We attended the wedding of the mother of my ‘companion’ and her ‘sister’, whose story I have shared. I have a special love for these two girls, and consider them compatriots on this strange journey. It was a little over three years ago, May 2010, that they told me their story as we waited at the trauma therapist’s office. Three years since I reassured them they can be happy after their own day of betrayal.
When I received the wedding invitation I had to ferret out my own feelings about remarriage and my own relationships from my concerns for the girls and their mother. I was initially cautious and skeptical, knowing what their family has been through and that vulnerability is a wide open door for subsequent abusers. I have also had to come to terms that if their mother’s life has resumed to the point that she has the emotional energy for a deep intimate relationship, where I am in my own post trauma recovery?
Still, I couldn’t help but be excited for her to have found someone who not only cares for her, but is willing to take on the challenges of her residual health issues, her daughters’ emotional needs, and her son who, in a wheelchair, has still not been able to return home to live. His attendance at the wedding marked the first time he had been back since the shooting and added to the emotional intensity of the day for all.
The wedding was small and lovely. At the reception, as the newlyweds danced their first dance, both smiled yet they seemed awkwardly unfamiliar to one another, as though on a blind date, placed together for our benefit. Perhaps it is because the groom is gentle and quiet, but there seemed an absence of intensity in their connection. They seemed emotionally blunted. But there they were, in each others arms, content.
As I watched them interact I reflected on how I long for deep abiding love and the palpable passion that is unmistakable in soul mates. I mused I will hold out for my George, so named by my psychic who is certain he will come into my life. Scoff at my belief in a psychic if you will. When you have had every belief about the longest and most intimate relationship in your life proven false, you grasp at the chance to believe in something or someone that will mitigate your experience. She may be mistaken of his name, but I believe her because I believe God has a plan for me.
I wondered though, when nothing is normal, is comfort love? Maybe when you need someone and that someone shows up for you, it is enough. That he stepped up, stepped in, maybe love starts there. Maybe it is enough and everything else can come.
A week after our twenty first wedding anniversary I awakened early, while the children slept, to tell my husband I wanted to leave. It had taken me months to muster the courage; in truth, years. His initial response took me by surprise. “You would deprive your children of a father?”
I was confused, not understanding how separating would change he was their father. He said he would never see them again. I was reminded of a core reason I wanted to leave. A favorite tactic was manipulating me by using my desire to protect the children from the dysfunction of the relationship. If he chose to do that it would be him doing the depriving, not me.
Those words bounce around my head these days after the wedding though, and I feel suddenly, woefully inadequate. I have had my share of kind, empathetic men who seem willing to take it on. Have I, in my unwillingness to accept anything less than my George, unknowingly deprived my children of the strong male role model to help guide them, a person for whom they long to complete our family? Am I too quick to judge someone is not ‘the’ one? Do I play it safe and walk away too soon and deny myself sharing a rich full life with someone, and my children the chance to experience the comfort, security and love of two emotionally healthy adults joined as a family?
As always I have more questions than answers.
A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair. An intense emotional attachment.