It’s a random Thursday. I’ve been crying all day. I can hear the students at my daughter’s elementary school up the block squealing, they must be outside for recess. It’s February and while the morning was gray and cold, it’s now almost 60 and sunny. Not normal for February in New Jersey. But to be honest, for over a year now my entire life has been anything but normal.
You see, 13 months ago my then-husband decided to come clean about the affair I had suspected he was having. He slowly walked down the stairs as our only daughter was at school, and we were both working from home.
“You don’t have to make dinner for me. I’m going out,” he said. I don’t remember exactly what prompted the next exchange between us, but I remember “Yes . . . and I like her . . . and I’m not going to stop seeing her.”
People say weird things happen when you’re hit with bad news. Like you feel like the whole world stops. Or you fall to the ground. Again, I don’t know what I did or what was said, but I do know I was crying. I remember picking up my phone and texting my friend, “Are you home? It’s worse than I thought. I need someone.”
She wasn’t home but would be soon since it was almost time for our children to be picked up at school. I said, “I’ll see you at pick up and can you take her home to play with your kids, I need your husband to watch them and I need you to meet me on the corner of your street at 4:30.”
She did just that. I remember seeing her on a bench as I walked up. And like something out of a movie, I screamed, “It’s Beth!” while in such hysterics that I was spitting while I was screaming and crying. Gross, I know. The details of who this person is do matter, but I won’t get into it.
The rest of that day was spent in the comfort of my friend and her husband. They let me sit in their kitchen while making sure my daughter was fed and occupied. We watched on my house cameras as my soon-to-be ex-husband left to go out with his girlfriend. As I walked home that night with my daughter, I knew our lives were forever changed. At that point keeping it together for her was going to be my hardest battle, one that I must say I’ve won.
I put her to bed and lay with her until she fell asleep, our usual routine. Then I paced the house until he came home. When he opened the door with a bag of leftovers from his date I grabbed the bag and threw it in the trash. That was the beginning of a hard eight weeks until he finally moved out.
Since that day, life has been anything but normal. I was 40 and single and adjusting to life after my husband left me to continue seeing his mistress. My daughter is my number one priority and learning to adjust to being without her a few days a week was the biggest gut punch every time she’d leave. It still is.
Days have been hard, sad, beautiful, exhausting, exciting, happy. There have been ups and down. Laughter and tears. Fleeting moments when I felt such joy that I wish I could relive them. Days when all I could do to make it to bedtime was pace back and forth and tell myself this is not how it will always be.
I’ve been vulnerable and found things within me I never knew were there. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve made great memories. I’ve questioned my self-worth, wondered if I’ll ever love again. But the village that has surrounded me and supported me is more than I could have ever imagined. It seems odd to say this, but I have formed some really great friendships and memories from this mess. Something good can come from pain.
So here I am on this random Thursday over a year later, and all I’ve done is cry. It’s strange how things hit you out of nowhere. On days like today, I like to remind myself of the hard days I’ve already survived. Today is just one more day. My advice to anyone is to keep going. And if you need to cry all day, do it. You’ll find the strength to keep going, and if you can’t, I hope you have family and friends to carry you through.