Still Here. Still Trying.

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The saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun” is not what comes to mind when describing my little six months + hiatus from blogging. It has been a rough half-year.

Nothing catastrophic or life changing. Just. . .life. Will and I have had the least healthy period in our lives. From flu, to bronchitis, to pneumonia to surgeries and infections…well…we are both currently healthy and looking forward to a warm active summer. But, I gotta say, it’s been a long, cold winter of discontent.

We had an odd Thanksgiving. No family this year…just the two of us. I had a minor surgery on my wrist in early November which got infected, then became critical requiring a second procedure and a pic line of antibiotics. It put a damper on the day for sure. This was the beginning of our (insert ominous music here) season of sickness. We had a quick trip to see daughter number 2 and her family, then had a lovely time decorating this new home for Christmas and enjoyed shopping for family. We had a peace and contentment with the season until about a week before Christmas, we both came down with the flu. The I-wish-God-would-just-end-my-misery-with-merciful-death kind of flu. We struggled through Christmas Eve dinner and then a short visit to daughter 1 on Christmas Day. Then quarantined ourselves for the next week and a half. We delayed our annual New Year’s Day feast for a full week as we just couldn’t manage. A series of disturbing laboratory results for me was followed by the same wrist surgery for Will. By February, we were both suffering from medical fatigue. Too many trips to doctor appointments, hospital visits and consultations. In March, our beloved canine child began failing and we lost him to pneumonia among other old age maladies. Then, bronchitis and pneumonia laid us out for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, we have a different doctor than our dog and we were not put down. 😏 Anyway, we are both now feeling better and still working hard on our marriage and recovery.

All of this illness has been such a harsh reminder of our mortality and our very human frailty. In the midst of some of our worst days over the last few months, it was impossible not to think about the what if’s. What if one of us did not survive the flu from hell? What if that infection had paralyzed or disabled me? What if that pneumonia was so severe that Will could not be cured? And, what if I was alone throughout this season of sickness?

The words, “in sickness and in health,” keep coming into my mind. In our, now nearly 39 years, of marriage, we have had more sickness (emotionally, physically and psychologically) than health. And yet, here we are. Still working on full health. Still recovering. Still here…together. Still trying.

I am heartened by this wonderful quote from Jeffrey R. Holland-

“Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

There ARE good things to come.

Leigh ❤️

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On Being Lonely

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Will and I used to have such a “great” social life…back in the day. Lots of friends, lots of parties, fun times out, friends over for dinners and holidays. We really were a go to couple for social gatherings and good times. What I didn’t know was that Will was more than social with more than a few of those so-called friends at the time. In 1995, I had had enough of Will’s drinking and abuse. He had ruined us financially with his gambling and finally disclosed his serial cheating. (I thought completely at the time..he was still lying) I was leaving. I went back to my faith and began making plans for divorce. Will seemed resigned at first but then had a change of heart. He, too, began to attend church and we reconciled. He seemed to be a new man. I never saw him drink, he cleaned up his language and never laid a hand on me in anger again. Because he dutifully served in the church, I believed his sexual acting out and gambling had stopped too. Our social life changed. We had a few close couple friends who knew our story and were with us through our life changing conversion from party people to a solid family committed to our marriage and to God. Then we got orders and moved.

It is always difficult in a new place in the military lifestyle. It takes a little while to find one’s niche…one’s posse…one’s crew. But this move was a little harder. At church we felt at odds telling anyone about Will’s past…at least Will did. he didn’t want me to give anyone details…so I didn’t. He didn’t go out drinking with anyone at work and didn’t really like anyone he now worked with. I had friends at my job and tried to go on double date nights with Will and my friends and their hubby’s.Nothing ever clicked. We had several good friends thru church and had an active enough social life in that respect…just no one we felt really close to. I felt like we were hiding the big secret that was Will’s “former” life.

Will retired from the military and got a great job. I thought maybe this would lead to some new social opportunities. But, no. A couple of great company trips and hanging out at resorts with his co-workers…but that’s it. He moved within the company to a new division and, well, he didn’t really seem interested in making good friends or introducing me to anyone. I retreated into myself. I began to find it harder and harder to make friends. I dreaded questions about Will and I. How long we had been married. Where we had lived. Why had we fallen from our faith and what had brought us back. It became easier to just rely on my family, my kids, who knew our history.  I would find a group of girlfriends at work, but when talk of the past or of personal stuff came up, the friendships became scary for me and I would just sort of let them go. I know now that I was suffering from unresolved trauma but did not know what it was. All I knew was I felt much like I always had…there was something shameful and embarrassing in our past and I shouldn’t talk about it. So I didn’t.

I felt myself slowly diminish into a shadow of myself for 20 years. 20 long years. I was so alone. I had my children…and then my grandchildren. I took care of my home, my husband, my family, my job, was a dutiful daughter and sister. A faithful church member and friendly neighbor. But I was so very lonely. My oldest daughter had never been able to stand me. I think she loved me, but it was somewhere very deep within her. She admits to hating me for a very long time. My son was away on a mission for two years and my younger daughter lived out-of-state.  I had my two dogs…which Will did NOT want to get but allowed and did love eventually. Still, I was alone. Will began to travel a lot. I was lonelier still.

In 2013, an amazing thing happened. My younger daughter moved home! Her husband had been stationed at our nearby base and they bought a home less than 5 mins from me. I was ecstatic! My four grandkids and my best-friend-daughter-that-never-hated-me was home! I wasn’t lonely for the first time in decades! They would go to the zoo and invite me. I wanted to go out to lunch and would call them. They needed someone to help with Halloween costumes…I was there! It was glorious! I was happy! Will would go out-of-town and it was ok…I would go over for movie night.

Then D-day. My daughters were the first people I called. They came over. My oldest preferred to call Will before getting to the house. In the meantime, my sweet daughter who shared everything with me and me with her, did not take the news that I had asked Will to leave the house because I caught him having an affair. She screamed. And then said simply, “I can’t be here.” And left. My older daughter came in and told me that Will was staying at her house and she already knew what had happened…she had just gotten off the phone with him. She offered to stay with me for a few minutes. My son called and all he could say was, “Oh my Gosh.” He just kept repeating that. His sweet wife texted me 30 minutes later saying she loved me, came stay with them out-of-state for awhile if I needed to.

And then. . .nothing. I was left to myself. My oldest called to make sure I was “okay.” My younger daughter did not call. My son texted, “I love you, mom.” None of the kids could or would talk to me. I foolishly thought that after protecting them and nurturing them their whole lives, they would be there for me when I was so very alone. I was wrong.

Later when I found out the full extent of the betrayal from Will, I called and told my mother. I told her about Will and my sister. She took my sister’s side. My sister attacked me via text with such vile and disgusting language I had to block her.  I no longer have a mom or a sister. My older sister died just after this incident two years ago and I was threatened if I came home for the funeral. Tomorrow, my older sister would have been 58. Again, I was a fool to think that after supporting my mother, bailing her out financially, protecting my sister and being there for here time and time again…there would be comfort or support for me. Again, I was wrong. Neither of them are part of my life anymore.

Now, over two years after D-day, I am again alone. We have moved again. Our new church does not know our history or the trauma. They do not know us. I am afraid of the questions. Why did you move? (Because my husband screwed a nasty herpes infested whore in every room of my old house and it reeked of skank and deceit.) Yeah…not the best way to gain new friends.

My younger daughter and her family have moved again too…out of state. But, that relationship has never been the same. I no longer have a best friend. My older daughter is still here and she no longer hates me, so that is good. But we are not best friends. I don’t have friends. I am so very, very alone.

Will works farther away from home now, twice the drive to and from, so is home with me less. I am physically alone most of my day…every day. I talk to my dog…and the robot vacuum. I don’t like who I am becoming. And I haven’t got the first clue how to change it. It is exhausting even thinking about trying to make friends. I am terrified that somehow, someone will *gasp* find out! That we will be looked at as “those” people. The pressure of living an isolated, hidden, shameful life is slowly killing me. How? How do I get past this, blogger friends? What do I do? Please help!

Leigh ❤️

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Recovery. . .

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A couple of weeks ago, on my way to my twice monthly appointment with Ron the Therapist, I stopped to get gas. I had been shopping on the East side of town and stopped at a place I have never been. I had plenty of time before I had to meet Will at the therapist’s office so planned on running my car through the car wash after filling up.  My car never got that wash. As I was only a couple of gallons in, I heard a voice, with a little chuckle in it, calling my name. I turned and there he was. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in many, many, many months. Not gonna lie…I HAD thought of him. He was the first man with whom I realized sex was more than just something to be endured because the man enjoyed it. He was THAT guy. The man with whom I had had my PTSD fog-filled affair.  Then why, oh why, did seeing him there, unexpected, make my heart flip-flop and my knees turn to jelly? All of the sudden, things occurred in the ‘ole nether regions, that had long been asleep. Against all recovery advice, I did not politely extricate myself from his presence and leave. I couldn’t. I. Physically. Could. Not. We talked. We both kept smiling. He asked if we could pull over and get coffee. My brain said NO! OF COURSE NOT! But I heard my voice say, “sure.” Now, before anyone out there thinks I completely lost my mind…NO! Absolutely nothing happened. Zero. We talked. He bought me a soda. We caught up. He kept saying how great I looked. And kept asking if I was happy. I kept thanking him and assuring him I was working hard. He left for work (night shifts), I headed to my marriage counseling appointment.

So, here is my problem. I have kept this whole thing to myself. Not a word to Ron the Therapist. And worse-not a word to Will. And I have no idea why!  It isn’t that I feel guilt. For whatever reason I don’t. Nothing happened and after all is said and done, I know that I will always care for this man. Love? No. Affection? Absolutely. Why, you ask? Simply because he was kind, compassionate, sensual, thoughtful and loving when I was at my most needy and vulnerable. And, because despite everything, he gave me something I have never had before. Fulfillment. That is not easily forgotten.

I am struggling with this because I feel that I need to be honest with Will and with Ron the Therapist, but there is a perverse need in me to keep this to myself. It’s almost as if I am savoring it and holding it close.  I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t want to share it, or give it away, or make it an issue. I want to be selfish and keep it for myself. In just seeing and talking to him, I felt beautiful and sexy and desired and funny, and smart and loved. Why doesn’t Will make me feel that?  What is wrong with me?

Time

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Time is a funny thing. The older I get the more elusive time tracking gets for me. My memory is so very crystal clear about many things; my grandchildren’s sweet faces and words, my kids as they have grown into such amazing adults and parents themselves, places I have been, things I have experienced, foods I have tasted, feelings. . . Ah….here is where my memories become so muddied and time seems stilted and disjointed.  So many of my memories are not just sights and sounds and smells, but the feelings that accompanied those senses. And those feelings get jumbled when the lens of betrayal is placed on them. And I have no choice but to see things through that lens now, because nothing is as I thought. And then the time warp begins. I desperately want those good feelings to remain intact. I want the happiness and contentment I thought I felt to stay firmly in place. I need my memories of my life to remain stable and sane (relatively 😳) so that I feel sane and stable. Relatively. Only they are not. Nothing was what it seemed. Time cannot be regained. Tainted memories cannot be erased. History will not be rewritten.

June 30th marked 38 years of marriage for Will and I. I have been committed and engaged and working hard on being married for at least 36 of those years. (There were some really horrible times when I just didn’t care and wanted to leave.) For Will, he has been really, truly a married man for nearly two years. I still feel so cheated and cheated on. I still have so much resentment. I still hurt. I’m still triggered…way more than I want to be, or feel that I should. Will is still doing all the recovery stuff he is supposed to do. . . But. . .

I caught him taking a second look today at a woman in short shorts at CostCo. The look of guilt on his face was not one of  “I can’t believe I stumbled in my recovery.” It was more like, “Crap, I got caught!” I spiraled. I’m not good. I’m mad, I’m hurt, I’m disgusted, I’m. . .I don’t know…but not good. I feel like he has been doing double takes and fantasizing all along and lying about it, and I only just now caught him because he got sloppy. I HATE this. I am doing some self care. I have asked for some distance..not physically..just detach for awhile so I can process.

I just want this to stop. I don’t want to be this person and I don’t want to live like this forever. When will it get better?

Two

 

IMG_0492Two years. TWO YEARS. That is how long it’s been since I trusted Will. That’s how long it’s been since I felt secure. That’s how long it’s been since I felt innocent and clean. Two years ago, on May 17, 2015, I saw Will’s phone with a texted picture of Danielle posing for him in the Victoria Secret lingerie he bought her. I saw Will looking at me with a terrified face and saying, “It’s only texting! Nothing more!” Still trying to deny it as I read about how he liked the way her ass felt in his hands. . .

We met today with our counselor and discussed why I have been on edge this past week since returning home from a visit with my son and his family. Well, it turns out that there are a lot of triggers this time of year that I have been stuffing down and they all came up today, my 2 year mark from D-day. We leave for Florida in a week. Two years ago, in Florida, Will was distant, even mean, and unable to perform sexually. I asked him what was wrong…was it me? Was there someone else? He gaslighted me to the point that I apologized and cried. How DARE I even ask him that after he brought me to Florida?!

Last night we went to my grandsons sixth birthday party. Two years ago, we had his fourth birthday party at a pizza place. Will was distant, and disconnected from me and the grandkids. He kept disappearing. . .to the restroom, to go get more napkins, to find a waiter for more sodas. And he would be gone for quite a while.

He was on his phone. With Danielle. Like he was in Florida. Talking. And texting. And sexting. About what they did and what they were going to do next time they were together.

So, this has been in my vault. Locked away behind my every day stuff. Behind the mom and grandma stuff that I have been handling. Behind the new home and the fledgling renewed marriage stuff. Behind the trying to find my way in a different place and different type of life stuff. Buried far beneath the happy face and “I’m OKs” and the caretaker and nestbuilder and fun grandma, caring mom, content wife facade that covers so much, and that I thought I had given up for my newer, bolder, more genuine ME.

So, I begin, again, to re-emerge from the darker recesses of myself which I allow the people I love to place me. They don’t do it purposely. They are used to a certain me. One they love, but maybe more important, one they really like.  I am not always that likeable me anymore…because that takes so much effort. Effort that I don’t always have. I allowed it today as my oldest daughter called to unload about the difficulties she was having with my oldest granddaughter. I listened, I offered my shoulder to cry on, I offered the advice she was seeking. Then I got off the phone and fell apart. Because it was too much. Too much for today. Too much other ugly, sad, hurt on a day when ugly, sad and hurt were already overwhelming me. It was hurtful that no one knew that today was d-day for me, except Will. And he tried. And, I guess, looking back, that is saying quite a lot. He tried, he IS trying. WE are trying.

I will be glad when I wake up tomorrow and it won’t be today anymore.

 

All In The Family

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I haven’t blogged in awhile. Not because everything is great, not because everything is terrible. But just because of everything. The everydayness, the everythoughtness, the everymemoryness, the every-everythingness of what is my life now. Now that I know. Now that my children, my oldest grandchildren, some other family members and close friends, all know.  I am in a sort of a limbo state wondering what is next.

In the meantime, it has become glaringly apparent that Will’s addictions and past behaviors have had deep and profound repercussions within our family. The thing with addiction and recovery is that it is never, ever just about one person or one behavior or even one addiction really. There are so many minute little pieces that fit, sometimes grudgingly, into the puzzle of one’s dysfunctional life. What happened to someone, or to someone they love, or perhaps something they witnessed, or a multitude of other scenarios can cause trauma. Trauma that is not dealt with is so often stuffed down, or medicated, or manifested thru more dysfunctional behavior–like addiction. Causing more trauma. It is a difficult and sometimes a lifelong project to break the cycle.

My oldest daughter had a very, VERY, drama-filled adolescence. Much of it of her own making, but some of which, looking back, was spurred on by her wanting the attention of a distant sex obsessed narcissistic father and an insecure preoccupied fearful mother. Both of whom drank to excess, Will as an alcoholic and me as an enabler, and had NO idea how to deal with a strong-willed, smart, independent teenager. After “Ann’s” many rebellions thru running away, drug use, boys, and utter hatred spewed toward both Will and I, she managed to graduate from High School and land a full ride scholarship to the State University. A full 3 hour drive from home, I admit, it was somewhat of a relief to have her out of the house and away from influencing our younger two kids. Will and I quit drinking ( I did, he said he did and lied…shocker), He confessed his “minor” and infrequent infidelities (not all of them it turned out…shocker) and recommitted to our marriage during this time. We moved again and tried to look forward and start fresh.

Ann lasted one year at school. She announced she was bringing someone home to meet us. She showed up with a tall, skinny, kinda goofy-looking guy with big ears. She had been dating him for a little over a month, I think, at the time. And she was pregnant. She was 19. She moved in with Mickey (the ears, sorry 😏) and he got a job as a waiter in their college town. Our first grand baby was born and it was love at first site. As time passed, we learned that Mickey was an alcoholic and drug addict…and he was abusive. We drove the now six hours more than once to save Ann and the baby and bring them home to safety while Mickey sobered up. Ann continued to play this game…for eight long years. When we discovered that Ann, too, was an active drug abuser and suicidal, we sued for custody of our then eight year old granddaughter and her little one year old brother. I remember arguing with Will, only convincing him to take the kids because if not for us, they would have gone into foster care. No grandchild of Will’s was going to be a ward of the state! After two years of rehab and then, blessedly, a divorce from now incarcerated felon Mickey, Ann began to make a new life for her and our two sweet grandchildren. She then married a great guy who adopted these kids and loves them so very much. They together have a third. Ann is now a licensed therapist. And an alcoholic. In perpetual relapse. And continually trying to deal with her now difficult teenage daughter. Who has come home drunk, has run away, has boy issues. . .and is currently, for the last week, in a behavior mental health facility for an attempted suicide after being beaten up by her current boyfriend. The same one I was in. She is 17.

Her confidante and the person she feels comfortable talking to the most? Will. She knows some of what his addictions were and what he has done. She also knows and has seen how he has changed over the last almost 2 years (D-day is May 17, 2015).  Ann’s go-to person in crisis? Me. She does not comprehend how I was able to cope with all the crapweasle things she did as a teenager. She is having such a difficult time trying to cope with the same crapweasle behavior from her teenager now. And she is desperately trying to stay sober while doing so. All I can tell her is to rely on God and surrender it. There is no magic pass. There is no passing go and collecting money. These is no going around or over or under…only going through.

I have two other grown children. They have no addictions. . .that I know of. I have eight other grandchildren. I pray hard for all of them that thy NEVER have to experience this brutal, unrelenting trial of addiction and abuse. I want the cycle to end. I hate that addiction is such a prevalent problem and that it festers and grows in silence and fear. I hate that families, everywhere, everyday, are torn apart by its effects and fallout. I hate that my family has been so devasted by it…because of Will…and his parents. And who knows beyond that. All I know is that it needs to stop. All of it. For our own health, for the good of marriages and relationships and families everywhere.

There Are Still Days…

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Sometimes, I am going along in my life, doing the things that I do, and I am fine. Really. I mean, I feel (almost) like any other woman, married, with kids and grandkids, pursuing hobbies, living life. Sometimes. But, not always. Still, too often, I am weighed down by the knowledge that the one person in my life that I gave my heart and soul, my hopes and dreams, my trust and love to…betrayed me. So many times and with so many women, that even he is not sure of the number. And it still hurts. Just as deeply and indescribably raw as when I discovered his deceit. And then I have one of “those” days.

I struggle to rise from bed, and when I do, it seems a monumental task to get dressed or open the blinds to the glaring sunlight. Leaving the house…going “out there” among normal people…is unthinkable. It is safer here. Within the walls of this new home, where no other woman has bared herself for my husband’s use. Where pornography has never been viewed and phone sex with some desperate whore has never been had. It is safe to withdraw to my computer, to my writing, to my art, to my books. Although, sometimes, even those things don’t interest me. That is when I know my depression has taken over and that is my scary place.

So, I pray. I call other partners. I work my program. I try to engage in something…anything…to occupy my thoughts. I use all the tools in my toolbox to pull myself back to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it takes a lot of work. But, I am still here. Day in, day out. Fighting for me, for who I want to be, for who I know I can become. It’s exhausting. And there is still part of me that hates Will for doing this to me…to us. I don’t know if that will ever go away. The hate is scary too.

Today is one of those days and I am praying hard and begging God to take this from me. I welcome your prayers today. ❤