My husband spent his time hitting the bars, writing bad checks, and living on the military base, reliving his bachelor days while I lived in low income housing, went on welfare, and tried to find a job that would take a very pregnant woman with a college degree and an infant.
I was overqualified for just about everything, and didn’t have the right degrees or experience to work in the military or medical professions, the only jobs that were hiring!
It was a desperate time for me, but I learned how to be strong. How to see miracles in everyday moments and stand on my own, providing for my children.
When my husband hit rock bottom he was kicked off the base for not caring for his family. He ended up in a homeless shelter. The day he moved, I was the only one there to help him. Where were all the friends he’d partied with for months? Where were his “brothers”?
They were not there. I was there. Heavy with child, in the cold rain and snow, helping carry his boxes.
Why did I help?
I was still breaking out of the co-dependent patterning that kept me trapped in that marriage for so long. This is not as easy as it might sound.
Years later I still have to catch myself. I am in a loving relationship with an amazing man. A man who doesn’t let me take on the role of an enabler. He reminds me, “Kimberly, it’s not your job to make me happy.”
How does a man so much younger than me (that’s a whole other post have so much more wisdom than the 36 year old I was married to for nearly a decade?
Addictions stunt the emotional growth of everyone they possess. My ex-husband had the emotional maturity of a child.
Being homeless seemed to wake him up, at least temporarily. He checked himself into a month long alcohol rehab program paid for by the military. We went to all the family classes. Our marriage started to miraculously heal!
He came home just in time for the birth of our second daughter. It was a magical moment and I finally felt some hope that our family would survive. The next three months were the best of our marriage. We were happy, in love, and growing together as a couple. Our girls were happy. We were pulling ourselves out of the self-inflicted despair to which we’d become accustomed.
I should have known it wouldn’t last.
Just as our lives felt whole and safe, the demon of war came calling for my husband. He was deployed to Iraq as a combat medic. And I knew, in the way I knew when my dreams were more than dreams, I knew that he would not make it home safe. He’s make it home alive, I knew this. I never feared for his physical safety in that way. He would be injured, but not badly. He would come home in one piece physically–but his soul would be shattered.
I told him this. Explained what I’d seen. He didn’t listen. Couldn’t listen. The military owned him. He had to go.
But he didn’t have to stay. That choice he made on his own. It was those choices that ruined him. Destroyed us.
We conceived our third daughter while he was on leave from Iraq, but our marriage died as the demons that haunted him his whole life were fed on fear and hate in the sandbox.
I tried to fight it. I tried to heal it. But this destruction was beyond my power to fight or heal. My life began to die without my permission. And my three little girls became the true casualties of war.
This is the eight part of a 10-part series on domestic violence and relationships based on my life. Please come back next Monday for the next post, Letting Go, or follow my blog or sign up to receive email updates. You can also like my Facebook Page for updates on my blog, my books and more. To get caught up, start with Part 1: Why We Stay.