Monday, November 2, 2009

To Be Thankful

One year ago, I was truly alone in the world. I had nothing left but my tears and my broken heart. In the aftermath of Tommy's death, the older boys stayed with their grandma while Rob and I settled things in South Carolina. Except nothing got settled. Instead, everything in my life went wrong. Rob left me and moved to Kansas. We tried to stay friends, but we were planning a divorce. Our home went into foreclosure, so instead of dealing with our fractured marriage and dealing with our grief, we packed things into separate sides of the rental storage shed. His things in boxes on one side and mine on the other. It shredded me.

I moved to KY and stayed with my sister. I was a depressed wreck. Tommy had just died, my kids were closer, but since they were in school and an hour away, seeing them was difficult. I was looking for a job and couldn't find one. I spent some time in a treatment facility to get my act together. I can't describe what it felt like to live in my body last year. Even now, remembering, I feel queasy. Somehow, I made it through each day.

Once Rob was in Kansas, it became clear that his life there was not what he had planned. We made plans and he came to KY. I was still living at my sister's, so he moved there with me. It was NOT easy. For the first time, we had to face not only what had happened to Tommy and all of our loss, but we had to make the decision if our marriage was worth saving. Emotions were very raw and once the full truth of what had happened to us came out, the phrase "adding insult to injury" is the only way to describe how I felt.

I begged and pleaded with Rob for one more chance. I told him that we would give our 100% to our marriage and after 3 months if it wasn't working, he was free to walk away, no hard feelings. So we started with Day 1. We skipped our wedding anniversary and spent every day talking about everything under the sun. It was just the two of us. We were still friends, that made things easier.

Our biggest boost came when we moved out of my sister's house into our own place. We didn't want to take the kids out of school until the end of the semester, so we had about 3 weeks of 24/7 alone time with each other. I already had a child from my previous marriage when Rob and I started dating, and then Matthew came along shortly after, so Rob and I never had "alone" time in our marriage. It's funny, living with someone for years and never knowing them. I am very blessed to have had those 3 weeks.

I'm not sure when it happened, but the time came around after the first of the year. It was very close to our 3 month agreement cut off date. We had made a huge effort to be nice to each other and we had not fought during that time. Something happened this day though, and I had had enough. I felt like he was holding back and not giving me his whole heart. I decided that I was going to move on with my life and told him so. For the first time ever, I saw my husband panic. It dawned on him what was happening and he let it all go. All of the resentment, the heartache, the pain. He wanted me. Forever. I knew from that moment my marriage had survived.

So here we are, a year later. I'm no longer alone. My kids live with us again, I work. And above all, I am happily married. When my life could not have been any darker, I have come through it a different person. My life is far from perfect. We're broke all the time, Rob is in poor health and cannot work, Brandon had behavioral issues. Tommy is still gone. My house is a mess, my feet hurt and I'm tired all the time. And I am HAPPY about all of that! We're broke because we're paying bills. Rob can't work, but he takes care of our kids instead of daycare. They have their daddy in their lives every single day. Brandon is getting help instead of falling through the cracks. I have a roof over my head and my feet hurt because I stand on them working the job to support my family. I am so blessed and thankful for those things.

Most of all, I am thankful my husband gave our marriage another shot. I've never been so happy in a relationship. Yes, we argue, probably more than we should but we work it out. Every day is still a challenge, but we rise to the occasion because we want each other more than anything. Our wedding anniversary is coming up again in two weeks. I'm thrilled it gets to be a happy day again.

November is supposed to be a time to look back and be thankful. I am so very blessed. I've never fought so hard for something I wanted. I wanted my life back. It's been so hard. In the process of all of this mess from last year to now, I've managed to figure out me. I have always put myself last as most moms do. Just when I don't think there's any more room to grow, I do. I'm thankful for myself. I love my husband so much and I am thankful he loves me. Every day is a blessing. Every morning when I wake up, I still get butterflies knowing the man I love more than anything is right there with me. Always.

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Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects

Diagram of Tommy's Heart Defects
Double Inlet Left Ventricle with Transpostion of the Great Arteries