It’s January 11, 2017 here in the U.S. and we are covered in snow, and it’s snowing again. We rarely get a lot of snow in Portland. We’re in a funny weather pocket. Our winters are usually fairly temperate, above freezing at least. We generally get one cold weather front per season. It might bring a little snow, but often brings freezing rain or a cold snap with no moisture. Generally a 1-2 day affair, sometimes the below freezing patterns last for up to a week, but with no moisture, no problem (except for the rather large homeless population). This winter we are being slammed. It started in Autumn actually. It seems we are having snow and ice events weekly. Yesterday afternoon it started snowing and didn’t stop all night. We are sitting with a foot and a half of snow in our yard. That’s A LOT for a city with very little winter weather infrastructure. We have limited snow plows (those we do have mainly focus on the highways, and their ability to keep up with any winter weather event is a joke), some de-icing capabilities, we don’t salt the roads here, so generally, we are on our own. Most people don’t have chains because it just doesn’t seem worth it for the one short-lived snow event per year. Turns out, this is weather event #4 and it’s not even mid-January and it looks like the snow is here to stay for at least four more days. Thankfully we have nowhere to go, so we can enjoy the winter wonderland, for now.
It’s also anniversary #3 of the day I received a phone call from a woman claiming to be my husband’s mistress. It still, even three years later, feels so strange typing that. It doesn’t seem real. Ironically it almost feels less real now than it did three years ago. Does that make sense? So much has changed in our lives. The shock of that phone call and the aftermath now feel much more like an awakening, than a trauma event.
The exact time of the call has come and gone, another year has passed. The phone call itself holds very little trauma or trigger points for me anymore. It is, however, the only real point in time that I can remember where time seemed to stand still. Other major events in my life, high school graduation for example, or the moment we were married, or our first child being born, feel more like events on a continuum, not moments in time. Just regular old life experiences as part of a long, somewhat planned out, bigger picture. I barely remember our wedding day kiss. That event was one big blur of activity. I remember standing with my parents at the end of the aisle, a long white clothed walkway covering the grass of the 10th tee at my in-laws country club, thinking… I hope I don’t trip over my dress… When our first son was born, it was a long drawn out process and I was so exhausted from the ordeal and so anxious that he would be okay, so worried when he was life flighted from one hospital to another while I was still stuck in bed, paralyzed from the waist down. Although it was traumatic, pregnancy and childbirth are often fraught with unknowns, and we know this going in. I remember all these moments in my life as part of a process of living a life I wanted. I was equipped to deal with a certain amount of uncertainty in the certainty of the life I planned for myself.
The moment of the phone call from the other woman, however, was unlike any other moment in my life. It was not expected or even contemplated as part of my life plan. The concept that my husband would have an affair, or that he was an addict, well those thoughts never crossed my mind. That is why I was blown away. I was not prepared. It would never happen, so why would I prepare for it? I chose my husband because he was loving, kind, quirky, compassionate, devoted, caring, and he loved me with every part of his being. I knew that for sure, and nothing could change my mind. In my world, a person like that is a great choice for a life partner. That person would never hurt me…
I have been incommunicado on my blog for three weeks now. First it was the holidays, and a visit from Princess Leila (she’s a real trip, that one), and then, on our drive home from the beach house two weeks ago, I started getting sick, again, but this time it was worse. It started with a cough and the telltale feeling that someone was standing on my chest… breathing became difficult. Then the fever, and more substantial coughing, body aches and pains… the flu with a dose of walking pneumonia thrown in for good measure. I am still not completely healthy. I thought I was doing pretty well until I spent a little time out in the snow last night with my boys and my fur babies. Sleeping was rough and this morning the cough was back along with the crackling sounds coming from my chest. I’m back to resting again. It just takes time.
This morning when I woke up, I rolled over to Blue Eyes and said, “it’s that day,” and he said, “I know.” The thing about “that day” now though, is that it is now a day to look back over what we have both accomplished in three years time, and that’s a lot. I no longer care about what prompted this particular anniversary date. What I really care about is that when I sat down on that day and my life seemed to stop, at least the life I knew, the life I had planned for and carefully nurtured, it stopped. I now have a different life than the one I thought I had or the one I thought I wanted… or more importantly the one I thought I NEEDED. What I had was not completely real. Now, I have a life I believe is more real, it’s more authentic, but more importantly, I have learned that no matter what is handed to me, and no matter who does the handing, I am prepared. I can do this life, no matter what. Bring it!
This morning Blue Eyes and I shared authentically, openly, honestly… both of us, about where we have been, and where we are. No tears. No trauma. Being snowed in has its advantages. Blue Eyes is still an addict. He doesn’t use a drug to cope anymore, but he is still an addict. Denying his addiction would stop his recovery dead in it’s tracks. Denying he still has a lot of work to do, would be living a false reality. When he feels shame, when he feels anxiety, when he feels exhausted, when he feels beat down, he knows what he needs to do to pick himself back up. And me, I get to be the same person I always was… just a little more scarred, but a little wiser, a little more sturdy, and a whole lot stronger. I still have my family. I still have a great life full of love and joy, forgiveness and compassion, full of travel and beach houses, but most of all, full of peace and happiness.
For sure this is not a path I ever dreamed for myself, and I certainly didn’t plan for it, but I was handed it anyway and I’m doing my best. Each day since discovery is a gift. I know that now. I have no bitterness in my heart on this day and it feels good. Flipping the channels on the television yesterday, I came across the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. I was sketching in preparation for some paintings I want to do in my new beach house painting loft and so I figured, why not. Sequels are never as good as the original, so I kept my expectations low. I was surprised Blue Eyes and I hadn’t already watched the movie. It fits his criteria, silly, potentially funny, not triggering. So I watched it by myself yesterday afternoon and during the closing scenes they play the John Legend Song, ‘All of Me’ and I cried. I sat there and cried. I haven’t done that in a long time. The nice thing though about yesterday is that I was crying happy tears, not sad, hurt or angry tears. I was crying because I love Blue Eyes that much, with all of me. I love him despite everything, and I know he loves me in that same way, all my curves and all my edges, my smart mouth, and my very own perfect imperfections.