Oldest child (OC) was 9 years old and youngest child (YC) was 5 years old. I was a wreck. When I thought Mindless had one affair, I was a wreck. We were in a vacation apartment and we both knew our children heard us — they were downstairs, we were upstairs, but it was a small place and they heard too much, at least the loud sobs from me. At that point, OC, who is an exceptionally empathetic, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent child was worried sick. Upon hearing me crying and upset OC asked me, “are you and Dad going to divorce?”
I don’t make promises I cannot keep. I really did not have an answer for that question just yet. So, we told OC that we love both OC and YC very much and that will always be the case, we are getting some help to figure out some very hard things right now. We are working on it as best we can. OC wanted to know what happened? We had our oldest talk to the counselor for a session. OC knew that Dad had a friendship with a woman that was not OK. And, that Dad was doing everything possible to face his bad choice and fix it. That is where it was left when we went back overseas. OC saw the work, the effort, the time that Mindless was putting in to help our family become healthier and happier. Mindless and I were talking and e-mailing each other a lot, doing date nights and traveling together with kids and without, our house overseas was quite large with plenty of privacy, so we were able to deal with things outside of the earshot of the children — thank goodness. My sadness, while present, was not getting in the way of my ability to be a Mom and continue with all of my volunteer activities. When alone, I was a mess, but when not alone I was able to wear the “mask.” In fact, volunteer activities, doing Mom stuff, and being around friends was very helpful to my self-esteem and ability to think of something other than the betrayal for short spells. That was until, final D-day, two months after first d-day. That is when the shit really hit the fan. That is also when my language took a serious turn for the worse.
After ultimate d-day, I went into a very deep depression. I had made it through a lot of horrible things growing up, so much so that I thought I had paid my dues and that the rest of my life was going to be of my making, and happy at that. To realize that my life since that childhood had been based on so many lies, I was distraught, I wanted to die. If this is all life has to offer, I don’t want to do it anymore. I wrote a note, I started reading online, looking-up methods. Then, I saw a story of a woman who had overdosed on drugs, on purpose, and was now in a coma. There were some calling her selfish and saying some pretty harsh things about her decision to try to take her life. One thing really struck a chord with me, she hadn’t ended her pain, she had only transferred the pain to her kids. Oh my G-d, whoa, stop, stop, stop! That very dark moment, that very dark road, I realized that Mindless had carried around a lot of pain based on some really fucked-up shit. Now that pain was on my shoulders. If I took that step to end my pain, I would not really be ending it, but simply transferring it to my children’s shoulders. I decided then and there that I cannot, I will not ever do that, not ever!
I was still deeply depressed. OC saw it, was worried, was asking about it. Mindless and I talked and decided he needed to talk to OC. He told him that he had made some very stupid, hurtful choices, a lot of them, not just one. He had hurt Mom very badly, very deeply and he was going to do everything possible to make it right. Mindless explained that he had acted as a spoiled, selfish little boy who only cared about himself. And, he had not thought about anyone but himself. Mindless told OC, he would spend the rest of his life showing them by example what it means to be a good man, a good husband and a good father, we would now and always be his top priority. Then Mindless apologized and told OC to talk to us whenever he wanted about any of this, it was open for discussion and questions anytime he wanted or needed. There were a few very hard questions for both of us. We answered them honestly. We also had a counselor available if ever wanted. From time to time I would ask OC how he was doing, how he felt and he would always respond that he liked how things were going, except homework, homework always sucked.
I always worry if we should be pushing the kids into counseling. I asked our counselor today and she, like the previous two, thought it important to let the kids lead the way on this and actually to not try to dig with OC so much, as it is clear he knows he can come to us and talk to us honestly and openly. I so hope so!