I prayed for him to leave
It wasn’t too many years ago that I used to pray he’d leave.
It was so bad I couldn’t even stand to breathe in the same room as him.
The smells of the black powder remnants from the green steel ammo cans, diesel fuel from his Volkswagen Golf, and the ever-presented distilled alcohol that seeped from his pores.
The smells I grew to despise more and more over a period of fifteen years.
It started subtly. An introduction here and there of addictive self-destructive habits that were “normal” within his family.
The hiding smoking cigarettes from her was just the surface.
The gloss over little lies and big lies.
The “If you get yourself to work in the morning you’re fine” enabling mantras of the family.
The only time I grew up knowing about pot or cocaine was when my police officer dad had taken someone in and had to turn in evidence. But in his family, the excessive pot, alcohol, and cocaine I was exposed to was the antithesis of how I grew up and what I knew to be true.
But I learned to turn my head, too.
I learned to navigate the egg shells that seemed to multiply across the less than 1200 square feet of my own home.
As things got worse, so did my health.
As things got worse, I started to turn away from him. Live my own life. Look for the attention I so desperately wanted. And I finally found it. I grew those roots so deep that even the biggest of winds couldn’t uproot me.
For so long I felt unsafe with him.
I couldn’t express anything as that would automatically put him on the defense.
I couldn’t live my authentic self with him.
I’d sit on one end of the sectional couch nursing a baby or loving on one of my beloved gifts and he’d sit on the very opposite end as me and stare blankly into his computer screen.
The kids and I saw the back of his head more often than not.
He fought with people on Facebook to feel something.
He drank so much, had hidden stashes all over our property that I didn’t even know were there.
I made excuses for his behaviors and choices he made. He embarrassed me far more times than I can count. Be-rated me, belittled me. Just like she did to him and those around her.
I grew more and more bitter at his family for the way he was neglected, abused, and traumatized. My jaw dropped when I finally learned the truth which was validated by both sides of the family.
Growing apart and feeling like a thumb was over me… the last spark in me demanded more for myself.
I chose to get to counseling. I learned I was codependent and probably learned that in my childhood— you know that need to be perfect, please everyone else, lose myself meanwhile enabling the poor behaviors of someone else.
I learned to work on me.
I learned that no matter how bad life gets, I still have the responsibility to work on me.
I learned to separate myself from behaviors attached to people who are hurt and want to hurt me.
I learned the root of my habit of going to food for comfort was learned from before I could talk and form memories. That food was a way to numb me just like the alcohol did for him.
I learned his behaviors toward me were him pushing me away so I wouldn’t see the truth, how hurt and tired of hurting he was.
I learned, no, I witnessed what redemption looks like in front of my eyes.
Now, he does leave. Actually, he leaves often. The kids and I dearly miss him now.
I miss him moments after he leaves.
I miss the purity of his new smell.
I miss the attention he now gives all four of us.
I miss the man I thought I married all those years ago whom I now get to experience.
Redemption is real.
And it starts with making a choice to take action… to step into it.
I prayed for him to leave.
Now, I pray for him when he leaves that he’d support the future of the Warfighter- his passion, and that he’d return home to me safe.