When John explained his intention to divorce me, I said he'd need to tell his parents. You see, at the time, they were making plans to sell us their larger home at a discounted rate so we'd have more room for our growing family.
In truth, I was always hesitant to move into their home for several reasons (chief among them the fact that it's huge and huge houses typically have huge electric / heating / cooling costs). Anyway, knowing that he wanted to split the family made the idea of moving into their home all the more ludicrous to me. It also seemed incredibly unfair to them because they'd be taking a loss on the home just so we'd save money. Thus, I was very clear that I was not okay with moving into their home without him being honest about the situation.
He claimed to be on board with that, however, he swears he never intended to tell me about wanting a divorce until Nathan was a year old, so I didn't exactly trust that his intentions were as forthcoming as he was making them.
Several weeks went by and I continued to remind him that we needed to tell his parents. He kept coming up with reasons as to why we should wait. I left it in his hands because I understood the conversation was going to be a difficult one. I knew he needed time to build himself up for it. However, his poor mother had come home to "get the house ready for us" and was asking me about paint choices and such. I felt so horrible that she was going through so much trouble when, in reality, I knew we wouldn't be moving in. It made me feel terrible. They deserved to know sooner rather than later, and I realized that much like any other serious conversation, if I'd left it up to John, it would simply never happen.
So the Holy Spirit presented an opportunity and I took it. More than 2 months after I told John we needed to tell his parents, I scheduled a visit to my in-laws' home to have it. John was livid with me. In truth, we were going to be in their area, they were home, and they wanted to see Vince. No one else would be home to disrupt us, so after putting Vince to bed, we could easily have the conversation with no distractions.
Also, I pointed out that he'd had more than enough time to do this without my prompting, but since he hadn't moved on it, I did it for him. I reminded him that this conversation was in no way going to be pleasant for me, either. It's not like I WANTED to do it - I just knew it needed to be done because it wasn't fair to them to be planning for something that would never happen. It wasn't right.
The entire ride to their house, he basically berated me for "catching him off-guard" and "planning this" specifically to make him look bad.
I dunno how giving him more than 2 months is catching him off guard. I also didn't plan it. The situation just worked itself out perfectly (as God's Timing always does). Besides, if it didn't happen that night, it would've been pushed off indefinitely.
Funny thing, though, is when we finally began the conversation after Vince had gone to bed, John claimed the discussion was his idea. *Rolls eyes* Oh yeah. Your idea. Right. That's why your mother's been getting texts from me for the last month trying to hammer out a time that both she and your dad were going to be in the state. But sure. This was your idea. The 20 minute car-ride of you berating me for doing this at all apparently didn't happen. I like your version of reality, buddy.
But I let it slide. He needed to have the conversation, so however he needed to get through it, I wasn't going to out him.
He started the conversation with "I'm divorcing Gina" and went on from there. For my part, I kept my mouth shut. In truth, I couldn't really talk anyway. I was doing everything in my power to remain as calm as possible. After all, I had Nathan to worry about. Since this whole talk of divorce began, I've been struggling with high blood pressure and anxiety. I've been in and out of the hospital several times because he continues to treat me thoughtlessly and there's only so much compartmentalization that can occur when one is also dealing with work, hormones and keeping this entire facade a secret.
His mother - God bless her - held my arm and cried alongside me. His father was incredulous because things had been (seemingly) going so well.
John, for his part, detailed some of the ways that he's been unhappy. Because I was present, he didn't outright throw me under the bus as he has in the past which was a plus. When his father asked him for clarity on various arguments he was making against me, John kept coming up with the same tired BS he's been saying to me for the last few months. His father called him on it. He kept saying the same thing I've been saying: "You're living in a fairy tale."
When my FIL asked how John thought this would affect Vince, John said he didn't think it'd be a big deal. That's when my FIL turned to me and asked how I thought it'd affect Vince. I could barely respond because of the tears. He said, "You don't even have to answer that. I can see it on your face."
I said, "No. I want to. It's GOING to affect Vincent. There's no way it doesn't. He's going to internalize this and think it's somehow his fault, or worse... that it's Nathan's fault. This is not the best thing for Vincent. It will never be best for any child."
And then I fell into tears again because in truth, my children are the sorest spot for me. I know that this is going to hurt them, and the fact that he's so selfish that he is willfully blind to that drives me insane. He continues telling himself that the kids will be fine so he doesn't allow the guilt of his fallacy to override his selfish desires for a fun and carefree life. It's maddening. These are his CHILDREN and he is forcing himself to believe that he's not hurting them so that he can continue hurting them. It just boggles my mind and enrages me to no end. They don't deserve that. No child does.
Anyway, his father finally got disgusted with the entire conversation, so he told John to stop talking and turned on the game. At that point, I was so spent emotionally and knew my blood pressure was way out of order. I was burning up and his mother kept offering me water to cool me down. I knew if I tried to drink anything, though, I'd immediately vomit because I was so ill from anxiety.
Heaven help me, I didn't want to make them feel worse, so I tried to reign in my emotions as best I could for them and for Nathan.
John collected a sleeping Vincent from bed, and I went to say goodbye to his father. I just about died in that moment, because I wasn't sure what to say. I felt intensely guilty for the entire situation (even though I know on a logical level that it's really not my fault). Also, what do I now call this man who has been more a father to me these last 11 years than my own biological one? I couldn't even voice "Goodbye." All I could whisper was "I'm sorry." I didn't even know if he wanted to hug me or if he was as disgusted with me as he was with John. To my surprise, he hugged me, teary himself, and said, "Don't apologize. You have nothing to apologize for."
He quickly let me go and I hugged my MIL. I apologized to her as well, but she shook her head "no" and said, "Just pray. Keep praying." We stayed like that, hugging and crying, willing our strength into one another for the war being waged.
I drove home, crying in silence as contractions started. I knew they weren't real - they were responses to the utter anxiety and stress I was dealing with. I just prayed that God would take care of Nathan since my body was incapable of it and refused to acknowledge my own tears. Somehow, I made it home and tucked Vince into bed. Sleep was no refuge that night. It hasn't been for quite some time.
We all know that solace is only found in one place, though, huh? Blessed Mother, I am with you at the Foot of the Cross and know you're with me at the foot of mine. Take this grief and use it for those intentions closest to your Heart. I have nothing else to give.
Here's an entry I never thought I'd have to write.
On March 6th, 2015, John and I went to a nice dinner with several close friends to share news that we were expecting a little boy - Nathan Alexander! We had just dropped off Vince with his parents and shared the news with them. Everything was perfect.
Dinner was at one of his favorite sushi places. The group was alive with laughter and chatter about upcoming events like new babies, weddings and graduation parties. John and I sat at the end of the table, and I kept reaching for his hand because I was genuinely happy. Life - it seemed - was finally going as it should.
However, throughout dinner, John would say off-color things and began treating me poorly. I figured it must be work, but I didn't press the issue because we were at dinner. After dinner, since the group was having such a good time, we decided to top off the night at a favorite diner. En route to the diner, I asked him what the cause of his behavior was. If he needed to vent, I'd rather him get it out of his system sooner rather than later. He brushed it off and apologized for "taking it out on me." He promised to stop and I figured we'd talk later.
However, when we got to the diner, his treatment of me actually got worse. Again, I tried really hard to let it roll because in my head, I truly believed it was a result of stress from work. That doesn't make it right, mind you, but I was able to put my feelings aside and basically take the whipping because I figured he was frustrated and had no real outlet besides me in that moment.
When we got home, however, I told him that sort of treatment wasn't okay. I wasn't even angry at this point; I was upset for him. Obviously something was really bothering him and he wasn't being honest about it and, as a result, it was hurting him (and in effect, me). So again I asked,
"Is it work? Did something happen at work?"
And he finally responded, "It's not work. It's you. I'm unhappy with you. I want a divorce."
Just like that, his flood gates opened.
For the next two hours, he went on and on about how unhappy he is, how unhappy he's been, and how unhappy he'll continue to be as long as we're together. He complained that he lost his creative spark, he's lost friends, he's lost his ability to be spontaneous and go out with new friends.
For my part, I just sat there processing things. I barely spoke at all because I knew he needed to get it out of his system. Given the fact that he's done this so many times in the past, I figured he just needed to get it out, realize the lack of logic behind his words, and move on. He'd had a similar breakdown just after Vincent was born. I honestly assumed he was once again allowing his anxiety about children take hold of him, and whenever he gets insecure about anything (whether it be work, family, friends, etc), I'm typically the whipping post he sorts himself out on.
When he finally spent himself talking in circles, we went to bed. I mean, it was about 2 in the morning at that point. He didn't want to go upstairs, so I think he slept on the couch. I just went upstairs and numbly went to sleep.
The next morning, he apologized for getting into the topic of divorce. He said he felt terrible about it because of my pregnancy. I brushed off his apology because I still wasn't sure how I felt about everything. I also didn't trust that his apology was sincere because two seconds after apologizing, he then spent several minutes again telling me that he was sure he wanted the divorce and nothing would change his mind.
So yeah - forgive me for not trusting an apology that comes with more dumping on me.
Anyway, a few days later, he woke me up at 2 in the morning. I groggily sat up as he took the couch across from me. He wanted to talk - obviously - but wasn't sure where to begin. I was exhausted at this point because, again, it was 2 in the morning. He'd just finished playing dodgeball with his friends, so he was wired. I guess I drew the short straw for that conversation, because he was determined to have it regardless.
However, since I'd had a few days to process things at this point, I was much more ready to respond to his accusations. When he accused me of stifling his creativity, I pointed out that since he married me, he's produced two successful films, a well-received short, and helped out on several other successful projects. I actually helped him with several of those ventures by either cooking for the cast and crew, participating in the films, bringing props to the set, or just all around supporting him at home with Vince so he was able to spend days / weeks focused on those projects.
When he accused me of causing him to lose friends, I actually laughed. He likely realized how untrue that statement was, but he said it anyway. After all, my best friend and I have stuck it out since kindergarten. I have good friends from grade school and high school. I'm still friendly with folks he's long since cast aside. I'm not the one who has trouble keeping friendships alive, and I'm certainly not the catalyst for friendships he now pines away for. But to recognize that in himself would be to admit his own shortcomings, and Lord knows that's not nearly as easy as saying, "It's my wife's fault."
I'm great friends with his ex-fiancee for God's sake. The problem is obviously not me.
When he accused me of stifling his spontaneity, I laughed again. God forgive me, I probably shouldn't laugh at the reasons for his upset, but when logic dictates he's outlandishly wrong, it's almost impossible not to!
I pointed out that he's basically free to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. It's not like I'm his mother demanding he be home in time for curfew. I never get ruffled when he says he wants to go out to the bar or play dodgeball or meet up with friends at the diner. He goes to Vegas for a week every year and will also pepper in film festival trips, bachelor party stuff and visits to friends out of state.
Never, ever, ever have I given him crap for those things. I'm glad he does them because all these things make him happy. I might text him around 12:30 or something to make sure he's still alive, but I'm never "that wife" who calls up angrily demanding that he get home and be with me because I'm lonely and insecure about what he might be doing.
I admitted that being super spontaneous was a little harder now that he had responsibilities as do his other friends. No one is really able to just go hang out at the diner or take road trips without planning for babysitters and vacation days from work, but somehow, he blames me as if I'm preventing him from going out and being adventurous. Again, I'm the one who pushes to do adventurous stuff while on vacation. I'm the one who wants to go sky-diving. I'm the one who wants to go cave-diving. I'm the one who wants to parasail, try the trapeze and sneak into an off-limits resort. I'm all for doing adventurous, spontaneous stuff, but I recognize that as an adult, sometimes that "adventurous, spontaneous stuff" needs to have at least a bit of planning involved because we're adults with adult responsibilities.
That fact sometimes gets lost on him.
He then lamented how we don't have the same interests - that I've changed. Thing is, his interests have changed as well. He wasn't into dodgeball or cornhole (it's a game, I swear) when we first got married. I don't fault him for diving into these things. I even surprised him one season by participating on a team opposite his. However, he never appreciated that I did that. Instead, he complained that I didn't go enough (I missed two games on account of adult obligations) or that I wasn't as invested as he was. I realized it was about to be a poker situation. When John first taught me to play poker (and in truth, he was a great teacher), my interest was never good enough for him. He always wanted me to "get better." Once, while playing a friendly game with us and his dad, his father actually told him to back off my style because I was beating both of them without his input.
Anyway, funny thing about this is that I've typically placed higher than him in tournaments we've played in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas (on honeymoon). I've consistently done better than him at home games as well. John's a much better technical player than I am, but I'm able to read players like you wouldn't believe. As a result, John's always tried to get me to understand the technical side better to basically make me an unstoppable force. I don't have the mind he does for numbers, so I never cared to push myself in that area (in fact, it's utterly frustrating to me because it's so hard for me to grasp). To me, poker is a fun game to play now and again, but at the time, it was a huge deal to John. However, that faded as other interests cropped up for him, and the soup du jour is dodgeball (but quickly being replaced by cornhole). He's hurt that I haven't taken a more active interest in these things.
And to that point, I can at least understand his frustration. I just wish he'd voiced it sooner. I didn't realize that he wanted me as a cheerleader. I thought I was being supportive by being home with Vince so he could do those things, but he wanted my support on the actual field. Looking back, that makes sense. He took this nothing little league and built it into a dynasty that he's proud of. What started as a group of 20-30 people has turned into a massive WWE-esque community draw. He's proud of it and wanted me, in turn, to be proud of him for it as well.
The thing is, I've always been proud of him for it. I didn't realize he needed me to show that pride by going to everything, though. He wanted to share the friends he made with me whereas I just thought he was content having the independence to enjoy that part of his life like I enjoyed my Religious Education friends separate from him. Besides, I'd tried dodgeball for a season and I sucked at it. I didn't want to keep bringing a team down because I sucked. Heh. Ah well.
Then he complained about me not being physically affectionate with him. I lost my mind a bit here, I admit, because while I fully recognize I'm not a touchy-feely person, I'd gone out of my way to be more physical with him after I realized just how much it upset him. In fact, for the last two or three years, I've been the one initiating most physical affection. He acknowledged the truth of that, but instead of appreciating it, he said that it all came "too little too late."
So basically, he told me that I never had a chance to "make up" for my lack of physical affection because he never actually forgave me for it. Honestly, I wave the BS flag on that. I've forgiven him for countless things over the years. This particular transgression is fully mine to ask forgiveness for (which I did), but he withheld that forgiveness even after seeing the lengths I went to get past my own personal struggle with physical affection. Shame on him. That made me really angry because physical affection is not something I am comfortable with at all. I hate cuddling (ABHOR is probably a better term), I despise sitting on top of each other on couches, and holding hands gets old fast. However, once I understood that physical affection is apparently his love language, I made a point to put my own inhibitions aside and initiate these sorts of things.
And finally, he brought up the fact that he never wanted kids and now here he is with a "second" on the way (because, again, Myla will never count for anything to him). I was incredulous, because the choice to have another child was HIS. HE suggested it. He said he couldn't stand seeing me so upset, so he figured giving me a child would make me happy and stop him from seeing me upset. Again, this wasn't an act of love on his part, folks. This wasn't an act of "I want to grow our family and multiply love." No no. This was him trying to ease his guilty conscience. Getting pregnant right away was somehow my fault, though, because again, I can't do anything right.
Apparently I'm not good enough in any way because as he pointed out, again and again, nothing I do is good enough.
Mind you, that's total sarcasm on my part because I fully appreciate just how much I've done to appease him throughout the years. I'm more than good enough. However, none of that rang true for him because he wanted to push forward with divorce so he could "find happiness."
I'm sorry, but if that boy can't find happiness with a woman who allows him his freedom, doesn't make ridiculous demands of him, gives up her dreams of a large family, doesn't fault him for having a different belief system than hers, and tries her hardest to put him first in all things at the expense of her own heart... he'll never find happiness.
I've given him three children - one of which is awaiting him on the other side of the veil. I've striven to be the best mother possible for them. I've tried to make our home a happy one despite his bipolar tendencies (constantly going back and forth on if he's happy or not). I've swallowed my pride again and again as he's spoken maliciously about me to his family / friends though I'd never do that to him.
But he thinks he'll find a woman who will make him happier? Sorry. If I don't make you happy, kid, no one will. And I told him that. His depression and feelings of insecurity come from inside - absolutely nothing I've ever done or do will change that.
Once I realized that, I realized there was nothing I could do to prevent the divorce. In his mind, this is his only option to "find happiness." He then suggested that maybe he just needed time away to realize what he's got.
I said, "No. Marriage doesn't work like that. Family doesn't work like that. If you proceed with the divorce, I will not take you back. I will never set that as an example to our children. I will never allow them to think that it's acceptable for a husband to go back on his vows to sow his oats and then come back because there's nothing else out there."
I will never allow my children and I to become "second best."
Besides, that's what your dating life is for. Once you vow to be with someone, you stick it out with that person and find ways to make the marriage work. You don't just give up because you're butterflies have fluttered off. I NEVER want my sons to think that this is acceptable behavior because I want my sons to grow up into men - not boys posing as men.
Men take their vows seriously. Men prioritize their wives and children (and not just financially). Men strive to protect, appreciate and nurture their blessings.
I plan to raise my boys with those values, so taking John back would have the opposite effect, I think. Besides, even if I do take him back, he'd likely fall right back into blaming me for his own misguided logic. Again - not something I ever want my boys to witness as their example for what it means to be a man.
So by 4 in the morning, I closed the conversation because I was too tired to respond anymore. I was truly disgusted by him at that point - something I hate to admit because it sounds so cruel. In truth, though, I was. I was also disgusted with myself for having put up with such immaturity for so long... for making so many excuses for him.
And that was that. I told him I would never sign divorce papers. I was clear before we got married about this and while we were going through various issues. I do not believe divorce is right in our situation, but I understood I couldn't stop him from seeking one. However, I stipulated that once he murdered our marriage through divorce, I'd give it a proper burial with an annulment.
As I drifted off to sleep, I realized that this entire conversation happened on March 11th - the day he proposed to me 10 years ago.
Not many things have broken me through this whole process. There are, however, two things that I simply cannot process without feeling my soul tear to shreds.
The first is my children. I am broken over their inevitable hurt and loss.
The second is my family. I'm not worried about my biological family. They're stuck with me regardless. My in-laws, however... they aren't. Sure I'll still be somewhat in the picture on account of the boys, but by and large, to them, I am nothing. Well, I guess I will be.
That hurts more than I can express.
I've never had a great relationship with my own family. For most of my life, I was viewed as a black sheep. I didn't mind this all that much, but it did make me appreciate the welcome I got from John's family. I didn't have to make apologies because there were no misconceptions about who I was. It was a liberating, joyous thing because if there's anything I value, it's family. So for as quickly as they adopted me, I returned their affection seven-fold.
I've been part of this family for 11 years. Now I'm being thrust out of it by someone who doesn't fully appreciate the value of family. He never made the connections with my family that I made with his. Sure, he and my brother get along great, but he never makes an attempt to go see him. I, on the other hand, am always trying to carve out time for family functions. He complains even when we go to stuff for his own family. I just don't get it. I love his family and love spending time with them, but all he can do is complain how it's a waste of time, or so-and-so will be there to make it annoying.
I relish spending time with his family. He tends to relegate himself to the couch with one or two cousins or his sisters to chat while I'm bubbling about talking to everyone else. I enjoy those conversations; he finds them to be pointless nonsense. It's not because of being introverted/extroverted, either. He'll be the life of the party when he's in the midst of friends, but when he's with the family as a whole, he tends to blend into the background unless his father is there (mostly because his father is such a big personality that everyone orbits around him, and with John being close to his dad, he enjoys the fruits of that orbiting).
I dunno. I just never understood John's frustration with his family because they're such good people. I love them all so much and appreciate everything they've ever done to support John, Vince and I. They're so loving, so generous and so thoughtful. To know that I'm going to be ostracized from this group pains me to no end.
I don't think they'd kick me to the curb upon hearing of divorce, mind you. But I know that slowly, I'll be omitted from things. I understand that is the inevitable reality of a broken family. I don't necessarily believe anyone would treat me maliciously, but there's going to be an undercurrent of "she hurt one of our own" because when it comes down to it - I am not one of their own; John is. Vince and Nate are. But me? I am nothing. It will be much easier to blame me than John for whatever perceived issue caused the divorce.
And given that John has thrown me under the bus to these people in the past, it will be a simple conclusion to come to for them with heartbreaking results for me.
What's worse is I'll have no support from my own biological family either. I've never - EVER - spoken poorly of John to any of them. No matter how difficult my marriage to him has been, I've never given my family a hint that there might be something wrong. Why? Because I never wanted to give them any reason to dislike John. I never wanted to give them ammo to use with which to talk behind his back. My mother constantly praises John for what a great SIL he is. She has no idea and never will.
When I do finally tell her of the divorce, I will take all blame strictly on my shoulders. I will leave no trace of doubt that this divorce was my fault, my choice, and my doing. Why? Because I grew up hearing nothing but awful things about my own father. Granted, they were true things, but they still probably shouldn't have been said in front of children. My sister's children now spend a good chunk of time at my mother's house and unfortunately, their father is often a hot topic of conversation - specifically how worthless he is as a father and general human being. It's a terrible situation for those children (and my sister) to be in.
Thus, I refuse to enable them to have any information about John (true or not) that would solicit that sort of behavior in front of my own children. They deserve to grow up thinking their father is a superhero. They don't deserve to hear how much of a disappointment he is, how much of a scumbag he is for leaving his pregnant wife, how much of a disgrace he is for turning his back on his vows.
The only way to protect them from that is to shoulder the burden, myself. I'm not complaining or acting the part of martyr, mind you. Please don't think that. I've spoken to my priest-friend about it and, fully understanding the situation, begrudgingly agreed that my logic was sound.
I feel very much alone in this. I'm so grateful for the few friends who know who have supported me so well, but this is a path I know I must tread alone.
I mean, what do I even call his family members anymore? Do I get to call his parents Ma and Dad? I don't foresee my relationship with my MIL changing, so I think I'd still feel comfortable calling her "Ma," but my FIL?
Oh that kills me.
As I've said before, my FIL has been more a father to me than my own biological one. I love him deeply, and I respect him so much, but it's that same respect that sorta makes me so self-aware around him. He's actually the only person in the world who solicits that response from me, and I think it's because I feel wholly unworthy to be in his presence because he's done so much for me and there's just nothing I will ever be able to do to repay him.
The only time I felt like I'd finally - FINALLY - done something well for him was the moment I handed Vincent to him for the first time. I had just delivered him, and I wouldn't let anyone touch him until I could hand him off to John Sr. I still get choked up when I think of that moment. Knowing how much John Sr. loves family, I knew than handing him his first grandson was the closest I'd ever come to scratching the surface of a payback. Mind you, I know he's never looking to be paid back for anything he's done, but still... it felt so good to finally offer him something of worth.
That's why I was so excited to finally announce Nate's pregnancy. Again, I could finally gift him a new grandchild to take up space in his heart. Heck, the pecking order for my excitement went like this:
1) We're having another baby - YAY!!!
2) Vincent's finally getting a sibling - YAY!!!
3) I can finally give John Sr. another grandchild - YAY!!!
And now? Now I feel like I've disappointed him because his dreams for a happy ever after for his son are dashed. He was confident that I was the right woman for his son, and now his son is telling him that I'm not and I've been a mistake all along.
God help me... losing my father is almost as bad as a losing my husband. It's not because I'm worried I won't get to go on fun trips anymore... or that I'm upset I won't get fancy Christmas presents. None of that matters to me. What matters is that his view of me is going to change if it hasn't already. I'm no longer a daughter... I'm an ex, and maybe worse.
True, I'll always be the mother of his grandsons, but who knows how long that will save me from bitterness and blame?
Oh heaven - I love my MIL / FIL so much. I don't believe my MIL will ever view me negatively, but for my FIL (who is so close to John in so many ways)... I truly do mourn for what is to come.
And finally, what of my niece? Am I no longer to be "Aunt Gina?" Do I not get to purchase her fun things and have her over to play with Vince and Nate because I'm not technically her aunt anymore?
Again, God help me. I love this family and I feel like I'm being stripped of those I value most. And for what? For what?
So John can go chase the unicorn of a perfect family? He's a fool. He HAS the perfect family, he's just too blind to recognize that.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
A friend of mine asked me how I could possibly be coping with a divorce on top of pregnancy. I explained that, for me, it was imperative that I break it up into smaller pieces so I didn't get too overwhelmed. After all, it's terribly easy to get overwhelmed with ANYTHING while pregnant (especially the end of pregnancy when even the thought of standing up is overwhelming).
Trying to figure out what life is supposed to look like without your husband, without a job, without the family you've known and loved for more than a decade, without all the familiar and supportive hands that helped you move forward... it is oppressively overwhelming. Looking at the big picture is simply too taxing at this point, so in my mind, I've cut things into more manageable chunks. The chunks still suck, mind you. I mean, if you hate eating liver, cutting it up into bite-sized portions doesn't make the experience of eating liver any more pleasurable, but it does enable you not to constantly choke from having it shoved in all at once.
Thus far, I've only experienced two pieces of the divorce. First was telling his parents. Getting his stuff out of the house and completing the renovation is the second. Each small piece, though devastating in its own right, is less menacing because I don't allow those pieces to carry the weight of the entire divorce. Each is its own monster, and like Mega Man defeats one "evil robot" after the other, I'm tackling one "bad bot" at a time so I'm not stuck fighting a bunch of crazy bots at once. I can take a breather, recharge, and take comfort in my tiny successes so that I remember that I'm capable of surviving.
His decision, however much it hurts, will never actually kill me. It certainly feels like it might sometimes, but as I push forward, more and more "success" is proving that I'm much stronger and much more capable than I'd realized.
His choices do not define me; HIS choice, however, has:
When John solidified his stance on the divorce, I knew I only had a brief span of time to get things in order so he didn't indefinitely stretch the time frame.
He agreed to take the $30k meant for a down-payment on his parents' home and, instead, put it towards all the renovations in our own home that he's neglected these last 8 years. So, to ensure that things actually started happening, I had contractors out the wazoo coming to give me estimates on stuff. When I wasn't talking with contractors, I was looking up stuff online to see how much things like faucets, vanities, carpet and tile cost. It took me about 3 weeks of research, but I got the number down from $30k to about $18k for the whole house - that includes 2 completely new bathrooms, paint throughout, carpeting / laminate throughout, exterior updates and general updates.
The renovations started on June 8th. In order to get as much done as quickly as possible (because again, not only is the baby arriving in July, but John tends to push off everything), I'm having everything done one after another. The whole house will be complete (hopefully) by July 2nd.
That's right - 8 years of pushed-off work will be completed in less than one month because I was finally given the green light to get them done.
Anyway, since the painters are coming to resurface what used to be our master bedroom walls to make them ready for Nathan on Monday, I reminded him that he needed to clear out the bedroom. He called a couple friends over and this is what I came home to after Mass. I admit, it hurt so much more than I expected.
It looked like the room had been absolutely ransacked. The "stuff" in the corner is basically all I have for Nathan at this point. As I looked around, there was trash strewn everywhere. He had likely gone through drawers / the closet and just tossed to the side stuff that wasn't "his." And of course, at the end of the clip is a shot of my wedding dress, hanging - forlorn - on the back of the door.
I closed the door, went across the hall to Vincent's room, sat on his empty bed, and sobbed. That room looked exactly as I felt - ravaged, torn apart, dirty and "left over." I know this might sound strange, but looking at that room was like looking at my soul.
I didn't know what to do or who to share my brokenness with, so I reached out to my CathSo family for support. Oh, what brokenness.
However, I knew this was the only way to move on. I had known it would be difficult, brutal and messy, but I also knew it was necessary. I stand by that.
I cleared the rest of the room and when John came back, had him remove the trash and move Nate's stuff to temporary storage in Vince's room. Then, I closed the bedroom door. I will not open it again until the painters have finished resurfacing and painting the walls. I shut the door on my past and will not open that door until it becomes the image of my future. By the end of this week, it will be. It will no longer represent my ravaged heart; it will represent the blessing God has laid out before me in Nathan.
The title of that entry will undoubtedly be "Behold, I make all things new."
Amen, Lord. That is why we must thank Him even amidst our tears, for He can see beyond them.
I hate being so miserable. This entire situation has upended my life, but I try to push on as if my husband hasn't just stabbed me through the heart and stripped me of everything and everyone that I love.
This constant facade of "I'm okay, I'm not dying, I'm in control" is more taxing than anything I've struggled with before. It's taking its toll.
In addition to pregnancy making it all but impossible to sleep, when I DO sleep, I'm woken up by anxiety. And that anxiety gives way to anger, because I'm frustrated that John can sleep soundly, completely unaware of how much his thoughtless, callous actions have destroyed my will to breathe.
God help me. I am too broken to go forward. Everything hurts. Everything.
Oh, but you give me a kick forward through Nate's gymnastics within me, don't You? And there is Vince, coaxing unabated joy from my heart with his smile. But how am I deserving of these blessings? How is it possible that their light - YOUR light - still reaches into this cavern I've been unwittingly thrust into?
Love. Love, Lord. I understand that, and I feel that. Even in this bitterness, you make known Your Sweetness.
But then I collapse into myself because that sweetness does not make sense to me. Such joy does not belong in a place so desolate and void of compassion. Forgive me, Lord, but I turn away from You because You shouldn't be here with me. You should be draped in finery, not the filth of broken vows.
And even though on a logical level I understand that this is not my doing, I can't help but feel that it is. So I turn away. I turn away to console myself with shame and self-rejection, as if such things could ever rectify the injustice wrought upon me. Somehow, it feels right. It doesn't feel good, but it does feel right.