Four years ago my life fell apart.
I don't say that with hyperbole or to illicit a reaction -- it's a simple fact.
I had a nervous breakdown while in the throes of postpartum depression, from which I'd been suffering for months, my cries for help unheard by those around me. My husband filed for divorce. I was kicked out of my home; I had my child removed from my custody by my hometown police.
I found out he'd been having an affair for almost the entirety of our marriage to that point.
And every year since, starting right after Tova's birthday (if not a wee bit before), I kind of fall back down the rabbit hole.
There isn't really a single autumnal event in my life that hasn't been tinged by this lens of extremity -- everything from annual festivals to my wedding anniversary now all occur with this giant asterisks beside them in my mind.
Which makes it really hard to enjoy things that I usually would, some activities I've known since I was a child.
That doesn't mean I don't love Kyle, or don't want to be with him. It's really the opposite.
I've found that the more I let myself be invested in him, in us and our family, the more the residuals burn when they flare up.
I try to actually not talk about all of this much here, in this space, because well, I'm trying to write a book about the whole experience and that feels rather redundant most of the time (why would you buy a book about that if you could just read all about it here?) -- but the further away I get from writing about it in any form, the less resolve I have to even start delving into those memories and do the real writing that I want to do, that I've been told a few people want to read.
Monday I spent a great deal of time in a dark place, texting my support system (some from that time, some newer additions) and crying my eyes out.
It wasn't pretty.
And then Kyle came home after a rough day himself, and he dropped all of his angst at the door and swung in, petting my freshly-dyed hair and taking over the afternoon's duties so that I could sleep some of it off. We stayed up too late after putting the kids to bed, talking and hashing it out again without anger or (much) resentment, readjusting where we are in our process and connection with one another as all of the triggers circle their wagons around me, trying to claim me away from the present.
It's those moments, through fraught with metric shittons of negative emotions, that remind me why I stayed, why I fought to stay, and that I really am where I'm supposed to be with who I'm supposed to be with.
Of the stories I've read and heard of couples who have survived infidelity, most say something along the lines of it making their marriage stronger.
Four years out, it seems like maybe we might be able to say that someday, too.