The mother's day that should have been.
There is this secret I have been holding in for a very long time. I think about telling you and crying on your shoulder but I am afraid. I am so afraid that you will lose your respect for me and knowing what I did would hurt you.
The worst part about it now is I don’t know if you will even remember tomorrow if I tell you today. I confided almost all my secrets with you as a teenager. I knew you disliked some of my choices and I can’t tell you how much I would have changed just so I did not have to see that disappointed look in your eyes. That thought alone made me bury this secret so deep, sometimes it feels like it happened to someone else.
But it didn’t. And it still hurts. All. The. Time.
You and dad wanted us all to follow your beliefs. You instilled us with what you know in your heart to be right. I envy that sometimes, to have such conviction in a higher power to guide and protect you. I really tried to follow in your footsteps. There was a time I put my true heart and soul into the teachings of the church. I read the bible. I prayed. All I ever asked for was a guide. Someone who could understand me and help me through some of the more difficult aspects of following a religious code.
I know you tried to do that for me, but there was little time and to be honest, I was a complete mystery to you. I don’t blame you for that at all. I never really fit in anywhere. I still don’t.
As hard as I tried, in my worst moment instead of giving me a guide to the light, I was offered the opposite. On the outside, he seemed perfect. What would you expect from a man named Christian?
I certainly did not expect the dark path he would lead me down. I was so blinded I completely lost my way, and in the end, he shattered my heart as a final send off.
So, the thing you have always found solace in was only a constant reminder of how isolated I felt from the world. Admittedly I have a natural instinct to shut myself off, but I didn’t feel like anyone really got me. Ultimately, church became a place of unrest. It tore at my fragile emotional state and the moment I decided I was going to walk away, a wave of relief washed over me. It was one of the calmest moments of my life.
Of course, in my injured and wayward state I ran to the first guy who seemed to be stable. And he was, in fact he was too stable. To the point of inactive, unreliable, and just plain boring. It was a doomed relationship from the start. I should have been more careful and not brought a child into it, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. For it was the path that led me to my person.
Part one of this secret is that. It was what everyone thought at first, what I so vehemently denied. I had an affair, with my husband’s best friend. It doesn’t get more cliché than that. However, it wasn’t just some fling, or an escape from boredom. When I looked at this man, I saw something I would never forget. The way he saw me, the way he understood me, was never going to be replicated ever again. I knew from that time on I would be comparing men to him for the rest of my life.
Was it terrible for me to carry on with this relationship? Possibly, but I was so compelled to continue, like I didn’t really have a choice but to be with him. I could be condemned for it. Two marriages ended. Was there a good chance they would have ended anyway? Almost certainly.
In fact, I left my husband even though there were no promises made by the other man. I just knew I no longer wanted to live like I was. I had to get out, even if there was no safety net waiting for me at the bottom.
Part two, this relationship with the other man continued anyway. Every day was the possibility of losing it, and it terrified me. For him and my family, I made the pretense of “dating” other men, but I was never serious about any of it. It didn’t help when the men I dated couldn’t even hold a candle to the ideal I knew existed. All paths led back to him.
And that is where I get to the core of this pain I hide. His marriage was on the rocks, but not over and nature surprised us both. I loved my child, and I knew I wanted more, but the timing for another was abhorrent. I was back in school working towards my bachelor’s degree and he was, for all intents and purposes, still married.
The repercussions were untenable. I agonized over how many people would be hurt by this, including myself. I knew I would not be able to finish school and at the time it felt like I had only one choice.
To this day I don’t know how I convinced myself to go through with ending it. The whole process hurt my heart so much I cried through every step. It still feels so wrong and I live with that mountain of regret all the time. Even more so, I know how much knowing this would hurt you. You have always been the most loving mother and I know you would have tried to help me find a way through it without taking the path that hurt me worse viewing from hindsight.
I seek forgiveness for this in everything I have done since. Me and my person have been married for over eighteen years now. We have three beautiful and amazing children that I thank heavens for every day.
If I had one wish to change just one choice I made in my life, this would have been it.
I’m sorry, mom.
Your loving daughter.