I can remember that dreadful Sunday morning just as if it was yesterday. The wounds have healed and I am a different person now then I was then. It was the beginning of what I call my three years of hell here on Earth. Pain that I wish no one would ever have to feel.
I had planned to meet some friends about three hours away from my home. I got up and got ready for a fun day out with the girls. My ex Earl went on a rampage because there was no Rice Krispies at home. He yelled and ranted that I did not care about him, because I bought my kids favorite cereal and my favorite but not his. We had been fighting a lot and I thought he was being quite ridiculous, but said, “Fine, I’ll go to the store and get your cereal.”
When I arrived home about 30 minutes later, Earl was sitting on the couch and said, “Your dad just called and said, tell Cindy to get here quick because I think we just lost mom.”
I looked at Earl and cried, “My mom is dead!”
I immediately felt ill and shock. I had just experienced a vision of my siblings and me surrounding my mom’s body and telling her good-bye. It was barely 8:30 in the morning and I had just left her house at 10:30 the previous night, as it was her birthday.
I had sat on her bed next to her crying because my marriage was in such shambles. I had asked mom if she thought that Earl was cheating on me and if she believed my marriage was over. It was no secret that Earl was having a very strong emotional affair with a woman that he worked with. Mom held me and soothed me. She told me that she seen redeeming qualities in Earl and that maybe I should stick it out. She also encouraged me to keep working as she told me once again, “Don’t ever depend upon a man to support you.” She also told me that she would support any decision that I made.
As I stood in the living room just staring at Earl, he said, “I really don’t think it’s your mom. When your dad speaks to me about your mom, he refers to her as Pauline and when her talks about your grandma he says mom. So I think that it’s your grandma.”
I do not think that Earl was planning to drive me over there, but I asked if he could please take me and he did. We got to moms house and I went running inside. I found grandma sitting on the couch being comforted by some neighbors. This was verification that it was indeed my mom and not my gram. Grandma told me that the paramedics took mom to the hospital and that she did not want to go with me.
I hopped back in the car and Earl drove me to the hospital. There were lots of fire trucks and firefighters entering the emergency room as the same time as me. I felt dazed and confused. I can still feel several firefighters shoving past me as a nurse grabbed my hand and pulled me aside. She explained that there was a fire in the hospital and I had to make room for the emergency personnel. When I told her that my mom had just got there via ambulance and gave her moms name, she escorted me to a small room.
My dad and brother were in this room. As I sat there, the walls felt like they were closing in around me. I wanted out. I did not want to believe that this was happening. I needed my mom! After what seemed like an eternity, a doctor walked in and told us that mom was gone. He escorted dad to where mom was so that dad could recover her jewelry.
Earl brought me home. Right after we got home, Earl was holding me as I stood sobbing in the kitchen. I cried, “I wish you could make it go away.” Earl shoved me about 10 feet into the other room and screamed, “How in the hell do you expect me to make your mom come back to life?” He then stormed out of the house and went into his garage. I did not see him for the rest of the day.
I was in shock and disbelief. I could not think, eat, sleep or function. I crawled into bed that night trying to make sense of everything that happened that day. I did not want to believe that mom was gone and could not understand why Earl was being so cruel. When he finally came to bed that night he offered no comforting words and did not attempt to hold me. He got up at 4:30 in the morning and went off to work as if nothing had happened.
This freaked me out more. How could he just go off to work? My father-in-law came to my house. He comforted me. He took me and the kids out to eat and made sure that I ate something. He took me to the mortuary and to the church and helped me make funeral arrangements.
First off, Earl had said that he was not going to the funeral and then he said he was not going to sit in the front row because he was not family. I asked how he figured this, since we had been married for 14 years. His father talked him into going to the funeral and sitting in the front row next to me. He was there in body only. He really did not seem to care. He did not hold me, not even my hand. He sat arms length away and offered no comfort what so ever.
The following Sunday, Earl and I sat in a restaurant eating breakfast. I was still very raw and distraught from mom’s death. I still found it difficult to believe. I wished my dad dead instead of mom. How would I go on without my best friend, my mom? Earl and I were discussing our marital issues and Earl looked at me and said, “I don’t think that I love you anymore, but plan on staying with you for the kids’ sake.”
Within seven days, I had two BIG blows that led me towards a downward spiral in my life. It took me about 3 years to heal from this. What finally helped me heal was when my best friend Liz told me, “Cindy, your mom dying and Earl not loving you are two completely different events. You cannot mention one without mentioning the other. You need to separate them and grieve over then separately in order to heal.” This was among the best advice that I have ever received.
Through my years of coaching, I have found that many women combine the grief of their marriage with other circumstances that really have nothing to do with their marriage ending. How about you – are you combining two tragedies into one humongous one that feels like it is next to possible to heal? If so, deal with them separately. It is the only way to heal and to move on with your life.
May you heal, love and find inner peace!