What I know now

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It’s been 15.5 months since I found out about my husband’s affair.

Not a single day has been easy. Not even one.

This is the single most difficult and overwhelming experience I’ve ever gone thru. Without exception.

Staying is hard. Every single day.

I’m not the same person anymore. So much of who I am is still lost in the chatic aftermath of betray.

I can’t find my way out.

I question and doubt everything.

This is not the life I wanted to live.

I can’t “forget it.”

Something has to change.

But, I’m still not ready….

 

 

 

 

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.

Chives

I don’t remember exactly when I met her.

I joined the 74th AES in 1992. She was already a member. We were both flight medics. I just know it was sometime my first year there.

I don’t even remember exactly how we became best friends, but we did.

Our relationship had its turmoil and drama. It’s changed. She’s changed. I’ve changed. Don’t we all?… I think it’s called maturing. Growing up. Anyways, she is still my best friend.

So our friendship started out likely on a drill weekend. The Air Force Reserve calls them Unit Training Assembly, or “UTA” weekend. First weekend of every month. As a flight unit, we had the additional responsibility to maintain flight time. So, we probably averaged 5 days a month. There was always extra time or missions to pick up, temporary assignments. Travel opportunities abounded, and we took advantage of all we could.

In the 5 years I was at that unit, I traveled to near every continental state. I also traveled to over a dozen foreign countries. I did it as I went thru Nursing school, so always had a backpack full of heavy text books. This all before the Internet and cell phones. Often times those books never got opened. I settled for B’s and C’s in exchange for the life experienced I gained. It was worth it.

Anyways, Chives and I became inseparable. Her boyfriend and a guy I was seeing were good buddies. We all hung out and partied. Wow some of those memories still make me smile.

The guy I was seeing went in to break my heart. We weren’t in a committed relationship. We lived several states apart and both full-time students, reservists and employed. There was little time to nurture a long distance relationship. But I did fall in love with Him. Only he didn’t know. And I didn’t know he was in love and secretly engaged. Then married. I found out 3-4 months later. After we’d travelled and been intimate. So he as a newlywed cheated on his bride. I was raging mad at him! I had a few drinks and made a scene. In public no less, at the Base Club parking lot. The curtain closed on that relationship with me saying,  “You  Fucking Asshole. I loved you.” If I remember correctly, I cried and puked the rest of the night. And then, nursed a hangover the next day. I went on to mend my broken heart in some self-destructive ways but made a lot of friends and had a lot of great first dates!

She went on to marry the guy she was seeing. They had a baby soon after, he just turned 18. She then went thru the loss of a baby at nine days old, and then a few late-term miscarriages. She desperately wanted more children, but her body just failed her. She is truly blessed with her son. She absolutely treasures him. They both do.

She went thru those years as I had 3 children in 44 months. It was the hardest thing to tell her that I was pregnant. I wanted her to be pregnant too. As much as she did. And my pregnancies were complicated, my son 10 weeks premature. My second pregnancy, was spent 20 weeks on bed rest, 3 weeks hospitalized. She was born at 37 weeks. She is my angel baby. Then my Boo, I carried until 38 weeks, but worried constantly that something would go wrong. Nothing did. She completed our family.

our friendship was strained, but we didn’t talk about it. I know what she was going thru was hard and I going thru what I was going thru, was difficult too. We couldn’t support one another, I think conveniently because of distance. We live about 3 hours apart. That’s not far when your single. But once your married and have a baby, It’s crazy far! This was still before cell phones were handed out and used like SS numbers. We didn’t have them, so communication was like it was, a call or two a week. For a while we had a weekly scheduled call date for an hour on Sunday. Eventually those dwindled and calls became sporadic. We played phone tag. Weeks, then months would go by. Then a few years with just a call or two.

We reconnected thanks likely to Facebook. Over the last few years we’ve spent time together meeting up at hockey tournaments  or dance competitions. We talk rarely, but text pretty frequently now. Sometimes weeks will go by. I think we are both committed to getting together this year for a weekend. I’m still passive. I’m afraid to commit to a plan. I don’t know that I can see her right now. I don’t know that I’m ready.

See for years, I’ve known a secret. After she lost Isabelle, she had an affair. He was married. They worked together, out-of-state and away from their spouses. I don’t know the ending of that affair, only that her husband never knew. He still doesn’t. I truly was able to empathize with her. I totally got what she found in her affair partner and why she needed it. She was trying to replace the loss, fill the “unfillable” void, that only comes from the loss of a child. There’s a hallow space, that never completely goes away. You always remember.

She was just as crazy in love with her husband. He just couldn’t connect with her emotionally about the loss of their daughter. He’s a great guy. An awesome dad. Kinda gruff, doesn’t like to deal with complication. He’s a big city cop. Big in physic too, goes to the gym and takes care of him self. Enjoys good beer. He’s good company and he adores his wife. They live a comfortable and happy life. The adore their son. The are crazy in love. I’m sure there are things I don’t see, she’s pretty conservative. Maybe reserved is better… Maybe both. But publicly she lives a happy life.

So, does her husband need to know? Should he know? That’s rather  complicated. I always thought he should know because “it sucks not knowing.” I think Chives knew that, but we didn’t talk about it. And I was never going to tell or even hint to him about her clandestine affair. I promised her I’d tell no one. I will go to my grave with her secret.

So does he need to know? I can say that now, So many years later… No. Absolutely Not. Why would that do anything good for anybody? And imagine the destruction. Just seems insane to even consider telling him.

She told me because she knew I wouldn’t judge her, because well, I still go by that philosophy. I just don’t  judge. I’m also good at secrets. I have several that will go to my grave. She also knows some of mine.

But I have this secret. My husband’s affair. I haven’t told her. And I’ve thought about it a few times. Because I’m sure she’d listen and be great support. Truly. But I find myself raging mad at her sometimes. I’m afraid of what I’d say to her. Text messages are easy. They are toneless and short generally. Simple exchanges that keep us connected but without substance. Still nurturing.

So does she need to know? I wish I knew the answer. I spend a lot of time thinking about telling her and what I’d say, questions I’d ask. Like, “what were you thinking?” Because I truly don’t get what my husband was thinking. Fundamentally. Doubt I ever will.

I’d love the opportunity to pick her brain and not have it affect our relationship, to get inside the mind of a cheater. But I can’t. I won’t. Because I don’t know that I want to know the details. You can’t unknow some things. And those are the things I’m afraid of. The things I don’t know. So I don’t ask the questions.

I truly believe there are things we’re better of not knowing. Like details. Details of my husband’s affair. It took up years worth of his life, but amounts to a few hours of collected data, the few details that he’s given me. The letters I exchanged with the other woman. not much really, because I haven’t asked the details. I can tell you the crazy thoughts I’ve had about his affair. My imagination is wild. But honestly. All I know about their sexual relationship (puke) is that, “it was good.” Yeah, he said that. And they never used protection. “Not once,” as she had to tell me in email. so the rest is all unknown. I come up with new questions in my mind constantly. But the answers if I asked…First off, if my husband were honest, which he wouldn’t be… I’m pretty sure that they would all hurt. Every single thing he could say would hurt more than not knowing does. Right? That’s what I tell myself. I believe it even. So I don’t ask.

So that’s where I am with Chives. She hasn’t asked what’s up with me. I suspect she shows that something is. She knows me. We are best friends still. But she is afraid to ask. And I’m afraid of telling her. So neither of us go there.

Her daughter’s birthday is coming up soon. She only lived 9 days. She was a micro premie, born at just 24 weeks gestation. Such a profoundly difficult start to life. She was able to fight if for 9 days. She died in her mothers arms. She still grieves for her. For the past few years I’ve acknowledged her birthday and anniversary of her death. It’s brought us much closer. Her husband has long forgotten, as only a man can do. A man can never know the pain of the physical loss of a child. Just won’t. Just so that doesn’t sound sexist.

So she and I will connect about Isabelle’s short life. It will nourish our relationship and foster time to pass until enough goes by that I can decide one day that she never has to know about my husband’s affair.

Won’t she be better off not knowing?

The Matchmaker

During the fall of my first year in nursing school, I was attending my first Nutrition class. We had lab table seating and I sat down in the back of the room at the only empty table still vacant. Shortly after the professor passed out the syllabus, a late comer entered and quickly sat down beside me. The professor had us all stand and do the traditional “introduce and say something about yourselves.” The student next to me, male mid-late 20’s, very attractive and “GQ,” said, “Hi, I’m Dave and I was late for class.” He proceeded to blush. Over the semester we became friends. Good friends even. I had a real crush! We talked about dating after the holidays and then proceeded to do so. It didn’t last but 5-6 weeks maybe, but got really awkward after a few weeks when we couldn’t get past foreplay. We both wanted to, but never at the same time. We ended up “breaking-up” in the end. It’s my best break-up story! Dave and I went on to become really good friends and still are today, although distanced by time. Time truly does go so fast.

Thru those years of college, Dave and I had a blast. We’re both spontaneous and did lots of crazy things, but always as friends. I cried on his shoulder about heart-aches and heart-breaks. We had sleepover at his place. Purely platonic. Watching rented movies and talking, enjoying a few beers or a bottle of wine. He was great company.

He lived in a great old house near campus. He had a number of roommates over those years. I becoming one of his last. It was a great place to hang out. We had several parties, and he introduced me to a number of his friends early childhood. Some are now my in-laws. It was at one those parties that he introduced me to husband and his first wife. Husband was charismatic, friendly. The kind of guys that everybody knew and loved. During those few years I ran into him at hospital. We’d stop and say, “Hi,” and exchange quick small talk and move on. He was always rushing off to some meeting. I found him attractive, pleasant to talk to. He’d be on my list of maybe’s, if he wasn’t married. So I never considered him beyond acquaintance.

For reasons I just don’t recall, David moved out before we graduated. I’m not even sure how long before, maybe six months. He struggled with the last semester for personal reasons, as did I. We were no help to each other. I was helping to care for my grandmother on hospice. My mother had an MI, the very day her mother died. She ended up having an emergent CABG surgery and a week later moved to Florida. She abandoned me. Again. I was also scheduled for deployment to Saudi Arabia after graduation. struggled with grief and those last weeks of nursing school where a challenge. Paxil for a few months helped.

Graduation and all the fun and festivities that come with it came and went. My mother didn’t. I packed up and moved all my acquired stuff to a storage unit and went home to stay with my dad and His wife Linda those few weeks before deployment. Such a hectic time… 3 weeks before my boards, my Gram died.

Gram is one of my favorite people, such a beautiful lady. She lived a happy life with her share of heartache, loss and sorrow. She was a devote catholic, but never preached. I think it’s from her that I learned one shouldn’t judge a person by the path they are walking. She avoided passing judgement. She would ponder what it must be like in their shoes.

She was a first generation American. Her parents immigrated here from Portugal, the Azores actually, with her 2 older brothers. She was born shortly after their arrival at Ellis Island. I think it’s from her that I’ve also learned tolerance and unconditional love. She had the patience of Job! Nothing was ever a crisis, and if it was then the “Good Lord” would see us thru! She would know how to comfort me now. I could tell her all the things that have happened between husband and I. All our secrets, and not fear or feel judged or condemned. She is always in my heart, not a day goes by without thinking of her. I miss her still. I know what it is to truly grieve. I have for nearly 20 years. I also know that grief eases with time.

I was nervous about my upcoming state nursing board exam. It was a new process, scheduled individually and on a computer. Results still took weeks! My 1996 graduating class was the first to take them in that format.

The evening before my exam, I learned that my closest college friend had failed. We’d also learned learned that 6-7 others had failed as well. My anxiety was peaked. Nursing board exams are notoriously tough! I struggled with sleep that night and had abandoned studying days before. Truly if I hadn’t learned it in the previous weeks of review and 4 years of College, and all my years of experience as a flight medic, then I wasn’t going to learn it in those few dark hours.  I got up early, well before my alarm and creeped to the family room, curled up on the couch and watched the local News then Today Show. My routine still. There was a report about a bombing at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I was leaving in 3 days for that very place.

June 25th; dark from the clouds that were pouring rain on us. An early summer morning where a blanket feels good. The phone rang at 6:30 or so. I think I dozed off, but I picked it up.  It was Gramps, Linda’s father, a lovely old man I had come to love. He said, “I can’t wake up Lucy.” I dropped the phone and ran to their house, just 2 homes down. The house in between was Uncle David, Linda’s brother. Across the street was Auntie, a very dear friend to the family and to me. The activity caused everyone to become aware and I don’t remember all the details, but I was the one to determine that she was gone. She didn’t want CPR, and had a DNR. She had been diagnosed 3 weeks prior with lung cancer and hadn’t started treatment yet, but her prognosis was very good. Her diagnosis was very early. Her sudden death was very unexpected. Everyone was quite upset.

Lucy was a true matriarch. She was a hard woman. Quite bitter and angry most of the time. She was an alcoholic, though I never saw her drunk in the few years I’d known her. Gramps loved her. That’s really what matters. They’d been thru 50 plus years of marriage, 4 kids; the death of one, 9 grandchildren, I can’t remember or count the number of great-grand children. They built a successful business, were elders and pillars in their church, well-known and respected in the community. They loved and lived a happy life. Certainly not without it sorrows. Her death was a true loss for the family and I felt for them. I wasn’t nearly as fond of her as I let on. But I was sad for my family as I’d come to consider them all, and love them as such today.

Still few tears, trying to focus on my exam only a few hours away, but truly feeling the mounting anxiety. I left as I just couldn’t miss my exam. I showered and dressed and arrived early, a rare-feat for a procrastinator. I sat in my car, gathered my thoughts, did some deep breathing and cleansing breathe exercises. This was it. My only chance to pass the first time. Thus far all of my classmates that I’d heard about taking the boards, had failed. This added to my anxiety. I didn’t want that label. Failed.

Seventy five questions and ninety-seven minutes later the exam ended. Probably told me I’d receive my results in a few weeks by mail. I had completed it in 75 questions, the minimum amount of questions possible. That meant I either passed and did well or had failed miserably. I don’t recall having a sure sense of either.

I got into my car and finally the tears came. I sobbed. Out of relief, fear, sadness, grief.. Why did my mother leave me again and miss my college graduation? Why was I not good enough? And I was leaving in just a few days…. To a location that was just bombed by a terrorist group. This all before 9/11. I learned a different sense of fear that day. So much unknown. I still missed my grandmother terribly, her loss so fresh just 3 weeks prior. Why did Dad and Linda have to experience such a traumatic loss? And I wouldn’t be there to support them.

For some reason I seemed to measure my loss of my grandmother as less than theirs because they lost their mothers. Weird I know, but it’s something for me… I always found away to minimize and internalize my own experience of something compared that of someone else.

I still do. I’ve read your blogs, my fellow-betrayed, and I find my self comparing my husbands indiscretions against yours during his affair. At least my husband isn’t a sex addict, discovered I believe near 30 years together. How truly tragic! My grief can’t possibly compare, right? And those of you that who have been stalked and terrorized by the “other woman.” I can’t imagine the horror of that. I’m so thankful that Mouse was able to erase the affair and retreat to her miserable hole. I hope she can keep her vile secret there.

I don’t want the drama of her husband knowing, though I do sometimes fear him finding out. He does some high-profile grant work for healthcare. They both have political goals or connections at the State level. I think of the scandal we’ve avoided because of their careless and reckless selfishness. The amount of damage the affair could cause if it’s ever publicly exposed.  The families destroyed, political dreams ended (because nobody votes for a known cheater, high level jobs likely resigned abruptly. So much easy-to-see fallout with such total disregard? I hope it was worth it.

I’m thankful my husband’s affair didn’t result in a child or STD. I’m thankful my husband claims he never loved her, felt and still feels “nothing” for her. I read few exchanges of affection, but never “I love you,” to date I’ve found no evidence of further contact, I don’t know the explicit details of their sex, so much I don’t know, so I minimize my experience by comparing it to all the much more horrendous affair details than I do. I don’t know why I do this…

And for any of you waywards that may still be reading this far… Yes, it was the most disgusting thing I read that day; because I so want to believe that my husband doesn’t think of her in such longing ways as you write… Your poor wife… It hurts me to think she could possibly read that. I only imagine the pain…  And if all you have to worry about is March Madness, then life is good for you. Bravo. Have a little compassion and humility. Those and kindness will get you far. Please find someone else to be an asshole to.

After I was able to compose myself enough, I left the test site and joined my mourning family. The next three days were blur; ongoing news about the bombing, 19 confirmed fatalities and near 500 injured. Packing to live in Muslin nation. An unexpected trip into Boston for passport Snafu; shopping for another dress, as almost all my belongings where in storage; another funeral, my third funeral in 5 months; a bunch of goodbyes before I left. Making sure things where in order for my father to manage my affairs while I was away. Traveling to a new and foreign country, simple as they seem, collectively I was overwhelmed.

I left for Saudi Arabia and spent the next 14 weeks there, under the highest terrorist threat. It was awful. My experiences where life changing and lead me to get out of the USAF after nearly 12 years of service. Up until Saudi, I had planned to retire from the Air Force, possibly even going active duty again.  I was planning  to peruse  my commission as a Flight Nurse. So many life changing events and experiences that year.

As it turned out, I did pass my boards, the first time. And did it in the top few percent. I remember my commander calling on the radio to tell me he had an important fax message for me. It was my Nursing Licence! We celebrated with root beer, no alcohol allowed in Saudi, and an assortment of care package goodies.

I came home and struggled to reintegrate. Found an apartment and settled in. Bought a new car and started a new career as an RN. So many things happening in my life at the time….

During the holidays I met up with Dave. We had lunch or a long coffee. I don’t recall. We had so much to catch up on.

He asked me “Hey, did you hear? Husband and first wife got divorced last year.

“No, I hadn’t heard. How would I? Well then, You should set us up.”

Getting Grief Right – by Patrick O’Malley

Perspective on grief…

Kindness Blog

grieving mother

By the time Mary came to see me, six months after losing her daughter to sudden infant death syndrome, she had hired and fired two other therapists. She was trying to get her grief right.

Mary was a successful accountant, a driven person who was unaccustomed to being weighed down by sorrow. She was also well versed in the so-called stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. To her and so many others in our culture, that meant grief would be temporary and somewhat predictable, even with the enormity of her loss. She expected to be able to put it behind her and get on with her life.

To look at her, she already had done so. The mask she wore for the world was carefully constructed and effective. She seemed to epitomize what many people would call “doing really well,” meaning someone who had experienced a loss…

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