Don't you think it strange that when a man leaves his wife, he takes no memories with him apart from those which reside in his heart? No photographs. No ornament or momento of the past, nothing of our togetherness or our wedding to remind him of a life shared? It's been three months now since my birthday, a different kind of birthday when somehow, lurking in the shadows, there was fear, as if something was just waiting around the corner ready to spring an unexpected surprise. Instinct was kicking in. But I had no idea then what it was trying to tell me. Nothing could have prepared me for the email when it came a couple of weeks later not having seen my husband since that day, basically telling me he wasn't coming back, he didn't want home, or me any more, and that his life was now in London where he already had a house. He'd been leading a double life and didn't say it then, but a young Italian lady had taken my place. To make it worse, he met her here in the north, and they presumably left together.
Last month was our second Wedding Anniversary. We'd been together five years. I still carry the pictures of Us around in my head ... standing behind the anvil at Gretna Green, wrapped in the warmth of the love of family gathered around us, like one big hug, my heart glowing with happiness, feeling the security and the freedom that comes in finally having found my peace. I had no idea it would end so soon. Did he love me, I mean really give himself to me, body, mind, spirit, soul, with everything he had in him to give? Or was he using me from the start? Right now, I feel like the 'other woman', a 'Scarlet Woman'. Somehow, she and I have changed places, even though I'm still his wife. I can't help my mind circling around a room, a house surrounded by green in London, imagining them together, what they're doing, shopping, sharing, doing things we once did together and how suddenly he has quality time for her the way he didn't for me. I realise that if I text he will probably toss his mobile back in his pocket, off-handedly saying 'Crap Text!' the way he used to whenever a text or email came through when we were together ... presumably from her.
Behind him, he has left a legacy of pain which doesn't go away.
New people I meet presume I'm a widow. That my husband has died. And in a very real way, he has. There is a part of me that died with him. I know my life will never be the same again. Because just as I was completely open and honest, faithful and true, hiding nothing, for the future I can never be that trusting again. Trust is like a fragile bird. It needs nurturing, tenderness, patience, understanding, caring, loving, reassurance, specialness, unexpected surprises given in love by someone who truly believes in the preciousness of Love. Now that bird is broken, and something inside it destroyed forever.
Tony didn't just take himself, he took the past we shared, the marriage where we promised for better, for worse, to be faithful and true, to love one another for always. He also took our future dreams, our hopes and wishes, those precious moments which will always be ours. I think of him often. I can't help it. People talk about moving on. Time is a healer. You're a strong lady, with an inner strength that will see you through, they say. But sitting here alone at home, in the silence of the evening, with Christmas just around the corner, it's a difficult time. I went to a Luncheon Club today and ate the first meal I've eaten in over three months. It was good to be with people, and I'll go again. I've also joined The Show Stoppers, a singing group, who have such a wicked sense of humour I can't stop myself laughing. And it's always a surprise. I'm not used to the sound. Laughter? It's been so long.
The book I read before bed was given to me by my daughter Jo: The Untethered Soul. It's a good book to go to sleep on. Last night it spoke of discovering the ability to open your energy channels by finding your path to enlightenment ... enlightenment meaning that we need to live in the moment, to find within ourselves the happiness that will free us, overriding barriers such as fear, worry, anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, and simply letting go and just being in that moment. Yes, life will throw at us the unexpected. But we each have within us the ability to observe what it is doing to our body, our mind, our thoughts and emotion, and we need to find a way to ride out the storm, without getting sucked in and drowning in a tsunami of self-pity, discouragement, doubt, and what-ifs.
I still try to live by the premise that out of every negative must come a positive. The greater the negative, the more that positive must be. Each day is a new challenge. But I exist moment by moment by moment. Small steps. Trying to live in that moment. To embrace it ... to feel it ... to know it ... to take from it what I need for the next one that comes along.
I'm learning how to survive in a brave new world.