When I got to my sister’s place, she called her neighbor’s son. We ended up going out to see the trailer that day.
It was a pleasant day for traveling; warm and sunny. It matched my mood perfectly. I was floating along that day, nothing could get me down. The early fall colors were beautiful and made for a great drive.
The trailer was in decent condition. There was some work that needed to be done. It was full of the previous occupants’ belongings and one whole side was missing the metal siding. I imagine that it was stolen for scrap, however that was small fry. Overall, it was in good and solid shape. Better yet, the neighbor’s son wanted only a small finder’s fee for the trailer. He knew I was in dire straights and was more than happy to help out. He also offered to do as much of the work in getting it moved so that we would only have to pay for the actual hauling of the trailer. This ended up saving us a huge amount of money.
There were some minor things to take care of; getting the title, paying any back taxes and so on. I knew that I would still have to live with my ex for a while, but now there was hope. I had a feasible goal to work towards.
I went back home, thrilled beyond belief. I didn’t even care how my ex would take everything. His lack of responsibility had made even living together on a short term basis intolerable so I owed him no consideration.
My ex was pretty cool about the news, even when I told him that I was going to be moving out before Winter. He did in a nice way mention that he thought I was staying on until Spring. I didn’t even bother to tell him why I was moving out earlier than planned. I was through trying to convince him that he had an alcohol problem. It didn’t matter, I was truly free of him. That in itself freed me of a heavy burden. His future was no longer intertwined with mine. I no longer had to watch him commit slow motion suicide. No more futile efforts to change his nature.
My ex knew this; the separation had had freed me from him. There was no concept of “us” to hold me captive. I had figuratively walked away. With the bonds broken he didn’t have anything to lord over me. All that was left was actually going our separate ways.
The next month we got the trailer moved. First order of business was to move all the old stuff out. My poor sister bravely hauled innumerable loads of moldy clothing out. On the weekends, I joined her. She also washed the inside to get rid of the musty smell. I worked with my brother in law to fix up the trailer. Having been abandoned for several years, the plumbing needed to be replaced, not to mention the siding. We worked our way through various issues. My neighbor’s son replaced the missing siding. Things were coming into place.
Finally, in the late fall, my sister and her husband offered to let me live in the house while I fixed the trailer up. This way, it would take some of the stress of trying to get every little thing done in so little time. Also, there were some issues with the furnace(which we later had to junk) that would hold up the actual moving date. They knew that I didn’t want to be snowbound with my ex so they set up a room for me to sleep in.
The only problem would be the two indoor cats and puppy that I owned. My sister had a medical condition which prohibited her from having cats inside and being around their litter. My ex had no problem with taking care of my pets for the Winter. Again, I was amazed at how cooperative he was being. I wished that he had been this way during our marriage. However, I realized that he was only capable of being responsible to a certain degree which is why he couldn’t handle the demands of being married. I wasn’t complaining, I made sure to give him money each payday to cover the cost of food and litter.
That Winter I ended up staying with my sister. The furnace had serious issues and we ended up putting a heater in to keep the pipes from freezing. My brother in law thought that it was best for me to stay at their place for the time being until we got all the “bugs” worked out.
I stopped by my ex’s place from time to time, to check on him and the animals. He seemed to be getting along ok. However, in the interim, he had another seizure. This time he had been driving. Thankfully, he didn’t hit anyone, his truck had ended up in a wide median of the highway. He admitted me that he had drunk the previous evening. He did admit that he was going to “cut down”. I didn’t press him, it was no longer my problem although I did remind him that he could have very well hurt or killed others.
All I could think of was ‘I got out just in time’. I could just imagine the huge amount of stress I would have been going through if I had still been trying to make the marriage work. Even if I had separated, but was still living with him as a roommate, I would have had to deal with the police and the hospital staff. I would have had to deal with picking him up from the hospital, the endless waiting around. On top of working, I would have died from the stress. I had done so many health crisis scenarios during our marriage, I could have written a book. On top of it all, he was now endangering others!Winter came and went. I got used to a longer commute to work. It was offset by the joy of living around people who truly cared about my well being. What a joy it was to be helped instead of always having to be the responsible one. Years of being “mommy” had left me feeling alone and scared for the future. Now, I had people watching my back.
Early Spring came around. I moved into my trailer and made arrangements to get my pets. My ex and I had gotten along as friends over the Winter. I noticed that he was a bit distant when I would call to check on him, but I didn’t think of it at the time. After all, we weren’t married. Soon I would find out why….
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NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce