The day before I decided to separate from my husband we were at the happiest place on earth–Disneyland. And it was a great day. Our little children were quite the handful, there were meltdowns and faces covered in churro, but we were all together.
The next morning, Simon and I laughed and reminisced about the previous day and scrolled through the pictures on his phone. I didn’t want to miss a single one and swiped to the beginning only to find…I don’t even know what to call it. Because it was more than a screenshot. It was more than a woman’s name and number. It was more than the selfie I saw that my husband took and sent to her. It all wrapped up tightly into one big cosmic black hole deep in my abdomen.
It was death. Like the last breath of trust and hope was exhaled from my marriage and I died…again.
I’ve died in front of Simon several times now. And he never sees it.
Discovery Day was November 8, 2014. That night my husband’s mistress of six months called me. She heard me die over the phone. I died a slow death the weeks and months after as betrayal after betrayal was disclosed to me, then attached to me like a heart draining leech, sucking the life, hope and worth out of me.
For years, for nearly the entirety of my 8 year marriage, I had been living as a wife betrayed. I remember looking at pictures of myself taken during those years and saying in my head over and over, “You’re so stupid. Look at you. You actually think you’re happy. And you have no idea. So stupid.”
But I’m not.
Yesterday when I found that picture on the camera roll, I died. But the thing about me is that I rise from the ashes every time. I come back. After yelling, crying, going to trauma in some crazy seconds I quickly pulled myself out and remembered that I’m in recovery, and have been for over a year.
I watched my husbands behavior, we discussed what I found. It was like the “Addiction Cycle” chart had been ripped from my LifeStar book and taped to Simon’s chest. I mentally checked off addict behavior after addict behavior as he revealed his heart. Addict.
Sexting was added to my boundaries list months before. And “If you sext, I will separate” is etched there in permanent ink.
With my boundary stated, Simon left calling me a “terrible person.”
Then he called thirty minutes later crying, apologizing, playing victim, trying to manipulate me to back down from my boundary. To give in. I didn’t. My boundary is firm. We hung up minutes later, he hadn’t asked once about how I was doing. I was dying. And he wouldn’t see it.
I formulated a self-care plan. I needed to simplify. I needed to address my needs. I needed to get to the temple.
I canceled a church meeting. I canceled a group date for the weekend. A friend drove to my house and hugged me and watched my kids while I searched for my keys in my tornado stricken home. My sister and mother watched my three precious children. I drove to the temple. Here I was at this beautiful building, this House of God, this place where I was married and sealed, this place where I had to attend alone…again.
I needed to feel power. I needed to be blessed. I needed every part of me to feel connected and strong. I performed Initiatories.
I walked up the spiral staircase to the Celestial Room and had to keep my face pointed upward. If I looked down, I would have seen the memory of Simon on our wedding day, standing at the bottom of that staircase smiling at me.