It downed on me today that it’s almost been a year. I’ve almost made it through a full 12 months since my life began to unravel the evening of September 7th 2008. Tomorrow morning I will sign the papers. Papers that were filed nearly 12 months ago, the final step in a very long journey. A symbolic step, the one that like magic restores life to “pre-wedded bliss status”, I get my old name back. I’ll officially be a single women. I will be DIVORCED.
With the revelation of the looming one-year “anniversary” I realized there was another anniversary being celebrated, though it was probably toasted a month or so ago. Their ONE-YEAR anniversary. Yes, I can see it now, candle lit dinner, some sad country song playing in the background, him drunk on Makers Mark. Their glasses raised in a toast, to making it to that pivotal point in any relationship, the one-year anniversary.
Only he was married.
He had 3 very small children at home.
He had a wife.
A wife who on that night had run across the street to barrow the secret ingredient for the family’s favorite dinner “cowboy spaghetti”. He was late getting home. The kids had eaten, she had eaten. His dinner was kept warm on the stove and served as he walked in the door. The house was clean. Her make-up was done, clothes clean (no baby spit up in site). Freshly picked roses filled the vase in the center of the table, the house smelt of browning bacon. She wore her rings. He wasn’t warring his. She handed him his plate and a cold beer and sat to watch him eat. It was quite, oddly so. He was dirty from working all day, he needed a shower. She felt sick to her stomach but didn’t know why…exactly. Though her gut knew…exactly.
The water from the shower droned hard on the tub floor. Steam seeped out the top and bottom of the bathroom door. Suddenly she knew. She knew his phone was in with him. She quietly opened the door rummaged till she found it well hidden in his “to be put on clothes”. In that moment before she opened it, she knew exactly what she would find, who it would be from and what it would say.
The text message read:
“I can’t wait till your finally free…and you’re all mine..no more sharing “.
The world slowly creaked to a dead stop. She could feel nothing. She could not see. Could not cry. Could not feel her breath, was certain her heart had stopped. Felt light as a feather.
Quickly she returned the phone to its hiding place, and calmly walked to the living room to get her son. She lead him to the back of the house to watch a movie, gave him a snack and drink..said it was a special occasion so he could watch the whole movie.
Then without thinking, opened the bathroom door, threw back the shower curtain, turned off the water and said “get the fuck out of my house and don’t ever come back.” In the 10 minutes of confusion that followed, him frantically trying to get dressed, that’s all she could say. Over and over again.
He left that day. He never came back.
That was the moment that changed my life. Changed the lives of my children. It was 10 minutes of pure certainty, betrayal, heartache and agony. The following weeks I can remember only bits and pieces. So much is a blur. In those weeks it felt like the world had ended. Like the other half of me had died. Like I would never laugh again. Never smile. Never eat. Never pick my tear-stained face up off the hardwood floor.
It’s indescribable the way it feels to have your life forever changed in an instant. To say it was a shock is beyond an understatement, (I had only had the thought a few minutes before I found the phone). But somehow I just knew. It was over. There would never be a way to get passed it. They were in love he had already started a separate life with her, you don’t get beyond that. I don’t. I knew there was nothing left to say.
And now, I reflect on the past year. So much has changed. The pain and heartbreak quickly turned to anger and hatred. Then slowly that began to shift to tolerance. Then quietly, steadily became….peace. Peace is as much as I ever could of hoped for back then.
I realize now that everything truly does happen for a reason, and that on Sept 7th 2008, my life changed, yes. But it changed for the better. A year later, I’m happier then I have been in years. I have my most precious treasures, my three children. I have a great job, that I can honestly say I love. I’m independent, I’m making it happen. I’m in the best shape of my life, and my mind and spirit are in the right place.
I made it to my one-year Anniversary.
I made it past the first Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Birthdays and Anniversaries. All the dreaded firsts are finally over.
So on September 7th 2009 I will go get a great bottle of champagne and alone, or with friends I will raise my glass and say:
“I made it! This did not kill me. This does not define who I am. After this I can take on anything, I am stronger than I ever imagined.”
I will send thank you cards to my friends and family for being the rock that got me through this.
I will send a thank you card to him…for letting me go, giving me my life back.
*we were married 8 years, together 16. High school sweethearts.
Carrie Underwood.."Just A Dream"
click here to listen to the song that sums up those first few days and played on loop non-stop in my head...