Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday Memories

Did I ever tell you about the family vacation when I realized my parents' marriage was coming to an end?

Growing up, my family was one of those families that usually took a big long family vacation each year. Shortly before I moved out, my parents had a trip planned to visit the Oregon Coast, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and a few other places. They wanted me to go, so I decided, what the heck, I'll go along on one last big family vacation. My sister was already long gone out of the house, so it was just me and my parents. The trip was a mixed bag. I already knew that my mom was suspicious of my dad's relationship with another lady. I remember the whole trip feeling this underlying tension. We did have fun on several parts of the trip, but there was just something in the air that didn't feel right. Something was different. Something was missing. The moment that particulary stands out, is when we got out of the car to walk along the coast. It was so incredibly beautiful! My dad walked and walked and got way out ahead of us. He finally stopped and sat on a huge rock and just stared out over the water. I sat down and watched him from afar. I could feel his turmoil. My heart sank. I knew in that moment that my mom's suspicions were probably right, and I knew that their 27+ year marriage was in jeopardy. I remember sitting there, in what seemed like such an ironic setting...the scenery was so beautiful, yet so sad and empty. My mom caught up to me, looked out at him, and she said something like, "He's trying to decide what to do, whether to leave or stay. Today's her birthday you know. He's upset that he can't be with her on her birthday." Of course he hadn't ever said out loud that he was trying to decide or anything about wanting to be with the other lady on her birthday, or even that there was someone else, but mom could tell. I didn't really know what to say. Deep down I knew she was right, but at the same time I felt the need to comfort her, tell her it was okay, and not to jump to conclusions. I wanted to be able to tell her she was imagining things, that Dad wouldn't do that to her, that their marriage was too strong for that. These were the things that I wanted to believe and wanted to be true. But things in life aren't always what we want.

I can't remember exactly the time span of events after that trip, but it wasn't too long after that, (maybe several months?), that Joe and I got a call early on a Sunday morning from my mom. She told us that he had finally admitted the truth, that there indeed was another woman. He was at church that morning (a little ironic! lol) when she called. What do you say to your mom when your dad has just broken her heart and crushed everything they had for almost 28 years?! "Oh no! Mom, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry" I kept saying.

They did get a divorce (as did my sister from her first husband, for similar reasons earlier that same year) Of course it took awhile for all to be final, but their divorce was eventually final the week before my wedding. What timing, huh?

There is obviously much more to this story as a whole, that I will not get into right now. But I do want to say that my dad was not just cheating on a hormonal whim. He believed that he had found his soul mate in this other woman, he was in love with her. It was tearing him up, because he didn't want to leave his family, but he also knew he was supposed to be with this other lady. It's a long, complicated story of emotions, feelings, and events that is too long for this entry.

Yes, he should have ended things with my mom before going to someone else, I don't excuse that. But in all fairness, I want to mention that aside from this betrayal, he is a great person and he has been one of the biggest inspirations in my life and I look up to him with great admiration.

And if you're wondering...My dad did marry the other woman. Now, almost 9 years after they got married, they are still very happy. My mom has had a boyfriend for almost that many years also, and he is very good to her. My dad's wife is a wonderful woman, and she is phenominal with my boys and my sister's boys. We all wish things had happened in a different order, but in the end everyone is probably happier with their lives.

Other Monday Memories:

Shelli (new hostess of MM)







Norma said...

This is really painful to read, and even though I don't know the people, I wish it had turned out differently. I'm guessing he and your mom were happy 9 years into their marriage too. Sigh.

My MM blog is up too. You're a good writer Courtney.

Veronika said...

Wow. That is really sad. It's good to know that you don't harbor any hard feelings toward your father. I'm sure it was very painful for him to decide what to do.
Thank you for sharing-
My MM is up

Kimmy said...

Wow. That was heart breaking. I am so sorry you and your family had to go through that. The one blessing is that they are both happy where they are now. I hope that helps ease the pain a little.

What was it with the sad theme this week? We have got to do something funny next week :P

Thanks for stopping by!

Karen said...

Oh wow Courtney. I think what struck me the most was your reaction to all of this. Though I could hear your pain, I could also sense your maturity and resignation over something you could not control. Kudos to you girlfriend, and thank you for sharing a very raw memory.

FrogLegs said...

Aww... that is sad- good on teh how it is now, but sad back then...

Shelli said...

That is really heart wrenching. I think it is so amazing that you can see your dad for who he is and not get hung up on something he did. Most would hold a grudge for losing the ideal of an unbroken family.

I second Norma--you are a good writer, Courtney.

Thanks for coming by my MM today and linking me already!

monica said...

I'm all teary. This hits me hard as I was once the one left behind, but the joy is now mine. I passionately love my present husband and can NOT imagine my life any other way.

Life has a funny way of coming together and the pain makes you that much better. We really do get better as we get older.

Hugs & thank you,

Libragirl said...

It is hard to read, but it seems that everything turned out ok. Reading things like that make me realize how great my parents marriage is and how lucky I am that they are still together after 42 years.

My MM is up.

Uisce said...

You are so understanding. What a gift! Sometimes things happen for reasons we can't understand or don't want to. And sometimes things happen that are hurtful by their very nature. You have a good heart, you really do.

Courtney said...

Wow, thank you all for such nice comments about me! Wasn't expecting that, lol! I appreciate everything each one of you said. How sweet you all are!