I was impressed by this small step in progress. Devin was taking another inch forward of letting go of clutter and paper. Weighing the difference between sentimental and not. His medicine really seemed to be working. I continued to remain cautiously optimistic.
I laughed as I found my mom’s card from last year. Her handwriting done, best she could manage with her Alzheimer’s, an incomplete sentence and “Love Mom” at the bottom. Best card ever! I kept another from an aunt who recently got some disturbing news on the health front and put a few others aside as I divvied up the pile.
I came across a small, black Christmas card signed “Merry Christmas! Jessie, et al” (names of husband and children have been omitted). I read the card again. It had all of our names listed and all of their names listed then the flood of memories came rushing back.
Jessie was Devin’s first acting out (affair) partner. The first person he crossed the physical line with. No sex was involved, not even kissing. A flash and a touch but you don't do such things when you are married, sorry folks.
The memories of disclosure came flooding back. The memories of Jessie and her family spending the night in my home as they traveled down the east coast flashed through my mind. Her kids playing with mine, me cooking for her family while being deceived the entire time.
Quickly, I took some deep, calming breaths. I thought of the present, the here and now and took a mental inventory of where I was, 2013, not 2008 when she was in my home. Not 2010 when I found out about the affair. I remembered all of the progress Devin and I had made in the two years since the disclosure, his remorse, his empathy and it grounded me.
I handed the card to Devin and asked, “Why is this in here?” My heart still beating like a drum but calming just a bit, but no tears were nearby. Then couldn’t help but snap, “Really?”
Devin read the card, his expression one of confusion and worry and then it clicked, he realized who the card was from. I could tell from his reaction he assumed the card was someone from my side of the family, someone he didn’t know.
“I didn’t know, I’m so sorry.” He got up and threw the card into the kitchen garbage and came back and hugged me tightly.
“I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.” Was all I could muster for the time being. I went into the bedroom and prayed for strength. I grabbed my affirmation cards and read them several times until I remember just how damn strong I am. I am stronger than my triggers.
Ten minutes later, I was back in the living room and feeling just fine. I let him know I was doing great and thanked him for doing the right thing and let him know I knew he probably thought it someone from my family which made me feel better, it showed Jessie meant nothing to him.
Then it was Devin’s turn to hit his emotional rock bottom.
It wouldn’t hit him for another twenty-four hours and as I type this, I am grateful he was able to find the strength to overcome it. I have never seen my husband so hopeless before, so emotionally broken. It was fucking scary. It had me frightened enough to call our counselor on Monday, the day of his appointment and share my concern with her.
I was concerned his recent increase in his medication had caused this depressive state. The things he was saying he hadn’t said since disclosure week and no matter how much I tried to support and love him, he was still sinking into a pit of despair.
It wasn’t until after his appointment with our counselor, I realized his meds might actually be allowing him to reflect, to think, now that the confusion has died down. Seeing me trigger, without having that noise in his head, may have really caused him to focus on the core issue: his addiction, which he’s been avoiding lately.
Either way, after his appointment, he came home and we talked for a very, very long time. He admitted he has a lot to think about and he needs to communicate better with me, the kids and his sponsor. He’s been happier ever since. So, my rockin’ counselor – thank you!