Every thing we do is a reminder. I went to Stake Conference on Saturday night for the adult session and was painfully reminded that last year at this time, my husband was standing up at the podium, giving the talk of his life as a member of the Stake Presidency, while, at the same time, having an extramarital affair. I was so proud of him that night. His talk was incredible. How did he do that? How could he mask the sin and guilt and betrayal? (I hesitate to mention this because I don't want you sisters or brethren to questions your leaders' worthiness. I think my husband's story is hopefully a unique circumstance. Most of our stake leaders are NOT hiding a secret addiction or extramarital affair...at least I hope not.)
Every morning as I take my kids to seminary, I am reminded that last year my husband would tell me he was dropping the girls off at the church and then going to the gym. Instead, he would go and endulge in his addiction. The darkness, the rain....it all reminds me of last year and it brings back the ache.
I went to Time Out for Women this year, like I did last year. It is 2 hours north and last year, my husband stayed home and watched the kids. I knew it was going to be a tough experience as I was going to constantly be reflecting on the fact that last year, unknown to me, my husband was communicating with his affair partner while I was out of town. So, this year, when the opportunity came up for my husband to take a quick weekend trip to California with his brother in law, I told him to please go! I could make arrangements for babysitters while I was gone. For some reason, I just knew that not having him anywhere near where he was last year (in fact, in a completely different state) would help me to not dwell on what he was doing last year at this same time. It worked and I had a relatively peaceful weekend with few worries or triggers.
So, we have a lot of November left as we anxiously await the "anti-versary" in January. We have decided that instead of having a Thanksgiving dinner in town this year (like last year which brings up many painful memories as I was beginning to have some serious suspicions by then), we are going to rent a house and have Thanksgiving as a family far away from home and triggers.
This year seems to be completely different and I feel the need to keep it that way. This year I have an attentive, loving husband who is not constantly on his phone or hiding in the bathroom. He is open with me and he listens to me when I cry..even though it is intensely painful for him. He is home when he says he will be home and he ALWAYS answers his phone when I call. When he knows I am having a nervous day, he offers to take one of our kids with him when he runs errands, just to put my mind at ease. Yes, things feel different.
I know that with the passage of time, especially these months, the pain I feel with those memories will lessen. I know that as we reach January and my husband gets rebaptized, the pain will decrease even more. But until then, I have to survive these two very difficult months. For me, that means completely changing our memories and abandoning our traditions so they in no way resemble last year. Good idea? Bad idea? Who cares. It feels right to me.