In Recognition Of My Resurrection

Fifteen years ago today I made the biggest decision of my life and walked away from my wife and two daughters, a career in the “family” business, a beautiful home and most of my friends and acquaintances.  I also walked away from ten years of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional abuse that left me with scars in place of self-esteem.  I really was one of those “abused” husbands that one hears about.

In an act of desperation to survive, I climbed into the car and drove to the coast and then one thousand  miles south down Hwy 101 all the way to Southern California over the course of three days to wind up on my Aunt’s doorstep.  I remember calling my then wife and saying “I am done.  We are done.  I will not be coming back.”

To me, what the end of my marriage represented was the one true failure of my life. And to this day it casts a shadow over a lot of my life.  After all, I am a first born son, and a Thursday’s child, from an Irish family and as such was created, shaped and expected to achieve greatness. But no matter how one analyzed or interpreted, there was a very basic failure on my part to recognize the context of my marriage and the character of my partner.

There was a failure to recognize the person I had chosen for myself. If one answers that by saying that she was a chameleon, then I failed to recognize the need to get out of the marriage much sooner than I did. One can even say that I failed by not enduring the marriage and creating a life within its confines.

What I ended up with was a nine year black hole. There really is a gaping hole in my life that consists of nine years of minimal memories. I can remember the birth of my daughters and the passing of my grandfather; but that is about all. I do not even have any photographs from that time period.

It really is a gaping void. Of course who needs photographs when one can just look at the scars? The memory of being stabbed with the kitchen knife is still very vivid as is being hit across the back with a two by four.  Not having photographs could be considered a failure too as they would be a record that there was happiness at times: even if there was no contentment. But honestly, they just do not exist.

I have only one friend from within that time period. She is a college professor who became good friends with both my ex and I and she was the only person who remained a friend to me after the split. She was very perceptive to the treatment I was receiving at home and was always there for me as a friend. She had an alcoholic mother and recognized all of the signs in the ex.  She is still one of only three truly trusted friends in my life.

True failure is a combination of many things. It can be bad timing, bad karma, bad taste, bad judgment or just plain bad luck. Combine these ingredients well and shake in more than just a pinch of insanity and, just like that, you have my marriage.  But fifteen years later I have a life.  Some would even say it is a good life.  I literally started over from less than scratch:  no money, no job, and no place to live – just for starters.  And from there I have built a new life based around my basic needs and then the basic needs of my daughters.

I have gone from borrowing $500 from my aunt in order to get back to Oregon to having financial security.  I will be removed from a rather draconian support order in a short period of time but I have still gotten my oldest through school and the youngest on her way there.  I have a clean home that suits me perfectly and I have two daughters who are a permanent (sometimes too permanent) part of my life while they have drifted away from their mother.

All in all I have to say that my personal feeling on what has transpired is pride tinged with sadness.  I would love to indulge in gloating over the miseries that have afflicted my ex-wife, but that is just not me.  Instead I look back and understand that I had to take the fork in the road that I did or I would have been destroyed by my ex-wife’s life much as it has destroyed her.  It really is a case of “there but for the grace of God ….”

3 Responses

  1. Hell, man. That is one unfortunate case. I know quite a bit about pain, it can be tough out here in the world, that’s for sure. We can only make the best of it and aspire toward great days. I really respect your choice in not gloating over your ex-wifes miseries. No matter what she has done, I think it is wise, at least, for our own well being to avoid such toxic behaviour. There is an old hebrew proverb that this revives:

    “Shomer piv u’le’shono, Shomer mitzarot nafsho”

    “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards from troubles his soul”

    We should get together sometime. We’ll drink and I’ll make us some Yisra’eli salads.

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