The early morning text from my husband, followed by a picture of his 90 day chip.
I haven’t been counting the days this time. I’ve counted them every time. I always have to start over.
If I don’t count, I don’t have to start over.
Thankful he shared the news over text where he couldn’t see my face or hear my voice. Sense my hesitancy in how to respond.
I find the right gif, hit send, tell him how proud I am. I don’t stop and think of what today’s date is. I don’t try to catalog the date in my head so that I won’t forget next month.
I’m not ready to start counting.
I’m thankful he sleeps during the day. Grateful I have a busy work day that will keep my mind on other things.
Then it’s the afternoon and he is awake and texting about coming home this weekend. He’s been talking about it for a few days now and I never seem to get the words right.
I don’t know how to walk this road we’re on. Living in separate states. Separate lives really. Visits to see him for Father’s Day. Talking about him coming home to visit. Visiting his home. Our home.
Not ready for that to be a reality.
Wondering if he remembers the conversations we had while he was in rehab. Replaying them in my mind over and over.
Talking about how we – me…the girls…need time. That we can’t do this again.
Remembering how I said that in December. 6 months ago. Only. He just got his 90 day chip. Not his 6 month chip.
He got to 89 days the last time.
89 days before our world fell apart again.
89 days after I said…not again…we can’t do this again…we won’t do this again. We were doing it again.
What does that make it? 96 days since our world crashed down around us again?
How is he counting his sober days? The 23rd of March – he was in the middle of his worst relapse yet.
I have to say “yet” because I thought the one last July was the worst…then I thought the one last December was…
Nothing could have prepared me for the March 2017 relapse.
I can’t go through a worse relapse than this last one. I can’t even fathom what a worse one would look like. I cannot imagine that we would all survive another one.
Even more…our girls can’t.
We are still in the very beginning stages of trying to heal. Our wounds are still tender, still open, they still bleed almost daily.
Our timeline doesn’t fit his. Our timeline hurts him.
I know my words today wounded him. I know he takes my uncontrollable sobbing when he leaves as a sign I want him to come home, and then must be confused when I say we aren’t ready.
I want to remind him we didn’t make this choice. I didn’t make this choice. Our girls didn’t make this choice. He made this choice. His decisions…actions…Our decisions….reactions that followed…
I remember that we made a plan.
I remember him changing the plan.
I remember not putting up a fight. Because I remembered the last time I put up a fight about his plan…I remember how quick the relapse was. So I stayed quiet this time. I let him make the plan. I didn’t cry. I didn’t protest. I put his needs ahead of our family’s. Again.
Now he wants to change the plan again. His plan. The plan I had to accept and am living.
The plan that breaks my heart daily, leaves me lonely, raising our girls on my own again…
The plan that gives my heart time to heal…our girls’ hearts time to heal…makes our home a safe place again – a place where our girls don’t live in fear of the next relapse and what that might look like.
There is nothing easy about this separation. Not for him. Not for me. Not for our girls.
Not easy doesn’t mean not necessary.
Sometimes the paths that are the most difficult and seem the most impossible are God’s way of protecting our hearts from the path that may seem easier but will ultimately end in a bigger heartbreak.
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18 (ESV)
Surely there is a future…
My hope will not be cut off…