Holy. Shit. Two weeks ago today I woke up in the morning. I drank the black coffee that my doting fiancé delivered to my hand. We watched our daughter play as we exchanged glances that spoke more eloquently than our tired morning voices could, and I thought about how close away our forever was… Not knowing… Not even slightly suspecting that hours later, after my cup had long been empty, so would my hopes and dreams for our future as a family. I sat there smiling with no indication that the future I’d been dreaming of and diligently planning for, would forever be tarnished; violently ripped from my hands.
Two weeks ago I didn’t know that I would become a single mom. I didn’t know that I would feel shame for the insane actions of another individual. I didn’t know that I had been sleeping with and next to a man who harbored secrets and lies. I didn’t know that the following minutes, hours and days would pass so slowly. I didn’t know I’d be spending each moment bargaining with my grief, questioning what I could have done differently, and contemplating why I was so oblivious to your demons. Two weeks ago I didn’t know that instead of busily tying up loose ends for our big day; I’d be taken to the hospital by ambulance, scheduling appointments with therapists, DHHS, and doctors. I didn’t know that I would have to worry about media attention or read comments from other women suggesting that I take bleach baths… I didn’t know that I would be so nauseous that I’d be unable to eat. Two weeks ago I didn’t know that Sleep would elude me as I constantly replayed what you’ve done to an innocent girl and my world. On some level I’m simply unable to conceive that you are the same man who sat next to me in therapy sessions, working to build trust and improve communication; just a year ago. I’m not able to comprehend how naive I was to think that you were being vulnerable and authentic, on that couch, or in our life together. Two weeks ago I didn’t know about the divine intervention that was about to destroy and simultaneously save me.
The sadness is as excruciating as it immeasurable. The grief is multilayered and heavy. I wear it like a child bundled up tightly heading out into the storm of her life. It’s paralyzing and hard to move. I question everything and everyone, and nothing feels safe. I navigate my way through the days positive that I’m being depicted as Hester Prynne. That everyone knows. I want to run and hide but I can’t. I want to numb the pain but I can’t. Walking away from you with our daughter in my arms is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I want to believe in your innocence but I can’t. I can’t.
I can’t for multiple reasons, but most of all because of a little girl named Molly. She needs me. She needs me to change her diaper and to feed her. She needs me to bathe her and brush her hair. She needs me to play with her, to laugh and to smile with her. Most of all she needs me to live… She needs me now more than ever. She needs me to get up and go on with life so that I can provide for us financially. She needs me to be strong and to hold her, and to help her feel safe, and to remind her that she is completely loved.
I wake up each morning to the pitter patter of her feet hitting the floor as she climbs out of her big girl bed. A smile quickly cascades my lips as she yells, “Mama!” Then I remember that this isn’t a bad dream. The gravity of reality hits me like a Mack Truck. She climbs into the bed with me and burrows her head under my chin. I’m thankful for the opportunity to hide my tears and catch my breath as I gently caress her cheek with my hand. For a brief moment my grief is swept to the side by anger. I’m so fucking pissed that you did this, not to us; but to her. To this innocent, precious girl, that is my everything.
Today there will be no tent. My dress will hang somewhere perfectly altered and unworn. My face won’t look flawless and my hair will likely be styled by only my post Molly, hormonal hair kink. Today the pallet board aisle (that you built with your hands as a testament of your love for me) will not adorn the beach or lead to our alter. The band won’t play into the mystic as my dad delivers me to you. Our detailed ceremony and vows won’t exist. Your mother won’t read out loud about how love is patient or kind. My mother will not pronounce us husband and wife. Today we will not execute our fabulously choreographed dance. We will not toast to our future or cut our cake; for neither exist any longer. There will be no new family photographs to hang in our house that we were building into a home. There will be no sparkler send off, but I promise you there will be a happy ending…
Today will be hard but I’m going to show up. I will not run or hide from sadness or pretend that I’m ok. I’m going to be vulnerable and authentic. When the weight of all that I feel that I have lost begins to suffocate me, I will close my eyes, I will find my breath, and I’ll place my hand on my chest; to remind myself that my heart is still beating. Today I will scream and I will cry, because I feel wounded. Today I won’t walk down the aisle, but I will walk forward. I’ll visit the beach where I will smell the sea and touch the sky. I will be in awe that although I’m in such pain the Earth still spins, and beauty and love still exists. I will call on that “all knowing” part of myself, and remember that this is not what real love looks like… Because real love “does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking… and it always protects.” I will recognize that what I am mourning is merely the illusion of what I thought we had; not what truly existed. Today I will know, in the deepest part of my soul, that I am truly better off. I will look into our baby girls eyes, and I will understand that it’s quite possible that the purpose of enduring all of this, has simply been to bring her here to me. Within that notion I will find peace; for I would relive this anguish day in and day out as long as I have to, as long as it means having her here.
Today, not with my words, but with my actions I will make vows to myself and the little girl that you have left behind. I will not own ,or let her own, one ounce of your actions; for they are not a reflection of us. Instead I will remind myself and her, everyday, of just how loved, lovable, and truly worthy we are. If and when I stumble amidst this belief, I will remember the army of support that has stood behind us over the past two weeks.. I will work diligently to spotlight the importance of courageously standing in the truth and vulnerability of who we are, as both individuals, and a family. I will promise to be her biggest cheerleader and number one fan, both when times are good and when they are bad. Together we will practice gratitude, respect, and being kind; both to ourselves and others. I will work hard to weave the threads of right from wrong within the fabric of our lives. When either of us veer off course I will remember to hold us accountable for our actions, so that we can do better. Together we will laugh, scream, and cry. We will grieve, be angry, live, and learn. We will explore, create, play, and love. We will go on adventures! Most of all we will hold sacred the gift of knowing that we always have each other. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part… we will never be alone.