I went to a retirement party last night for someone I work with. It was nice to see some friends that I'd not seen in awhile. Towards the end of the night, after the flowing of the beer and wine taps, I bumped into a female acquaintance who'd consumed quite a bit. I'd just heard that night that she was going through a rough time. It seems her husband of 25 years had left her for another woman. He'd sprung it on her completely out of the blue. She had no idea it was coming. So the inevitable conversation began.... and she poured it all out. She had joined our secret club. The club that no one wants to be a member of or chooses to join.
I completely understood how she felt. I've been there. In the exact same place. Although I was a newlywed and he didn't leave, just strayed. No difference really. The pain is the same. That feeling of betrayal and rejection. That feeling of having everything you know that's true in the world turned completely upside down. She said it would've been easier if he had died. And I agreed because I knew she was right. To grieve the loss of the life that you knew and the person you loved is hard. But when that person is responsible for shattering your heart, it changes you... forever. She was a wreck and the alcohol just made it worse. So sad. So devastated. So broken. So angry. And I saw myself 6 years ago.
I tried to tell her that in time things will get better. She will be strong again. And someday she'll be happy again. But in a new sense of normal that she must create for herself. First, she has to go through all the stages of this process. Then she can start to heal. It's too fresh for her right now. She couldn't hear me. She's still in that part when you can't do much other than curl up in a ball on the floor. The part where you absolutely lose your mind. The part where it hurts so bad you think you might die. I remember.
But what I couldn't bear to tell her was that you never really heal. Not completely. After the person you trusted with your heart breaks it, that crack will always remain. And each time after, when you try opening yourself up to the possibility.... and it happens again, that crack deepens. She'll never look at relationships and men quite the same again. She'll put up a wall to protect herself. She'll never completely trust anyone ever again. No matter how strong she gets, part of her will always be broken. It's sad really. I wish that somehow men and women could understand the long term damage they do when they betray their lover's trust. Maybe it'd make them think twice. To suffer through tragedy that's beyond our control is hard enough. But when that suffering is caused by another person. The person who promised to love you forever. Promised to never hurt you. The person who made you feel safe. It's devastating. And you never feel safe again.
I've been on the floor curled up in a ball three times in my adult life. They say three time's the charm. I guess that's why I choose to be alone now. I just don't have the energy to get through it again. And now I have more important things to focus my heart on. My daughter is coming.
I don't know why I wrote this today. I guess seeing her pain brought back more memories than I care to admit. And it made me sad. No comments today friends. This was for me and it was hard enough to push "publish".