My second husband died three years ago yesterday. For the record, I stopped collecting husbands after Nate.
For those of you unaware of who and what Nate was, I wrote about his secret life and the decimation of my family a few years ago.
I realize that post may beg more questions than answers simply because at the time I wrote it, I revealed details only to the extent to which my daughters felt comfortable. My daughters are older now and, while each continues to travel her own road to recovery, they long ago gave me permission to fill in the blanks:
In addition to an alcoholic, Nate was a pedophile. Nate’s family knew what he was and kept it a secret from me. Both of my daughters (Helena, his biological daughter, and Zoe, his stepdaughter) wound up as his victims. They were not his first (those stories are not mine to tell) and, because of the inherent nature of a pedophile, they were most likely not his last. Thanks to the bravery of Helena, Nate died a convicted child molester. As a final postscript to that whole story, I’ll simply say that the justice system is a misnomer in that Nate was sentenced to only weekends in jail for his crimes, a fact that dissuaded Zoe from bringing her own charges.
I wrote about his death HERE.
Enough about that.
Long before Nate died, the girls and I had moved on and rebuilt our lives and if not for the current pandemic, I would most likely have gone about my day completely unaware of this anniversary. As it is, COVID-19 hangs like a dirty shroud over the globe at the moment and thanks to the onslaught of shock-and-awe media coverage, I find myself teetering on the divide between the fragility of life and the resiliency of the human spirit, obsessing over the former, often to the point of shortchanging the latter.
And then I pause, take a breath and deliberately, intentionally remind myself that I am HERE. Despite the fear and uncertainty that mottled so many years of my life and made me seriously question whether I had it within me to survive, I am HERE. Not by chance, but by choice. By grit and by determination.
And so are we all.
None of us arrived at this point in our lives unscathed.
None of us is without a story.
We bear those stories as scars on our bodies and on our minds.
Scar tissue is tough. Sinewy. Unyielding.
Scars don’t grow on the dead. They brand the living.
They are, by their very essence, proof of survival.
It’s a scary time right now and I write this as much for myself as for anyone else, because those who know me know that I worry as easily as others breathe and right now, there are just so many things I could worry about, I feel like it’s Anxiety Christmas and I’m a neurotic chipmunk off her meds.
So, I will tell you what I tell myself.
When you find yourself besieged by bad news, suffocating under the enormous weight of gloom, wanting nothing more than to scurry down the rabbit hole of despair, STOP.
Looks at your scars.
Remind yourself of your story.
And choose how you will write your next one.