Friday, August 19, 2011

Finding out, first 24 hours

I sat up till close to 1am writing a love letter.
That night my heart was bursting. DH wasn't there to tell in person, so the decision was made to write it down. I wanted to make sure he never felt unappreciated, that his family understood how he worked so hard for us to provide a home, food on the table and the opportunity for me to homeschool the children. He needed to know, I was nothing but proud of how he quit drinking, overcame much and put God at the head of everything he did.

Finished up my letter and sent it to him in a email, he would be sure to see it in the morning before work. Turned out the light and fell asleep praying and giving thanks for all the wonderful blessing in my life. For the healing of my husband, for providing the father my kids had always needed, thanking God for turning all the hardships around in my life.

He climbed into bed a little after 5am. I remember thinking, poor thing, to tired to even wash up or brush his teeth. He snuggled close, kissed my forehead and reached for both my hands and held them before drifting off to sleep. Before I could fall back asleep, his phone buzzed. Who would be texting at this hour? After staring at the screen for a sec, he grumbled that it was work again, and was going to ignore it.
For the second time that night I fell asleep thanking God for my marriage, for the man that comes home and holds my hands while falling asleep.

That's back when he worked at night. Oh how I hated that shift.  "Its the military", I've heard him say a thousand times, "You don't pick your hours".  His shift started at 2:30pm and some 10-16 hours later he would get home, exhausted and ready to drop. If he got off early, before 3am, he would go night fishing to unwind. I was glad he had a hobby, some time that was all his own.  He would sleep until 12 or 1 the next day, wake, eat then head out the door no later than 1:45pm. We didn't see him much. But he never failed to spend what little time he had off on his family.

Few hours later my alarm goes off, and I set about the business of feeding kids and laundry. I enjoy summer mornings with my kids. Totally relaxing. I seem to remember that morning discussing with my oldest the possibility of hitting the beach for a few hours. Just another perfect day.

It was still a few hours till DH was due to wake up, when the strangest feeling came over me. I would say I had the urge to check the bank, but that wouldn't be doing the feeling justice. Urge is way too small a word. I fought it for a bit, mainly due to not wanting to feel guilty. Finally when the feeling got so strong it was startling, I went to the computer. Our account showed extra money withdrawn from ATMs that month, clicking through previous months revealed it was a trend of his. I was angry that he was spending like this when we have a budget that's been in trouble lately. 

I question him when he wakes. He says he likes to have cash in his pocket for "whatever", that he shouldn't feel like a kid with an allowance. How could he yell at me for money he hadn't told me he was spending? We hadn't fought like that in a long time, it was upsetting enough for me to take a long walk in the 100 degree weather to cool down. How did asking if we could sit and work the budget together, turn into him screaming that I was treating him like a child? Why was he being so defensive and rude to me? God...what in the world?

Not till later, after he had left for work did the odd overwhelming feeling come back. This time to check the phone bill. I went once again to my computer. The bill popped up, our phone numbers side by side, with usage underneath each. My stomach flipped a little. Although the billing cycle for the month just began, his data was in the hundreds. I was shaking before I clicked to look. A number I have never seen before scrolled down my screen. Page after page. I was instantly taken back to last year... "Its just a friend.... What I can't have friends you don't know about?"

This is about the time that day everything becomes confused for me. Lots of moments stick out, but the order of them is cloudy. The worse part is I can't remember where my children where during all of this. I can tell you they weren't near me. I rack my brain sometimes trying to recall, were they outside playing? At a friends? No that can't be it. Where they upstairs?
Unfortunately things that are etched into my memory~
~calling the number to see if a woman would answer. When one does, hanging up.
~calling my sister in law, she advised me not to assume anything until I talk to DH.
~calling DH at work, he sounded terrified, and I knew. I hang up.
~another call to SIL, I'm sitting on floor in kitchen, she cant understand me, I'm hysterical.
~at some point I was in the small bathroom in my bedroom. I hit my knees and cry to Jesus  "Lord      please don't have me walk this path again." I felt no answer, no comfort.

I grab my bible. In the past when I'm not sure what I need, I play a game with God. I say a prayer close my eyes, open the bible and point. He has been pretty faithful to lead me to what I need at the moment. So considering I had no idea what to do, that was exactly what I did. I opened my eyes to read~ 

Psalm 100
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
     Worship the Lord with gladness.
      Come before him, singing with joy.
 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
      He made us, and we are his.
      We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
      go into his courts with praise.
      Give thanks to him and praise his name.
  For the Lord is good.
      His unfailing love continues forever,
      and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

The bible gets thrown hard across the room, "That's what you wanted me to read!? You want me to sing with joy!?".  What a joke.

I cleaned my face, for now I was done crying. But I needed out of the house.
Called up a friend, "Do you and the kiddos want some company?".   Few minutes later my kids and I were in the car headed to her place.

Sat in her kitchen for awhile talking about the new cabinets she was planning on. Just enjoying her, her house, the sound of my kids playing carefree with hers. Finally I brought up the phone number I found. I didn't need to tell her my fears, she didn't make me go into a long drawn out play by play. It was unnecessary, she knew. I showed her the number on my phone. She looked at me "You shouldn't be sitting there wondering." She dialed the number from her phone.

It was time to learn stuff I never wanted to think possible. I am still beyond thankful that my friend was the buffer between me and the first round of news. I sat and watched my dear friend shake with rage as she found out answers for me, but she kept her voice even. The woman was my husbands girlfriend of two months. She was 19 and she had graduated high school just a few months before. She thought DH was divorced, and had only one child. I don't know if I had any emotion at that point.

When my friend got off the phone she offered her home to me and the kids.  Her husband was deployed, and she said she would love the company. She went inside and got all the the children excited about an extended sleepover. I sat. God?..... You there?.... I felt nothing.
It would be a long time until I prayed again.

My friend is not a believer, but her heart is beyond huge. While I sat she went about getting things ready. She called a sitter to stay with the older kids, she got her and my toddler ready. Then she came and sat with me outside while we waited the short time till the sitter came. She held my hand and helped me stand when it was time to go. I said some lame happy thing to the older kids on the way out the door about getting stuff for the sleep over. Then we were off to my house.

While she was driving her phone rang, it was R (the whore, skank, the other woman the....ugh... and this is why we are going to call her R.) She wanted to talk with me. I listened to my girlfriend tell R that there was no way she would upset me by having her talk to me. I reached out my hand and nodded, its OK I said.
I was nothing but polite, my "social" kicked in. "Hello R",  I asked how she knew him. Apparently that's all that needed to be asked, she is a talker.  I spent the whole drive home listening to her brag about my husband.

They met one night at the beach, while he was fishing. He was so funny, she loved how he made her laugh. He was a good listener. They spent most their time snuggling and talking. Or as she said, getting hot and heavy. Her roommates adored him. He normally brought beer. He would show up at her place nightly around 1am and stay until sometimes 5. In fact he had been at her house last night until early that morning. I wanted to vomit. 
Whatever my face looked like was enough for my friend to grab the phone back, say a few sharp things and hang up.

We get to my house, I tell my friend to give me a minute, I needed to call DH. She takes the toddlers in the front to play. I get inside and lose it, screaming at him on the phone, telling him he doesn't need to worry about having a family anymore. After the call is over, my friend brings the babies in. Maybe when she no longer heard a giant fit coming from inside the house, she figured it was safe to go in.

She stayed downstairs packing a few things while keeping an eye on the toddlers. I went up stairs to get large suitcases. I start grabbing clothes in my oldest daughters room, when I remembered God for a minute. I wasn't about to pray. But I was smart enough to remember to ask others whose faith wasn't in shatters. I sent a simple text to several women at my church. "Please pray, my husband cheated." Thought that got the point across, back to packing.

I go downstairs when I hear voices. Seems a neighbor saw us drive in earlier, so she let herself in. I didn't know her well enough to tell her about the end of my world, so instead tell her it isn't a good time. Thinking she would get the hint and leave, I went back upstairs to finish grabbing my things. When I brought the luggage down all ready to leave, that woman was still standing there, with a look that was a weird mix of pity and excitement. I look at my girlfriend, her face says "oh crap, was she not suppose to be told?".

Well that explains the neighbors look. She is a major gossip, and she just scored the mother load. Back in the car I learn that the busy body waited till I went back upstairs, lied to my friend, telling her I asked her to fill her in, since I was too busy.
People, and how much they can suck, were ceasing to amaze me by the end of that day.

Throughout all of the packing, dealing with idiot neighbors, driving back to my friends house, trying to settle the kids and get something ready for their dinner, my friends phone continues to buzz. R has decided to send a never ending stream of texts to her. I was so glad that I had thought to block my number that morning when I called and hung up. But unfortunately R still had my friends number. At first my friend would read then delete them, never replying. She told me a lot of them were R insisting that we meet. She said I didn't want to hear the rest of them, and I believed her. But when one made her gasp, "I cant believe the slut had the nerve to send a picture!"  I insisted on looking.

She was pretty, but no more than me, I had expected drop dead gorgeous. My friend was right, seeing her didn't help anything, it just added a new layer to the torture that were my thoughts. Finally my friend had just about enough with this teenage twit blowing up her phone. She informed R that unless she lost her number she would inflict enough harm to get arrested, but not sent away for life. Did she understand? Good. The texting stopped.

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful from what I recall. After dinner, I tidied toys, the kids took turns getting bathes and showers, while my buddy set up their slumber party with snacks and a movie. I will be forever grateful to her for making that night as comfortable as she could for us. She knew how bad it would be in the coming days, weeks, even months. But right now the kids were unaware that anything but a party was happening. Once they were in their room, she popped a movie in for us, grabbed snacks and we relaxed. We talked about the kids, the movie, and her kitchen cabinets. Because of that, when the movie was over and I went to lay in the twin sized princess bed, I was able to fall asleep.

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