Being Joyful Through The Pain, Remembering that I am Loved

Being Joyful Through The Pain, Remembering that I am Loved August 5, 2016


I have been feeling pretty low lately. I don’t feel loved or appreciated by my family, there’s a real break in the relationship with my older son, my husband and I aren’t in the best place and my mom and I are not really talking. Things with my mom are complicated to say the least and I have come to realize that I can only balance so much and currently she isn’t someone that I can deal with. I’m guessing that is how my son feels which is why I’m giving him his space, but it doesn’t change the fact that I miss him in my corner.

I think that I have been trying to be what I think a faithful Catholic “should be” in the midst of my grief over my uncle’s death. I write about it to try and relieve the pain that I once relieved with a bottle of grey goose. It’s not that I haven’t tried to numb myself with alcohol since his death, it’s that it doesn’t work now. I know too much. I have faced too much.

When I was a traumatized mess that lived my entire life in a series of reactions to my feelings I was perpetually numb. Sure, I was reacting and yelling and being hurt, but I wasn’t really feeling any of it. I was dead inside with walls built all around my heart. It was easier not to feel anything, not even love, than it was to feel the joys of life and then the loss of those joys.

Therapy has helped me walk into those painful memories so that I can see that they don’t own me. I have been freed from the chains of what someone else did to me. I am no longer a slave to my emotions without regard of others. Don’t get me wrong, I still fail and can be rude to people both in person and online, but I no longer feel justified like people deserve to be treated rudely. I don’t think that it is proof that I’m a badass, I see it for what it is: pain and fear.

What I fear the most in my life is losing my husband. Since losing my uncle that fear has ballooned into irrational fear that has me sure that Stacey has moved on with his life with a better wife who he is having kids with. Guys, we are nowhere near getting divorced. While I’m daydreaming about his new beautiful wife who is pregnant with his baby, he’s out in the Texas heat working to pay our bills and have enough money to take me to a movie. I’m crazy…. which is why I’m in therapy.

My therapist and I have been doing this exercise that is basically me working through things that I know when the worst case scenario takes over my heart and mind.

My husband and I grew up in the same town(s). We met when I was 4 years old. He traumatized me in the funeral home that his dad and my uncle worked at when I was 5 so I’ve been scared of open coffins ever since. He was my first love when I was 12 years old. He found me after 17 years when he was newly divorced from a wife that cheated on him with his best friend, heartbroken, beat down and ready to give up on life.

We have stood hand in hand as his parents passed away, we have picked out a coffin for his mother with his siblings, we have stood in front of a coffin with his best friend laying in it. A few months ago we stood in the street in front of the Catholic Church where we both went as children as he put my uncle’s coffin in the hearse and held each other as we sobbed over the death of that great man. We have been through so much loss together.

We have also had a lot of happiness.

I remember the look on his face as I walked down the aisle at our wedding. I was arm in arm with my oldest son and my uncle. Stacey was smiling from ear to ear and when I got to his side he told me that he loved me. It was a fairytale moment as we watched our favorite priest hold up the Eucharist. That is when we realized that we were entering into something completely different than when we “married” our exes.

Since I have shared so much about the struggles in my marriage with ya’ll, I figured I would share the things that I do to remember that my husband loves me. These are the things that I know for sure that counter all the things that I am imagining.

The key moments of happiness in our life have been:

  1. Our trip to Rome and how blessed we were the entire trip.
  2. Our wedding day and reception. The love of our friends and family that day was the best. It was the best day of my entire life.
  3. New Year’s Eve in Times Square
  4. Halloweens with all seven kids auctioning off candy like crazy people at the dining room table.
  5. When he bought me a house for my birthday.
  6. The day that our first grandchild was born.
  7. The first time that he came home from Iraq and we saw each other after 17 years apart.
  8. Laughing until we cried (so many times this has happened)

I know he loves me. Not because of anything that I do, not because of how I look (but I’m still gonna lose this 50 pounds) and not for anything other than the fact that we have loved each other since we were kids. We know where we come from. Our families know each other. We love being in my uncle’s house talking until 2am. Nobody in this entire world gets me like my husband. Nobody can love him like I can and I am pretty sure that I have failed in the department lately while I throw myself a pity party over his imaginary new wife and child. (I literally laughed out loud this time that I typed it!) Why do I do that to myself?

Life has been painful. I am still mourning a lot of losses in my life plus dealing with the constant stream of problems that we face day after day, but there is joy to be found among all that pain. In fact, it is the joy that heals the wounds and soothes the pain. Remembering all of the things that I know about how much my husband loves me is a great reminder of that.



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