I had told my husband that I didn’t miss him after returning from a conference out of state. I wondered if we should separate to work on our problems. A couple of weeks later, I was on our way to Texas with our oldest daughter and he stopped me while I was packing – he told me he wanted to work on our marriage and I agreed. I agreed with the understanding that things had to change. They had to.
The night we returned, I woke up to see my husband sitting in the corner of the room. He was upset but he wouldn’t say why. I insisted he say something and he did. He asked for a divorce. In my sleepy stupor I believed he was still talking about the plan I had suggested. It took me until the next day to realize he intended divorce with no chance at reconciliation.
I couldn’t understand what the change was because overnight it all changed. He was cold, distant and unkind. I had become aware, over the years, that I did not not know the man I married but this certainly was not the man I married.
It hurt me deeply to have him ripped away overnight. But more so was the eventual loss of 24/7 access to my kids. I did not want that to change. They were and still are, my whole world. The idea that someone got to decide that this was not my future was suffocating. The idea that a person would choose to leave me nearly destroyed me.
I called his mother (the first of many calls last spring) and asked if she could take the girls. I didn’t want them to see me crying. Because above all I didn’t want them to see us this way – rapidly imploding. That’s when she asked me the question.
In the seconds after she asked, all I could think about was how much that must have hurt him. It was the beginning of an all consuming sadness for the pain I caused another and of the blame I would shoulder for months. It was the start of a version of myself that I never want to be again – the shrinking violet.