I am a planner. It's a plain and simple fact that over the years I have learned to embrace, don't get me wrong I have my moments of spontaneity and I could not live without those but in general I like to have my calendar filled with all my upcoming events. When the seasons begin to change the girls and I sit down and write a wish list of all the things we would like to do during the upcoming months. We plan the upcoming holidays and all the activities that we want to do on our weekends. Where we want to go, who we want to visit and all the special memories we want to share. Since Quinn started school last year my favourite to plan very quickly became the Summer. I was so excited to have her home again and we spent the last few weeks of school writing lists filled with all the wonderful things we would do over the next couple of months.
What I learned this Summer is that you can plan all you want and have list upon list of all the things you want to do but you also need to make room for the unexpected. Life can throw some pretty wild and furious curve balls and if your not ready to drop everything you know and just go with it life will chew you up and spit you back out pretty fast.
One warm July evening sitting out in my backyard on my deck, sipping a watermelon vodka drink I had made, editing some photos my husband came home and told me he wanted to leave me and that he had felt that way for the last year.
At that moment my world stopped.
What was I supposed to do, a stay at home mom with two kids, and my husband is walking away, he has made this huge decision, I have no say, this life altering moment is happening and there is nothing I can do to change it. Of course we did the whole counseling thing after this happened but he made it very evident his heart was long gone. The defining moment in all of this for me was when he had to really explain why he no longer loved me, how do you just fall out of love. So one night we sat down and he read me a letter that he wrote to me explaining why he felt the way he did. Now I have been bullied in the past but nothing compares to someone you loved for thirteen years saying the most awful things about you straight to your face with no emotion or remorse. The defining words in this half hour of hell for me were "you don't contribute to our family" for me those words ended everything.
So here I was still in the same situation but now it was real, now it was going to happen and what was I going to do about it. So after a lot of tears and a lot of tough conversations with myself I decided that I had to find a way to continue on the path that I had chosen for the girls and I. I would not let this change the kind of Mother I was or that I wanted to be.
Unfortunately I have been hearing more and more woman talking about this same experience happening to them. I actually remember having conversations with my ex about people who had done this and how we couldn't believe that it could happen. I felt for those women, how could they not know, how could they not see it coming? It was one of my greatest fears during our relationship, one that he was aware of and told me I never had to worry about. Now please understand I am not completely naive, did I have a perfect marriage, no, but really who does. We have two young children and life is busy and demanding. I had been watching him pull away from the girls and I for a while but he always told me he was fine, we were fine, and I had nothing to worry about. Really what else could I do. In the end he was a good actor and a good liar and I believed him. Shame on me.
So the big question that I had, and I still have, is how do I move forward, how does one just move on? How do you take a huge side step off the path you have chosen and continue walking. I wanted to curl up into a ball in my bed and not get up again, I wanted to break down, I wanted to fall apart, but I couldn't. I have two amazing children who need me and I need them. They are more important to me then anything in this world and I would be strong for them, I want them to see and to know that their Mama is strong. That's not to say that I didn't have my moments. When I felt like I was going to break I held my girls tighter and I cuddled with them for longer. I would make it through, I would come out stronger. Life is full of choices, I did not choose for my marriage to end, but I will choose how I deal with it, how I react and the path it will take me down.
I spoke with my family everyday, we had good conversations and bad, some positive some negative, I was mad, sad, hurt and angry all at once. Everyday I felt like I moved through all seven stages of grief, it would feel like a week had passed by when it had only been a day. I was tired, very tired all the time and I felt like there would never be an end to how I felt. My children and my family lead me through the unknown and I am so blessed to have them. I still have miles to go and I know my journey has only begun but I know I am in a good place now and things will get better.
I did a lot of writing over the last 6 months, a lot of it will never see the light of day. The best way for me to get through the anger was to write, and trust me I had a lot of hateful things to say. At times I felt sick, it was like a burning feeling in the pit of my stomach that would move up into my throat and I would have choke it back down, the hateful words are not helpful, just because he did it to me doesn't mean had to do it back. Oh how I wanted to confront him, say everything that was on my mind, tell him how he hurt me, tell him all the horrible things he had done to me. I sat through him doing that to me, and I know how bad that hurts, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I have learned a lot about myself during this time. One of my sisters, not long after this all happened, actually made a comment that I seemed more like myself then I had in a long time. That really made me think, I started to examine the last few years of my life and the decisions I had made. At some point in the midst of a husband and children I had lost myself. I wasn't happy and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was just a shell of the person I wanted to be. Yes I am a good mother, I know that, but I am more then just a mother. I have goals and dreams that I am not going to give up on, I know that I can do more and be more, not only for my kids but for me.
There is a quote by Mary Oliver that I seem to have on auto replay in my head these days, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I feel like I have been playing it safe for the last 13 years, I will never again let someones negativity take over. I need to be true to who I am and where I need to go. Yes that warm night in July my world was ripped apart, but sometimes that is what a person needs, some of the most beautiful things in life are built from for the ashes of ruins. In the end what matters most is not how others see you, but how you see yourself, and I must say I like myself more now then I did 8 months ago.