Warning…. this is a raw and very open detail of one mom’s journey from taking on the roll of stepmom, mom, and wife. How she lost herself and found herself alone and divorced. I am not looking for judgement… Trust me, I know where I went wrong. I am not looking back as much as looking forward to where God is bringing me. Each of us have mistakes, sorrows, or skeletons in our closets. I am sharing mine because it has been on my heart for over a year to share my journey. I have read so many others journeys and found so much inspiration in them, my hope would be to save one mom, one marriage, on person from my mistakes.
Where to begin…. I met my husband while we were both working as RN’s. He could always remember further back than I could on when I first started working with him as a CNA. I quite frankly only remember him shortly before I became pregnant with my son (That’s another story). He was a charmer, fun to work with, flirted with all the girls, and was married. Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t see the blaring red flags, but I didn’t. He complained about his marriage and how it had been miserable for years. They both slept in different rooms, she didn’t care if he stayed or went, it was a marriage of convenience, bla bla bla. Sadly, I believed it all and laughed and joked with the other nurses when he slowly headed for the door not wanting to head home. When my youngest son was born he visited me at the hospital which I thought was weird but didn’t give it a second thought as my life was sort of in focus mode now being a single mom to two small children. Soon after Orange was born in October 2003 phone calls started. Again, I didn’t really think it was anything more than a friend being concerned for me at home alone with small kids. Sometime during the holidays of 2003 he told his wife he wanted a divorce. From my understanding she was in agreement. It was around the same time that I started to fall for him. If I remember right it took him close to a month to find a place and move out of their home. Oh how I look back on those few short months we were kindling a relationship and he was still very much married. Why didn’t I see it as I was doing anything wrong?!? I was convinced their marriage was doomed, over, and he was free to be mine…. oh how wrong I was. When a man says that he doesn’t love his wife and hasn’t for a long time… it’s a crock of crap! He obviously did at some point, and still does enough to still be there. He loved her enough to ask her to marry him (a life time commitment), and then did actually marry and maybe even had children together. Until the marriage is completely over, papers in hand, totally finished. And both parties have had time to try and work on things, I should have been nowhere around. And sometimes even then, they still need time. See a covenant of marriage is between man, women, and God. Papers or no papers, God gets to decide when the marriage is truly over.
We married the following year January 29, 2005 blending our four children into one large family. We had an amazing marriage. There were lots of struggles over the years with the children as any family has, but we had fun. Both of us were happily in love and had already been through a marriage that didn’t work. Neither of us wanted another end, so we forged through the difficult times, and enjoyed the fun times. Honestly, that’s a real marriage there. He was a good dad. He took all four kids under his wing and loved them all. I will never forget a co-workers question just a few years ago “so which kids are yours?” and his response “they are all mine”. That warmed my heart to the very core. He was a good husband, and took care of me, but in a selfish way. If it benefited him then we were golden. Slowly through the ten years we were together I lost myself. It was so slow and steady I didn’t even realize it until I looked back. I gave up friends I had for years, gave up music I liked, gave up my dreams for our dreams. Honestly, in a marriage some of this happens and looking back, I am okay with this. What I am not okay with and has taken me a year to realize is it’s not okay to lose who you are….. I did.
All I really wanted was to be an amazing mom in an amazing family with an amazing husband by my side. Isn’t that what most of us mom’s want? Somewhere along the line, I didn’t think I was the amazing piece in the puzzle anymore. I didn’t think they needed me, or even wanted me. They were the amazing, I was a burdon. Oh how I look at me then and think all I needed was a bigger thing to rely on. I needed more than my husband to be my happy, I needed Jesus. Funny how looking back, things make so much more sense then looking at the “right now”. The “right now” is pretty panicking at times. Let me explain a few details that lead slowly to where I was. Sadly with each of these details if I would have had faith in something bigger I would not have cared about any of these details, because I would have known it was bogus.
I had very conservative in-laws that looked down on me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting down conservative people. But I am saddened by anyone that thinks they are better than someone else. Even more saddened that there was a time in my life that I desired to be the conservative people they were. I strived so hard that I not only drove myself completely mad, I pushed these in-laws further from me. Looking back I wonder why I ever wanted to be like them. I thought they had it all, the golden ticket to heaven because they could preach bible verses, donate to charities and churches, and Jesus loved them, they told me! For the first 6 months my husband was gone I questioned deeply what Christianity was and how two people that proclaimed to love Jesus so much could help move their son out of his home, refuse to talk to their daughter in law, never ask to see their two grandchildren he left, and belittle me to my other children. Again, looking back, my mother-in-law belittled my husband’s ex-wife to her two children (my step children) for years. It would cause words between her and I and arguments between my husband and I because “she means well, she just says things without thinking” Two months after my husband moved I discovered his affair and sent them phone records begging for their help and prayer The response I got… “Do not contact us again” I decided if that was what religion was about I wanted nothing to do with it. I love Jesus, I wake up in the morning talking to him first, pause throughout the day to praise, ask for guidance, or send up a prayer for my husband and others. But I am unclear of Religion. I know without a doubt God is my savior. But this world has become a very cruel world of a billion opinions and everyone thinking they are absolutely right to the point of hurting, ridiculing, and putting down others that don’t agree…. This is not what I want, nor is it what Jesus wanted!!! I consider myself a Jesus lover and will see where the future brings me.
My husband has very selfish tendencies, it’s okay most of us do to an extent. I don’t honestly think he ever intended to hurt me. My depression was also in fact a selfish tendency, even though I never meant to hurt anyone with it. Through the years I did lose myself and the panic to please him got worse and worse. We did what he wanted when he wanted. I always got a choice, but I also needed to choose his way. I had grown accustomed to things like hiking meant scouting in the woods, or fishing several different holes. A family bike ride always had his gun along and was along old logging roads. Our house was decorated in hunting and fishing theme throughout. Little by little I forgot what I ever enjoyed before he came along. And my overweight became a struggling issue. I was not a fat person, but I was overweight. I am 5’10 and had reached 230 lbs. He made sure I knew I was large and that he didn’t like it. Comments such as “are you sure you want seconds”, “do you really think you should eat at this hour”, and “we need to work out today”. The problem wasn’t really these comments because he was always right. The problem was that it was only an issue when it was convenient to him. The rest of the time he would bring me candy treats, want to go out to dinner late evenings, and if it was okay with him because he had other plans, we would skip our work out. It was a very mixed signal and as time wore on the weight started increasing because of depression. Within 5 months of him being gone I had dropped 60 lbs. Oddly, at a time when depression should have taken over me completely it actually left. I was sad, scared, alone, humbled beyond belief, and very very tearful. But I was feeling more and more solid in the truth of who I was and how valuable I was. I found out how much I truly needed Jesus to survive, I focused on as many things as I could to change.
We drank a lot. A LOT! Prior to marrying this man I really didn’t like alcohol. I mean, I had my days in college, but that was long ago. I just wasn’t interested in drinking, and I really cared to be the best example for my kids… I cared too much what people thought too. He on the other hand enjoyed his alcohol. As the years went on I started drinking with my husband. A wine cooler here and there, then I was introduced to some rather delicious mixed drinks, and then I finally acquired the taste for wine. I never did get into beer, but I did LOVE my rum and cokes! We drank most evenings and nights. Alcohol dulled sensations and made it easy to push things aside so that they weren’t a reality and we didn’t have to discuss them. Alcohol also made it difficult for me to lose weight, and made me lazy!!! I woke up thinking about when we could have a drink that afternoon. When my husband moved out I avoided alcohol, I was too numb to drink anything at that point. I did have some alcohol on Christmas and then my birthday which followed in February. Both experiences I drank too much and was a crying blubbering drunk. I missed my husband so much! When I drank it hurt more. Turns out my husband drank too much on my birthday as well, just not with me. He got a DUII on his way home from the bar that night (my husband didn’t even go to bars!!!!) So I decided I was going to take one year off from alcohol. Partly to support him on not being able to drink with his DUII consequences, partly to prove to myself I could do it, and partly to give myself a chance to heal appropriately- not with dulled senses. This was the first of my drastic choices that I give all thanks to God that I not only made it a year plus, but that it was easy. It is my understanding by the way, that my husband didn’t make it a year and continued to drink through his entire DUII probation. One of many reasons I keep praying for him.
The next thing God put on my heart was to start running. It was soon after my birthday in February, which also was soon after I discovered the truth of why my husband really left. He was having an affair with my very best friend, lets call her Mingo. The same friend we had only a few months earlier taken a family vacation with to Lake Courdelaine, Idaho. The same friend that I shared all my deepest secrets, sorrows, and venting with. The same friend that would have truly known that the horrid things my husband was saying about me could not possibly be true. But my guess is she was so blinded by the charm and the “wow, it’s really me he’s interested in” like I had been, that she couldn’t see anything else. Most of all, my broken heart and very dark life. To this day, this friend has not admitted what she has done and is doing. Even with all the proof in the world she lives in denial. My guess is this is a safe place for her to be because the reality of it is harsh, cruel, and requires her to acknowledge her mistake and repent. More importantly the truth and desiring a change will cost her the relationship she desires with this charming man. I do pray for her to repent and move on focusing on her own marriage and family. What she’s doing now, I don’t know. Nor is it any of my business. Shes already forgiven in my book. And I know God too, has forgiveness for her. Oh, did I forget to mention that she was also a nurse, which puts all three of us working in a very small hospital…. not funny. I took several weeks to off work to clear my head. This is when I started running. Not just my casual 3 miles a few days a week. When I would start to panic and not be able to breath with the reality of my life God would send me on a run. Some days I ran 3 times a day. Some runs were just a few miles, some were 7. I never recorded those early runs because I wasn’t even focused on the run, but I sure wish I had because it would be really inspiring to see how far I have come! In 2015 I set out a goal for 1200 miles. That breaks down to 100 miles a month, roughly 25 a week. Even with two injuries and breaks for several weeks from actual running, I am on schedule to finish this goal! I have 200 miles left to run with 2.5 months left in the year.
Mid summer I started looking for elsewhere to work and realized most organizations really wanted an RN with a bachelors degree. Especially an RN with my experience. So I decided to go back to school. So let’s recap, I am now a single parent to two children 17 and 11. I work full time in Surgery with loads of call and short staffing. I have quit drinking. I am running a load of hours each week. I spend an enormous amount of time every morning and evening reading the bible, others testimonies, and faith based self help books….. And I want to fit in school!!! Yep, I did and I finished my 18 month degree in less than 9 months. It didn’t affect the running, but it did take a big dent in my bible time and other reading. Since my graduation in August of 2015 I have been enjoying soaking up more of the word.
So let me back up to the when he left. It was early December, and for about a month things felt odd, uncomfortable, out of place, or just unsettled. My husband who had never let me go to bed alone started staying up late and I would go to sleep without him. He worked night shift 3-4 nights a week. I would always get a middle of the night text and a text mid day when he woke up. Those stopped. He distanced himself. But him leaving was honestly never a reality. I would mention it a lot, but I don’t think I ever truly believed it would happen. December 5th he was particularly rude, almost trying to pick a fight with me. Sitting in the living room while I was in our room completely deep in depression only focused on how utterly miserable I was. He was texting me regarding us being done, he refused to talk to me, which had me in complete hysterics. I look back on that night… wow what a mess I was. He had me so completely convinced I was a mess which only made me more hysterical. Our oldest son, Green, had a Cross Country award ceremony at school. I mentioned to my husband to take our son to it and spend some quality time with him. We had been struggling with this son quite a bit for the last year or so. His grades were falling, he didn’t seem interested in working on them, he forgot everything, had a bitter attitude, and fought with us on everything. In hindsight.. he was just a teen trying to form independence and think for himself! I had continued to brainstorm ways to help him with his dad, but also vented a lot of frustration to his dad. Looking back, there were so many things I could have changed just by my own actions, but I was so swallowed up in my own misery and thinking everything was an attack on me, I couldn’t see that. So many things I changed immediately when my husband left taking this son from me, and I hit that rock bottom. I’m not going to say it was too late though, because the two children left with me benefited drastically from these changes. It is never too late, no matter what people say. So back to the 5th of December, my husband and I had an ugly fight, so after the cross country awards, he returned home and slept in our cabin (it’s where he had slept during the day while working nights). After several hours of not being able to sleep. I called him and asked him to please come inside and that I was sorry. He came in, crawled in bed, held me in his arms, and I fell asleep feeling safe finally. The next morning I had to get up and get to work early. I remember wishing I could call in, my eyes were swollen from tears, I had only slept a few hours, and I knew we needed to have a serious talk. But I was the only nurse scheduled that day as we only had 2 simple cases. While at work I couldn’t get a hold of my husband via text. And I knew something wasn’t right. I also got a very bizarre message from my best friend, yes “the best friend”, asking if I was okay…. How did she know anything was going on??? We hadn’t talked in days. No didn’t think anything of it at the time – I am not very perceptive. It was one of the coldest days in our not normally cold town. Our cow troughs had frozen over and had needed some thawing out for the animals. He had apparently taken care of this, then went to the YMCA to work out. I met him there as soon as I could leave work and we talked in his truck. He was going to get Green and go spend some time in a hotel with him alone. I was sick with worry for us, but he wasn’t really much for talking at that point. It wasn’t until him and our oldest son were gone, that it all hit me… HARD, and I panicked. He wasn’t coming back, and he knew that. He knew that a few weeks ago, maybe even a few months ago. He had checked out a while ago, and everything I did irritated him from that point on, only causing more anxiety in me to please him which drove me deeper into my depression. A vicious cycle I was unable to see or stop. So in the ugliest coldest winter we had encountered since moving to the Pacific Coast, I was left with two of four children, two dogs, three cats, a bunch of chickens that needed water thawed twice a day, a bull in one field with frozen water, and a baby calf in another field needing thawed water….. very dreary world I suddenly was thrown in! My husband, who I will call Fishy, remained in a hotel for almost two weeks. His dad came to town, helped him find a place to move, and helped him move his belongings from my home. All the while, I was alone. Very alone. It was a low low point in my life.
It’s what happened next that has caused me the most grief in this storm. He quit answering texts, he ignored me completely. And within a few days had already seen an attorney. I thanked God so many times for his DUII because I honestly think it was God’s stall on the whole ridiculous situation. It gave me a year to hope he would come home. He started to say very cruel things regarding me abusing his son, how I chased away his daughter Purple, I was fat and made no real attempt to lose weight and how hard that was for him, and that he really hasn’t loved me for years. And that is where his thought process has remained for the remainder of our separation into our divorce. We can add on the bitter feelings he now has because of child support he pays me for our two children living with me, and the fact that he thinks I have tainted these two children toward him. Don’t get me wrong, I have not been perfect by any means. I sent him more text messages than tree’s have leaves. I begged and begged him to just give me a chance. When he needed space, I didn’t give it. But turning his kids against him was not in my cards. Dividing our children was not at all what I aimed for. I never wanted sides, I still don’t want sides. I want to see all kids, I want him to see all kids.
So where am I now? Well our oldest daughter is 18, lives with me and refuses to talk to her dad. I forgot one tiny detail. My best friend also happened to be the mother of my daughters boyfriend. They lasted together for a year through the nightmare but did break up at the beginning of the summer 2015. She misses her siblings, and she sees how hard my husband has made it on them to continue being a family, even with the parents divorced. Our oldest Son Green is now 16 and lives with his dad. He did move in with his mom to finish out the last school year but returned here for his junior year. It was a long year without him in our lives when they first left. But he now comes around again. He has voiced to me on multiple occasions that he was just a difficult teen and knows I wasn’t abusive or mean to him. He’s apologized for taking sides with dad and not visiting me, an apology I love to hear but have told him, he was just a kid in this mess, Sides should have never been an option he felt was available…. not his fault it was handed to him. Purple, our 14 year old lives with her mother. She rarely comes to town to visit dad as her busy life with friends keeps her home. When she does visit, she does not contact me, I haven’t seen her in a very long time. But she does respond to text messages so I continue to send her a text message every now and then, trying hard to give her space and acknowledge that she probably has a lot of really good reasons to not like me. My husband has done a wonderful job of making sure his story is heard. The simple fact that our son wants to visit me and his two siblings living with me causes my husband a lot of anguish and bitter feelings toward me. Our youngest son is 12, and has nothing nice to say about his dad. It is difficult to hear for our oldest daughter and I. He is a very black and white thinker. Many visits have soured his taste for his dad, and he is now at a point of wanting nothing to do with him, nor will he even let me continue to encourage trying. His response is anger.
Why do I wait for this man I seemed depressed to be with and whom has done such hard things to me? Because “……love never ends” It is not my husbands fault I was depressed. I need to take ownership that there is a lot I could have done. Allowing his parents to affect me so deeply was also not his fault. I should have had a backbone and been proud of my choices rather than try to please and then panic when it didn’t work. My husband should not have chased me when he was married. He should not have chased my best friend when he was married. And honestly, I think God knew all along what was going to happen. I think there is a reason why I was who he chased. God knew his cycle had to broken. He blessed our marriage in such abundant ways. Many people never have the kind of love the two of us had. I was married to my best friend. We could finish each others sentences. We knew what each other wanted to do or eat before we even spoke. God knew the storm in our future, in my husband’s future, and he knew that I would hang on. He knew that because of the father and husband he was during the majority of our marriage, I would be driven to wait obediently for him. In a world that has forgotten the right path God has been my guide. God kew that I would wait, he knew that I would fall to my knees and pray for forgiveness and help all at the same time. My faith is so strong because of my husband, and sadly, I don’t think it would be without my storm. So I wait and I follow God’s word “… love never ends”