Learn from my mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.
Immediately following my divorce, I sat on my couch and gazed at the ceiling for hours.
No one knew I did this.
The television was off, the stereo silenced. Nothing could interfere with the happily married memories flooding my mind — twelve years of twinkle-light holidays, the smell of his cologne, gregarious family celebrations, teasing inside jokes, seeing his car in the driveway, whispered terms of endearment and our smiling son in the middle of this beautiful, colourful world we created. These images moved across the backdrop of a white ceiling, like a movie reel, as I forgot to eat, forgot to breathe, forgot who I was.
I wanted to remember, remember, remember the world that made sense once. Even though it wasn’t perfect, that world allowed my son to say the words “mummy and daddy” without bifurcating our existence.
Remembering was more than a simple visualisation of my ex-husband's smile, the sound of his laughter or seeing his arms wrapped protectively around our child -- it was that palpable feeling of wholeness, contentment and security I gleaned from being married. When happily married, I felt loved, so very loved, and held onto that feeling even though our love was long gone and I was holding onto nothing but an intangible dream.
While living in the past, I grew numb to the present and passively moved through a life that couldn't possibly belong to me. I worried if I stopped remembering what once was, the comfortable life I knew would slip away forever, never to be found or felt again. How could I recreate that feeling of wholeness and security in the present? How could I reconstruct a world where my son was going to thrive?
I'd find a new husband!
If I remarried, my son wouldn't grow up in a broken home with a single mum who stared at the walls. It made perfect sense! And if I found someone fast, my son wouldn't remember a mummy who was lonely and alone. And this is precisely how I arrived at the altar a second time -- broken, clinically depressed and desperate for a world that resembled that movie reel of what once was.
The single most important quality the new husband had to possess was a love for my child. And the second man I married had just that. He had a childlike spirit, was someone I'd known for many years and would never hurt me, or more importantly, my child. After dating men who couldn't be bothered with my son, someone loving Connor was more important than my own happiness.
When that little voice inside my head (the one I no longer trusted since it had a bad track record) told me something wasn't right, I argued with it. But he's a nice guy. But he's so good with Connor. But...