Coming home was not what I expected. Though I didn’t know what to expect, the reality was worse. Life was awful. We shared a home for 9 days. He was constantly texting her with a grin on his face. He was begging me not to divorce him. I was a mess. And honestly, he was as well.
I did my best to keep busy. I had taken a leave of absence from my job, and wasn’t ready to go back. I was working for a builder in Calgary, selling new homes. I would sit in the show homes, waiting for buyers to come in. This was not something I had the energy or mental capacity for. All that alone time. Instead, I filled time walking my dog. He was an 85 pound golden labrador, so he was great when we would walk for a couple of hours every day.
I also went to the gym. After 18 years in the fitness industry, working out was just a daily part of my life. Besides all the banging out of energy I was doing on the cardio machines, this was also the time I started a regular yoga practice. Interestingly, it is not just something I have continued, but something that helped save me.
I wasn’t eating much and was loosing weight. I really just didn’t have an appetite. I was drinking though. A lot. At home. By myself.
Drinking helped me forget, but was also the cause of some of the biggest, ugliest fights my ex and I ever had. And we had some big ones. I was angry. And had no problem yelling, trying to get him to see how wonderful I was and what a huge mistake he was making. I didn’t understand what was happening to me, to our life together. He would listen, but never had anything to say or any explanation. How could there be no explanation?
I would go to the gym in the evenings. The stress in my heart as I came home, and turned the corner into our cul-de-sac, was immense. I am sure it took some years off my life. I didn’t know if he would be there or not. I wanted him there, telling me how much he loved me and what a huge mistake he made. And I didn’t want him there, showing me with his actions how he had moved away from me and towards another woman. It was awful.
Beside yoga, working out and drinking, the other thing that got me through this period were my 2 girlfriends who I had confided in. I don’t think I would have survived without Leanne and Patty. They listened to me rant and cry. They consoled. They kept me busy. And most of all, they just showered me with love. I am forever grateful to those 2 amazing, lovely women.
I continued to talk to my brother, and he convinced me to join a church when I got back to Calgary. My first day back, I called a church in my community, and talked to the Women’s Pastor. This church was a warm refuge for me and a place of great comfort for the next 15 months.
Our life together was turning into a living hell. The yelling, tears and stress was getting out of control. We actually took a walk together on a snowy Sunday afternoon with the dog. When we got home, he started crying. He said he was moving out that afternoon. I was going to a church event, appropriately entitled “When the Holidays Hurt”. He said he would be gone when I got back. I was in shock. Total and utter shock.
We were supposed to be celebrating our 30th anniversary the coming June. We were together almost 36 years. How could it be ending, and ending like this?
I went to the church event. And cried the entire time. When I came home, he was gone. He left a note. Something I later burned. The house felt empty. It was just me and my dog. Thank goodness for my puppy. He was another savior of mine.
Next I did what I typically did. I cried. I drank. And I got to work. I emptied all of this stuff out of our bedroom closet. I moved his stuff out of the drawers and packed it away. Somehow I knew I had to get his energy out of there. Even in my darkest hour, I knew that I was not going to let him take me down. Though the road ahead was incredibly bumpy and turbulent.
The days passed in a blurr. I was calling him all the time, trying to get him to talk to me. He would answer the phone, but really had nothing to say. He was seeing her. He loved me but he was in love with her. Funny, when I would read about affairs, that was a very typical thing they all said.
Christmas was quickly approaching. I had no idea what the heck was going on. Was he going to be around? This was a time when my girlfriends, as always, came to the rescue. Leanne invited me to a family party a couple of days before Christmas. And Patty had me over for their family Christmas on Christmas Eve.
As I was driving to her house, he called. He asked, then begged, me to see him on Christmas. Could we please have Christmas dinner together? I had no idea what to do.
So I went to Patty’s Christmas. I was close with her kids, all grown, and they all knew my story. I told everyone my dilemma. And it was her darling, wise daughter Ann who came up with an idea that I found brilliant. Meet him at a Starbucks on Christmas Day, and decide if I want him to come back home. So that is what I proposed. He was shocked, said that Starbucks wouldn’t be open. When I assured him that it was, that was now the plan.
We met at Starbucks. We had gifts for each other. It was really strange. We had coffee, and just talked. It was nice. So nice that I said sure, come back home for dinner. We made dinner together, shared a bottle of wine, opened presents, and then he got up to leave. I lost it. What the heck? You had Christmas with me and now you are going to have one with her? It was a really bad scene, and I felt like total crap. How had my life come to this?