March 10, 2012… I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. My stomach was in knots, I felt like I was going to vomit and my stress level was maxed out. Between the decorations, the rehearsal, the dresses, hair.... and the fact that I had gained weight and my dress didn't fit properly anymore definitely didn't help things. I remember being to the point of tears by the time the night was over. I remember everyone reassuring me that the details didn't matter because I was still going to be married to the love of my life by the end of the next day. They were right! (I thought)...
I remember lying in bed that night, still stressing, thinking of all of the things that we still had to do, what time I had to be at the church the next morning. "Did I tell everyone what time to be there? Did everyone hear me? I hope they remember! Oh! And I sure hope nobody forgets anything at home!! Maybe I should have just had them bring everything tonight so that I would know that everyone had everything!". My mind was racing and I simply couldn't shut it off. The stressful thoughts of the wedding were quickly followed by all of the dreams and aspirations that I had for our soon to be family. I thought about the years to come, the house that we were set to close on (that we were supposed to have already closed on), the children that we would have and how perfect our life would be as we grew old together.
I thought back over the past year and how much I had fell in love with you and how lucky I was to be marrying my best friend. Your hugs made time stand still and everything feel right. Your smile would light up a room and your laugh was contagious! Your personality was like none other and between your jokes, your laugh and your mispronounced words, you never failed to make me laugh! Life just seemed... right! when I was with you! You always made me feel special and beautiful as you made me feel like the only girl in the world! We were going to get married, have three beautiful children (I always prayed for twin girls and a boy), close on our house and eventually build a house on the 2.5 acres that we were buying, we had dreams to purchase a bigger piece of land and eventually bring my horses and buy you a horse so we could ride together. We would continue traveling for the ministry that my sisters and I had that you so willingly stepped right into without complaints, we were going to be a power couple for the Lord and show other young people that a healthy relationship, done the right way, decent and in order, though hard, WAS possible!
Our ceremony the next day was nothing less than unforgettable! So many things went wrong, but yet it was absolutely perfect!! I remember singing the song I wrote to you as tears streamed down your face and I was so nervous that my voice was cracking. I remember watching tears stream down my Daddy's face as he walked me down the isle and I remember both of my parents saying how thankful they were that I had found you! By the end of the day, we were husband and wife and were off to our first trip as a married couple... our honeymoon!
Shortly after we returned, we closed on our house, became youth pastors, continued traveling with the group and we began our journey to become parents. Life seemed perfect. We had many heartbreaks on our TTC journey and I remember month after month, you holding me tight, kissing me on the forehead as you reassured me that everything was going to be okay and that you were always there for me. I remember you being there for me even more so through the heartbreaks that we never shared with the world.
But little did I know... this perfect little life that I thought I had... was all a lie. Little did I know the heartbreak that awaited me in the years to come. Little did I know the destruction, insecurities and depression that would come from something that seemed.... perfect!
One year into our marriage, we went through something that was never spoken outside of ourselves and 2 dear friends. The contents of that day, some 4 years ago, still haunts me. Those contents are what would kick start a downward spiral into depression, loss of self-confidence and a paranoid mind that I would have to deal with for years to come. Though that time was hard.... we made it through! I stuck by you, and you "changed". "We can do this! We can still be that power couple for the Lord! This is just a testimony to the Lord!" I told myself. But I also told myself things like "What did you do wrong? You shouldn't have said this, or done this! You should have done this or that! It's because you've gained weight! You need to lose some weight! That'll catch his eye again!"... I placed all of the blame on myself and worked extremely hard every single day to move forward and to never bring up any of those things again. And I never did!
Over the next few years, I would continue to battle depression that I would try so hard to hide. I thought I did a pretty good job at it too. We had many more good days after that, with lots of firsts. While depressed, I made it a point to never let you know that because I never wanted you to think that you did anything. I wanted you to know that I thought you were absolutely perfect and that I could have never found a better man. Letting you know that I was depressed seemed as if I was telling you the opposite. We were perfect together! Your hugs still seemed to make my bad days better and you continued to make me laugh. It was like nothing ever happened and nothing had changed. But inside, I still battled a lot.
We would move away from our hometown, become members at a new church, start new jobs and you would start the Police Academy. Over the years I was never supportive of your desire to become a police officer. While I thought that you were perfect... my biggest fear is what controlled that. I was always terrified of one thing happening (Which eventually did), so obviously at some point, I subconsciously picked up on something that was wrong and just never wanted to allow myself to believe it. I wanted to believe that you were perfect! I wanted to believe that you would never do those things! But if I never seen any warning signs... why was I so worried?! (Hind sight is 20/20. I should have asked myself that question then). But despite my feelings, once you started, I would be your biggest fan! I would support you 150%!! They day you graduated, I was SO proud!! The first day you strapped on that vest and pinned on that badge.... I would fight back tears as my heart sank and I told you how proud I was for you and that you would be the best officer anyone could ever be!! I would keep that feeling of uneasiness until I heard that Kevlar come off that night. I knew you were home safe! This was the beginning of a wild ride. But none the less... I was the proudest police wife ever! If it were up to me, I would have had SOMETHING on that said something about being the proud wife of a police officer EVERY SINGLE DAY!! I would have shirts, sweatshirts, sweat pants, bracelets, car decals... you name it, I would have had it.
However, this would all soon change. I would soon find out that the perfect reality that I THOUGHT I had.... was not a reality at all. It was all a bed of lies. The whole 4 years were lies. I will never forget the day that everything changed so drastically. One year ago today, April 13th, 2016 and even more change just two days later on April 15th. The memories from those days will be forever seared in my memory as I watched my entire world crumble in front of me and there was nothing that I could do about it. Everything constant in my life was now gone! The perfect man that I thought that I was married to... I quickly found out was non-existent. The whole time that I thought you had changed and fought with myself SO hard... you hadn't changed. I remember the times, the weather, the conversations.... I even remember what you ate at 2am as I sat on our front steps heaving from all of the emotions as I could feel my heart breaking because I had not been able to eat anything in 4 days and had nothing left in my stomach. You didn't care!
I needed you to hug me, hold me, kiss me and tell me that you were sorry and that I was the only person that you wanted. I needed you to tell me that you still wanted to spend the rest of your life with me. I needed you to tell me that you loved me!
....But you couldn't do that. You couldn't do any of that!
Although I battled depression for 3 years by this point... That day magnified this process by 100! The days and months to follow, I would beg God to restore our marriage as I literally felt my heart being torn into 1,000 pieces! I begged you to fight for our marriage! I begged you to go to marriage counseling with me! I begged you to try! But again... you couldn't do any of that! Even after all that you had put me through, even after all of the things that you couldn't say or do over the past couple of days... I STILL wanted nothing more than for God to restore our marriage! "We can still make this work! I love him and that's all that matters! It doesn't matter that he made mistakes! We can get counseling and we can still make this work! I pushed passed this once and I can do it again!". I couldn't imagine life without you, even through all of the hurtful things that you were saying. Even though you made it very clear that you didn't want me and that you actually "felt cheated in life because you married me".... I still loved you too much to walk away. I was not so slowly losing my mind. The pain was more than I could bear! I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think, I couldn't work. Night after night I would lie in bed and cry myself to sleep as my mind replayed all of the comments, text messages and moments from the last weeks.
I begged God to not make me wake up the next morning! I begged him for just a moment of sanity! But it didn't come. My depression grew and life seemed like it was unbearable. Over the next few months, I would have the absolute darkest days of my life. My depression would reach an all time high and I would wish every day that I was not alive to feel any of it. I would feel hopeless, worthless, stupid, ugly and all of the above. I felt like I would never be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough...
But through all of that... God was there! He had plans for me to live, no matter how much I didn't want to and tried not to.
Through amazing friends and wonderful family... I found an outstanding support system. My church family, my pastor, my best friend (She will never know how much she means to me!!!), a wonderful friend that God placed in my life and my "second parents" were my biggest support systems. Being away from my family and childhood friends was hard, but these guys made it possible. At times when you should have been there for me.. these guys were. Between my "second parents" and my best friend... they were there for me when I needed them most. When you should have been. Each one, at different times, have held me while I cried on their shoulder and reassured me that everything would be okay and that you didn't deserve me. Although I didn't believe them... It made me feel better knowing that they were there for me.
Each of these people would shine the light of God into my life and encourage me in my walk with God. It would take a long time, but they would help me in getting into a place with God that I began to actually recover from all of the damage that you had caused in my life.
So, today, as I think back on all of the memories… the good and the bad… I mourn, yes. I mourn what should have been and what could have been. I mourn the loss of all of the hopes, dreams and aspirations that we had. I mourn what my life SHOULD have been. And I even mourn what I thought my life was for those years. HOWEVER... Today, I will also celebrate! I will celebrate that exactly one year later... I am no longer in a depressive relationship with a narcissist. I will celebrate the fact that I am truly beginning to live my life again.
I am better off now! I have gained confidence. The confidence that you so easily and willingly destroyed! I'm stepping into the callings that God has on my life... all of those callings that I never had the confidence to step into. I'm just now seeing my worth! The worth that your actions convinced me was absent! I am no longer depressed!!!! The depression that you brought on me nearly 4 years ago now! You destroyed me! You destroyed everything that I was! You destroyed every aspect of my life! And I'm finally, truly living again!! And not just walk and breathe as I have been for so long! I am actually enjoying life and loving myself! Something that I didn't even know was possible!
I don't regret a single day of the time that I spent with you, or the things that we went through! Without all of those moments... especially the bad ones, I would never be who I am, or become the person that I WILL become! Without those bad days… I would not have turned to God in such a desperate way that I did and I would not have known Him quite like I do now. I wouldn’t have truly known JUST how much He can deliver you from or what He can bring you out of! Growing up in church, I think I took God’s grace for granted… But after all I have been through… I no longer do so! Because I KNOW what God has brought me out of, and I know that I was SO unworthy and SO undeserving… but yet His Grace never failed me! However... I could never go back now! I fought for so long to repair our marriage... but now that I am finally living and loving life... I would be absolutely stupid to return to the one thing and the one person that so willingly destroyed everything that I was! The one person that destroyed ME as the person that I was and should have been! Until I found a peace that only God can give about leaving and stepping away for good.... I never fully realized the extent of the damage that you caused and how much you destroyed me over the years! I never realized how depressed I stayed, or how much I battled mentally on a daily basis throughout our marriage!
While I do pray that you have, or WILL truly change and allow God to work in your life like I know that He has planned! You have amazing callings on your life and I TRULY do pray that you step into those callings!! ....After almost a year of being apart... I have realized that I would rather die than to return to the horribly depressive and practically nonexistent human being that I was!
So today, as memories flood my mind... Although I will mourn a little bit.. I will celebrate so much more! Because TODAY… One year later… I have SO MUCH to be thankful for!