My Weary Heart

"It's complicated" as they would say

A year ago today

.. you got a $1300 watch as payment for being my husband’s mistress. The therapist tells me you got the perk as part of his trying to keep you “happy” being in the difficult situation that you were in — his mistress.

And now he says you two are no longer together and no longer in touch, so I hope you’re enjoying your watch and wearing it as a constant reminder of how you were so brazen to think you could wreck my family.

WEAR IT AS YOUR BADGE OF SHAME. Payment for services rendered. And I heard you rendered them well.

That you lived a sham of a marriage which sees you in divorce court today was no excuse to stray into our lives. That our marriage was not perfect or that I had emotionally strayed was not a pass to ruin our lives either.

I told him you will never understand his choice to pick family over you. Even as you protested that he was getting old and would never be happy. Even as you proudly proclaimed that he would not be able to get anyone like you anymore. (Come on — even I, his wife, know that is just tooting your own horn beyond your true value. A 46 year old who has been sleeping around despite being married all this time even before he hooked up with you? You have quite the reputation at your place of work which was a shock to me considering I thought my husband was your first extra-marital affair. I guess he did, too. But apparently NOT.)

No, you cannot appreciate his putting his child’s happiness first — because you had always taken your son’s as second to yours. And even he now realizes that you two didn’t share the same family values — no matter how happy he might have thought he was with you.

How else would you have had the gall to spend all those nights out with my husband? Disappearing on weekends to getaways and expensive vacations? Because you had your husband to take care of your son. My husband had me.

And then the whole world changed when I found out and everything came out into the open.

I had let him go, you know. I had told him and I was ready to leave him. I had finally accepted three months into finding out the truth, that you had so entrenched yourself in his life that I was better off without you two in my son’s and mine.

It took a while for me to get there, but I did. And when I did, he asked to be taken back. He says he chose us. I guess he realized that he had something better than whatever it was you two had — even if it was because of my son that he came back. I can live with that. Can you?

Taking him back has been harder than letting him go. Even now, as we try to rebuild our lives, I think back to how much easier it would be to just try rebuilding my life without him. But unlike you, I have my son and my family to think about. I haven’t quite given up on that. We were nowhere near where your own family was even during the worst of times.

You had your fun. You have your watch and whatever else you smooched from my husband. You can keep them all along with the shame of knowing you were his mistress — his kabit — his kerida — and knowing your family knows the shame you have brought upon what was supposed to be an honorable name.

Worse, I know your son knows. That is punishment in itself — whatever your justification may be for taking up with men outside of your marriage. That is the price of your arrogance, and I don’t think even a $1300 watch would be worth that in exchange.

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Moments Etched in my Memory

Daily Prompt: What are the three most memorable moments — good or bad, happy or sad — in your life? Go!

In 2000, I arrived in New York full of hopes and dreams of spending the rest of my life with who I thought was the love of my life.  I loved him deeply enough to have taken a leap of faith — leaving family, friends and career behind to start anew here.  Even if I knew that he had a string of failed marraiges, and that I hardly really knew him apart from our brief encounters the previous months.

I remember how going through each day was both happy and sad — happy to be here with him, sad to be away from everyone else I loved.  The scenes, even the highway, felt like a scene out of a movie I was watching.  We had our challenges — my stepson, in particular — but I thought we had enough love going between us to see us through.

In 2004, my son came into my life, and everything changed.  To this day, this is one of the most remarkable memories that will forever stay with me.  Even as I hold him now that he is almost 10, I remember how he looked at me when he was but a baby, and how he made everything I touched, felt and tasted different and more meaningful.

In my happiest and darkest moments, he remains to be the one thing that I know is real and is true — no matter how everything else may have been but an illusion or something I wanted to believe in.

In October 2013, I came upon a discovery of the betrayal that shattered my world.  We all fantasize about those dramatic moments that we see in movies happening to us in real life — or happening to someone we know.  And for all our wisdom and perceived level-headedness, we end up getting swept away when the tidal wave comes in and we drown.

Six months.  And the memories of all that I had come to know, realize, and have felt and gone through remain with me.  Sometimes I have a screen running in my brain which replays these scenes and feelings over and over again.  And my heart does a double take and replays the heartbreak and the pain.

I thought he was a better man.  I thought that if he found himself in love with someone else, he would be man enough to tell me and let me go.  Instead, they carried on for over a year until I discovered their affair.  Even when I had already told him what I knew, he kept hurting me by telling me he didn’t want to pretend things were okay when they were not.  He smirked at me as if to tell me he didn’t want to pretend he still felt something.

For three months, I lived through the torture of waiting for him to resolve his conflict.  I knew they were still in touch.  He took her side whenever she ran to him with some complaint about something I said or did.  I saw a side of him I wish I didn’t see — weak and broken.  Ungrateful.  Unappreciative.  I was convenient to have around — but she got all the perks.  She got all the expensive gifts.  Even gifts that I never ever got — and have not gotten to this day.  Because in his eyes, she is worth it and I am not.

I am trying so hard to live with that.  I tell myself I am here not for my happiness but for my son’s.  It is a bitter, bitter pill to swallow.  Sometimes I don’t know how much more of it I can take.  Unhappiness can kill a spirit.  You try — you go to the therapist.  You pray.  You convince yourself you still laugh together.  Maybe he will indeed turnaround even if deep inside, you know they are still in touch and they might still be carrying on behind your back.  And you can’t forget that they broke your spirit and violated you as a human being.  How do put the pieces of your being back together?

You stop expecting.  And you just numb yourself to the heartbreak both past and present.  But the heartbreak is so great that you cannot forget.  And you always remember.

The therapist told me that it takes time.  But that hasn’t made it any easier on my broken soul.  I live from day to day… I push myself to believe things will get better.  Maybe there is hope that things can still be repaired somehow. 

I wish our brains were programmed to remember only the good and not the bad.  But then if that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to savor the good we feel in our hearts.

My birthday’s just around the corner and it’s a very dark time for me.  Last year, she got an extravagant gift FOR NO OCCASION AT ALL.  And I, the birthday celebrant,  got a token gift because I was useful.  I served a purpose.  And perhaps there was guilt in that because even on my birthday weekend and week, they were constantly together.  She played the part of his wife among their friends.  I was left to take care of my son and his mother.  I served a purpose in that sordid love affair that their friends and batchmates probably knew about. 

He says they’re over.  Maybe they are.  In a sad, sad way, it doesn’t even matter whether they are or they aren’t because what they had done to me had killed a part of me I cannot rouse back to life anymore.  And the saddest part of that is that the man who I thought was the better person and literally my better half, was the one who drove the knife through my heart.

 

 

The road to forgiveness

These days I often get lost between anger and surrender. There are simply certain pains that have no cure, and which persist and just won’t go away. There are hurts that no matter how hard you try to block out just keep throbbing within your heart.

I want to say I am on the road to forgiveness but I am taking such tiny steps in this journey. I have barely moved. Perhaps I am just not as big-hearted as I thought I was. I am only human after all.

Choices have been made, and I, too, made mine. A dear and older friend told me to do what’s best for me. Life has taught me a lot in the last two years, and one of the most direct lesson I have learned is that “What’s best for me” isn’t always the easiest nor does it equate to “happy” in the first person. But in the final analysis, we define what makes us happy and we see that it isn’t always defined from a first person perspective. It might be tied to or embodied by another’s happiness.

What is it that matters the most? Some of us start with ourselves. Some of us look to another. I look to my son. He us the biggest inspiration in my life and the reason I keep praying to God for strength. I hold him as he sleeps and I feel a sense of being worth something because he looks at me and tells me he loves me.

So I ignore the fact that just turning around and walking out the door would mean less pain for me. Because I know it would mean his heartbreak.

People say I should think of my happiness– but his happiness is MY happiness. I can never be truly happy knowing he is not. I have heard it said that at his age he will bounce back and cope but as a mother, I don’t see the logic of letting him suffer if there is a way to keep his heart whole. If he is whole, I am whole.

Others may see life differently, sacrificing their children’s happiness for their own. It is brave to throw all caution to the wind to seek your happiness no matter the cost — but it is braver to choose your child’s happiness over your own and put parenthood first before yourself.

I wish I were like his mistress who nonchallantly left her son to her husband’s care all those times she was with my husband.  I think about trying to be that kind of a person but I cannot be a mother and be as selfish as that, too.  I told my husband that she will never understand his choice of keeping our family whole instead of choosing to be with her because they didn’t share the same values.  Otherwise, how else would she have been so brazen as to put her son and her paramour together, and her husband and her paramour together at gatherings?

Life is short– that is true. All the more reason for me to make the most of what time I have with my son and to give it my best shot. That is also the reason why I am trying to make my way to start this journey of forgiveness. I want the anger to go away. I wish the nightmare I’ve been living will turn out to be but another bad dream I can wake up from.

I just wish it were easier to undo all that has happened that has caused me so much pain. But there is no undoing what has been done. I have to cope with the numbness in my heart. I have to find a reason to be hopeful again.  And that is my struggle right now.

She is like a shadow hanging over my shoulder, constantly reminding me of the sins that have been committed against me.  I feel like what she has broken in me I cannot put together again.  I want to let go of the evil thoughts in my heart and my mind and block her out but she is etched in a dark, dark place in my heart.  She is a big rock in my way which I cannot go over or around to get past.

I have been told it will take time.  So in the meantime, agony.

 

Wishing for a kinder world

.. So others would not want or work to take others’ happiness so they could find some semblance if happiness for themselves.

While others might say that taking what belongs to another when they can’t have it through other means is human nature, it does not excuse wrecking a family to satisfy your selfish needs.

How true that money can’t buy happiness. For all their wealth, affluence and influence, her family — her father and her brother– cannot buy her the happiness she seeks. So they connive with her to steal my husband from me and my son.

Kindness and being kinder does not seem to be part of their vocabulary. So I seek a higher power to hang on to. Whatever happens, I know my God will hold my hand through the storm.

Welcoming the new year

It’s officially 2014 and I am not exactly banging pots and pans in celebration, but I am looking to 2014 with the hope that it will be better than the previous year.

While my challenges are far from over, I feel better equipped to deal with them now, after three months have passed since all these painful truths have been revealed. I haven’t quite found a steady ground to plant my feet on, but I can say that I have found a place of peace in prayer. I feel braver, no longer afraid.

I know that the evil surrounding me is no less threatening, and my private peace does not mean they have been conquered. But it means I am no longer afraid of the darkness.

I heard an emphatic message to stay. So stay I will. Fight for my son, I will. And whether or not in the end we remain a family, at least I know I fought to keep us whole.

He is still here with us but I don’t feel his heart is here. There has been so much deception that it is hard to give meaning to any statement or action beyond what it appears to mean on its face. My son and I returned from a 2 1/2 weeks vacation to a cold New York and an even colder home. I just took a deep breath and let it go.

I don’t know what the coming year holds for my son and I and his father. One thing I have learned in 2013 is not to dismiss something that has passed as the worst or the hardest, because that might yet to come. I made that mistake as I said goodbye to 2012 in 2013. I thought nothing could be worse, and I was proven wrong. Still it doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on any hope of “better”. I’m just bracing for “worse”.

Welcome, 2014. Here’s hoping this will be a better and kinder year.

The Serenity Prayer

Every morning, I start my day by saying this prayer to help me deal with my feelings. It ha helped me to start with my feet on the ground.

It has helped. And I find strength in its words.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

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