It's been four and a half years since the end of my marriage. An abrupt end, after I caught him sexting and he calmly said he didn't want to be married anymore. He went on to tell me he'd had sex with a few other people. I never knew for how long. I was left to piece things together from my journal, and look back in hindsight with the bright light of clarity and truth. I figured it had been two years.
I concluded it was his guilt that came out expressed as disapproval and anger toward me. At the time though, I took on the criticism, the blame and tried to do the things he said I needed to change - falling short all the time. I felt triggered at times, defensive at others, inwardly angry and frustrated that the man I married had seemingly disappeared. And I really loved that man. I thought the world of him.
There were promises and apologies. Promises he was just going through a stressful time and that the old guy I loved would be back, as soon as he finished that project at work or passed the big birthday. The apologies gave me hope that the guy I fell in love with was coming back and we could resume our happy life. He quietly apologized for the angry outbursts - sometimes blaming me, sometimes taking responsibility. I kept believing, kept hoping. But it just got worse.
One night, 2 months before the definitive end, I was sitting on our front lawn, just a few feet away from where we'd first seen each other before our wedding ceremony, and I overheard him jokingly tell our friends, "Patty knows we're not going to be together much longer."
I didn't know.
I never confronted him. I was blind to so many things. My self worth was too low for me to stand up and let him know I wouldn't tolerate that kind of "joking around", as he'd pass off those type of comments. And I was more loyal to my vow of marriage than I was to my own dignity, worth and value.
But today, as I get ready to publish my book, Wine Sex and Suicide - My Near Death Divorce, I'm at the cliff's edge of fear. I'm filled with the grief all over again from him leaving. And I miss him desperately.
The old him.
Because if he hadn't left, I wouldn't be facing this fear of exposing my vulnerability.
For months after he moved out, I still wasn't grasping how much he'd changed over the course of the few years during his infidelity because it was a subtle, slippery slope into the condescending and belittling behavior. There was one defining comment he made that gave me a clue his perceptions were vastly different from mine, but I had no idea our marriage was already over in his mind. I thought it would be a fairly "quick fix" to address in therapy, after all, he was willing to go.
I wish I never wrote the book. But I also know from deep within my soul and my heart - it is what I was put on this planet to do. It terrifies me. I am a private person by nature and I'm about to reveal dark recesses of my life that my ego would rather have me fold neatly and tuck away, only to bring out on special occasions of one-on-one talk with a trusted friend.
Because I'm feeling fear, I'm looking back to the past for comfort - longingly calling out for those "good days" to come back. But they can't. I am a different person born from that dark matter. It is only because of the end of that marriage that I was able to move forward into fulfilling what I believe is my purpose; sharing through the written word.
I've felt for so long that I would share my life experiences through writing. But I never did until that fateful evening when life changed forever.
Growth and change is uncomfortable.
I do miss the old him. The guy who made me laugh, the one who thought I was smart. The husband who always made me feel special. But people change. And I suppose in a beautifully tragic way, he is the reason I'm fulfilling my purpose. And for that I am truly grateful.
I've found that acceptance, forgiveness, grieving, self-discovery, rebuilding, reframing and rejoicing - all happen in cycles of seasons. Right now I'm experiencing "sunny with a chance of showers."
It's normal. I'm grateful to have an umbrella and galoshes while I look for the rainbow.