I knew it was coming. After all, they announced their “miracle, blessing from God” last summer. This was the hill that I felt I would die on. It felt like some cruel, cruel joke from God. I thought I worked through it. I thought I was dealing with it better. Then it happened. In usual fashion, I did not find out directly, but rather an email saying that the reason he was late again on childcare expenses was that he spent “all day in labor”. Then, I was in the car with my son and I looked over and there was a picture of a baby on his phone. So, it happened.
I think for the past 7 months or so, I just blocked it out of my mind. I thought, surely God wouldn’t really bless them for cheating with the one thing I prayed hardest for my entire marriage. I guess I was wrong. He leaves me, leaves our sons, and is immediately handed the gift of a second chance…a chance given while he was sleeping with another woman while we ere still married.
Am I bitter? Yes, yes, yes. I don’t understand. I am here struggling to make ends meet, with two boys that don’t want anything to do with me. He is living the good life – new baby, new wife, his kids adore him and worship the ground he walks on. So, maybe my kids have the right idea in their agnosticism. God rewards cheaters and liars with blessing after blessing. I get the crumbs that are left over. Yeah, God exists. I am just not sure I want anything to do with him.
The one-year anniversary of the day everything changed is rapidly approaching. I can now see that the events that transpired on March 23, 2017, were traumatic and changed the course of my life. The subtle reminders are there. The weekend he left for “Comicon” (otherwise known as his scheduled weekend to consummate his affair) was the same weekend as my boys’ yearly March soccer tournament, which always gets re-scheduled do to weather. That weekend is coming around next week, and the tournament has been re-scheduled, yet again. When he left last year at this time I was anxious and uneasy and couldn’t put my finger on why. I now know that deep down I knew something was wrong long before my mind new exactly what. I am approaching this weekend with eyes wide open, but that doesn’t make it easier. I am unsettled and anxious. There is a pit deep down in my stomach. I am sure they are approaching it as some sort of anniversary, while I am having to approach it as a trauma-versary, so to speak.
I am raising sons that have both experienced trauma as young boys, in losing their birth families, so I am familiar with what trauma is and how anniversaries of trauma can affect people in unusual ways. I know that I need to give myself extra grace to grieve and emote. My head knows this stuff, which will allow me a little more control of the emotions, but that doesn’t make it easier. A year ago, I was married, albeit starting to feel that something was wrong. A year ago, I thought my husband had always been faithful to me and now I know how untrue that was. A year ago, I envisioned raising our sons together and allowing him to pick up some extra slack so that I could finish grad school. A year ago, I was able to support my family with our two incomes and now I struggle to get by on my salary with a small amount of child support. A year ago, things were so very different from the current reality.
I suspect that for the rest of my life this time of the year will always bring out the before and after comparisons. Right now, those are hard comparisons because the boys and I are in such a rough season. I hope that eventually I will be able to see the “after” as the best part of my life. I am not there yet. I see the glimmers of what could be, but it is not yet a reality. I am still hurting and grieving and raw. Somedays, the events of last March wake me from sleep or bring me to my knees in tears. I want to one day see myself as a strong, capable, woman, mother, and employee, but most days I feel like I keep dropping the pieces that I am juggling.
So, as I approach this trauma-versary, please give me grace. I am trying to put the past in the past, but I also know the importance of allowing myself to feel through things rather than pretend everything is okay. I know the next few weeks will be hard and triggering, but I must just live through them. It has been a year of firsts, some good, some bad, but all necessary.
As a kid, I would occasionally do jigsaw puzzles. As one gets older, the challenge becomes doing more challenging puzzles with lots of pieces. The worst was when someone (or some tail) would destroy your progress or spill the pieces everywhere. Right now, my heart feels like that.
I keep gathering up my million-piece jigsaw puzzle, picking out the edge pieces, and whoosh, something scatters them again – a “miracle” pregnancy, a quick remarriage, now Christmas without my kids. So, right now, I am sitting here trying to gather the pieces again. I also suspect that when I do gather all the pieces there will be some missing. After all, you can’t give your heart to someone for 14 years and expect them not to take a few pieces with them.
What does it look like to piece your heart back together? I wish I knew. Some things have helped…safe spaces at home…pets…candles…new traditions. I need to get back into exercise because it helps focus some energy and makes me feel better. I also need to find a manageable way to process the grief. A few people have suggested the process of writing down what I lost. I will be doing that over the next few weeks. I have also ordered a few books on grief and healing…the divorce books just weren’t helpful, but a therapist said what I am going through is more like a trauma and grief, so I am going to try and go down that path.
I finished my grad school classes until March, so I am going to prioritize some of my energy into healing (again). Christmas is nearly the last of the “firsts”. Tomorrow it will be 9 months. Nine months of pain, nine months of yelling and tears. It has been also nine months of finding that I am stronger than I knew and that my heart has a bigger capacity for love and pain than I thought possible. I cling to the hope that one day I will look back and see that this jigsaw puzzle is finally put back together…maybe sans a few pieces, but more beautiful because of how hard I worked to recreate the beauty.