Living Happily Ever After


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New Friends…Prison-Style

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” (Thomas A. Edison)

The incarceration experience for my ex-husband included meeting new people and making new friends. Yes, they were dressed in the only fashion acceptable for inmates–aka. orange jumpsuits–but learning about some of them completely changed my perspective of prison and many of those who reside there. They don’t fit Hollywood stereotypes; they shattered my expectations. (Prepare yourself. I’m about to expose my ignorance.)

When he first was taken into custody, one of the deputies talked to him about the “average” inmate. He said the jail had all types of men, who had committed all types of crimes, but that “most are just average ‘Joes’ that messed up.” I confess I’d never thought of criminals in that way before–as average people who had made mistakes.

He met an inmate with three college degrees. I had probably assumed, too often, that people commit crimes because they lack education and training for legal employment–that crime is all they’ve witnessed and known so that is what they do. Not true in all cases.

Sometimes I could even relate to their bad luck. Several of the stories I heard took my thoughts back to my teens and the dumb things teenagers sometimes do without thinking beyond the moment. I pictured kids I knew as a teenager, maybe even my brothers, doing similar things–only to a lesser degree. Here’s one friend’s story: He stole an unmarked police vehicle by mistake. In the process of messing with the wires he turned on the flashing lights, unbeknownst to the driver. The man’s friend, driving the other car, tried to catch up to the stolen car and let him know what had happened but the man thought his friend wanted to race–so he sped up. A state patrolman coming the other direction flashed his lights at him, thinking it was a cop who just forgot to turn his flashers off! The man got caught and went to jail.

The most eye opening thing I learned about his new friends, however, wasn’t really anything new it was simply something I’d forgotten as I lived a law abiding life on “the outside.” That is, even gangsters have hearts.

Despite the white collar nature of my ex-husband’s crimes, he was incarcerated with infamous criminals, well-known in all circles, including the media. For that reason, he never shared their names with us. But what stunned me, was how these notorious gangsters were so kind to an older man. After all, he was the age of their fathers. They introduced themselves to him, shook his hand, introduced him to others and told him, “If anyone gives you trouble, just let us know and we’ll take care of it.” (But no one ever bothered him.) They invited him to exercise with them. They showed him the ropes of life on “the inside.” They talked, played games and got to know one another. Yet despite their kindness, they were tough men. He never saw anyone cry or show emotion.

And then one day, my ex-husband lost it. The consequences of his choices hit him and said he felt them deeper than they ever had before. He cried. He had never seen any show of emotion in the jail and was mortified that he couldn’t help himself or stop himself from the flood of tears. In such confined space, there is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide, so everyone witnessed his grief. As he shared the experience, I don’t know what I expected the reaction might have been; my imagination conjured up many different scenarios, none of them sympathetic, all of them included my ex-husband getting beat up for being a sissy. But here is what really happened.

Everyone left him alone. They didn’t hassle him. They gave him his space. And not one inmate made fun of him, shunned him or beat him up for his weakness. In fact, during the most express moment of anguish and grief, the “biggest, baddest gangster of them all” came quietly to my ex-husband’s bunk, put a hand on his shoulder, told him everything would be o.k., and that he had a friend and was there for him if he ever wanted to talk about it.

That touched me.

I don’t know who the man really was, but I named him Mr. C. (“C” for compassion. I envision him looking like the infamous Mr. T of the old “A-Team” show, so basically I just changed the consonant in his name!) We need more Mr. Cs in the world, don’t we? More friends, more people with compassion and more people who choose to be there for for each of us, “outside” or in the slammer, when our unexpected life or its ramifications overwhelms us.

I know I’ve needed that and have been blessed by those who have shown compassion toward me and my children.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at criminals in the same way again. And it’s my unexpected life that gave me a different view.

“Deep down even the most hardened criminal is starving for the same thing that motivates the innocent baby: Love and acceptance.”(Lily Fairchilde)

That Is Why You Must Sing

“I think I could sing and shear a few sheep at the same time.” (Robert Plant)

Not too long ago my youngest was eating his breakfast cereal. He spilled some milk on his chair, announced what he had done, “Mommy! I spilled milk on my chair!” And without missing a beat, changed the words to a popular rap song and sang about it: “Milk on the chair! Milk on the chair! Lookin’ like a FOOL with your milk on the chair!”

It was so unexpected. It made me laugh. And it made me realize there’s no sense crying over spilled milk…when you can sing about it.

I couldn’t help but think it’s a great choice for the unexpected life as well.

In life, you can choose to laugh or cry, as I’ve written about before, but also to sing!

“Music-what a powerful instrument, what a mighty weapon!” (Maria von Trapp)

Add that to your arsenal for dealing with the unexpected life.

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

I Didn’t

“Now the choice has finally been made, you’ve put the story on the front page and produced the sort of collection of special reports that usually accompanies a major news event, not the announcement of the casting of one tired old film role.” (James Bond)

It was my 4th marriage proposal since becoming single.

It’s the first one I seriously considered.

And unlike Carrie Underwood, who said, “It’s nice to know you have support. Last night I got a marriage proposal. I just laughed,” I didn’t laugh.

I didn’t even throw up.

I cried.

And then I said yes.

I was getting married. To Bachelor #5.

I’d searched high (and low, as documented by some of the men I dated!) for him. And in the end, there were 31 men but there was only one winner. Bachelor #5. Mr. Awesome. The one I said, “Yes,” to; my “yes” man.

“I only have ‘yes’ men around me. Who needs ‘no’ men?” (Mae West)

By the way, his name is Mike. But since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want anyone to know his name, and for the sake of his anonymity and to honor the stealth in which he won my heart by simply being himself while making me think he was never even remotely interested in me, and because I don’t think we can really call him a “bachelor” anymore, shall we call him…Agent M?

I think James Bond, or Albert Broccoli, would approve. And besides, you should see Agent M in a tuxedo.

In My Dreams

“In my dreams, I could be a Princess, and that’s what I was. Like most little girls, I believed nothing less than a Prince could make my dreams come true.” (Loretta Young)

A marriage proposal is a moment. In time. In life. In dreams. And that marriage proposal moment with Bachelor #5 was no different–it was one of THOSE moments. Surreal, yet very real. When the past and the present come together. Where time seems to stands still.

The man I had fallen in love with was kneeling before me, proposing marriage, and this is what I was thinking:

“Is this REALLY happening?”

“Oh my gosh! THIS is a moment.”

“Focus, Andrea. You have to hear and remember everything he says!”

“My memory is terrible–how am I going to do that?”

“I have to remember this, I have to try to remember this moment, and this feeling, for the rest of my life.”

“Wait a second…what did he just say? That was really good, I HAVE to remember that!”

“Oh no! I can’t remember what he first said. I have to remember everything!”

My thoughts were racing. And then they turned to these:

“In one moment everything I loved, treasured, had known and held on to had been ripped out of my grasp; my entire existence devastated and destroyed. Words cannot express (although I’ve tried!) the depth of pain, grief, shock, sadness and betrayal that were mine in a single moment. Yet just 13 months later, although I’ve been absolutely convinced no one would ever want an ‘old bag’ like me again, that I was destined to remain alone for the rest of my existence, that my children would remain ‘fatherless’ and without male influence during the formative years of their childhood, my entire world is on the brink of near complete and total restoration. Words also cannot express the joy, exhilaration, depth of healing, happiness, and trust in something new–new hopes, new dreams, this new man, a new life, a new future and new possibilities–that are mine again. How can this be?”

In that moment I was overwhelmed by all that I had lost, by all that I had gone through, by all that I had learned, and also by gratitude for all that was now mine. I was so overwhelmed by all of that, tears rolled down my cheeks.

I think that’s one essential part of fairy tales that The Brothers Grimm and The Disney Corporation leave out of their stories. I bet those princesses cry when they realize that despite everything they’ve lost and have gone through–despite the dark forests they’re thrust into, the poison apples they’re handed, the cinders they sweep and the floors they scrub–they are on the brink of their happily ever. How can they be anything but overwhelmed by the emotions that surface when they see there really is a chance, after all, that all of their dreams can come true? And that maybe their lives are going to, as all fairy tales do, end with the promise of happily ever after.

Yes, I bet they cry. I know I did. Because, “Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” (Princess Diana) You’re just going to have to trust me on that one. I don’t recommend anyone find out the way I did!

So, “If you see me as just the princess then you misunderstand who I am and what I have been through. (Mariah Carey) Because all princesses are more than the sum of their miseries and the towers they’re locked in.

“I love that whole princess mentality, but I also like throwing my hair in a ponytail and just wearing jeans, going on a hike and then eating a big chili-cheeseburger.” (Jennifer Love Hewitt)

The Secret To Staying Young

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” (Lucille Ball)

Or if that fails, you can try this:

It was spring break. Bachelor #5 invited my little family to join his family and extended family for the break, but we already had plans so we went on our spring break and he went on his. He wanted me to meet his mom, brother and sister-in-law and extended family, so we made arrangements to meet the final night of break in St. George, Utah.

It led me to discover the secret to youth, no fountain involved, or at least the secret of feeling young. And no, it isn’t to date someone older than you. (That just makes them seem old! Lol.)

If you want to feel “young” again, get divorced in your 40s and then meet a new man’s family! The whole night, as I looked around the clan gathered, I kept thinking, “This is NOT me. I should not be here, I should not be having to do this like I’m in my 20s again!” But in reality, that was exactly the position I was in and exactly what I was doing.

At my age, and after 20 years of marriage, it had been decades since I’d been the “new” person getting to know an established family. It was a disconcerting position to be in and I felt every bit of my single status that night. The unexpected bonus was how “young” it made me feel! Lol.

So I met his mother. She was nice, made me feel welcome, complimented me on my children, invited us to visit her at her home, and she went out of her way to speak with each of my children; I liked her and felt very accepted by her and comfortable around her.

His family and relatives were polite and kind to me, but they seemed to keep their distance. (As did I, I admit. I had a hard time getting past the strange position I felt I was in that night.)

After meeting everyone, late that night when we were alone after not seeing each other for one week, he hugged me. It must have been SOME hug, because I felt like crying when he hugged me! I’d never had that happen. I didn’t know what to think of that–was I was a crazy, divorced woman? Or, maybe it was more like this: “Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.” (Jacques Prévert)

Ever had a hug like that? If so, you know what I’m talking about.

But the real shock was yet to come.

One of the first things out of Bachelor #5′s mouth after he hugged me was, “I know I said I would wait as long as you need me to, and I will, but I’m thinking September.”


I probably looked like a deer caught in headlights, but at least I didn’t throw up this time!


“Make measurable progress in reasonable time.” (Jim Rohn)

Completely Unexpected

That next weekend we went out and I can’t tell you what we did. I don’t remember much about that night. I only remember this: Before he took me home, Bachelor #5 asked, “Do I even have a chance with you?”

That sounded a little heavy to me. And because I wasn’t about to be serious, I had to lighten things up. I joked, “Sure! I try to keep an open mind. Everyone has a chance with me!”

But that didn’t deter him. He then said, “I would marry you tomorrow if you were willing.”

“I would marry you tomorrow if you were willing?” THAT was COMPLETELY unexpected!

I didn’t know what to say. All I could think in that moment was, “He doesn’t realize what he is saying or how that sounds when it’s verbalized. He can’t know what he just said.” So I didn’t respond much.

Instead, waves of memories washed over me. I thought back exactly eight months to the day, to July 13, 2009, the day my divorce became final.

The day I left my life in Colorado and headed into the unknown, so broken and devastated I couldn’t even look back at what I was leaving as I drove away or think about anything that had happened to my children and I or I wasn’t sure I’d have the courage and strength to go.

The day I was sure my life, hope, and any dreams for a bright future had ended.

The day I was positive no one would ever want an “old bag” like me again.

Back to the days when I had to try so hard every minute of every day not to cry, because I was afraid if I started I might not be able to stop. (Trust me, I failed a lot more than I succeeded in that attempt!)

In the pause as I thought all of the above, Bachelor #5 added, “But no pressure. I can wait as long as it takes you to decide what you want.”

Isn’t life like that?

COMPLETELY unexpected!

“A Scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.” (Robert Baden-Powell)

Too bad I’d never been a Scout. (Or even a Brownie!) Because far too often in my unexpected life I don’t know exactly what to do, or what to say.

Three Weeks Later

In my new life in Utah, I commute to work. The entire drive I am fortunate to have beautiful, jagged rocky mountains to look at. Last year, my commute was my time to have a few minutes of silence every day–I couldn’t listen to the radio because most of the songs made me cry. And at that time, not crying when I was alone was hard enough, I didn’t need any extra help! lol. In 2009, my commute was also my time to try NOT to think about what had become my life.

Three weeks into my new life in Utah, I read a story about a pioneer man who lost his wife coming across the plains. He buried her, and by that night had also lost his infant son. He walked back to his wife’s grave, dug her up and buried the baby with her, and then returned to the wagon train he was traveling with. He quit writing in his journal for awhile, but when he picked up again, he wrote only, “Still Walking.”

That’s how I felt.

I didn’t have the time, energy, or opportunity to write about my life. I was hardly able to face what had become of my life. I wasn’t sure why it was my new life. I struggled with my new life. And because I’d been taught “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” I didn’t say anything. I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t have the time to write anyway.

If I had written, I would have recorded that in the beginning of my new life as a single mother, I HATED leaving my children and going to work each day. I was filled with grief for the many things I had lost and for what my innocent children had been put through. It took all of my will to get up every day and go to work, come home, and do everything for the family.

I also had a moment or two, I admit, of thinking (while I commuted) “If this is the rest of my life, if THIS is what I have to look forward to for the next 40-60 years, I don’t think I want it.” Sometimes my optimism was…not optimism! As I drove, my mental “wallowing” was equivalent to a pig stuck in muck in the barnyard. I knew it. I didn’t want to be that, but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself. In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine ever healing, ever feeling “whole” again or ever being o.k. with any part of my life. I just felt like I had to live my new life and give the appearance that things were good and I was happy for the sake of my children.

I think, or at least I hope, that most of those feelings I wallowed in were normal. In my experience, it was part of the process of healing and overcoming. The trick, though, is to not allow yourself to get stuck in the “mental muck” for too long; to not allow yourself to wallow too deep. Because, “They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” (Andy Warhol)

He’s right.

So I hoped for better days ahead. I didn’t know how long it would take them to arrive, but I knew I had to hang on until they did. I had to hope that, as my mom used to say, “this too, shall pass.” I had to hope that I would feel comfort and peace, that I would be able to carry on just one more day. I had to hope that I’d be able to have fun with my children again. (We’d all grieved so much, I felt we needed FUN! I knew I needed to set a good example of fun for my children, I just felt so heavy in my heart I didn’t know how I would be able to do that, too.)

And in addition to hope, I had to do what I could to look for the good and count the blessings I still had. I had to work to create a life I could be happy with and I had to let go of the old one. There was still a good life to be lived. A very different life from the life I’d had or imagined as my future, but it was still good.

“Difficult times have helped me understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” (Isak Dinesen)

Somewhere along I-15, and with time, by the fall of 2009 I noticed I was crying less and then eventually not crying at all. There isn’t a lot to cry about anymore. In fact, there may not be anything left to cry about. I can’t remember the last time I cried.

My mom was right. Again.

Things DO pass. Time DOES heal. You just have to let things and time work their magic. And you have to use the things you are “blessed” with, to make you a better person than you would otherwise have been. Difficult times have helped me realize that, again, and so much more.

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You Know It’s Tough When…

You know you’ve been left with a tough lot to hoe when your good friend calls to tell you her husband has another tumor, has already had a stem cell transplant and yet, she’d still rather have her life than yours!

We laughed SO HARD over that one.

No one wanted what I had, including me! My worst fears were my reality.

My friend and I cried together, too. Few cried with me like she did. She had endured many years of trials and challenges she’d never expected; she’d had to adjust her dreams accordingly, and she felt my pain like few could. Interesting, isn’t it? That our unexpected lives have a way of helping us develop empathy and compassion in a way nothing else is able to. Although I would never wish hardship on anyone, what a blessing my friend was to me because of all she had endured and risen above.

And the best part about being with her and knowing her family challenges was that her situation made me simply grateful to be alive. To have a life to live, unexpected as it was. Because not everyone has that option.

“I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” (Agatha Christie)

Grand indeed.

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No Parachute

Last night, as I picked my 10 year old up from swim team practice, I was stunned to hear sniffling coming from the backseat as I drove down State Street.  I looked in my rear-view mirror and thought I saw him crying.  When I asked if he was ok, he told me yes but life is just hard sometimes.  ”Tomorrow it will be one year, mom.  Last year at this time I was making an art project of a ship.  Do you remember how well it turned out?  And that night  is when I found out about everything.” How can a little boy who was only in third grade remember so much about one particular day?  Probably for the same reason we all seem to.  It was the day our family ended.  And I hope soon and someday he gets what I’ve been trying to teach him, and demonstrate to him, for the past 365 days:  this latest “project” is going to turn out well, too.

When I woke up this morning, my hand brushed something as I shut off my alarm.  It was a note from my two teenagers:  ”Here’s a little something to brighten your day.  We know it has been hard, but we all love you!  We are so proud of you for rising to the challenge and living what you have taught us!” I think March 18 is on everyone’s minds.  (And I promise, I don’t walk around talking about it with my kids.  Hmm…I wonder if they have discovered this blog?:)

Anyway, life didn’t turn out QUITE as I expected it to.  Here’s why.

Last March 18 I dropped my three-year-old off at preschool.  I had a plan for the 2-3 hours he was going to be gone.  And then my spouse called me on my cell phone.  ”What are you doing this morning?” he asked.

I told him my plan and he told me he had hoped to spend time with me.  I invited him to join me doing what I had planned.  He told me he didn’t have that much time.  I asked him how much time he needed, he told me (it was the same amount of time it would have taken to do my activity, and when I pointed that out he told me he wasn’t going to do that activity with me.)  So like the flexible, kind wife that supported all of his dreams that I’d always tried to be, I turned the car around and headed home to spend time with him.  I had no idea I was turning around so he could destroy all of my dreams.

Before I reached home, he called my cell phone again and asked me to meet him in the motor home.  He loved that thing.  (I hated it, had never wanted it, but had supported him in that dream as well.) Looking back, it was probably a bit odd for him to request I meet him there.  But then again, I had no idea what was about to go down.


I walked in and he was talking on the phone to someone.  (Not unusual.  He had spent his days and nights calling clients and putting business deals together our entire marriage.) I sat at the table, waited for him to finish his phone call, and happened to glance to the left where I saw a yellow legal pad with names written on it:  Market Street Advisors, C.G.Boerner, Majestic Mountain Construction and Impressions Everlasting.  The only thing I knew about anything on that list was that they were my spouse’s business ventures.  I didn’t have anything to do with them.  I figured he’d been doodling or making one of the endless lists he was famous for writing down on yellow legal pads.  I was wrong.

He hung up the phone, sat across the table from me, folded his hands together on the tabletop and paused.  I looked at the legal pad, slid it across the table to him, and asked, “What’s this?”

He replied, “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”  In a voice as calm and unemotional as I’d ever witnessed.  Nothing about his performance tipped me off as to what was about to happen.

Turns out, that yellow legal pad was a list, but only the beginning, of the lies I didn’t know he had been telling me and everyone else…for over 16 years.

It’s still not quite real.  The fall out is, of course.  But everything else STILL doesn’t seem real. And without warning, I found out everything I thought was real, actually wasn’t.

“My company, Market Street Advisors, is a sham.”

One simple sentence, and the complicated web of choices, actions and decisions of ONE person, the man I’d known since 1988 but apparently hadn’t known at all, shattered my world.

March 18, 2009.

But I didn’t get it.  Yet.

I know it showed in my face.  I didn’t have a clue what he was telling me.  My first thought (always a party or holiday thought at that stage of my life!) was, “Is this an early April Fool’s joke?  Doesn’t he remember yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day? Boy, does he have his dates wrong!  What kind of joke is he trying to play?” All I could do was look at him with a puzzled expression on my face.

Suddenly,  in spite of my education and my knowledge of English and vocabulary, I didn’t understand the word “sham.”

He explained, “My company isn’t real.  It’s a sham, and has been from the very beginning. I’ve been running a ponzi scheme for the past 16 years.”

I didn’t know what a ponzi scheme was.

I’d heard mention of  a ponzi scheme on the news, I’d heard the name Bernie Madoff, I knew he had done something illegal, I knew a lot of people were mad at him and what he had done, but I didn’t understand what it was he, or my spouse, had done.

I got the condensed version.  What I was told left me in complete and utter shock.  But it didn’t stop there.

My spouse told me he had hired an attorney (that was the day he got dressed up and “went to meet a prospective client” downtown, came home, had dinner with the family, had family home evening with the family, and had family scripture study and family prayer with the family.)  He told me he had already turned himself in to the government authorities and to our church leaders (that was the night he missed dinner to meet with a church leader and then came home and watched American Idol with us, as usual.)  He told me  he would be going to prison and getting excommunicated from our church.  He also told me everything had been seized (I didn’t know what that meant but was too shocked to ask–he was still talking.) He told me I would be left alone to raise our children.  And he told me I needed to hire an attorney right away but he’d maxed out all of our credit cards paying for his.

I was shocked.  I was stunned.   I was confused.  I was scared.  I was devastated.  And at the same time, I didn’t know what I thought or felt.

All I knew was that I had been thrown out of an airplane…without a parachute.

What was I going to do?

Too Much Time To Think

“Eight hours is too much time to think and my thoughts are definitely too hard to think!” That was another thought I had as the miles rolled by under the Subaru, driving from Colorado to Utah to begin a new life–thanks to divorce and other things.

My mind was doing a 19-years-in-review recap as I drove, and given the new perspective I had on those years (thanks to the revelations my former spouse made to me on March 18, 2009), every memory was tainted.  Even after the almost four months I’d had to think, to question, and to attempt to process, I was still coming up with new and more questions.  I was grateful, then, that I’d had almost four months to try to understand everything (as difficult as those four months had been.)

In fact, and believe it or not, almost one year later, the questions are still coming.  Someone recently asked me something I’d never thought of before.  I don’t know the answer to it.  I have to wonder: is that what the rest of my life is going to be? Another 50 years of random memories surfacing, causing questions that I will never know the answer to?  An interaction with someone that results in a question that somehow, in all the thinking I’ve done, I have never thought of?  And even if I could ask the question and get an answer…how do I really trust that the answer is the truth?

The answer to that is just one reason I got divorced.

As my sister said to me, when we chatted about things we’ve experienced in life that we never anticipated, “You are THE LAST person I EVER would have thought would get divorced!”  I totally agreed with her.  I am the last person I ever expected it to happen to too.  But in life, unexpected things happen.

As I drove, I wondered how everything was going to work out.

My greatest concern was, and is, for my children.  I wondered HOW they were ever going to rise above the life they were completely innocent of in every way?  I mean, my children and I are completely innocent of any wrongdoing–THAT, I know.  But they had landed in a situation they hadn’t chosen in any way, shape or form.  They hadn’t even gotten to choose their dad!  I had done that for them.

Everything I have done in all of this has been in an effort to do what I think is right (the way I’ve always tried to live my life) and to do what I think is best for my children.  Those two principles have guided my every action and reaction.  There are many who disagree with my choices, with some of the things I’ve done–or not done.  I’ve lost some friends over it.  I’ve been misjudged on some of it.  But pardon me for putting my kids first, even at my own expense, and for having the courage to do what I felt was right!  How dare anyone expect me to do anything else?

My thoughts turned, again, to my children and the evening of March 18, 2009.  When I had gathered my family together for the last time, as a united family, and let my children hear, from the mouth of the destroyer, the destruction he, the head of our family and home, had brought upon all of us.

I remembered how he sat alone in a chair, across the room from the rest of us, and told our children what he had done and what he anticipated the consequences would be.  They were as shocked as I had been when I’d been told earlier that day. It took a moment or two for them to comprehend what he was saying and they looked to me, with shock and horror on their faces, questioning with their eyes what they had just heard.  They looked to me for confirmation.

How do you shatter your children’s lives?  How do you destroy their hopes and dreams?  How do you ruin their world?  How do you do ANY of that?

How do you answer even a question about that? All I could do was sit there, with tears streaming down my face, my heart more shattered and broken than I knew a heart could be and still keep beating.  And I guess that was answer enough.

One of the children got up, crossed the room, and hugged their dad as they cried.  The other children spontaneously joined them and they all huddled, hugged and cried together.  We used to end our family prayers each day with a “group hug.”  But like everything else, those days were over.

I sat alone on the couch and watched the whole thing.

Then the destroyer got up, walked out the door, and left our family alone.

I was alone with my children.