Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Your body knows, you know.  Even if you didn't jot down that date on the calendar.

It has been well documented here how agitated I've been this week and days ago I consulted the wall calendar to see if it was the anniversary of Embryo M.'s (who I don't like to talk about) positive pregnancy test but that's on the 20th.


Reviewing the past, you can point out the life changing events; August holds three for me.  Both of my pregnancies existed during an August and while I was thrilled about Toren's pregnancy, the way it ended and the loneliness aftermath, August where Toren is concerned is .... bittersweet?  no... ironic?  no... acrid?  perhaps.  It's a huge slap in the face, like, "here you go, here is a baby, conceived in love, inspiring further expansion of spousal love, making it look like you are finally on the right path and things are about to become beautiful - heeheehee ... HaHaHa ... HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Just kidding!  I can't believe she fell for that one!" 

What's the word for that?

August is also when I found proof that my husband was a cheating liar.  It was August 2004.

I could search through old handwritten journals to identify when I started to suspect that hubby was searching for lovin' outside of our home but I know the suspicions were there by August of 2003.  My undergrad degree was completed in May 2003 and we were taking a year to save money and figure out where to move to, which would depend on the graduate program I got in to.  At some point that summer I said that we need to re-evaluate our marriage and if things do not improve by moving time we would go our separate ways.  But we got so caught up in the excitement of buying a house in a new city and moving across the country that we forgot to consider if we wanted to be together.

It felt like a new beginning for our marriage since we were so far from the girls he had crushes on and for about 3 months I was very hopeful for our future, after all, we had our first house and I got into a competitive grad program which surely would make me more attractive to him.  Intelligence and drive are pretty, right?

A tangent that is important to the story:  There was no college prep in my family.  I graduated from high school and floundered around the west coast until deciding to attend college.  That didn't work out so well.  Coming from a poor family means no college fund and my mother, frustrated from paying on her student loans for decades for a degree she didn't finish, told me not to take out student loans.  So I worked 2-3 jobs at a time for a couple of years to save money for college and let me tell you that it is very hard to pay for college on minimum wage and it's hard to attend classes while working enough to pay for college.  I got married, moved away from my mother and her advice and got student loans to attend a state university.  I loved undergrad!  Loved, loved, loved!  So much that I wanted more.  A class taken in my junior year pointed to the direction for graduate school and I wanted the best program!  It was almost ridiculous to think that a person like me (poor family, state university) could attend a top school but I got in and when the email stating my acceptance arrived I jumped up and down like a kid.  All of this to say that attending this graduate program was the most important thing to me at that time.  There was nothing I wanted more.

During grad school orientation week in late August 2004 I was using hubby's computer and found Yah.oo chats where he was asking to see photos of girl after girl and if they sent one he would say "very nice", even if they weren't.  Some engaged in chats and he would ask to meet them and described his penis and when questioned further confessed to being married but not being sexually compatible with his wife.  There was one where he made plans to meet the woman, for a discreet adult encounter, and it was set for a time a few weeks prior when I  was out of town.

Again, there is not a good word for the feelings upon reading those messages.  I suspected stuff but seeing proof is ... life shattering.  I remember sitting on the floor of our bedroom in the house we bought 3 months earlier making this noise that I didn't think was possible - it was between a wail and a moan and a scream.

It's hard to learn something new and horrible about the person you think you know best - the person who promises that he loves you.  He denied it all at first even though I was reading what he had written back to him.

That was a Wednesday.

As cheated on folk know, then comes the question of what to do next.  As a teenager I had promised myself that I would not stay with someone who cheated on me; I had seen that pattern and the accompanying lack of self esteem many times. We were out of money having spent all of our savings on the house and move.  I didn't have a job since we planned that I would just go to school.  My options were to stay with him to attend school or move back to the other coast and live with my mother. 

At 10am the following Monday I was in class, appearing "normal" while secretly hating myself for not being desirable enough to inspire marital faithfulness and completely lacking self respect.


Anyhoo, August holds memories.  August holds the anniversaries of choices made that led down a road that would be questioned later.

I should have correctly interpreted the glaring signs in August 2003 and left the marriage.  August 2004 was a second huge sign.  That's bullshit, it was more than a sign, it was more than a suspicion that could be debated away, it was PROOF that he was a liar and had no regard for my feelings or those stupid vows we made to each other on the day we married.  But I didn't have the perspective and resources that come with experience that I do now; the events of August 2003 and 2004 would have inspired very different responses if I knew then what I know now.


August 13, 2007 was the day when I took a home pregnancy test and found out that Toren existed.  I didn't know anything about him but I knew that I loved the little being that joined our family.  It's been 3 years and 1 day since my being has been focused on Toren's health and happiness.  It feels like yesterday.

Two years ago, on the anniversary of the last day that I didn't worry about Toren (8/12/200), I wrote:

What would I tell my self of a year ago who had no clue that a nightmare was tip toeing up right behind her? It would be "My Dear Girl, you have mere hours of blind bliss left, enjoy these moments of being young and carefree". A year ago I would have argued about that carefree bit since my cares started rather early in life; who knew those were relatively lighthearted days.

What I would give for thoughts from my self a year from now. Next August 12 will I be remarking on how much beauty and joy has entered my life or will it be another shell shocked statement of "didn't see that

A year later the response:

Well Anna from the past, if you could have heard your thoughts from the future, this is what you would have been told ...

You will still be a bit shell shocked from living another year without Toren and a good portion of a year without your husband - yes, he will leave your ass without hardly a word. But by August 12, 2009 you will also be so thankful for the joy that entered your life. You never would have believed that housemates would be a good situation for you but it is so great having C and L around! Also, you will spend this terrorversary with a boy - he's nice and fun to be around and tonight we see if he can cook. 

Three years later?
Anna of the past, that boy from 8/2009 stuck around!  He is super sweet and you are eager for him to move in with you.  Life is still messy and when Toren died almost 3 years ago you would have run away screaming if anyone told you that you would still be mourning for that little guy today.  The comparison of what was lost is still overwhelming any gains BUT you gained things that you didn't even know were missing!  You have your own thoughts and are learning how to stop suppressing them; this is harder than it sounds.  Life without your husband is necessary and should have happened a long time ago, but the past is what it is.  By the way, you still can't stand your ex and sometimes stalk him on facebook ... maybe that will change by next year.  Of course your present life began with Toren's death, would you trade self-awareness and a non emotionally abusive relationship to have Toren with you?  Well, this question is unanswerable.  Toren DID die.  It already happened and cannot be undone.  All you can do is try your best no matter what horrible situations you are dropped into, I suppose.

Thus begins year 3.


Kristin said...

Progress is good and, from reading this, you are making progress. I hope everything about your life continues to improve.

Sophie said...

Your ex pisses me off. Scum bag. Grrr.

I hope this year brings you lovely, wonderful things. I will be looking forward to next August's evaluation. I hope it contains something very special.


Amy said...

August is an emotionally charged month for you. Yikes. I hope year three brings with it more healing and some pleasant experiences.

cgd said...

It is amazing to me how far you have come and just how much you have been through. I know this month is a mix of emotions and memories for you. I wish you love and happiness in this third year.

Barbara said...

I hope year 3 brings so much new joy and more healing.


*sharp virtual kick to the ex's shin*

Quiet Dreams said...

I think I hate your ex almost as much as I hate my own.

I also find it amazing to look back across the years and wonder if I had known then...and what will the next year bring?

I hope it brings joy, joy, joy for you.

Carly said...

Insight. Amazing hey?

Year 3 wow. Sometimes I stand still and wonder how on Earth I ever made it out the other end. Yet here we are with years and years passing.

Grief brings with it such confusion and such clarity at times.

Jenn said...

Ah, August must be quite a month for you. Wising you peace and strength and that September is here before you know it.

Ya Chun said...

You are in such a better place three years out.

And definitely better off without the ex.

Catherine W said...

August. Not much fun for me either.

Adding my sharp virtual kick to Barbara's above. The Ya.hoo chat thing just made me feel awful for you. And angry for you. Or the you who you were then. The Anna of 2004 who I never knew.

I'm so sorry that he made you doubt yourself back then.

I love your reflections back to yourself. I think that there are so many unanswerable questions in life but, given the starting point that we are both setting out from, we are trying our best.

Your third year sounds good. xo

Liz said...

Oh, I'm glad you are doing well. I am sorry August is full of so much. It seems both good and bad. But it is good you are doing well.

(I am still reading. I've read everything. You sound so much happier, even if you do find yourself still sad.)

janis said...

Goodness, Marie, what a heavy month August is!! ((hugs)) I am sorry I am so late to this and hope the days ahead will be brighter. I am amazed how you journaled and is able to look back and see your beautiful growth! It gels so well with the new look of your blog.
Sending peace vibes to you, and thinking of Toren.