Friday, April 8, 2022

Nothing, of course, happens fast enough

Nothing, of course, happens fast enough and we just want to be returned to that uncomplicated life we once had – we want stability restored – but it is not to be. Now we have a new life; unchartered, uncertain, beyond our control, and that we are on some level undertaking alone, even within the company of the ones we love. Our worlds are still raw and new. They hum with suffering, but there is immense power there too.

~Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files

Nothing, of course, happens fast enough...

On the one hand, our days blur into nights blur into days and it feels as the world should have stopped entirely and yet it's not, it is turning turning turning.

On the other hand, time crawls. It is 4 a.m. and we wonder how we are going to survive the remaining darkness until morning gives us some reason to at least try and stand, to find some way to make ourselves useful, to try, at least, to feel part of the world.

We just want to be returned to the uncomplicated life we once had. Nick Cave is, for those familiar with him and his work, talking about the death of his son. And I know it's so tempting for us to gasp and hold ourselves back from relating because, after all, we didn't lose a child, nobody has died. How dare we think our grief compares?

But Cave himself, and anyone who has truly felt their grief and the way in which it connects them to all suffering, everywhere, doesn't monitor the door the grief club – letting in only some and not others. Rather, they – we – learn that grief is grief is grief. That it is, as Cave says, tidal. Washing over us, threatening to pull us out where we can't possibly survive and then depositing us again and again, a bit stronger each time, back on the shore

It has been many many years since I felt that grief as it related to my marriage, to my husband's betrayal. It has been months since I've written here. I have used the years to heal myself and my marriage, to rebuild a relationship with the man who has spent his time earning back my trust. I consider myself lucky to be with him still. He remains my best friend, one of the kindest people.

I have more recently spent months working on a new project, a magazine focused on climate solutions. And that is where I am becoming reacquainted with grief. I had taken a break from much of my writing on environmental and social justice issues because it sometimes felt as if I was bashing my heart against a rock. 

But the focus this time is different and, bear with me, not unlike my approach to healing from betrayal. This time, I am focused on solutions. I am no longer interested in trying to convince the unconvinceable about the climate crisis. (Just as I long ago abandoned the idea that I had to defend my choice to stay in my marriage.) Instead, I write about the incredible ways people are addressing climate, the ways in which they are using their bruised hearts to heal the earth, to connect with others.

But still...Ukraine. Trans youth. Book bans. The list, of course, goes on.

And with it, grief.

Know this, all of you whose grief around betrayal eclipses all: You are down but you are not beaten. You are stronger than you know. Grief is a normal human response to pain, to injustice, to inhumanity. It is a normal response to betrayal. Let yourself feel it. Trust that it will not strand you. You will find yourself, as I do now, years down the road, having survived. Having rebuilt a life that may or may not look like the one that feels annihilated right now. There is suffering indeed, says Cave. But there is immense power there too. 


  1. Beautifully written. Thank you.

  2. It has been 6 weeks and all I want is for my grieving to end. It’s not so much that I am not letting myself feel grief as much as grief is all I feel. This post hit a chord and brought me to tears. Beautifully describes surviving the grieving process years later, and how much I want to get there.

    1. It’s been two months since I learned of my husbands affair. It’s so hard right now.


    2. Good GRIEF!!
      I have good days and really, really, really lost, sad, angry, detached, hopeless, bad-horrible-rotten-claustrophobic-paralyzingly bad days. Days where I refuse to do anything that looks like I am living this life, this public lie. Days where I stay in bed until I MUST carry on, only to return to bed to escape reality in books or music or writing.

      The grief is overwhelming because the affair was a choice! An intentional, selfish, malicious, destructive, disaster. I am devastated that my life must now include this hashtag: #cheatedon.

      Recently, when analyzing the grief in order to resolve the illogical mind-bending, dendrite-chasing of meaning- my deep and long analysis revealed how devastatingly hurt I was by this one thing: that this personal struggle- this life-altering period- is somehow a part of “God’s plan” for us, me, our children….

      And not that God had not sent 100 signs that my husband was weak; Monday morning quarterbacking here.

      So now his pain and his brokenness is spread throughout our family, rather than him dealing with his pain, or asking for help- he did his natural response- redistributed it -to include that wretched temptress who thought she was investing herself into something worthwhile- a nice guy with a wedding band!!!

      So what did I do that very much cured my doubts?
      I placed boundaries on my current definition of what marriage is.
      I replaced my engagement and wedding bands and told the cheater that these rings represent a new agreement in our “marriage”- we are now household partners, a couple in the community, legally bound by a certificate in a drawer and committed, obligated, loving parents.

      I feel better knowing God no longer requires me to sacredly married in His eyes. The emotional adultery of his texting affair has released me from our marital vows and therefore I do not grieve our wedding day. There is no “old”, definition there is only the “as is” damaged, flawed seconds. He liquidated our equity and transformed it into a long term liability.

      I no longer grieve through “I entrusted myself to you, to God on that day” I say, “that day was one day of choosing and today is a new day of choosing, tomorrow will be as well.”

      He is in counseling with a faith-based, hard core “how to be a leader” coach.
      I have a grief counselor (our dog died, my mom died after a long suffering illness, my siblings are in a legal dispute, our company is letting go of the “older” workforce, so-yep…it’s a thing, right?
      My counselor wholly approves of the boundary marriage definition I created. This gives ME the power be “married” and also not be vulnerable. Whatever his fluid “definition” of marriage might have been, he changed the terms from our wedding day when he had to have a special friend to obsess over and fantasize a role in her life rather than anguish over who he really is. -(oh, here’s a good time to mention he had cheated on his first fiancé, and cheated on me after 9 years of marriage, see also financial infidelity, lying, no transparency and limited personal, emotional intimacy)

      18 months after DD we reached 35 years of marriage -for me- 33 for him 😉

      I shall always grieve for that hopeful, sincere, entrusting part of my heart, mind and soul- oh how I wish her life had unfolded with a man who coveted her and their vows.
      Bye. She is gone. She will not return- even moving into a new relationship she cannot ever be- as she will always be hashtagged as #cheatedon #duped #brokenhearted #soulcrushed #mindblown
      As a friend said about finding love, -unGodly men- there are a lot of nice guys; but finding a good man takes a lot of (sighhhh) discernment.

      I lost discernment

  3. It's been 36 hours since I found out about my parter of 15 years infidelity. The pain is visceral.

  4. It’s been 1.5 weeks since I found out.this is the worst I’ve felt in my life



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