I ran into a woman from my old church last weekend. She was wearing a long winter coat with the hood up and I didn’t realize it was her until she dropped the hood and said “Hi”.
A little back story. Her husband was killed in a freak traffic accident about 3-1/2 years ago. He was a father of three and a great guy. He was 43. He was also a grade school teacher so to say this death impacted a lot of lives would be an understatement.
After D-Day my closest friend who was texting me constantly, keeping my spirits up and generally checking that I wasn’t planning anything nefarious shared something the widow had told him.
She said right after her husbands death, she didn’t think she could handle the waves of grief that were washing over her. But, with time, the waves got smaller and more manageable. They still came, but with much less intensity and frequency.
I’ve seen her here and there since D-Day but we’ve never spoke of it.
When I saw her last weekend we immediately hugged and just looked at each other and I could tell she knew. Not of the betrayal, everyone knows about that. But she knew, she just knew. The pain, the anxiety, the loneliness, the crushing depression, the loss.
She asked how I was and I asked the same. She shared how her Dr. had put her on antidepressants. She’s off now, but if he didn’t, she said she was becoming an alcoholic. We spoke of our children and the need for therapy.
In the end, we both had tears in our eyes and she just said” it sucks, it all just sucks”. I couldn’t speak anymore, so I just said “we’ll talk” and I left.
Most of my family and my stbx’s family have treated her betrayal like a death. It’s the death of the wonderful person that we knew. The wife, the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the Mom.
I’ve always thought to myself that this is worse than a death. Her husband didn’t choose to leave his wife and kids. He didn’t leave that morning and say “I love you, but I’m not “in” love with you, or another classic ” neither of us wanted it to happen”. She has no chance of running into her husband with another woman.
I don’t like to compare my situation with hers because unless you’ve been through it, that comparison seems unfair. But it is fair in my eyes. The death of my marriage, my intact family, all of our hopes and dreams. They’re dead. She killed them.
The waves are much smaller these days, sometimes it’s even calm as glass out there. I know my friend and I will be fine someday. It’ll just take time. And then we’ll talk.