Sometimes it feels like it's been a million years, another lifetime, since I was married to my husband.
And then something happens and the pain feels as if it all went down yesterday.
One of my closest friends discovered a couple of weeks ago that her husband had been unfaithful to her over the course of their marriage. This couple is part of my innermost circle of friends, and I love them both.
I wanted to blog about it when it happened, but I just couldn't. Actually, when I found out, I couldn't do much of anything. I tensed up so much over the next couple of days, that my back actually went out and I was stuck in bed. My stomach was sick. I'd love to tell you that I'm that great of a friend, but in reality, it was like reliving my entire "atom bomb" all over again but with a muffled scream instead of a voice.
Today my stepfather had a major surgery at the same hospital that my father had his brain tumor removed and then subsequently spent the next half a year at trying to recover from it. I could not make myself go, even though I knew how much my mother probably needed me there. I have panic attacks just driving by that hospital, I can't imagine ever setting foot in it again. But my brother went for the both of us. He struggled just parking in the parking garage; the garage where we would aimlessly search for our cars after horrible news and devastation. Then he had to walk into the same surgery waiting area that we had spent that fateful day waiting for Dad to come out of surgery, the one where the doctor came out and told us our father would never be the same. It was the little details that got to him, things he forgot, that triggered panic attacks. He sent me a picture of a computer screen where you watch your loved one's surgery progress, and I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. It was this screen we stared at helplessly when he did not come out of surgery after the 5 hours we were promised, but 12. Re-living all of those little horrors....I don't know how he did that.
But this is exactly how it feels to watch my friend go through this in her marriage. She tells us things he has said, things I've heard before. She feels torn, like she wants to kill him but yet loves him and wants to help him. Things I've felt before. It was so disturbing to me and brought up so many of those feelings again that I spent the majority of my couples counseling session in tears over it. I was angry all over again and felt so outraged and hurt, and I couldn't let go.
And tonight I'm writing about this because I decided for some reason to read my private blog I kept in the months after I kicked my ex out. The pain in those unfiltered words is so pungent and profound. I look back at that time...a time when I was forced into doing this job of motherhood all by myself, running my business all by myself, and somehow doing it all while feeling like I was going to die. How did I even do it? I don't even remember that period that well. I remember little moments, like sobbing in my closet, physically shaking constantly from anxiety, not being able to eat or sleep....God how did I get through this?
All I did was put one foot in front of the other, and each day tried to do it a little better than the day before. I was not always graceful, I was not always smart. I drank a lot of vodka and took plenty of Xanax. I slept when I should have been watching my children or working. I obsessed over my ex. I secluded myself and didn't let anyone help me. I would blow up over nothing. It was not a pretty time.
But here I am now. The happiest I've EVER been in my life. I'm physically, emotionally, and mentally the healthiest I've ever been. I love everything about my life and am so glad that I went through that pain, if it means I am able to be where I am today. I feel lucky to have gone through a situation that catalyzed growth and enlightenment for me. My therapist pointed these things out to me, and reminded me of something very important:
I wouldn't change a thing.
I hope that no matter what happens with my friend's marriage, that the same will happen for her. Actually, I already see it happening and I'm very optimistic for her. It sucks that it seems to take such dark times to wake us up to our truths, but sometimes it just does.