When I came to Lake Havasu, the circumstances surrounding this move were supposed to be happy. I cried myself to sleep for two months. I missed my husband so much and regretted abandoning him. I never expected it would take so long.
For several weeks I called the Public Health Department to find out where Steve was in the process. I was polite, but insistent in trying to get his career on track and get him out of the place we didn’t like. I kept my mind occupied by renovating the house.
My anger with God, something I had always struggled with, grew in me again. Why, God? Why can’t we just start our new lives together? Why is it when I cry out to you, you ignore me? Finding one of my Cross necklaces in my jewelry box, I hurled God into the closet and slammed the door as if saying go back in the box you came from.
In July, Steve finally came. Things were looking up. By the end of August, I was in school and working for a housecleaning business so that I could have weekends off.
I floated lazily in our pool soaking up the afternoon sun. Paddling to Steve, I gave him the look of love. What he returned nearly toppled me from the air mattress.
“Do you ever think of having a boyfriend, and he could come live with us?”
My blank stare answered the question.
“You could have someone,” he continued obliviously. “I could have someone. We could share the bills, the responsibilities. You could have a friend to go shopping with . . . .”
For nearly seven years, he always talked about threesomes with his friend and his first wife, and now with his second wife. Visions of hedonistic cruises made my skin crawl. It got to the point where I was so sick of them talking about it I would ignore them and leave the room. I prayed so hard that he would stop and that God would change his heart.
Unlike the past pestering, this request was serious.
“What do you think?”
What do I think? Are you mental? My brain screamed as my tongue lay useless in my mouth. Finally, I managed, “I want you. I don’t want anyone else. I’m not that kind of person,” I knew he found someone. I could feel it.
As my fragile world descended to the bottom of the pool, denial bubbled up to drown my panicked mind. Imagining my life without him and the security he provided terrified me. I shoved the idea out of my head as quickly as it came. I loved my all too comfortable world of denial.
Sunday, September 18th, my boss called and left a message. I would only be working three days this week again instead of four. My husband was furious, which only resulted in an argument. I told him I was a wife and not a bank, and the job market was terrible in Lake Havasu. Not wanting to hear my excuses, he told me I needed to look harder. Yet, that previous Friday, I came home from the unemployment office with no job results and sore feet.
The argument turned for the worse, and I ran off to spend the rest of the day in the bedroom. That was when he told me he wanted a divorce. He was tired of the arguments and tired of my depression and mood swings that I attempted to fix, but had failed miserably.
Distraught, I left for work the next morning to quit my job. I got home as he got up for work, and I told him I quit my job and went back to bed. When I woke up, I saw his wedding ring on the coffee table. My eyes stared in disbelief. I fell to the floor, unable to breathe.
I thumbed through the phone book looking for marriage counselors. Unbeknownst to me, he was seeking a divorce lawyer. That night I tried to approach him on the counseling, but he said it was too late, he was filing. Many times, Steve encouraged me to get counseling, but it was always a one-way session. All the therapists wanted him to be involved as well, but he would never go. I was always the one who had problems and needed to be fixed. Marriage is work, and he never wanted to work at it. After a few pointless sessions, I would stop going.
Hurricane “Steve” hit with a mighty force, and I crumbled spiritually and physically. Twelve years of marriage and just starting our new lives, he was going to leave me, and there was nothing I could do about it. Well, what did you expect when he only married you so that you could get financial aid? mocked the inner voice. I expected so much more. I thought if he married me, we could have a normal, happy life together. But you cannot bargain for happiness.
The next two weeks he discussed what he was giving me and how we were going to file. A lawyer was too expensive. Continually I begged him to take me back. I promised him I would do anything he asked, including whoring myself out to his friend. I was that scared of losing him. I stopped eating and began willing myself to die.
I looked into his divorcing eyes as he told me how he cheated on me with his ex-wife. Betrayal dissolved my rose-tinted glasses and showed me new shades of muted colors as he confessed to me he had seen her twice while we lived in Florida. Never would I love anyone again. Never would I trust anyone again.
I felt dead. My entire body radiated with pain that started from my heart and coursed through my fingertips and toes. How could someone hurt so much and not die? Getting run over by a bus would hurt less.
I went to a therapist for the continual emptiness that grew inside my chest like a cancer. I even considered committing myself into an institution. My therapist agreed that if I wanted to get the further help, she would take care of it. I left with a script to help manage the more intense emotions, but who was I kidding? It was like patching the Titanic with duct tape.
Roller coaster emotions were so overwhelming, I couldn’t control when I would cry or become angry. All the while, Steve reminded me that he didn’t treat her like this when they were divorcing. We all handle situations differently. Later I learned what I was feeling was a perfectly normal response to grief and loss.