Heal Me

J Kahele

 

No one ever wants to believe that someone you love, the person you trusted with your forever, would bring the most excruciating pain you would ever endure. The one for over twenty-years you gave three children, your love, your dedication, your loyalty, your future.

But it happens. 

I know.

It happened to me.

Early spring of 2016, my husband walked away, never looking back. I remember not only feeling abandoned, but a failure to my three children, for not keeping their family together. What made the whole scenario, even worse, was I hadn't worked in five months, so not only was I faced with the humiliation of my husband leaving me, I was also broke. Little did I know, this was only the beginning, to a nightmare that would last nearly two years...

 

I missed him, every breath I took, I missed him. My sister was there for me,  serving overseas, she will never know how much I appreciated the way she went out of her way, with limited time, to call and make sure I was okay. She helped pick me up and tried so hard to make me see, how wrong we were for each other. She would point out incidents that she remembered and remind me that I deserved so much more.

Looking back now, she was so right. One incident in particuliar stuck out. After the death of my father, I had plunged into a dark hole. I didn't realize how much I depended on the support of my father, until he was gone. I had lived this fantasy in my head alone, that I had the sweetest, kindest and most caring husband and  I was so wrong.   He didn't understand or try to. He berated me, called me a mental case, for hurting over the loss of my dad. The sad thing was, my father was only 58 and for nine months, along with my step-mother, I helped care for him as cancer ate him from the inside out. 

I had no help through that time, it was all on me. I still had to make money to pay bills, find babysitters to care for my girls. It changed me and not for the better. I was so angry that I lost my father, so angry that my husband didn't care. And the anger built until it exploded into a fiery ball of rage.

The years that followed, were the worst years of my life. I didn't have that partner who held me, who tried to understand my pain. I was ridiculed, berated and blamed. Called names, called a bad mom. I was so damaged, I began believing he was right.

He even left me once before, for eight months, told me he didn't consider being married. Had me jailed over an argument and tried to have me committed into a mental institution, all in front of my daughters. He told my girls this was him helping me. What he never understood, was all I needed was for him to hold me and to say it would be okay. That never happened. To this day, the last time, I could remember him holding me or showing any sort of affection, was the first morning of my dads funeral in 2006.

June 2016. I did everything I could to put my personal feelings aside and think of my girls. But he fought me at every single thing.  My middle daughters graduation was proof of this. We had agreed, that  I would drive her there and he would take her to lunch and she would come home, so I could have my time to celebrate this monumental accomplishment.   I went out and bought special food and a cake,  and had told my other two daughters about it. When the clock hit past 9:00 pm, I was so disappointed, because I knew in my heart, I was going to lose this day. I was so devastated. But I still thought of her. I tried my best to not put the guilt on my children. I scrambled as fast as I could, grabbing a garbage bag, stuffing the cake and all the food inside of it. Rushed out to the garage, placing the garbage bag behind another, making sure she wouldn't see it. I went in undressed and jumped into bed.

I felt so worthless, so unimportant and stupid. I was her mother, didn't I have the right to celebrate this special day too? What did I do so wrong, to deserve this?  I remembered burying my face in my pillow and crying myself to sleep.

I tried my best to live each day new, not worrying about the last. Even though I was hurt from losing the chance to celebrate my daughters graduation day, I picked myself up and prepared for her graduation party. I tried to push out of my head what had happened at her graduation, be the bigger person and agreed to combining both families and friends to celebrate. I didn't want one of those divorces, where the kids had to choose sides. I wanted to maintain as much civility as possible, for them.

The strangest part about the party was that when the night ended and he was still there, I wanted him to leave. I wanted him to leave. It's was when I realized, I was finally getting over it. It was such an amazing feeling.  For the first time in two months, I slept soundly.

December 2016. My youngest daughters sixteenth birthday. I had suggested to my husband, that we take her to dinner and celebrate. My youngest had hope that me and her dad would reconcile and her family would be one again. So, I wanted to give her that for one day, all of us together. I was angry at him for some reason, so I stayed quiet through the whole dinner and really wished I wasn't there. With him, you weren't allowed to be angry, or to go against him, because he would make you suffer consequences. 

That weekend was his weekend, but I had made plans with my youngest for her to come home a little earlier on Sunday, the actual day of her birthday, to have a private celebration. I always celebrated my girls birthdays at home. I told him about this situation and he told me that wasn't going to happen, because he had invited his family over. It was more important to him for his family to be with my daughter, on her birthday, than me. I was angry, so angry and that day proved to turn the love I had for him into a bitter hate. He could do whatever he wanted to me, but not my daughters. I was the one who gave birth to her and I had first dibs on celebrating a monumental birthday. She wanted to be with me. She told him. But he wasn't having it. Another special day for one of my girls, that passed with me crying myself to sleep.

April 2017. Nothing makes you feel more worthless, then when a person constantly goes out of his way to make you feel that way. He  blocked me from all contact, accept email. He couldn't handle my venting, my release, my side of the story. I wasn't allowed to hurt, or care about my daughters future, or their pain. Or mine. He couldn't even given me control of when I could contact him, like everything thing else in my life, he took control of it.

My life was never my own. I didn't live like normal married women. My husband controlled where we lived and how I lived my life. I was forced into single motherhood, caring for my three daughters alone, while he took a job on the road. It was so hard, to work full-time and worry about the lives of three others alone. If I would complain, he would twist it around to blame me, or say things like, "single mothers do this all the time." But I wasn't a single mother, I was married. This was the precedence of my life with him, I took the consequences of his choices and he didn't appreciate any of it. I thought when he left, my life would change and I would have relief. But it didn't. I was still the married, single mother responsible for my kids,  cleaning up his messes, while he ran around pretending to be this loving father. 

What bothered me to the bitter end, was that he had the audacity, to tell others that I wanted him back. He attempted to tell me this many times.  How degrading and low that a man would think after all the bad he did, that he still held a place in my heart. Hell maybe, but never my heart.  He was most definitely living in a world that didn't exist, as I never gave him any signs I wanted anything more than him to go away. I never chased him when he left, I let him go. I would be lying, if I didn't say the first few months, I did beg him back, but after the incident with my daughters graduation, I came to my senses quickly. I made no attempt to be around him. My daughters  16th birthday was the last time  it happened, because I avoided it at all costs. This man did not get it, I didn't want him, I wanted him to do right by my daughters and grow up and take some responsibility for his actions.

June 2017. I went to North Carolina, where my sister lived, for some much needed R & R. It was what I needed, some distance from the year of hell I had endured. To clear my head and think of my future. The weekend of our vacation fell on my husbands visitation weekend, so I made my youngest clear it with him first before scheduling. It was so nice to just not deal or think about anything and relax. The only thing I thought about was it was time, to start the papers. I tried to find ways in my head to talk to my husband about it.But it was obvious, while I was gone, he was gone, because when I came back, I was served with divorce papers.

I was devastated. Not by the papers, but by the date he filed: The anniversary of our marriage. I remember saying to myself, why? What did I do so badly to have someone be so cruel and hateful. I emailed me and asked him about it and he said, "I want this in court, so you can't schedule vacations on my time!" Punishment. He was emotionally punishing me for taking a vacation. He added later on, it was a mistake, that he didn't realize it was that day. That was a lie. I knew this man well and knew how he was. He always wanted others to see him as a doting father, a loving husband, a dedicated family man.

But he was far from that in private. He was mean, degrading, heartless.  He had no qualms in showing me or  my girls, how worthless I was to him.  I was the person he showed his true-self, the battering ram who took on his failures, anger and hostility.

But why now? He got what he wanted. He left. I didn't chase or beg him back. I didn't even know where he lived. I didn't keep my youngest daughter from him. Why did he keep purposely hurting me?

This was toxic, he was toxic. I had to stop it. I had to end this. I could not allow this man to keep bringing me down. 

I picked myself up and hired an attorney for the divorce case. If anything, I was determined to show my daughters that he didn't break me. It was up to me, to save them from ever allowing a man to do this to them and teach them, how important it was to protect your heart and give it only to a person who will protect, love and honor it.

October 2017. My attorney wanted to try to settle the divorce quietly, he didn't feel it was a case that necessarily needed to go to court. He scheduled a deposition to be performed in his office. I had no clue what a deposition was and my attorney didn't really explain much. So I searched the internet to get more information. Searching through depositions for divorce, one question stood out from the rest. Are you dating? At first, I blew it off, because with all he had put me and my girls through, he wouldn't possibly bring another woman into the situation, would he?

The man I married, I would say, no. But this man, the one who walked out on his family and filed on the date we were married, maybe. So, I did what any intelligent woman did, I asked him. I sent him an email, asking him straight out if he ever cheated on me and he said no. I take that back, that was not exactly what he said. He said, "I don't know what that has to do with anything, but no." I had some doubt in his words, but i blew it off and hoped that they were truthful.

I was so nervous as I sat in my attorney's office waiting for my husband. I remember when he walked into the room. I was disgusted by him. He said hi and for some unknown reason, I could even force a hello back. That was the first time I had ever felt that way, even after he walked out on me broke, I still tried to maintain some civility to with him. My attorney went over the basics of what was going to happen at the deposition and then we moved to a room where a court reporter was waiting. 

The lawyer asked basic questions in the beginning, about his name, residence, employment. I wasn't prepared for the question he asked next, but it most definitely had my attention. "Are you in a relationship, or seeing anyone?" You know how in movies, the camera would be on the woman and you get that sense that the world stopped and was silent that moment. That was exactly how it felt in that room that day. That everything stopped. Even the air felt like it had left the room as I waited on baited breath for his answer.

I remembered him smiling at my attorney when he said, " Sure."

A simple word like sure had me shaking like a leaf, but what made it worst and intolerable was when he was asked where he met her and he said, "online". I was on my feet before I could think and out the door. I couldn't deal with hearing another word. I was barely out of the building when the tears poured down my face. I unlocked my door and collapsed into my seat and sobbed like a baby.  I learned the heart wrenching feeling of what being betrayed meant  and would never wish it upon anyone. You feel lost, hurt, angry but mostly you feel ashamed. I didn't deserve this. I deserved respect. My girls deserved a father with some integrity. it was so devastating to hear and so disappointing to know I would have to be the one to tell them. You would think I would be ecstatic to have something that showed my girls and the world how wrong he was. I wasn't. I was sad. This was going to destroy them, break their heart. Why didn't he care at least more for them? To add insult to injury, he didn't have any problem, telling me that he was capable of having a healthy relationship. I was far from a relationship expert, so I would like to say just this. It was not healthy, to walk out your family broke, it was not healthy to file on your anniversary, and it definitely wasn't healthy to start a relationship before ending another. But to tell the person who had struggled years with you something this, was not only unhealthy it was heartless and the actions of a man who had no conscience.

 

For four days straight, I sobbed. I didn't eat. I didn't sleep. I didn't live. I fell into a deep depression, everyday feeling like I was dying from the inside out. I had accepted the pain he had brought down on me, but I couldn't accept what he had done to my girls and how he was proud of it. He deserved to be happy, was what he told them to their face, without one ounce of remorse. 

Through this battle between the two of us, I had attempted to maintain some sort of moral compass, reassuring my girls that he was very sad, he needed his space. He just didn't want to be married to me, we didn't get along. Whatever it took to show them some face value as a mother. But how much more could I say to help them recover from all of this, when he just didn't stop. When he approached every situation, thinking about himself and not about his children. He had control. He should have waited and showed them some integrity. But instead, he was more interested in showing my girls, that I was garbage, that I didn't deserve my time. So he thought. But that wasn't what happened, that selfish action not only scarred my girls, it took away any trust they ever had for him. When a relationship ends with children and the parents get so caught up in despising each other, they forget that each small human being you created, were watching and inputting. Regardless, of the feelings between the two, the children never want to see one parent continue to do bad to the other. I knew this, because I came from a family of divorced parents. As a child you take it all in, but when you grow to be mature and have a family of your own, the memories come back to haunt you and the respect you had for the parent who damaged dissipated and the trust value disappeared. There was no forgiveness for enduring and watching as one parent destroyed the memory of what was once a family. 

I sat in my bed, crying and screaming. How could he do this to my girls? It's the humiliation that hurt. Was it not enough that he had walked out, left me broke, filed on our anniversary and now he was in a relationship? What father sends this kind of message to his daughters? Didn't I deserve to have signed papers, to breathe before having to except another person in their life. And who was this woman anyways? What woman would engage in a relationship with a man who was still married? Did she not know that she was now going to be another scar to my girls?

For some reason, that thought, that very thought, washed away my tears, my depression. I finally understood. Looking back over the years, I understood. He had no clue how to love me or his children, because he didn't know how to love himself. He had never parented them the way a father should and he had no clue what family was. We moved when he said. We did what he said. We lived the way he said. Control, it was all about control. Using a person's heart to keep control. I felt so stupid. I had allowed myself to become a victim to a self-centered person and made him the father of my girls.

It changed me and I knew that if my girls were ever to come out of this with some understanding of what family was, I had to fix it.

December 2017. I worked on being a better mother and rebuilt the trust, I had lost with my daughters. My girls are my life and in a sense they saved me. They helped me to see what was important and what was not. Once I turned my direction, I realized that I had spend too much time, on a person who had not been worth it. I had allowed his toxic views and actions to drag me down. I had taken on the guilt of his choices and it was never mine to take on, it was always his. I owe him nothing. Not my gratitude, compassion or respect.

Although, our divorce proceedings still continue, I  have found contentment in me and am proud of who I have become. I weathered a storm of emotion and heartache and I may carry scars, but in the end, I walk away knowing, that I did all I could for my daughters and have nothing at all to be ashamed of.

 

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