That decision, to allow my spouse to stay in our home, had a price.
It gave me time to ask Him questions. It gave me time to bring closure to the life I thought I’d had but never really had, knowing what I know now: the truth.
It gave my children time to be with their father.
It gave us all time to “process” the situation. (Or begin to attempt to. How do you REALLY ever understand something like that?)
The emotional processing of our situation and beginning to deal with our circumstances for my children and I, meant we allowed ourselves to joke about it or look for the positive, in addition to expressing our grief. You’ll read jokes we made about our situation and the criminal who put us there in future blogs, I’m sure. To some, it may seem inappropriate. But I heard a very wise and inspiring woman named Marjorie Hinckley once say something like, “In life, you can choose to laugh or cry. I choose to laugh.” I agree. It’s how I was raised–it’s what my mom taught me as she lived her unexpected life. So I choose to laugh as often as I can muster the jokes, and my children do too.
For example, that first night, after telling our children of the situation, my oldest went into his basement bathroom to brush his teeth before bed and saw a mouse. He grabbed some toilet paper, picked the mouse up, threw it in the toilet and flushed, and came right upstairs and told me of his experience. He couldn’t believe it! YUCK. I joked, “Well, that is one thing I won’t miss about this house and living in the country when we move–the mice!” He agreed with me, we laughed together, and found a way to look on the bright side.
But at the same time, it was a tough time for us in every way. Not everyone outside our family understood my decision to let Him stay…or any other decision I made. And I paid a price for that.
For example, some of my oldest and closest friends (from college, who had become like family to me, the friends I vacationed with, the friends I called right after He told me the news) called throughout the first day, March 18, for updates, to check on me, and also with one burning question: Where is He staying? I could tell my answer wasn’t what they wanted to hear, so I offered as much explanation and rationale as I could.
When I shared this with another friend (a friend who stood by me through it all, who still stands by me, the friend who gave input as to what should be written into my divorce), seeking her counsel, she said, “Andrea, it’s not anyone’s business but yours. You don’t have to tell anyone anything. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.” (I quickly learned this friend was right. But at this point, I hadn’t learned that lesson yet.)
It turns out, the information I offered wasn’t enough. The college friends then wanted to know WHERE He was sleeping in the house. And when I evaded that question, they had their children text my children and ask the same question! My daughter innocently offered the private details of our family life to them–which they passed along to one of His victims, which that victim then shared with EVERY victim, and suddenly very private things I had shared with only those closest to me, in strictest confidence, were publicized.
It’s amazing who your true friends are. And in the worst moments, the largest betrayals, and due to the criminal actions of one, they aren’t always who you think they are. But those who are your friends are truly golden. You realize that’s one bonus of the unexpected life.