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The Aftermath

aftermath [af-ter-math, ahf-] noun 1. something that results or follows from an event, especially one of a disastrous or unfortunate nature

About that sunshine… ☀️

Something about this meme reminded me of my mother, who in her recent social media birthday wish to my younger sister, stated that she was her “favorite daughter”. It’s funny when she says my brother is her “favorite son” because he is also her only son, but WTH? 🤷‍♀️

Anyway, she used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me as a child. And upon reflection, she also damaged me in ways I am only now realizing decades later! 😄

She can’t steal the sunshine from me. I’m keeping it for myself.

☀️

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Sometimes, I’m judgemental when I shouldn’t be.

As I was tonight, and I regret it. Sometimes I’m opinionated and snobby, with no basis for being so mean.

H expressed a sweet sentiment about a group of people we often hang out with, saying how nice they always are.  I came back with my own (honest) opinion that some of them seem like posers who pretend to be “rebels” but are just really trying to be part of another “crowd” like anyone else.

And by saying so, I offended H.  He’s hurt.  For that I’m truly sorry. I wish I could take it back, or at least express myself in a kinder way than I did.  It’s too late for that.

I have no right to judge the way people choose to dress or live their lives.   It may not be my chosen way, but that makes no difference.   And they are nice.  That part is true.  I just don’t feel like I fit in, and don’t know that I want to anyway.  (Maybe I’m afraid of them? I don’t really know.)

H wants to be part of said group.  He seems to feel some sort of kinship with them. I don’t feel the same way.  But I was still wrong to say what I said.

I’m not sure how to resolve this one…

☀️

 

Damn you, iPhoto Memories

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I was texting with a friend, and searched on my phone for a pic to illustrate my thought.  While searching, I swiped by a photo of me from a yoga retreat I was on in the fall of 2016 – 4 months after D-Day #1.  Of course, as luck would have it,  the photo right next it,  saved to my iCloud account, was the graphic one that H had taken of The Tenant after leaving his own special brand of souvenir on her naked back and ass.  🤢 Now I know for sure what H was doing that day while I was away trying to come to grips with my new reality.

The photo itself is old news.  It was my discovery of that photo in his email archive at the end of 2016 that got the recovery ball rolling.  And I’m happy that I can say that.   That photo has been dealt with and was long ago deleted from my devices, but since it’s in The Almighty Cloud, I guess it’s the evil gift that keeps on giving.  Not so happy about that.

I have often thought fondly of that retreat.  I  made some progress on myself that weekend.  And it was just fun😀  But I didn’t realize it was THAT weekend, too.  Or maybe I knew but forgot, I don’t know….anyway, from now on, my memories of that weekend will be shaped somewhat differently. 😕  damn it. This sucks.  Sometimes, ignorance is truly preferable.

Thanks for listening, WP.  It’s Saturday night, but I’d really just like to sit in a corner and contemplate a blank wall for a while.

Breathe, Sunshine, breathe.

☀️

 

 

Just Another Day

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

July 1, 2015. Three years ago today, I woke up believing it was just another day.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

My dog had just had major surgery and was on restricted activity, so instead of waking up in my bed, I woke up in the living room, with the dog, in the makeshift kennel I’d created to keep him comfortable for the next few months.  (He’s still doing well, by the way.  I ❤️ my dogs.)

Also, July 1 was the official start day for a new project at work.  New responsibilities. A little stress.  But no big deal.

What I didn’t know is what would happen later that evening, and that I would receive a message that would change everything that I knew to be true, forever.

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If you’ve followed me on this journey through hell and back, thank you. 🙏 Knowing there were others with similar stories has meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful for the support I received on WP as I uncovered the lies and truths about H and the relationship I thought I had with H.  When I was in such a state that I was writing often, I was unsure how or if I could make it to the place where I am now.

I’m happy to say that I am doing much better three years on. H’s betrayal is part of me now, but it’s not on my mind all the time.   I still have a hard time with trust,  and maybe that’s a good thing.  I’ve learned that there is such a thing as trusting too much.  I need to find just the right amount.  I have also developed more confidence, although I still carry so much fear inside of me.  As I continue to work on myself, I know that I am enough, and no matter what might happen on another ordinary day in my future, I will make it through.  I have learned that self-care is important, not a luxury,  and was something I lacked in my pre-D-Day life.

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H is doing better, too.  He’s done a lot of work on himself.  I can’t say he’s a completely different man, but he has evolved and grown over the past two-ish years. That’s not a typo – it took a while, but with Therapist’s guidance, he finally came out of the fog and got down to the hard stuff – realizing why, and discovering how to make changes for the better.

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Today – July 1, 2018.  Not just an ordinary day.

H is 1000 miles away, visiting with his father. We FaceTime frequently, and he sends videos often.  It’s almost like I’m there with them. (It wasn’t always this way.) Progress.

It’s about as hot as we like it to be in this part of the country.  So hot.  Too hot.  Even so, I had plans for extensive yard work while H was away, and now at noon on Sunday have accomplished most of what I set out to do.  I feel awesome.  I’m also tired and achy, but something about this just makes me feel alive.  It’s like a reminder of my vitality.

Next on the menu is a mani-pedi at a salon I’ve never been too, then a nice early dinner before relaxing with a book.

Not just another day, but the day I needed.

☀️

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Photo by Cedric Lim on Pexels.com

And then there are those triggers I can’t plan for and just totally suck the life out of me 😕

Like when my Pap test results come back abnormal again, abnormal enough that I have to have more tests – again. The last time this happened, it was due to HPV. Even though this doc was the one that diagnosed HPV five years ago, she can’t just ignore whatever it is this time. It’s inconvenient, and will be expensive since my deductible is sky-high. Not to mention the possibility that it could be something more serious.

So back I go, and I’m reminded that there is one person responsible.

Well, actually two, as I am to blame for not remaining a virgin for life, of course.

☀️

Knocking Down the Triggers One by One, and Finding a Survivor

This time of year, I get to thinking about what life was like and what I was like pre-D Day #1. It’s funny – my greatest concerns in May of 2015 were that my dog’s limp seemed to be getting more serious, and getting my garden planted.

The garden did get planted, I think 🤔 I honestly can’t recall.

The dog’s limp did get worse, and the recovery from his subsequent knee surgery was a brilliant distraction in the months following discovery. Nearly three years later, he’s completely healed and doing fine with some permanent hardware in his knee.

Wouldn’t it be something if we could replace broken hearts that have been torn to shreds with some hardware that would help them to heal and become stronger?

Anyway, at some point in that first few months of chaos, H admitted that he had attended a couple of concerts with the one that eventually brought about DD#1. He even admitted that I helped him find the damn front row tickets for one of the shows he took the whore to  🤔Needless to say, I had to put both performers on pause in my music collection and my mind for a long time.

But time has passed, H is finally growing up, and if I’m going to continue on with him, I have to tackle the triggers as they come.

I learned that both bands would be playing nearby within 2 weeks of each other. I bought tickets for H and myself. I didn’t get anxious or psych myself up, I just went and had fun. I admit there were a couple of moments when I pictured him in a similar setting with her, but those thoughts only lasted a moment or two and then they were gone.

I know we all go through betrayal differently. For me, I’m finding that confronting my fears and trying to take back what I perceive as having been taken from me is working.

Today, I’ll tackle the next one.

In the fall of 2015, about two months before DD2, I planted some oak seedlings. I even posted about it. Over the next two years, those trees were the last thing on my mind, but recently it occurred to me that I should replant them, if any have survived.

And here it is – the survivor! It’s one of ten, the rest swallowed by wildlife and weeds. Later today I’ll prepare a space where I hope it will continue to thrive and grow.

☀️

The Sun’s still Shining ☀️and I’m still here 🙂

And, everything is OK.  We’re getting close to three years on, and hey,  I’ve survived! We’ve survived, too. H has made some major changes, well, we both have, and I guess we’re doing pretty well.  Well enough that Therapist sent us on our way with his blessings, saying that we should keep on doing what we’re doing.

If I seem hesitant or at least, kind of blah about the whole thing, it’s because sometimes I am.  There are still triggers of course, and some days I just wonder…what if I tried so hard for the wrong outcome?   But most days are fine, and I’m happy to be in THIS place at THIS time. Honestly.  The here and the now. It’s all good. 🙂

We laugh, and we talk, and we have a comfortable life for the most part.   I have a great job, and I practice yoga regularly, with a group of women I also consider to be my friends.   Yoga saved me, and I’m still so grateful for it.🙏

Anyway,  for those of you keeping score at home, here’s a little timeline of all the things I’ve been up to since my last post:

July 2017 – ran a 5K in what has become a family tradition with my siblings on the Fourth, then got on a plane with H to Las Vegas .  If you’ll recall, Vegas is the location of our wedding, 20-ish years ago. Over the next 20 years, we vacationed in Vegas many times.  But,  H loved Vegas soooo much, that he wanted to share it with one of his OW, too, and as a result, I had written it off as too triggery.  That is until Therapist encouraged me to claim the places that I felt had been stolen from me, like New Orleans and Las Vegas, among others.

So, I won the Battle of New Orleans at Christmastime 2016.  Vegas was taken back in July 2017. There are some other places that I’m working on gradually, but these two were the biggies, and I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something. I’ve realized that I’m strong and courageous enough to do things that are hard, even when I don’t think I can. Onward and upward.

Also in July – we became debt free, and not by winning the lottery.  It’s amazing how much less important “buying things” for the sake of “having things” is, when all of a sudden you have no debt.  I seriously just want to save as much money as possible.  I’m guessing this is a short-term effect, kind of like hysterical bonding?  😂 We’ll see…

And later in the month of July, the house that was once home to the Tenant and whatever nasty stuff she had going on in that place, with and without H, has been cleared out, remodeled, and rented to a legitimate renter. A property manager is in place, so H will never have the need to meet or visit with said renter.   The extra money is nice, and comes in handy later on…

August 2017 – our last session with Therapist.  H first met him in October 2015, so it was nearly 23 months of a combination of individual and couples counseling.  It was worth every minute, and every penny.  I recommend everyone try some counseling, even without a trauma like infidelity. Even if the relationship hadn’t survived, the things I learned about myself and about H were much needed and will be valuable for the rest of our lives.  The best part is that H has said several times that he’s glad he found Therapist, and he even told his dad recently that counseling was well worth the time he spent at it, and that he learned a lot about himself.   Win.👍

September 2017 – Like it or not, I’m officially the breadwinner in this relationship, as H quit the physically demanding job he started mid-2016.  His hours sucked, the job had changed for the worse, and the company treats its employees like animals, so while some of the benefits were nice, I was on board with him giving it up.  Plus now that he has some rental income, he’s decided he’d like to buy another property and get it ready to rent.  So, at least he does have a goal in mind and he’s not just drifting.

October 2017 –  Home improvements began on our 100% paid for home.  We spent so much of our monthly paying for the mortgage that we didn’t keep up on certain maintenance, so H is using some of his free time to paint, repair,  and replace.  This is not a short term project…

November 2017 – H and I took a trip to a city we’d both been to as teens,  but never together, and had a good time. H likes “familiar” best, so it was a step to getting him to travel to places that are new to both of us – hopefully beginning in 2018 – stay tuned.

20th wedding anniversary came and went this month.   Yay.

December 2017 – We had planned to spend Christmas at the beach, but something happened to keep us at home instead. H’s mother has had a history of falling down and not being able to get up.  She also has a history of hospital stays, followed by a few weeks in a rehab, and then she goes back home.  But in December, she fell and went into the hospital, but this time was different.  From the hospital she went to a psych ward for evaluation,  due to suggestions of being suicidal. After a week on suicide watch, she was released to a rehab center.  Two weeks later, she was sent to another psych hospital due to being combative with nursing staff.  Apparently UTIs can wreak havoc with our minds, and her’s was fried.  After another week, she was sent back to rehab.  Through the whole ordeal, it was clear that something wasn’t right – she wasn’t bouncing back the way she has in the past. But, medically there was nothing found to be wrong, other than the UTI.  No evidence of stroke, or anything else.  Diagnosis is just “early dementia” and while that sounds like a lot, it’s doesn’t really give us any answers.  So, it’s been tough, and honestly it’s a good thing H doesn’t have a job right now, because there’s quite a bit for an only child to deal with when their parent is in and out of various hospitals.

BTW – this is the bitch of a mother that H has had a difficult relationship with, and that he spent lots of therapy time on… he’ll dance on her grave when she’s gone, but for now, he is a good, responsible son, even if she says differently. And she often does. 😐

Later in December – anniversary of D-Day #2 came and went, and we celebrated the new year with friends old and new. I’m in a good place.

February 2018 – birthday month for both of us.  H is now 50, and I’m still a year younger.  He asked me if he should join AARP.  😉 Ramping up home improvement projects as Spring nears.

March 2018 – MIL is released to go home. H spends a lot of time scheduling home care, nurses, physical therapy, etc.  MIL is her usual uncaring, disrespectful self. She is often confused, and this causes her to get ugly with H. I have fears of H going back to his old ways to soothe the pain that he doesn’t admit he feels, and I even suggest that he set a time to meet with Therapist if he wants to talk about his mother.  H says he’s OK, there’s no need. I hope this is true…

So, life is flowing, like a river to the sea. If you recently found yourself here while in the middle of betrayal – please know, it takes time, but it does get better. Take care of yourself. Find a counselor. Don’t worry – you’re going to be ok.

☀️

When you have no answers 😔

This post is not about H, or infidelity, or therapy.  Instead, something very different but equal on the heartbreak scale.

My sister is 11 1/2 years younger than me.  She had just turned 7 when I left for college.  I missed much of her growing up years, but when she gave birth to her first child, 5 years ago, I promised myself I would be more present in her child’s life, even though I live a hundred plus miles away in a different state.

My sister and brother-in-law are typical middle class Gen-X parents.  They love their kids, have tried to provide a comfortable life for them, and in my opinion have done a great job.  Even so, mother and her first daughter have had an uneasy relationship.  As a toddler, my niece began throwing fairly violent tantrums, including hitting and kicking her parents.  She’s an otherwise sweet, smart, funny girl.  Recently, the uncontrollable behavior has increased, and my sister and brother-in-law have sought help from doctors and therapists.  Last week she was tested for a wide range of mental health disorders, including oppositional/defiant, bipolar, sensory processing, etc.  A diagnosis is a couple of weeks away.

Throughout this summer, I have awoken to frustrated texts from my sister, all cries for help.  Unfortunately, there’s not a lot I can do on a daily basis, due to distance,  as well as my inexperience with raising children, with or without mental illness.  I try to be positive and supportive from afar.

Anyway, I was able to travel to their home this weekend for a visit.  Honestly I was hoping my presence would be a deterrent for a meltdown, since I’ve never really seen it happen while I’m with my neice.  Her parents and toddler sister could use a break from the rage.  Unfortunately it was not to be, and I’ve now experienced several tantrums over the past 24 hours.  When she’s not crying/kicking/screaming/throwing things, she’s very pleasant and good fun to be around.  It seems to come from out of nowhere.

My sister, on the other hand, is a shell of herself.  I know she’s tired, angry, and disappointed that her family isn’t what she had hoped for.  I observed her staring at her daughter, just waiting for the next fit to begin.  And when it did, my baby sister lost it.  She screamed at her husband, who was trying to move the girl into her bedroom to calm down. She screamed at our mother, who was also in the house at the time.  She screamed at me, and in front of her younger daughter.

I guess H does factor in here after all.  If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that H was subjected to quite a lot of yelling and screaming by his family throughout his life, especially as a child.  It made a very negative impact on him, and he’s only now, at 50, figuring out how to appropriately cope.  And all I could think of while in the midst of the conflict today was these babies that I love so much, and how their mother’s harsh words and actions might affect them later in life.   I asked her to stop raising her voice. I told her lashing out isn’t going to be productive.  She sneered and walked out.  My brother-in-law expects her to pack and leave with the smaller girl any day now.

My sister tends to enact a scorched earth policy on people who disappoint her – she and our brother have barely spoken in years due to a conflict, and her relationship with our mother isn’t great – so I fear our relationship may be coming to an end since  I spoke frankly to her this weekend.

She’s my best friend. For 37 years and counting, I have loved her more than anyone else on Earth.

My heart is breaking, for the pain this family is going through, and because I feel so helpless.

☀️

 

 

 

I’ve forgotten her name.

I admit I’m having some foggy thinking and memory loss lately, as I work with my new doctor to help reverse the damage my latest endocrinologist has done by cutting my thyroid med dose in half. Even so, I was delighted to realize yesterday that I can not recall the last name of original OW from D-Day #1.  

I will remember her first name forever unfortunately, but her surname escapes me.  And I haven’t felt a need to go back and look it up.  That would be pointless, meaningless. 

I came to this realisation when H asked me what he should do if he were to run into her ever again.  We have been in the same neighborhood watering hole at the same time as one of the OW’s friends recently, which was the reason the conversation came up.  Just in case.

Honestly, I’d like for H’s conflict avoidance to kick in if he sees her, so that he will simply turn around and leave. Problem solved. But if that doesn’t happen, he needs to tell me.  Right away.  I think he gets it. Finally. 

I guess this is progress, even on the tiniest level. 

☀️

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