blessed to have a Pastor who upon hearing the news of your infidelity immediately called you out on it, made you take responsibility by telling you that you had 24 hours to tell me or he and his wife would be over to tell me themselves
  • I am blessed that my new route into work allows me to pass the cows that I love
  • I am blessed that my job includes a boss who immediately says “Yes!” when I walk into her office and say, “I need someone to be angry/sad/mad with me, will you?”
  • I am blessed to have an outlet with this blog. I’ve received some very sweet comments that have encouraged my soul.  I love that my first comment was from someone who called you an a$$hole (even now that makes me smile–thanks Pabloswife) And that so many others are willing to share their story and make me feel not so alone. Be sure to check out their stories ———>
  • And lest you think I forgot them, I am blessed to have amazing parents who have taken me in not just once, but now twice to help me get back on my feet. The first time was four years ago when they helped move us move across country so that we could find our balance after losing everything in Arizona. And now they are letting me occupy a small slice of their homelife again all the while never making me feel like a burden or a failure for the life that I somehow seem to be living.

As I look back at my list, it’s really about all the people that seem to have MY back, something you wouldn’t, didn’t, or couldn’t do. Thank you J for the challenge. I really am blessed.

Love Doesn’t Live Here Anymore


Friends, I’m sorry for the delay in posting. I didn’t have an internet connection where I was housesitting. 

I forgot where I lived. What an odd feeling.

I spent the long weekend house-sitting/pet-sitting for friends. I left their house and was making my way back across town, got to the corner, made a left and realized that was the way to the rental not to where I now lived. I started crying in the car.

What’s different now about my crying is that it’s over just as quickly as it starts. It’s as if I’m only allowed a certain number of tears whereas just 30 short days ago, I would cry for what felt like forever. I’m still angry and I imagine that has something to do with it.

I hate to admit it but I like the anger. I am able to make decisions quicker. For instance, it was very matter of fact when I called to cancel you from the car insurance. It was very easy to call the cell phone carrier and remind them that the discount we were receiving was only applicable to my household and you were no longer a part of “my household,” and when updating my new address with our pharmacist, it was quite easy, in fact too easy, to say that you were no longer on my insurance plan. Being angry makes it easier to say that you are having an affair, that you now live with her and aren’t pursuing any other living arrangement. It makes it easier to be matter of fact with the lawyer, as I am no longer blinded by tears when talking about the facts of the divorce.

My mom tells me to hold onto my anger. I realize what she is trying to say, but like so many things in others tell me, it’s not easy to do. I don’t want to hold onto the anger. I want to hold onto my marriage. I want to hold onto my husband but each day, it is easier to accept that I no longer have those things, just like I no longer live in our home.

I don’t pray for you as often. I recognize that eventually I will stop praying for you as my husband. For years, I prayed through the book The Power of a Praying Wife. I faithfully followed the command of the Bible, which instructs me to pray continually for my husband. It also says that husbands are to love their wives like they love to church. You may have hurt me, but you have wronged God. I don’t know where you are with that, but I do know that going to a different church certainly doesn’t make things right. It just makes it easier to be someone different from who you really are.

I still have the texts from the night you lied about going to work. You told me that you were going to B’s house at 6:30pm and that you would just change there for your midnight shift. At 11:58 pm, you texted me “@ work, g’nite.” I texted you back “I love you, I’m praying for you.” You didn’t respond which was very uncharacteristic for you but now I know you were likely naked in her bed. Looking back at the chat log I can see where you texted your friend to cover your shift and the back and forth you had with him. I can see where you texted me. You very purposely made the choice to send me a text and you likely jokingly said to her that you needed to text me that you were at work. I can see both of you laughing at my expense. Just so you know, writing that sentence makes me sick to my stomach.

The layers of lies that you went through make me exhausted and I cannot imagine how you kept them all straight. Who were you to everyone? I find out you were telling certain people one thing and others different things. I know that even after you moved out that you were still carrying on with lies. You should know those lies and stories are making their way to me. I now simply say, Ok when someone says anything to me. Not only does it no longer matter but I’m not going to excuse or defend you, because you are entitled to neither.

I have said to you over and over again since D-Day that for ten years, I always had your back – I was always on your side. You told me that hindsight showed you that. I told you hindsight doesn’t help me heal.

What is helping me heal is the continued support of my friends and family who have faithfully had my back. I reflect now on how often you really stood up for me and I can’t recall any. You were there for me in emergencies but I was there for you always. I’m glad that I’m angry because I can keep reminding myself that you didn’t deserve me as a wife and you don’t deserve me as a friend. I no longer have your back but I don’t wish you ill. I just wish you had been the man I believed and always said you could be. I’m angry that you proved me wrong and everyone else right.

No More Questions


Sleep, sleep everywhere, but not a wink for me. 

I love sleep. More so now that I don’t get much anymore. Regardless of when I go to bed, I wake up faithfully at 2:45 am every day. I wonder do you sleep? Is it easier for you now that your secret isn’t a secret? I try to force my eyes to stay closed because opening them to the bleakness around me only serves as a reminder that you are gone.

I’m gone too; at least my stuff is gone. It’s partly in storage and partly at the new place, which I move into later this week. Currently, I’m sleeping on the couch, your couch. Our living room looks the same and walking into the rental no one would even know at a glance that anything is amiss until your eyes adjust and you realize the pictures are gone and the kitchen is empty. Was it the same with our marriage? On the surface, people, including me, saw what they wanted to see. But when looking more closely (or in my case, looking back) could one see that this was just a shell of a life? A lie you were living?

I think back to a conversation we had a week before D-Day. You questioned me as to when my parents were leaving since we were going to housesit for them. When I told you the date, your reply was odd. You said it wasn’t soon enough. You wanted to use the time we had watching two homes, theirs and ours, as an opportunity to formally separate. Now I see that you wanted the separation so that you would feel justified doing what you were doing. It would have been easier on your conscience to say to me, “while we were separated, I had an affair.” And since we would have already been separated, your reputation would have been intact in the eyes of your friends when we divorced because you could just play it off that it didn’t work out between us never having to give up your dirty little secret, never having to answer any questions. But I said no to a separation and you weren’t strong enough get off of the train you were already on.

Your lies haven’t all caught up to you. I’m still amazed when I discover yet another one, although the amazement is wearing thin and becoming more the norm. Your friends have stopped asking me about you. Maybe because I don’t know about you or maybe because they do. I’ve stopped asking questions because it really does not matter anymore. Twenty-four days ago, you told me you had an affair; today you are still having an affair. Those are my facts, those are my answers and this is my reality.

In just a matter of weeks, you and I will be divorced. I will become just someone that you used to know and eventually you will become someone that I used to love. Yes… used to love.

It’s Just a Scratch


I am a fool for having loved you and a fool for loving you still.

This would be much easier if it were going on like television divorces. There has been no throwing of dishes or plates of food or malicious attacks of character, no serving of papers, no sitting across from each other in a conference room fighting over the turkey platter which was used once in ten years.

In fact, tears blinded my sight as I signed the acknowledgement of divorce. I am the plaintiff, you are the defendant, and you will sign the paperwork tomorrow. It will then cross someone’s desk and we will be nothing but a case number …and a statistic. The lawyer spoke plainly as I sat there listening to the explanation of paperwork and trying desperately to hold it together until I got back to the car, my car.

“My” car… you signed the car title over to me. We got the car back when we were young and arrogant. I remember pulling into the dealership knowing you told them to pull one in every color to the front of the lot so that I could just pick my favorite. They did and I did and now it’s a reflection of our marriage… many, many miles, a few scratches and one big dent that can’t be denied or unseen.

I can’t un-know what you did and you can’t undo the chain of events that have since followed. Has it really just been eighteen days? It only takes twenty-one to form a habit. When I looked back over the phone text logs after D-day, your new habit formed in much less time. And now, you will start your new life with a new car and a new girl, both shiny and new, and I will be left with a ding that can’t be denied.

The more I see that ding in the car’s bumper, the less severe it becomes and I wonder the same of me. Each day that I’m further removed from D-day becomes a bit easier and I wonder if you will slowly start to fade from my memory. We talk now as if we will be in each other’s lives for years but I can’t help but wonder if that is wise. I look back to the model that your family provides… a collection of broken relationships that gather each year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Friendly enough but the occasional dig comes out and I don’t want that to be us. I told you on D-Day that forgiveness meant I wouldn’t hold this over your head. I’m not sure I’m strong enough yet to keep that promise, as evidenced by our conversation with the lawyer last week.

Our life together ends much like it started… with me working days and you working nights. It’s funny how that seems to be the pattern that starts off your relationships. Relationship – is that what you have with her? It still makes me nauseous. I told you on D-day that if you left you would never, ever come back to me and that I would never look back. Well, we know that the second part is not true. I have told you I would look back and that I will remember, both the good and the bad. However, the first part is very true and I will hold to it tightly. You will not come back to me.

I’m only now realize that might include friendship. Your life will one day lead you to know that you did have a good thing in me and that the only reason you find it easy to say that you are now sorry is because of the certainty that this chapter of your life is over. You crave being the hero – having the final say. Even that night, you tried to minimize the situation. You were unprepared for my response because you believed that by telling me that you had an affair, it would make it easier for me to tell you that I wanted out. You told me you felt like you were holding me back and that I couldn’t tell you that I wanted out. If you felt like you were holding me back then you should have stepped up and encouraged me to be more.

Thinking back to the ding in the car, you talked about getting it fixed but never did. Again, another reminder of how it is like our marriage. You saw something that needed to be taken care but instead of fixing it, you chose to ignore it. Yes, my ding may be here for awhile, but it can be restored and the part the replaces it will be stronger and more resilient. You see that is my new life – it may not be shiny and new but it will be stronger and more resilient.

Can you Repeat the Question?


It’s hard to ask why, but even harder to ask what now? 

Seeing you at our meeting with the lawyer last week was different than I expected. I really thought that the site of you might make my heart fall or leap, I wasn’t sure which, but I certainly thought that I would feel something. But when I arrived, you barely looked up from your phone. We made small talk and chatted about your new job. You were cold… and I realize that while I am heartbroken, you may very well be the one with a broken heart.

And yes, to answer your question that day… I did feel better repeatedly saying to the lawyer that you had an affair, and by repeatedly, I mean repeatedly. I now realize that it wasn’t nice and I’m sorry. You should know that I truly don’t hate you but my heart hurts because you don’t seem to care.

I remember telling you on D-day that I wished you would just tell me you hated me because then there would at least be some emotion, not just the blank stare and clenched jaw. This is going to end; nobody wins. There is no race to the finish to get the gold medal. In about 45 days we will no longer be husband and wife. In 47 days we would have been celebrating our anniversary.

Eleven years ago, what drew me to you was the way you “played” life. You had friends with whom you had fun and you were your own person. You know that one of our biggest compliments we had of each other was that we had our own friends-we were our own person. We were not each other’s half—we were two wholes who came together. We each had our own source of fulfillment that complimented the other.

Your friends have now lost you as fast as I did, but they don’t get the courtesy of a goodbye or a why and it’s hard for me to know what to tell them. You understand that the facts remain, you had an affair, you didn’t want to reconcile and we are getting divorced. But I don’t want to be calloused in my responses, I can’t, that’s not me…anymore.

Maybe when I was still resentful towards you at the way that life was not getting any easier. You were taking trips out of state to see family and trips to chaperone youth events and fishing trips with your buddies. I would get up and go to work everyday to make sure things ran smoothly here. So it was very frustrating to hear you say that the final tipping point for not wanting to reconcile was that one of the littlest family members said they didn’t remember what I looked like. You took that as a sign of disinterest on my part. The part you easily forgot was that only one ticket was available and any extra funds were used to make sure you had travel and spending money.

Nevertheless, my heart found forgiveness for you and for that situation and I think that prepared me on some level for what was to come just a year later. I do forgive you, I forgive her, but forgiveness is for my benefit not yours. It is what is allowing me to carry on each day and go to work. It is what is allowing me to maintain a civil relationship with you and to look you in the eye and say very honestly that I do wish you well. It is only by the grace of God and the prayers of many friends and family that hold my heart right now that I can ask the question… why? And it is only that same grace and those same prayers that help me to understand that I will never get the answer that satisfies my soul but still begs the question. Now, all I can do is ask the question, “what now?” and step out in faith that I will get that answer.