Sometimes life destroys you.
Sometimes it burns you to the ground.
In March 2021 that’s what happened to me.
In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband.
Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed.
This is my story.
Watch me rise.
It’s almost been a year.
Around this time last year I sent my kids to my mom’s because I needed help and I knew I wasn’t going to get it at home.
That choice literally changed my life.
I knew things weren’t right, but I didn’t realize how wrong they were…
It’s almost been a year since life as I’d known it stopped. A year since my insides were twisted and ripped out through my heart.
I’ve been having a lot of flashbacks lately. With the year-mark approaching, I suppose that makes sense.
I flash back to that last month:
… to that moment when the discovery of the truth sucker-punched me in the gut;
… to the second that I knew what I was going to do to protect my children;
… to the instant I locked eyes with him before I sped away and he realized that I knew.
I flash back to the hours that followed.
Police stations. Detectives. Interviews. Restraining orders. Lawyers.
More discoveries… More wind knocked out of me.
Phone call after phone call…
Emotions! So many, many emotions.
Driving to safety.
More phone calls.
Melting against the wall into a pool of misery on the floor.
Realizing I was living a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from, no matter how hard I tried.
This past year has been intense, to say the least.
We celebrated the baby’s 1st birthday the same week we held her father’s funeral.
We moved out of the home where I had given birth to my fourth child; the home where we were supposed to be building our dreams as a family.
The kids and I faced our first of what will be countless holidays and milestones without him.
We’ve struggled as a family and as individuals.
In fact, I struggled so bad that I began to scare myself.
I stopped eating.
I stopped sleeping.
I stopped doing all the things I needed to do to take care of me.
I started drinking more than I ever had before.
I started to get mean and resentful toward my kids.
I started not to care about them or about myself or about anything at all…
I knew my babies deserved better. I knew they needed me to be better. But I didn’t think that I was capable of better.
That’s when I asked for help.
It’s almost been a year since I taught my last class at the studio. Of course, at the time I didn’t realize that it would be my last… and it’s taken me quite a while to accept that it was.
It’s taken me a while to accept a lot of things.
I guess I thought that eventually things would get back to normal … that somehow all of this would be over and we’d go back to doing the things we always did.
I’ve since learned that feeling is actually part of the grieving process.
At first I was operating in survival mode, fueled by anger and denial. As the shock wore off and we settled into a new routine, I sank into a depression I couldn’t escape on my own. With the help of my team of professionals and the support of my family and friends, I’ve begun to accept my current reality and even feel hopeful for the future.
Yes, this past year has been the hardest year of my entire life.
Yes, it’s been ugly, painful, overwhelming and downright cruel.
Yes, it’s been filled with betrayal, heartache, and loss.
But despite the darkness, there have been flickers of light:
🔥 the baby taking her first steps
🔥 playing and laughing with the kids
🔥 road trips and adventures as a family
🔥 making new connections and strengthening old ones
🔥 the unexpected flood of support from my community
I may not yet be blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only been a year. I’m grateful for the spark; that’s all I need to build a fire. 🔥
Abuse isn’t always black and blue. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Flight of the Phoenix Collective. We’ve got your back.