4 a.m. Awake. Stomach tight. Mind mulling over scary scenarios. Money needs, family illnesses.
I’ve been laid off and need a job. Unemployment running out in a week. Daughter sick. Mom getting older. Can’t buy Christmas gifts. My friends lost their jobs and now looking too.
Shifting and turning. Can’t sleep anymore. Husband rolls over and asks, “What’s wrong?” I tell him my concerns. He holds me and says not to worry, just find two things to be grateful for and go back to sleep. I sigh, “Okay.” I get up, pad into the warm living room and turn on the Christmas tree. Small, sweet, and full of white light.
I say a little prayer of thanks for the light, for our home, and for my husband who provides. I gently close my eyes so the lights become blurred and focus in on the entirety of the white light. . . maybe that’s how God sees us, all these individual little lights that blend into one big, bright light.
Meandering into the kitchen, I plug in the other Christmas lights. Muted reds, greens, yellows, and blues shining through the boughs of holly and streamers of poinsettias. Warm, calm, and full of color.
Another prayer of thanks goes out for the Christmas lights, for my friends, my dog, my family and the new babies on their way.
Feeling better, I venture into the den and switch on the overhead strings of lights. . . some white, some multi-colored. They cast a soft spread of color onto the Christmas cactus, ribbons and stockings.
Thank you Christmas lights
Again I pray. Thanks for my relationship with God, the goodness and generosity in others, the incredible wealth I have because I can open my heart and love others.
5:30 a.m. Awake. Stomach calm. Mind peacefully quiet. I am truly blessed.
I make my way back to the bed, snuggle up to my husband.
Inspired gratitude. Sleep.
Blessings, Rose Marie
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The day before I had caught him with another woman and was so upset and distraught I could not sleep the whole night. I kept going over and over and over the scenario, the feeling of loss, inadequacy, lack of love, total unworthiness. I thought that perhaps I should just die. I had taken my little daughter to a friend’s house, as I knew I could not be around her without upsetting her life too.
About 6 a.m., I had no reprieve in my emotional agony. I wandered around the house and eventually outside. We lived in a remote mountain home on a knoll with a lovely view of the mountains and our pond, the murmuring sound of the bold creek in the background. No other houses in view. Alone. That’s how I felt. Alone, abandoned, wretched, worthless. I tried to bring myself out of the despair, but it was too late, too dark. I thought about driving off somewhere, so I got in my car, but I was dressed in my night clothes and didn’t want to go back inside to change. Then I suddenly remembered that I had a handgun under my front seat. My neighbor had given it to me a while back when I told him I was traveling back and forth to Atlanta to see my mother and other family ever since we adopted our little girl. He wanted me to have the gun for safety on the road. I learned how to use it, but never really practiced.
But that morning I got the gun out. I had a macabre fascination with it, I wondered what it would be like to die, especially to die by my own hand. I was pretty delirious after not sleeping and I took the safety off the gun and wondered if I could pull the trigger easily with one hand or if I needed to steady the gun and use two hands.
I used both hands, squeezed the trigger, and shot the gun off into the forest behind the house.
Within minutes my naked husband came running outside, screaming, “Oh my god, oh no!”
When he saw me still alive he kept repeating the “Oh my god, oh no!” Then he asked what I was doing. I don’t think I answered. He asked me to give him the gun and I just looked at him and then at the gun. I felt nothing and then I lifted the gun and pointed it at him. Here’s this man that betrayed me, for the second time in 3 years. Put me through hell, swore he’d never betray me again, and even adopted a child with me. Then lied to me for months. He kept asking me to give him the gun. I was afraid he might shoot and kill me, so I said no. Then I heard him begging me, pleading with me to stop. I dropped the aim of the gun to his balls. He immediately dropped to his knees and swore, begging me not to shoot.
Then it happened . . . the hilarity of the situation. I was more aware and in control while I was totally not in control of my own emotions. I saw him clearly, a man who had a problem, a man who could not tell the truth. I suddenly realized it was not me with all the problems. I had a choice. He was pitiful in my eyes. He was not worth shooting.
Inside a strange sense of hilarity was rising, a smile was about to grace my face, I handed him the gun and told him he was not worth it. He grabbed the gun, swore again, and raced inside to call our therapist. He immediately tried to have me committed to a psychiatric ward, but luckily my therapist was very smart and intuitive and had my husband put me on the phone. My therapist asked me some questions about what I felt and if I wanted to kill myself, or commit suicide. I told him no, but admitted I briefly had contemplated the idea given my depression and despair. He asked us to come see him first thing. After I got off the phone I felt lighter and clearer than I had in months. I felt like laughing but couldn’t quite get the chuckles out, as it felt disrespectful, like laughing at a funeral.
My husband tried to berate me and I just walked away from him. I knew we were done and still had pain in my heart, but my own self worth had started to heal. Once my husband was in the shower, I went outside on our deck and scanned the magnificent view, and then it happened. I started laughing and crying at the same time. The excruciating pain of his affair and my reaction to it had brought me a new awareness about myself. But that was just the beginning. . .