From the NY Times…

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A Random Act of “I am Sorry”

I received the following response in an email notification this morning. Truly, with exception of the “minor details” of this affair and this Affair partner, I could hear it coming from my husband’s AP as I read it…

It crushed me…

Here it is…. (I will protect her identity)

I am not going to begin to say I understand or know what it is like to be the wife who finds out her husband is a cheater in all of this. Nor, do I begin to say that what I went through is justification for the OW’s behavior in this.

But I am other woman. And I echo a lot of other people’s experiences, when I say I never thought I would be that person. I even directly asked the person who I had the affair with if he was single before we ever met. And each time he answered no.


Even after I put two-and-two together, I still played the part for another couple of months, and meeting him recently on a business trip. I have no justification other than I had developed feelings for him, and that I loved him. The lonely part of me wanted to be the exception, rather than the norm.


And to anyone who has been the victim in this, please know that it is not easy to live as the OW. I do not sleep, I have lost appetite, and I have tearfully pleaded, begged, and sobbed asking him to do the right thing and confess to his wife. To be a better husband and father, and to either seek counseling to fix the marriage or do the right thing and walk away.


The truth is the cheater, while not always a bad person, is selfish. He started this affair because he was bored in his married life, and wanted the adventure of a new love. I am almost 35 years old, and I have given up on love. I told him he was so blessed and lucky to have a wife and kids. That he had no right to throw that away.


But I am also no better than him, because I didn’t run away. I continued the secrets despite the pain. I did it for no other reason than I loved him, and couldn’t bear to know a life without him. But in the end, I still ended it. The sleepless nights, the guilt, the jealousy, and the hurt. See being the OW means you will always be the last choice and that you have to be content with everything being on his timeline. You can only call, text, e-mail when it works for him. You lay awake at night feeling suffocated by the loneliness, while knowing he can turn around and wrap his arms around the woman he put a ring on it.


He says is not happy. But lacks the courage to make changes to find happiness. Why stay in a marriage if you are not happy? He says it was for the kids, but what is worse: having children be raised with a lie that destroys families or know that their parents loved each other but couldn’t make it work? I cannot answer that because I don’t know.


I am single. I have no one. I am alone and unsupported. And I am dying inside. From the guilt, from the pain, and from feeling like I am always the loser. Please know that not every person who becomes the OW is okay with the title of OW. That some of us have consciences and integrity. That it destroys us as much as you. He selfishly threw his marriage away and wants to keep it hidden, but he also selfishly wanted me to suffer in silence.


I wanted to find love. To feel beautiful and wanted again. He said all the right things. He kept saying “stop over thinking things”, and to have “faith”. All the while knowing he lied to me too, he could never love me the way I deserved.


I am sorry that your husband has refused to hold himself accountable. But as the OW, you deserve better than a spouse who will not acknowledge the pain he has caused, nor work on improving the relationship. You can stop a sinking ship, if not everyone is willing to help bail.


Again, I am sorry to you and any spouse who sits in this position. Please know that affairs hurt the OP as much as the spouse. We are not proud of ourselves, and many of us do not want to hurt you. We are hurting and confused ourselves. We are trying to find a glimmer of love ourselves, and yes we had no right to take it from someone who doesn’t belong to us. That is something I will live with everyday for the rest of my life. Knowing that I caused someone else pain, because I was so desperate to feel love…even if it was brief and temporary.


I am sorry.


Creating new Memories

The holiday season, from Halloween thru mid Janruary, has always been a favorite time of year. It’s so magical and people are more kind and gentle. More patient and generous. The world around always seems more hopeful and merry, even in light of recent world events.

When the kids were little, we spent much time picking and creating the perfect costume, filling treat bags for all the trick-or-treaters, decorating the house and yard.

Thanksgiving roles around and I host a typically large guest list of family, typically upwards of 20. I go all out and spend days preparing our Thanksgiving feast, and delight at spending the time with our families..

Then Christmas… We’ve always put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it typically stays up thru the first week of Janruary. Our tradition, with a few exceptions, has been to go chop our own tree with my Dad and step-mother. We tromp thru the tree fields until we all agree on the perfect tree, cut it down and then we sit and have cocoa and donuts before hauling it home. In past years we polish off  any Thanksgiving leftovers once we get home, and then it’s full blown decorating mode! I’ve fondly referred to day as our Christmas  Tree Day. 

December always seems to rush by with all the Christmas festivities; family gatherings, open houses, decorating, baking, shopping and wrapping…toss in a few Dance competitions and hockey tournaments and it makes for a crazy busy month… all leading up to the actual holiday, Christmas, and the vacation that follows.

Last year, at this time I was still reeling from the chaos and destruction from finding out about my husband’s affair. I was a complete and utter mess. I wasn’t prepared for the holiday season, and mostly faked, fumbled and cried my way thru.

Halloween, less than 4 weeks post-dday. I’m sure I gave out candy. I don’t remember what my kids did. I’m sure I can look back at pictures and posts and figure it out, but mostly it’s a big blank.

Thanksgiving, just 7 weeks post-dday, I had my parents and brothers’ family. Very small and mostly bearable. My parents knew and I was able to pull thru the day.

I was feeling a bit more ease, safer; I’d just finished a series of emails with the other woman, and for the time felt less threatened by her. I was, and sometimes still am, overwhelmed to realize that she had always been in our life, MY life. But I was and still am confidant that she’s not a threat currently. I do have my doubts as our kids get older. The last email she sent my husband, and one of the very few that I actually read, said something to the effect of just that.. Putting old flames on the “back-burner” until the kids are grown... husband has tried to assure me that he has no idea why she sent that email, that she was never a threat and it was just sex, that she meant nothing, and he has never had any intention of leaving me. Sometimes I believe him, but that email haunts me. And then there’s the fact that he betrayed me, had a affair that spans his life since Junior high, spans our entire marriage, with large gaps of time, years even, without any contact, they both insist… but I have my doubts. 

Since those emails, I do believe there’s been no contact between them. There are days when I have my doubts, but I’ve long since given up on checking (it’s just too fucking exhausting; if he’s going to cheat again, he’ll find a way… No amount of me searching and spying can prevent him from cheating.) Again.

I’ve been in a totally new trigger field the past few weeks, and doing mostly okay navigating them. But I’ll leave that for another post. This post is NOT about her.

Christmas. December 2014. Mostly went by in a blur. I cried my way thru the month and wanted nothing to do with it. Honestly, I wanted to crawl into a hole and lick my wounds, disappear from the surreal and hellish life that had taken over the content life I had been living. However, with 3 busy kids and big extended families, this mom continued to fake my way thru…

But the daily emotional turmoil was exhausting. It was December 2013 that the intensity of thier affair became sexual (again); it was from then until dday, 10/3/14,  that I could see the thousands of texts and dozens of emails. And I was hauling myself thru hell looking the number of texts they exchanged on a particular day and looking back to see I was doing that same time and date (besides being made fucking fool.) generally I was contentedly going about my days.

… as he was having his affair…

So we skipped Christmas tree day last year. We bought our tree a a local greenhouse, but had I had to be reminded. Again, last year was such a blur with a lot of blanks. The tree got decorated. And the house got decorated some. But not my typical fair. Most of my shopping was online. For the most part I stuck with the lists to Santa, that I still request of my kids!  It was safe, easy (I didn’t have to leave my house) and they were delighted on Christmas morning, but there were few surprises last year.

Christmas Eve, I was on call. It allowed an easy excuse to not go to my Sister-in-law L***’s open house. It was all my husband’s family (he’s one of 8) and only his sister C*** and her long term boyfriend know. Inknewni wouldn’t be able to get thru an afternoon of hearing how wonderful my husband is and how lucky I am. He is still their golden child.

Christmas morning, again  a blur.. I kept tissues close at hand and didn’t take many pictures.My parents were with us, for presents and followed by a festive brunch. Then they move on to my 2 brothers families and more Christmas festivities.

Traditionally, I  host a Christmas open house and buffet with my husband’s family. It’s also open for our friends and neighbors. I make dozens of cookies, in 10-12 varieties and pounds candies, fudges and confections to gift and share.

I don’t remember most of what I did last year. I baked some, and made fudge. After my parents left we got ready to go to C***’s house for Christmas dinner with my husband’s family. I had told her about the affair. I asked her to host, as I just couldn’t get it together enough to do it.

The holiday season of 2014 will mostly remain a blur. I dont feel the need to remember it.

This holiday season, I’ve made it a point to be mindful. Honestly, I’d be happy if it were spring already, but I don’t want to rush time. I just haven’t found much holiday spirit yet. I am finding moments of joy. I’m even purposely creating them…

I’ve found my thoughts and mindset are very much focused on the fact that my son is a senior. That this time next year he will be away at college and how my role as a mother is rapidly changing. How our family dynamics are going to change. I want to be present with my son and daughters and remember this Christmas season warmly and fondl. When I reflect next year.

So, in the best holiday spirit I could muster,  my husband and I along with all 3 kids and my parents went to find our Christmas tree yesterday. It was a feat to just get all of us together, but I made it happen, just a week later than our normal Christmas tree day. We found our tree, cut it down, shared cocoa and donuts. And now it’s well on its way to being beautifully decorated. I have all my holiday decorations waiting to deck the halls and I’m determined to find some joy.

The hardest part is over, the tree ornaments. Each of mine tell a story. There’s a weary and fragile glass ornament that was on my grandmothers’ tree when she was a young girl.. It’s over 70 years old. All the baby’s first, second, third etc. ornaments, the mom and dad, son and daughter dated yearly ornaments. The Disney and vacation ornaments. Ornaments from my travels when in the Air Force. My most cherished ones, those sweet little cinnamon-glue and glitter gingerbread and popsicle stick ornaments, with their picture glued on,  hand-made with the tender loving hearts of my children. They still adorn my tree and they are my favorites. The mile-stone ornaments , character ornaments, the initial and personalized ornaments. Each and every one of them has a memory attached. I didn’t mention the all ornaments that represent my love for my husband thru the our 18 years, the Ten-year “old tin bell” ornament,  nor will I mention the memory each one evokes. Like all my ornaments. This year, just like last I’ve left them in their boxes. Maybe next year…

I’ve organized my sons’ senior portraits and my daughters’ school pictures for traditional grandparent and aunt/uncle gifts, and have some of the frames purchased. I’m not even sure I gave pictures out last year. I also arranged a professional photographer to have pictures done of my 3 kids together. Last year I will have all 3 in my nest… I’m still very anxiously waiting to see how they come out! And bonus for me, my husband doesn’t know. So I have a loving, heartfelt gift for him. Last year I filled his stocking last minute, and mostly from a well-known drug store and local chocolatier. Nothing personal. Otherwise,  I don’t think I got him anything. There were no ornaments purchased. Not even for my kids, as I discovered and my youngest reminded me, as we decorated the tree last evening. I’ve already purchase a few for this year…

I’m trying to be mindful and enjoying the little moments of real joy, or something that feels like joy used to feel. I’m feeling longer periods of “mostly comfortable with intermittent, mild to moderate triggers, and rarely one more serious. Occasional sadness but not depression, frequent mild anxiety and still often, just emotionally numb”

But when I stay mindful…

So now,  I’m off to search for holiday spirit. I’m hosting our traditional family gatherings for Christmas Day. Mostly for my son, and my girls. I will cherish all the time with him and them as I’m so aware my days are too few. I’ve got decorating to do (several day project) and a cookie-candy-fudge list to make.

I hope you are all able to find some peace, comfort and joy or something like it, this Christmas holiday season.

This my son cutting down our tree. It was nearly 50 degrees and still no snow. Very unusual for this time of year in these here parts!

❤️

 

Sabatoged

Not sure why I’m inspired to blog today, but I am… I’ve been mostly lurking around WP as of late, but made a few comments over the weekend and a few responses and likes predictably were exchanged on a comment I made on His Affair, My Pain’s blog titled Common Themes…

I responded, “Me too.. I still cannot believe my husband cheated..”

Just this morning I received a new “like” notification to that comment from a blogger I don’t recognize. She’s new, not a single post.. Not an intro or an about about page.. Just a beautiful photo and title. I believe I am the first follower.

This makes my heart hurt and my tears are overflowing.. For her, because we more “seasoned” betrayed wives remember the sheer magnitude of the hell she is feeling in these first days. For all betrayed spouses, for having to pick themselves up everyday. I personally wished to just disappear, vanish, POOF!

I remember that there was nothing really made the insanity go away in the first and weeks…. The endless and often obsessive, pervasive thoughts and questions… Those really haven’t stopped for me, but they have continually lessened I learned to have better control of what I give thought to and a broader perspective.

The months since, the time, has given me hindsight. In that sense, Time does heal... But it doesn’t erase.. I still see that first text, her name and our emails, some other insignificant details, like vivid pictures in my mind. I remember my life exploding….

The  “flame was lit,”  Dday… it burned a few days and finally detonated. That’s when the truth started trickling in…and I still only know the basics really… My personal reality is, that he may not be telling me a lie, but he’s not telling me the truth either.

Over the first crazy weeks of knowing and living in the aftermath of the bomb dropping on my marriage, my life blew up, such magnitude as Hiroshima…. A giant mushroom cloud and everything instantly covered in ash.. Somehow we survived those first intense days ..

I think I’ve had my eyes closed… Because, if you grew up in the 70’s, or maybe watch enough war  movies, you know you don’t look at the blast…

Now, over a year later, I can see the massive cloud that still exists, I can see the carnage and fallout. I see that life is still moving on around me, and I’ve even participated to some degree. But I’m ready for better and beautiful again

I just still don’t know what direction to go. I’m afraid to jump.

My husband has tried to assure me that only time would heal me. I didn’t believe him then, and I still don’t. Time has dulled just the harshest edges, and eased the constant heartache, but honestly, they are still there. What the time has given me is perspective.. Again, hindsight..

I look back on what has truly been my beautiful mess of a life…

And it all looks so different now. I can still see most of the beauty.. But the mess? The mess that I was cleaning myself, while my husband was cheating and carrying on..unknowingly heaping to the mess..

My beautiful mess of a life was sabotaged.. This isn’t the life I was living, nor wanted to live.

Not sure where it will lead but you can follow my footprints as I walk out of the ashes.

Maybe tomorrow ❤️

Music

After by post yesterday… I had some time driving to get here or there, most of it alone. Anyways it was an interesting list I created in my shazam app. (If you love music you should get this app and it’s free!)

sometimes I listen to music just for the beat. Sometimes the lyrics or melody. Yesterday all 3 seemed to appeal to me.

These songs are now on my play list…

Andy Grammar “Honey, I’m Good”

Rixton “Me and My Broken Heart

James Bay “Hold Back the River”

Alanis Morissette “Precious Illusions

Neon Trees “Everybody Talks”

Rob Thomas “This is How a Heart Breaks

NEEDTOBREATHE Featuring Gavin DeGraw “Brother”

The Script “No Good in Goodbye

Oh Honey “Be Okay

This song… I want to feel this all the time!

Shinedown “Unity

Alternate Routes “Nothing More

So now I realize how much time I spent running around yesterday,listening to music. And I’ve done it again posting it here… And there’s more, but I have to do something productive!

These songs brought many tears and I abandoned the makeup I had reapplied. I was late getting to my sons’ LAX game, but I made the second half (with sunglasses on!) They played a great game and won! My son narrowly missed getting seriously checked and didn’t even know until a teammate told him. It was scary from the bleachers! Pretty sure they are second in their class and division! Not to bad.. On to playoffs!

If you take the time to go thru listen to the songs and hear the lyrics I’d love to know what it makes you feel!

To stay or go..

that’s the question most of us are asking ourselves in the devastation of an affair.

stumbled upon this article:

I don’t agree with all of the reasons, but they all are interesting to consider. I know I have and will continue to until I’ve decided for sure what is best for me. My goal is to feel better, not bitter. And honestly, I feel bitter. Life is so fucking unfair sometimes. And shit just piles  on. My community has had such catastrophic losses over the past few years.. Several families lost parents too young to cancer. A domestic violence act resulting in a murder suicide to a bright and promising new nurse that I had the honor of talking to many times over the years ❤️ 3 parent suicides. 2 associated thru our kids and soccer. The third just last month, one of my youngests’ BFF’s father shot himself. Her younger brother found him. Suck a shitty, sucky situation! And last week, on Memorial Day a kind and gentle young man with a beautiful future was murdered in the next town over. I’ve watched him grow up got the last 8+ Years, he’s one of my sons oldest best friends. And today, I’m waiting for the Drs office to call with an appointment for an MRI. My youngest has continued to have back pain. The next step is surgery. A spinal fusion. And I am terrified! I’m absolutely confident as a nurse and in the excellent Dr we are so fortunate to have that it is the best choice for her. He is one of the best in his field. Still, I’m her mother. She’s 14 and its spinal surgery. So many things could go wrong and I know it’s crazy and ridiculous to worry  about all the “what if’s. But if I could cope a little fucking better!!!

I have some foundational Christian beliefs. I was raised catholic. I visited a number of churches, and explored various religions. I know what I feel and believe and someday maybe I’ll venture down the path of writing a blog about my spirituality. Because it’s important, and I am privately and humbly spiritual. But not in any public manner. I mostly avoid organized religion. But I pray, and I believe. And I’m very respectful of almost all faiths.

So I can say this, I do believe that the Lord (whom ever that represents for you and I) will not give us more than we can handle. I call Mercy!

So now that I’ve shared a well written blog that went off on an unexpected tangent…

Perhaps I’m a little bit better and a little less bitter.

I’m going to go reapply my makeup and get myself ready for my sons last season game of LAX! On to playoffs Saturday.

I’m still looking for the exit out of Suckville! I’ve made a few wrong turns, maybe even broke down a few times…

Bet still better ❤️

Red Dog

I guess it’s as good a time as any to get this post up.

In 2005, I betrayed my husband…

This is the story… Along with 10 years of hindsight.

I met a guy… Ironically, neither my husband or I can remember his name. I h ope that attests to the insignificance of the relationship, but I doubt it minimizes the hurt My husband felt and perhaps still feels. And that isn’t my intent. We both think his name was “Mike” but are not completely convinced that is his name. We know a lot of Mikes and there are a lot of Mikes in the world.

But the story..

I don’t remember many of the details.. I know I was at a place, personally where things felt stagnant and boring. My husband works long hours, Monday thru Friday. He’s always had strong work ethics and loyalty to his employer.

I worked weekend nights so that he wouldn’t have to compromise his work week to manage or care for our young children. He rarely had to juggle a work schedule to meet the needs of s sick child or school vacation. Most of the time, this arrangement worked beautifully for us. I am so thankful that I have been mostly at home thru the years, raising our family. Even now.

There were many days in the early years of us that I was overwhelmed with the kids. I lost sight of myself. I put everything into my family and home. The kids were getting older, had friends, school, sports and social engagements. I wasn’t the center of their world anymore.

My husband was professionally driven. I took the role of homemaker and tried to manage everything. Home, kids, work, cleaning, cooking. You know.. All the things a mother does… When he got home at the end of a long day. He just wanted to chill, relax, hang with the kids, watch TV. I was lonely and bored.

I started playing an online game. I made some online friends and we’d get together at planned times to play. It was fun, filled the loneliness and I had friends that were totally not a part of my real world.

Then I met Red Dog.. His game name.. Thru these online friends.

Harmless it seemed. He started sharing about his life and wife and how unhappy he was. They were separated. He was easy to chat with.

I started confiding in him about my personal life. It became easy to commiserate with him. Our game chats eventually led to emails and phone calls (no texting then…)

I remember feeling excited and anxious to hear from him. It felt good to be noticed and have attention.  I felt cared for. I’d anxiously check my email to see if he’d sent me anything, and was rarely disappointed.

His attention was filling the boredom and loneliness I was feeling at home. I don’t know if my husband noticed or not, but everything felt better. I felt attractive and desirable. I had more energy and enthusiasm about my daily grind.

I was able to justify the relationship because he lived 18 hours away. I was never going to see him. So really, it was all harmless in my mind… It wasn’t real. It wasn’t going to affect my marriage.

My husband was planning to take the kids away to our family cabin, to give me a few days break. I was so excited for the break!

I had a manicure and pedicure. Went shopping. Made plans with my online friends to play our game.

Of course Red dog knew I was going to be home for a weekend alone. We talked about it. Entertained meeting.. Even as unrealistic as it was. It felt safe to lead him on. Keep him interested and assure him that someday we’d meet. But in my mind.. It wasn’t going to happen. I just didn’t want him to know that because I loved his attention.

I  don’t recall how it came about, but he plans to drive here when my husband was away. I didn’t encourage it, but probably entertained it. Really, I was content with the way things were. It was fun and fine (in my mind) to carry on the illicit virtual affair. Nobody was going to get hurt or even know.

I knew I was being deceptive. I made sure to delete emails and chats. But again was able to justify it. I was happier and he was no threat and lived 18 hours away. I don’t know what I “thought” I was doing, but I sure didn’t consider it cheating. It all felt so harmless

As I recall, he hinted a few times about coming here and I supported the idea in the beginning. When it got real and he was serious about driving here I got scared. Didn’t want him to, but sure the curiosity was there.

So off my family went. I didn’t hear from him the day they left. He had been hinting that he got me a gift. I probably encouraged him to deliver it but again, it was in fun. 18 hours away is a big buffer zone!

I spent a lovely day alone pampering myself… Something I hadn’t done in years. I got home in the mid afternoon and he called. He was in town and wanted me to join him at his hotel, minutes away.

This is where it gets messy for me.

I felt a bunch of crazy things. Mostly that I could get away with it and my husband would never find out. I also felt upset.. That he was invading my precious weekend alone. I didn’t want to share it with him.

Suddenly what felt so “harmless” left me unsettled and anxious.

And at the same time, what a testament to his interest in me.. Driving 18 hours.

So.. After a few calls and little persuasion I agreed to met him at a bookstore with a coffee shop.

I was curious about him.. Maybe I could get away with it… I got myself prettied up and with a sense of intrigue, guilt and obligation, I went to meet him.

Why guilt and obligation? I don’t know really.. But it’s where hindsight helps. I am one of those “guilty” old souls and apologize for everything. It’s an ongoing thing for me… I still struggle with it..

I know I felt “responsible” for him being here and that I should at least met him in person to tell him I had misled him. I felt guilty that I had led him to be serious about coming here. That I may have let him be live I was serious about meeting him someday.

I got out of my car at the bookstore and this guy came walking up to me.. I remember realizing just how tall he was. I knew he was over 6′ but seeing him was a reality check. He walked over to me and we hugged. He leaned in and I know we kissed, but awkwardly.

I don’t remember much about the conversation that followed, but it didn’t take me but a few minutes to feel uncomfortable and anxious for a way out. I quickly recognized that this was not so innocent anymore.

And it was my fault. I led this guy on. Let him believe that I was interested in him and wanted him to feel like he was special to me. And he was.. Until it was real. I didn’t want to cheat on my husband. I didn’t recognize that my actions were taking me directly down the slippery slop.

Suddenly the conversation turned tense. He was upset in my lack of interest in him. He was disappointed in me that he’d driven all this way and wouldn’t at least have sex with him, didn’t understand the big deal in me spending the night at his hotel. He reminded me that my husband would never find out.

He was persistent in expressing his dismay even after I made it clear what a mistake I’d made, apologized for misleading him, explained that I loved my husband and wouldn’t cheat on him.

I hugged him goodby to try to make peace as I got ready to leave. He followed me and being so tall was able to “corner” me at my car with his arms on the roof and around me. I’m only 5’1″.. I felt threatened and afraid. I told him he was frightening me. He tried to kiss a few times but I let it be known that I wanted to go. I wasn’t interested and I was scared.

He called me a prick tease.

I got home and he called a few times. I may have answered once. I know he tried to persuade me to come to his room a few times, but that all may have been at the bookstore and in the parking lot. Mostly I ignored his calls and deleted the messages from our answering machine.. Back in the day of landlines. I had no intent on telling my husband about it. Such a foolish mistake!

The evening was early, I got home and hung out with my online friends minus Red dog. I’m pretty sure I told my friends J & M about my visitor and the situation, leaving out that I’d intentionally led him on.

At some point my husband called to get the voice messages. I had missed one from Red Dog.

I don’t remember what the message said, but it was enough for my husband to know something inappropriate had happened.

He called me and asked questions.. I’m sure the same questions all betrayed ask, “who, why, what…” I tried to assure him that he had nothing to worry about. That I was home and nothing happened. He agreed to stay at the cabin as the kids were in bed.

“I love you” he said.

“I love you, too. See you tomorrow.”

I don’t recall any specific contact with Red dog after that evening. I stopped playing the game when he played and don’t remember an official “no contact” conversation or email.

I know my husband called him and was confident that nothing sexual had happened.

Red dog also told him that he was a “lucky” guy, because I wouldn’t cheat on him.

In the days and weeks that followed we had some serious conversation about cheating and fidelity  commitment and monogamy.

I know I hurt my husband.

I never understood how much.

Life Happens and then you Die.

I am an Registered Nurse. It’s more than that though. It’s part of who I am.

So because it’s Nurse’s Week I’ll start like this…

I graduated with a BSN in 1996. Before I became an RN I was a flight medic in the USAFR and worked as a CNA. I grew up knowing I wanted to be a nurse.  I waffled with being a teacher at few times but regardless, A professional caregiver.

I’m pretty sure I’ve just always know my purpose in life was and is to be a caregiver. I’m the oldest and only girl with a brother, a step-brother and a long lost-half brother. I’ve always taken care of people. I love what I do professionally. Truly. But it does wear on me. I’ve always been a more “heightened and aware.” And I’m a worrier. Toss in what I know And do because of my role of mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, colleague  and sometimes it feels like too much caring.

I’ve worked in multiple work settings and specialities. I’ve worked in level one trauma rooms and seen combat trauma. That’s only to say that I’ve seen a lot of blood and guts. I’m not too squeamish. I’m a pretty tough nut, most of the time… But every nut cracks.

For the past 4 years I have worked in Home Hospice Care. Last night I was on call. I went to bed early, feeling edgy and irritable. About 1:30 a.m. My work phone rang, from the answering service.

I got up and synced the patient’s chart and returned the call, to the oldest son of the 64 year-old patient.

I was familiar with the patient and aware that he was “actively dying,” which generally means hours a day.

The patient was having difficulty breathing and having pain. He’d given everything he could for medications. I instructed him to give 10 mg of morphine. I told him he could repeat that in 15 minutes, “if your dad is still in distress.” Our call ended so I could call the doctor to get orders his meds liberalized. It was 1:59 a.m.

Anticipating a visit I went and got dressed, then brewed a k cup in my favorite to-go mug.

I sat down to read the patient’s chart while I waited for the doctor to return my call.

After 30 minutes passed, I had the doctor paged again.

About 15 minutes later I received another call from Josh, the night shifter at the answering service, has been forever. He and I exchange friendly banter and he pokes fun at having to waking me up, from years of professional familiarity.

He also happens to be person trying to reach the doctor for me.

“Hey, I got another one for you.”

And I still haven’t heard from Dr. N., I playfully responded.

“You may not have to. This message is regarding the same patient, this time from “Bernie.”

I knew this was his wife.

The message is: “She was calling to report his death at 2:20.”

“Wow, that was really quick. Thank God.” I said, not completely, surprised, but feeling a sense of empathy and urgency reach out to this new widow.

Adrenaline starts to flow.

His chart told me that 24 days, he was diagnosed with “aggressive” metastatic pancreatic cancer.

That just six weeks ago he had a routine scheduled surgery. His pre-op work up and exams were normal, down a few pounds. At his post-op appointment 2 weeks later, they noted a significant weight loss. Concerning, he was sent for lab work, and then further non-invasive diagnostics. His prognosis was grave… 3-4 weeks. He lived just 24 days. Dr was pretty spot on with him.

Prior to this diagnosis he lived a reasonably health life and managed quite well, but was disabled. I learned while was there that he and Bernie were married for 25 years, this past August.together for 30. That their family was blended, with 5 between them; 4 sons and a daughter. “Lots of grandkids.” I wondered about the details of their courtship. Wondered if he ever cheated.

I learned that Greg Jr, their oldest son was here from North Carolina. The other 4 are local. He came home for the family meeting that was requested by his parents. They gathered together with their 5 kids told them the grave prognosis.

I learned that Greg Jr’s oldest child, almost 14, is battling leukemia after a 3 year remission, but has had it since he was 2 years old.

Josh told me that he had called the doctor on her personal number, but wasn’t able reach her.

“I guess I don’t need to reach her for orders now. But when you reach her please give the message the Patient died at 2:20.”

“Will do. Good-night”

“Thanks, I said. Night.”

I packed up and punched in Bernie’s address in my GPS. 9.3 miles. 23 minutes.

On my drive over, I calculated how much sleep I got…I’d only been asleep for a couple of hours, and it was restless. We went to bed early to watch a video that’s part of Day 1 Bootcamp. We watched 2 quick videos taking less than 10 minutes, then started a 20 min video.. I made a few comments, my husband per usual remained silent. I could hear him breathing… Then he started snoring.

I arrived and was greeted on the porch by Greg Jr. I walked in the front door to a living room, where the hospital bed was set up for the patient. Bernie was sitting in a recliner beside the bed. She was tearful and tried to get up as I came in. I noticed that someone had covered the patient, including his face, with several blankets. Unusual, I thought. I scanned the room and the faces as I made and accepted introductions.

The walls and their tears told a thousand stories. All stories you and I know or have heard, or can at least relate to.

Greg Jr followed me in and proceeded to apologize that the patient was in “this condition” but he and his brothers cleaned him up “as best they could” but just couldn’t do it anymore. He explained that nobody wanted to see him like that so they covered him with the blankets.

My wise and colorful imagination quickly drew an image, as I pulled down the covers to check his pulse. There was no need. He was clearly dead. That image is captured in my mind. Horrified. I was appalled that the family had to see their beloved man exit such a beautiful life in such a gory style. Not his choice I promise you. Nobody would want their loved one or themselves to go in such gory exit plan.

Not appalled at anyone or anything, because nothing could have changed this situation. He was home were he and his family agreed he would die. He was offered hospitalization yesterday as it became evident that death was near. That he had transitioned. They all lovingly declined, agreeing to maintain his wishes to die in his home. They loved and cared for him thru his last breath. Pam S. His hospice case manager was spot on with her assessment, care and teaching yesterday during her extended visit. Exceeding the standards of care for comfort measures only.

I was there within 2 hours of their first call. Still hadn’t heard from the doctor. But Greg Jr gave him the morphine as I instructed and before I talked with the Doctor, who I have now assumed sleeps soundly. The patient did die as comfortably as we could reasonably keep him and by his wishes to die at home. So really she wasn’t there for me, but it wouldn’t have made any difference in the outcome. Shit was happening. All the right things were done, exceedingly well even. It just sucks that they had to see him like that. I wish I could take that away for them.

I’ve thought a lot about this family since getting home this morning. I think now I would tell Greg jr to pour the whole bottle of morphine down his throat and then ask everyone to quietly leave the room and close the door. Suggest that the scene is going to be graphic and gruesome and there’s no need to bear witness. That  He really wouldn’t want you to see him that way. Even if I did Though, they probably wouldn’t have left him.

So all the choices were made correctly to meet everyone’s goals, right? So in essence, it’s a perfect case scenario. Any data collection done from my charting will indicate that. And from an objective view point I know that it went smoothly. His story from diagnosis until death, although tragic went exactly as they planned. The end.

They even had a party for him last week, to celebrate his life. They pulled together quite a shindig from the stories they shared, but what stood out for me most was that they invited 35 people, but 100 showed up. Bringing more stories and memories, and assorted foods to share. That means something, right? It speaks volumes to me. This man leaves a great legacy. His story is done and but it hasn’t ended.

Much like I feel about my marriage. Its done, but the story hasn’t ended. We are just now really starting to write the next chapter. At a preschool pace.

Doctor called me as I pulled in my driveway. Apologized and explained that she was sound asleep and proceeded to explain that I should have called her again and again. Until I reached her. I listened and thought it wouldn’t make a difference. I offered no argument after she said, “I only got one call.” That was a lie. Our call ended without any flair or flavor.

Now I wish I could tell her that it’s not my job to wake her up. But anyways, done with her.

I gathered my things and dropped them as I walked in, the kids just stating to stir for school. I went to my bathroom stripped my cloths and got into the hot shower. I wanted to wash away the smell of blood that was stuck in my nostrils and rid my mouth of the metallic taste. I did not have any exposure to blood, it was just that bad…

i wrapped a towel around me and headed to dress as my husband came out of the room. He greeted me with a kiss  and commented that it was odd I showered early. He continued on to get his coffee and start his day in the kitchen.

I dressed and got the kids out the door.. Did my charting and poked away at this post all morning, all the while writing  a draft and outline for a new Standard of Care, for a future situation like I’ve been telling about. Really that’s all I can do. Right? Make a better plan than we already have, I see the things we could have done better now, in hindsight. Or maybe now I know what more to anticipate.

It took a while for my husband to recognize that I was upset. He didn’t even ask if I’d “made a visit” but acknowledged  that I showered early. I Told him a made a death visit. I tried to share what happened. But he wasn’t really listening. It was running late. He had to get going for work. I’m  too tired right now to contemplate that one right now. Maybe I just take things to personal?

Then, after he kissed me good-bye, said we exchanged “I love you’s,” he was smiling as he was rushing out the door.

It overwhelmed me again. I just don’t think he gets it…

And wonder who’s going to take care of me?

This has been a long shitty day after a shitty evening. Which ended when he fell asleep, during a 20 minute affair recovery video.

So I’m done poking away on my iPad. My wrists hurt. I’m exhausted and have smoked too much today. I’m nursing a quick beer and going to bed.

I am the only one able to take care of me and I’m not doing a great job these days. I’m going to make a daily effort to ask for help and make my needs more clear.

Right now my most basic need is sleep.

I talked to my husband. Told him I need to go to bed. That I’ve not been asleep yet. I’m Working on close to 40 hours with little sleep.

I’ll talk with him about falling asleep last night and how it has left me feeling.  Maybe after some sleep it won’t matter as much.

I’m going to run this thru spell check and try not to edit so I can get it posted and close this day.

Gonna enjoy this cold Rolling Rock on what finally feels like spring!

Cheers, Greg Sr. I suspect you lived a bold and beautiful life!

Goodnight.

Accountability

It’s been weeks since I posted…

But I’ve been wallowing in Suckville (I stole that from someone’s blog!)

I finally decided it was time to stop wallowing… That Suckville sucks. That it was time to do something active… Because we have both been so passive in out affair recovery. I tried to be active in the beginning, but with little participation from my husband. I started mentally shredding our life together.. We avoided talking about his affair. We’ve shared short bitter lashing arguments, followed by hours, sometimes days of near silence. In the silence I drew nearer to the concept of divorce being a reality. I started wanting out.. More and more daily…

While wallowing, I’ve leaned toward read blogs from the cheaters perspective, to try and gain insight and empathy. Most of the cheater blogs I read appear to be from unremorseful cheaters staying married, but mostly sounds like it’s failing and they are miserable. The cheater is still at least in blogging, sound as though they long for their affair partner… All these blogs seem to do for me is add fuel to my mentally shredding…and uncoupling..

My favorite cheater blog is https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/87364197/ Surviving the affair…. A cheater’s perspective. I think this guy really gets it. He’s given me some clarity in my husband. I think he loves his wife and family. Things got crazy in their life and he got attention from someone else. It felt good. It was seemingly harmless. There was no malicious intent. But he slipped further and further down the slippery slop. And now a bunch of people are hurt. Shit happens. Bad things happen to good people. Good people make stupid mistakes, like having an affair…but it doesn’t make them a bad person.

I told my husband a little bit about his blog, but haven’t connected him yet. Why? Because honestly if he’d take the time to read it he’d probably break down in tears out of relief… That someone gets it and can relate on such a level… Because I’m a lot like this guys wife…. But I haven’t shown him his blog because then he’d easily find mine. He known I have one, I just haven’t shared it with him. I don’t go to any great lengths to hide it. It’s easy to find on my iPad… He knows I prefer him not to read it and I don’t believe he has. But someday, probably soon… Maybe… But for now, I’d prefer him not to… Not that I’m hiding anything, because I’m not…

So, I relate so well to this guys blog. Because I went down that slippery slope that landed him on his ass. And it could have easily been my story too.

The short story is..(because this is a blog post my drafts) Ten years ago, I had a mostly online emotional affair. This went on for a few months and then the guy drove 18 hrs to see me, uninvited and mostly unannounced. I had seriously misled him but that was my intent. He lived 18 hours away. He was safe. But he arrived and my husband had taken the kids away for the weekend.

I felt guilty that this guy drove all the way to see me. Crazy, right? But, Wow, what a rush, a compliment… This guy drove here all that way, to see me. Rationale is a crazy thing.. Sometimes it goes out the window… I can mostly describe it as feeling obligated to meet him. That seems weak. Probably because it is.. But I felt it. Sure curiosity was there, what an emotional high! Chemistry was there thru mostly chats and a few emails and calls… Anyways, forego rationale and off I went to meet him.

He called from his hotel and invited me over. I agreed to meet him in public. We met at a nearby Borders. He knew I loved to read and write… Anyways, this is supposed to be short… I met him. He was upset that I wouldn’t spend the night with him. He frightened me. I went home.  He called me several times and I ignored him. He called and left a voicemail that my husband heard. I would have deleted it and never told him. It was such a miserable mistake. He didn’t need to know.

My husband was blindsided. By all the same doubt and betrayal that I am feeling now.

So as far as relating, that’s how ACP’s blog has helped me.. And maybe my husband… I’ve  reevaluated what I did and the pain it caused him. My husband and I can relate on that level.

I’m not letting him off the hook..

We had some tough conversations this past weekend. I finally came clean with where my thoughts have been… That we should seriously talk about divorce. I told him I’m not in love with him, that I haven’t been for a while. That I love him. And I do. I’m crazy for this man who has totally broken my heart. But before I totally destroy us in my mind… Because truly that’s what I’ve been doing… We should get out as friends. I know my life with him hasn’t been a total Suckville… Just a few visits, and some longer…

I’m ready to move out of Suckville, with or without him…

So divorce is out there…

He came back with an invitation to boot camp on Affair Recovery. I showed him the site, as a good place to find something active to do toward recovery. Even if it was just reading..

Because doing nothing isn’t working for me anymore…

So I grabbed that invite and committed to the boot camp. Asked him to print us out the PDF’s and created workbooks for us… We are still on Day 1, but I’m hopeful. I’m going to hold him accountable. We figure it will take us longer than 7 days because of our crazy life, but agree to work it.

So last night by a beautiful fire I asked him… “What made me stop that night 10 years ago and go home before my affair became anything more than it was. And why did his affair?

He’s trying to figure that out…

I think he might be getting it….

Melancholy Monday

I guess that’s what I seem to feel…

I’m always so melancholy and emotionally exhausted come Monday morning..

Compounded by a late night hospice call, such as I had last night… Last night even more emotionally draining. It was a difficult visit and kept me up until well after 3… And then I got up just before 8.

I slept past my 6 a.m. School morning alarm to get the kids up. They’re old enough to get themselves out the door, but I love these mornings. Their idle  routine and conversations. Sometimes just banter, but it keeps me connected to them.

I won’t see them until at least  late afternoon….

My son has mostly honors level  course-load and is doing well. I’m proud of him. He could do better if he applied himself more, but he doesn’t, So does well enough without much effort. He’s too busy to spend the extra time studying.

I get that.

He’s adventurous and curious, always has been. He’s going to be 18 starting his senior year because I opted to keep him out of kindergarten. He was just too social and only wanted to play.

He was a 10 week preemie, so had he been born on his due date he would have been born after our state kindergarten cutoff… if he wasn’t in such a rich to start his life..

Part of it was wanting to keep him home with me a little bit longer, I wasn’t quite ready to let him go, still not sure I’ll ever be..

So after school he always has some practice.. He’s a 3 sport varsity athlete. Has been since he was a freshman. Been an athlete since he was about 4. Tried a bunch of sports over the years, But has stuck with hockey, soccer and lacrosse since starting high school.

Burning press son of his freshman year, he was a starting player on a competitive HS varsity team. Then was one of 2 freshman that made varsity, and upper classmen were cut.

So soccer season while also playing with a Midgets-level competitive travel hockey team.

Soccer ended.

He then went into hockey both midgets and high school 7 up to 10 hours of ice a week sometimes…that’s a lot of hockey.

Lacrosse season started soon after hockey ended. Another starting midi on a competitive high school team. Great season… Toward the end he injured his knee.. Had an X-ray, some PT and started summer soccer.

He had an MRI in late summer because his knee just kept bothering him. We discovered a torn left ACL and multiple torn meniscus. Had surgery in mid September. Missed soccer and hockey his sophomore year because of the 6 month rehab after ACL reconstruction surgery and busy PT schedule.

He and I got really close thru that rehabilitation period. I’m a nurturer and caregiver, even professionally, as an RN…

But when my children hurt I hurt too. They are such a part of me…

I work from home so for very obvious reasons, I was primary caregiver during his post surgery months. Really  hands on… Shy of bed baths and bathroom duties.. I manages his recovery. Meds and ice and PT multiple times a day and week. It’s a lot of dedication for both of us. We spent a lot of quality time together.

So much as his injury saddens me for him… I cherish the time he and I spent…I’ve helped raise a kind, compassionate, thoughtful young man.

So he’s fully cleared by his surgeon and PT to resume sports as lacrosse season starts his freshman year. He starts again. Still a competitive varsity team… Mid May he injures his right knee.

MRI right away.. 3 days because of a weekend…

He tore his ACL. The kid was crushed… I was crushed for him and with him…

Another grueling 6 months for a kid who still had dreams of maybe playing D1 in college .. Likely far fetched, but they were his dreams…

We got thru those grueling six months. Again. He was cleared for sports  just as hockey started. He was starting line, co-captain as a junior. The team was mediocre at best. Some true hockey players and then a bunch that play hockey because they don’t do track or basketball… They had a zero win, 0-1-16 ish Season. No lie.

They sorta sucked sometimes…

We have high hopes and expectations for his senior year. Our hockey program is merging with a neighboring school district. I believe it’s a win-win situation for the program and the players…

We’ll see.. I have to get thru lacrosse and soccer season as well as a midget hockey team…

But he got thru the season uninjured, but his knees still bother him. He still ices almost daily, takes ibuprofen more often than I like and started seeing a PT again weekly.

I wish he’d listen to his body and choose a sport and then allow himself a season off, to recover and restrengthen. But I’m not an almost 18-year-old young man either. I can’t make his decisions for him…

I’m just his mom. Who’s such a mess these days…

So lacrosse season has started. Of course, he made Varsity. They have had a few tournaments and have done extremely well. It’s going to be a great season. The boys play great.

I am praying and wishing and crossing my fingers and sending positive healing vibes.. Blah, blah…that his knees hold out…

So that’s all on my mind…

As he has a scrimmage this afternoon. I’m so nervous and afraid of going, but I love to watch him play! I hate missing games, but don’t beat myself up when I miss them.

We’ll see if I make today’s scrimmage. It’s a lovely spring day. We so deserve after the wicked winter we just had… But it’s Warm with a light breeze. Sunshine is comforting. A light sweater feels nice. The windows are open…

My middle child.. He boyfriend is picking her up from school. She’s going to go to his house for a while this afternoon.

She thinks I believe there’s an adult there. Our rules when she visits him…mostly my rule. I don’t think my husband really cares..

Maybe I do believe her, but I wonder. Trust is such a sensitive subject, I won’t really know unless I check up on her.. Go to his house, but I won’t.

Or I could text his mom. I won’t do that either.

So I’m trusting her, but I wonder, even doubt…

That’s probably not fair…

I hope she’s using safe judgement and that I’ve raised her well enough to take safe chances and make safe choices. Think about consequences…

She’s such a mini-me. She and I are very close. Hugest rivals sometimes too.

She’s not quite sixteen. She carries most of the typical traits of a sixteen year old girl. Modified to fit her personally. She’s such a spunky, independent little shit… I am absolutely crazy about her. Such a bright and intelligent young lady with a kind, empathetic and sensitive old soul. Wise beyond her years even…

We connect in such an intimate way. We almost read each other’s mind sometimes. She knows. It’s made us closer. Much.

We can still argue like bitches too though! We are too much alike. Strong willed and stubborn.

I think that’s what scares me the most. I understand what she’s going thru much more than she gives me credit for, but I get it because I was her age once too.

So I trust her judgement. But I still worry…

and then my baby..14 in a few days.. Fully cleared by her neurologist to resume full activity. For her currently that’s track. She also is dancing an hour a week. Will be many more hours come summer with dance intensives  and camps required for company. The dance company season starts in the fall…

She’ll also have summer soccer and then pre season. She will likely make varsity soccer team as a freshman. She is naturally talented, so I’ve been told. She loves to play though and she is tough and competitive.

We’ll see how her back holds out.

I’m hoping for the best. I don’t want to think about the alternative yet.

Surgical repair for her spondalythesis, a spinal fusion as such a young age frightens me… And then I struggle with the fact that she would do so much better as an adolescent than adult.. The advantages of youth!

the doctor said the symptoms will manifest themselves, so it’s a wait and see…

I always feel like I’m walking around, waiting for something to happen. The next thing to happen….

I think the weekends do me in. I think living in our new reality sucks. Mine does, I can’t read his mind and he doesn’t talk about it. Or anything…

I review everything and try to figure out what my new reality is. Because I don’t think I know it all yet. Honestly,  I know I don’t…

I just don’t know what to do…

So I’m going to go find something to manage this killer migraine I have coming on.. May need to call out tonight.. Got to figure that out soon…

I need to make a list, of all the lists that I need to make…I’ve fallen so far behind in life the past six months…

pick up my youngest from track at 4. Make a few phone calls. Follow up on a few emails… Shower dress.

Pull off the mom who has it mostly together image I aspire to portray.

I don’t know anymore..

maybe I just read too many blogs…

oh yea.. I have a bunch of cats too. Pretty particular of their litter box conditions.. Apparently they weren’t satisfactory and one decided to pee on the floor by the box… In the mud room. So 3 kids and one adult all walked by it, multiple times and nobody saw it.

or everyone just assumes that Mom will take care of it…