It is with perfect hindsight that I see that my husband left me long before he moved out of the house. I believe he started walking ever so slowly the day I had the stroke in 1999. He said he knew life would never be the same as he followed the ambulance to the hospital that day.
He hung in there like gangbusters all while in a state of shock after I had a brain hemhorrhage that nearly killed me during the sixth month of pregnancy. We had a two year old at the time, too. My husband somehow held all the pieces together during the biggest shit storm of our lives. It was a huge relief that I survived and came through mostly mentally intact, but with major physical deficits. I delivered a healthy baby six weeks prematurely.
It was a steep uphill climb for both of us to recover from this. He was dedicated to supporting me through my recovery. We enjoyed some years as a family, particularly at our lake house which we built shortly after the stroke. During the most dismal months of my return home in a wheelchair, my husband felt the need to have an escape so he dove in deep into the project of being the general contractor for the construction of the house at the lake. While I was climbing my way out of a deep, dark hole at home with two babies, he was often at the construction site after work and on weekends.
We never were able to fully recover from my husband being thrust into a caregiver role for me and move towards having a marriage of love and intimacy. We worked on it, but we couldn’t do it. We slowly but surely drifted apart.
I was commited to making the marriage work, but after 16 years of living with me and my disability, he wasn’t. He traveled more on his own. He spent more time with friends.
In 2015, he decided to take up a romantic relationship with a woman in another state. This was when he first started to talk about separating.
For my part, I knew things weren’t right but I lived in a perpetual state of “maybe someday things will be better”. It was especially tough to see things clearly as I was learning how to walk again and take care of myself. Putting an end to my marriage of 28 years certainly wasn’t on my agenda.
I tolerated the girlfriend thing for six months because it was supposedly a last ditch effort on his part to feel better about our situation. I finally saw the light that having another woman in the picture was not going to improve our marriage, and told him it was time to move out. I wasn’t going to wait around for him to figure out the best living arrangement for himself and his new partner. Nope, my message was basically GTFO.
He moved into the vacation home. It was strangely prophetic that he ended up living permanently in the house that originally served as his “escape”. Now, it looks like he was slowly walking in that direction for 16 years.
Thank you for reading :)