It was exactly one-week after my mom died, I sat in a restaurant with my husband of 15 years, Earl. I was distraught, still thinking of the sudden and unexpected death of my mom that just ripped through my heart. Earl and I were having a squabble, when he looked at me straight in the eye and said “I don’t know if I love you any more or not.
I was knocked to the floor. How could he do this to me while I was grieving my mom? I knew we were having problems, but why was he being so cruel? It was the last thing in the world that I needed or wanted to hear. Out of shock and anger, I replied with some “not so nice” words.
Through all of his faults, Earl was a man of his word. He married for better or for worse, and would never have taken the initial steps towards divorce.
For the next five years we lived together as man and wife – yet so distant. There is NOTHING Lonelier than being in a marriage where you feel unloved, unworthy and unappreciated.
During this period my dad, grandmother, brother and aunt died. In addition, Earls, brother was murdered, his grandmother and grandfather died and his father almost died of pneumonia and lung cancer.
Earl and I kept growing apart, yet I clinged to what was familiar to me. I knew how to act, when to say what and more importantly when and how to avoid his massive outbursts of anger which appeared to get worse every day. I had been with him since I was 16 years old, how in the world could I live without him? If I left him, my parents were no longer around to help me, who would support me? More importantly, how would I support my children, because Earl constantly threatened to leave the kids and me penniless.
I began doing a lot of self-improvement. I read any and every book I could find including books on how to save my marriage. The more I tried, the farther he drifted. During this time, he said and did some horrendous things.
I finally decided to take the plunge and leave. It was the scariest thing I ever did in my life. I had never been completely on my own; I went from daddy’s house to Earl’s house. I was fortunate that I had the support of a few very good friends who encouraged me, even though I often felt that no one had been through what I was feeling and that no one truly understood. The separation and divorce was as amicable as one can be.
Four days after I left Earl, my son was in a car accident, I called Earl and was horrified at what he did. He came to the hospital, talked to my son for a few minutes and then gave him $20. And said, “Here, maybe your mom will get you something to eat on the way home.” We did not even have all the x-rays back, and did not have any final word on my son’s condition.
For weeks or months, I was fueled with anger at him for the way he treated my son, as well as all the past hurtful things he did. I was further enraged when he told me that getting a demotion at work, hurt him more than me leaving did.
Then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks ….. I was allowing Earl to continuously hurt me and control my life because I was holding onto anger of the past. What did Earl care that I was angry? Did it affect his life? Of course, it did not. This anger was eating away at me, making me scream, making me cry, making me think life was unfair and making me want to strangle Earl’s neck. This affected my moods, my actions and feelings about myself.
I decided right then and there to “LET GO” of the anger. To let go of the “What Ifs” the “If Only’s” and the “Why’s”. I just Let everything go and accepted what is. I looked to the opportunities I had. I looked to how I wanted to shape my life. I looked to the newfound freedom I found. I embraced the fact that My Life is My Choice, and that by holding onto the anger was giving my choice away.
Fast-forward 15 years. Both my children are grown, living happy healthy productive lives. I am married to a wonderful man who treats with the utmost respect and love. I have a career that I love! Some of the journey has been rough but it has been worth it.