It’s been a year to the day since my husband’s affair was revealed to me by the husband of the OW via Christmas card. I expected it to be a worse day than it was and wondered if every December 9th was now going to be an ugly reminder of the ugly things people do to one another, be it cheat on their spouses or send people twisted Christmas cards, but, Elizabeth Edwards chose to give up her spirit the day before and so I have been mostly thinking about her.
Elizabeth Edwards. At first, I think about all she has endured, then I think about when her husband was running for president and it was discovered that her cancer was back. I believed he should have quit the campaign to be with his wife. He thought it better to keep “campaigning,” is that what they call cheating in that circle? Anyway, I felt unsettled about the entire situation and it seems my misgivings were not out of line. In any case, I look at my life, my life with my husband and I look at Elizabeth’s life with hers, and I think how my troubles are a kiss on the cheek compared to hers. The death of their 17 year-old son, breast cancer, infidelity and the child who followed, not that any of it is the child’s fault, but just confirmation of how deep the lies were stacked up. Add to that the knowledge that you may well be soon leaving your young children behind.
When Matt Lauer mentioned Elizabeth “losing her battle,” one of a group of her friends said that anyone who knew Elizabeth knew that she didn’t lose battles, and they all laughed. Elizabeth wasn’t as concerned about the quantity of her life as much as she was the quality of her life, a life well-lived. In the face of a situation where she could’ve felt shamed into silence, she appeared in interview after interview, speaking openly, yet graciously, about her private, yet public pain. She had guts.
I’m sure Elizabeth Edwards struggled or at least, faced the reality of her new reality; how to think about the man you have been with all of these years when circumstances, namely, their behavior, has up-ended your world and altered it forever. You can’t go back to the way things were because they aren’t what they were and never will be, again. People say that if your marriage survives, it will be stronger. Sometimes it feels that way and then some days, you feel just plain broken. I don’t feel as broken as I did a couple of weeks ago, but I do feel wobbly. And let’s face it, once you’re broken, there is always a line where you are glued back together, a scar, if you will; one that many people like to say makes you stronger at that broken place. Okay. They can say that. Maybe it will be true.
Although I struggle these days with men, in general, how some say that the impediment to infidelity is opportunity, how I thought my husband was different to find out he could put me out of his mind and drop his pants? Although I am changed and not, at the moment, for the better, taking into consideration his betrayal and my pain, I do feel there comes a time when you have to stop whining and get down to the hard work of forgiving when it’s not easy to forgive. There are days, even weeks, at a time when it has been easy to have forgiven and then a few months later, I find that, well, feels like I’ve not forgiven at all.