Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My First Husband (Final Part)- You Want Happy Ending?

After the loss of my son, I felt hollow.  I had become a shell of my former confident self one year before.  I was in a very dark place, both literally and figuratively.  I was living in a dark house, and I was surrounded by fear and grief.  I couldn't even bring myself to go back to work. 

Josh and I fought all the time.  I blamed him for the baby's death, and he continued to make me believe that nobody else would want me, especially now that I had gained baby weight.  We split up a few times in the months following, as I would occasionally get the courage to tell him I wanted out.  And he would leave for a day or two, then come back and somehow convince me that I needed him. 

I started a new job, selling cemetery supplies by phone.  How crazy is that?  But I was good at it.  I won two sales awards in the first three months.  In a weird way, being surrounded by the products used to honor and bury loved ones, was very healing for me.  It gave me a different perspective, seeing what was behind the scenes.

Months passed, and Josh and I had our routine.  We went to work, came home, and I would sit and answer questions about what I had done that day, who I talked with, what I lied about, who I could have possibly slept with, etc.  Josh would even wait until I was falling asleep and ask more questions, because he believed I would tell the truth if I was half asleep.  He also had missionaries come to the house every week to preach to me about faithfulness and what it meant to be a good wife.

By June of 1999, I gathered the strength again to tell him to leave.  He decided that he would move back to South Carolina with his mother's side of the family.  He was gone four days.  When he returned to get his stuff, he convinced me to try again, but with a fresh start in South Carolina.  I admit, the thought of leaving was appealing.  So I quit my job that day, and we started loading a Uhaul in the days following. 

Not hearing from me for a while, my father happened to drive by the house, to discover that I was putting all my belongings onto a Uhaul.  He was upset to say the least.  But he wished me well.  Luckily, I found someone in need of a home, and they were able to move into the rental house in my place, so my dad wasn't out any money.

Once in South Carolina, we moved in with Josh's parents.  For three months, we all (including 3 cats and a dog) lived in a small lake house that was under renovation.  Life was actually good during that time.  We spent every evening on the lake.  I got a great job as an Account Manager for an Employee Leasing company.  And Josh's attitude mostly changed since his mother and step father were around to supervise.  He even got a decent job as a Manager for a Day Job company.

It all changed back when we rented our own lake house in September of 1999.  At first, I loved the house.  It was a custom built home with vaulted ceilings and wrap around porch, situated on 5 acres on a point on the lake.  It was really secluded and far away from everything, including town.  We even had to drive to the mailbox because it was so far away. That house became my new prison.

I was only allowed to leave for work, and the rest of the time was spent defending myself.  As soon as I walked in the door at night, Josh would be waiting to inspect my clothes and smell me, to make sure I was how I left in the morning.  The questions would begin immediately, what did I eat, who did I talk with, how much money did I spend....

Money started becoming a major issue.  Josh was in control of all finances, and we were always broke, living paycheck to paycheck.  I know we were making over 100k between the two of us, so I never understood why we didn't have money.  But I was blamed.

By November, it got to the point that I would walk in the house and just shut myself in the bathroom.  Josh would stand outside for up to two hours at a time, beating on the door, telling me how worthless I am, telling me that we didn't have any money because of me, telling me that I'm stupid, nobody would ever want me, and so on.  I would sit on the floor of the bathroom and sob.  He never let up.

I eventually got to my breaking point.  I remember laying on the bathroom floor crying, thinking to myself, either I'm going to kill myself or I will kill him.  That's when I knew we HAD to separate.   But I had to do it the right way.  Saying I wanted him to leave when we were mad just left the door open for me to change my mind.  I planned my escape.

I started telling him that I was going to leave him by the end of February.  He never believed me.  I even told his family not to buy Christmas presents because I was leaving.  I was GOING to leave.  There was no stopping me.

As February approached, I was working up to 16 hours a day.  I would get up at 4:30am, drive the hour drive to the office, and stay as late as I could.  Josh would yell, scream, cry, beg, threaten, or do whatever he could to affect me, but I had no emotion left.  I was a zombie, just trying to get through.  (By the way, I was terrible at that job.)

I moved to my own apartment at the end of February, just as I planned.  Josh tried several times to get me back.  He would wait at my apartment complex after work.  And I would follow that up with a call to the police.  He eventually stopped when I threatened him with a restraining order.

Six months later, he found someone I had never met to say (under oath in court), that we had been separated a year, so our divorce was final.  He was in a hurry to get divorced because he had already gotten another girl pregnant.  Lucky her.

I was free.

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