SNAP: Stories for Living

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Story #23 – My Husband

I am alive today because of my hero. It was fall of 2008, my new husband was working at the homecoming football game and my children were at their dad’s home for the weekend. I couldn’t bear being in my own skin any longer. But you must know some history before we go there.

In fall of 2004 I had attempted to share my experience of clergy sexual abuse with one of the assistants to our Bishop. I was asked if I was attracted to my perpetrator. I was told I had misunderstood him, that I must have led him on….You know the scenario. In 2008, the perpetrator had spent just over a year in Iraq serving as a military chaplain. Now he was back in our community serving over me in a parish. My shredded heart and shattered soul could no longer bear to be near him in any way. I decided to end it that evening in the fall of 2008. I even called my children and basically said goodbye. Fortunately, I couldn’t get the lock open on our gun safe. I was scared; I couldn’t go on.

The next morning I told my husband what had happened. I couldn’t hold this pain inside. I started having panic attacks and suffering from anxiety and depression. I was drinking every night so that I wouldn’t think about all that had transpired and in order to try to sleep.

Here are the words suggested for a hero as given by this contest: Are willing to take the journey with us, Love us just because, See us through our darkness or dysfunction, Believes in us even when we don't believe in ourselves, Refuse to support us playing small, Don't judge us, Are there when we need someone to listen, Stand up for us against the Church or any authority, Heal us with a smile of encouragement or a glance of acceptance and understanding, Make us glad we survived, glad we are alive. When I read these words I knew I needed to write something because someone immediately came to mind.

Let me tell you about my personal hero. My personal hero is my husband. My husband has been all of the things on the above stated list for me. I am alive today and beginning to come back from the dead because he has been all these things. Yes, hope has even begun to show small tender buds. My husband saw me through all of the pain filled disclosure meetings with the bishop and his assistants (he learned all the gory details, things he hadn’t known before these meetings with the bishop), through the Pastor’s leaving the parish, through my severe depression, through my panic attacks, through my drinking, through our loss of faith in the institutional church, through my loss of faith itself. He believed in me and kept on keeping on, step by step, day by day. He picked up all the household chores in addition to running a business when I couldn’t rouse myself from tears on the couch. He has shown me what it means to be faithful and loyal. As one who has trouble trusting, I continue to be surprised by his faithful love through these past few years. He has seen more anguish than I wish to admit. He has tenderly, patiently with understanding and great compassion walked this journey with me. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to this man I am lucky to call my husband.

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