Tayla asked me if I would be willing to share what happened a few years back. While it is difficult to do, I know the message is a good one and I hope those of you who read this see and are having a difficult time in life, find the courage to hold on and remember that love is real.
We were in Italy… I was starring into her eyes, holding her hands and committing our love in marriage. She and I were still just beginning to learning each other’s personalities under the surface…I’ve tried in so many ways to find a different way to explain the feeling we shared but it’s never quite better than “when you know, you know”.
Fast forward 1 year and we have just moved back to Seattle from Franklin, TN. I’m feeling all kinds of love I never knew and scared to death at the same time. I’m now the dad of our precious little boy, Tru. My beautiful wife is just learning how to be a stay at home mom… and we are still learning how to be husband and wife. I was covered in all kinds of new responsibilities and wanted to give my family what I thought would be the best life. Thanks to a great position at Amazon, we lived in one of the last, beautiful, old farm houses amongst multi-million dollar homes. It would cost me though… I was gone for work before Tay and Tru would wake and if I made it home before dark, I still worked until well after they went to bed.
I knew all of the life changes had been difficult for Tayla. She and I were slowly talking less and less. She seemed to carry a heavy burden of stress and resentment toward me for some reason. She wasn’t happy… and I knew that Tayla was built around a glowing light of love so something was definitely wrong. I began to get resentful as well… I was working as hard as I possibly could to provide her and Tru with this great life. Why wasn’t she happy???? She was always out shopping and meeting up with her girlfriends. She was doing less and less around the house even though she had told me she was taking adderall for her ADHD and need it to help get stuff done around the house. At the time I had no idea what Addiction really was, and definitely didn’t know the reality of what being married to an Addict is like.
One day it all came crashing down, she was crying on the bed and opened up to me about taking too much adderall. I instantly felt sorry for her. I couldn’t make myself believe she have lost control of her long term sobriety. I didn’t want that to be taken from her. I told her it was not a relapse but that she needed to stop and she promised she would. She told me that if she ever did it again that I needed to take our son. It never occurred to me that the reality of that statement would ever come true. Things were going to be ok and now that we had talked about it, she could get back on track and going back to Recovery. That was the key. That was the solution and the place I knew she could find what she needed.
She had started going to Recovery and trying all kinds of meetings and things seemed to slowly be getting better. Yet at the same time, she seemed to be drifting further and further away from me now. I was no longer someone that she could talk to. Everything became an argument and I began to catch her in a number a little lies. Where she was, where she had been, why she was late… her stories never seemed to matchup or make sense. My compassion turned to concern and then to suspicion. She was hiding something and it was time for me to find out. I almost didn’t want to look because I knew that when I did, I would find something I didn’t want to see.
I felt sick inside. I was at work and I was trying to remember my password iCould and access the feature on our family plan for find my iphone. Something was telling me she was not going where she said she was. This heavy weight of sadness and disgust began to grow. For days I would text her and ask what she was doing and at the same time check where she actually was. I was trying to catch her. But catch her doing what?? Why would she be lying??? Finally it became too much. I couldn’t just let her lie to me when I could clearly see she was never where she said she was. This time I was sitting at my desk.. I logged into our phone account and when the call history for her number appeared on the screen my heart sank. I felt my life drain out of my body. I felt defeated. Angry. Scared. There is no way this was true! Over 4000 text messages to one number. A number exactly like mine but two digits different. Someone local to Seattle. Messages sent all day while I was at work all through the night while I had been sleeping. Who was this person?? I had to find out. The next morning I took her phone before I left for work and knew I would find the name. I entered the number and HIS name appeared. This was the guy who was supposed to have helped her in recovery. The guy who she invited over with mutual friends for a party at our house only days before.
The feeling was overwhelming. I couldn’t find a word or breath in my body. I was numb. I was ashamed. I couldn’t tell anyone. How could I? What would I say? I couldn’t face it and didn’t want to admit that the woman I married and the mother of my son would do this to me. Who was this person I had married??? How could she be doing this to me? After all I have done to be the best husband and father…. why was she doing this??? WHY!? What did I do???…. I left the phone next to her and got in my car to go to work…. now what am I going to do?? I sat behind my computer just looking at this number displayed thousands of times. My mind went crazy… creating ideas of what she was saying in each one of these messages. Each one another break in our trust and in our love. Each one a lie that I didn’t want to know. I wanted to run but I couldn’t… Our son. Our little boy. Did she love our son? Did she love me? It didn’t matter. I needed to protect him and do what I never thought I would have to do.
I drove home and started packing. She knew what had gone down. She knew I knew. I told her I knew about HIM, I knew she was lying and she was either having an affair or getting adderall from HIM. Either way, we were leaving and she was going to have to deal with the consequences. She lashed out, hit me, told me HE treated her and made her feel better about herself than I did. That was the last thing she said before I walked out the door holding our little boy and drove to my parents house.
That night I stayed up while my mind raced. What was I going to do? I was full of anger, sadness…. I was hurt beyond measure. It was at that moment I saw picture of us on our wedding day. I was holding her hands in mine and her belly was holding our unborn son. The words that I had said at that very moment came back to me….
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.
No matter what, she was my wife. She was the mother of my son. I had made this promise and I knew she loved me as I loved her. She needed these hands to help her. It wasn’t going to be easy and it may not workout but I was going to hold her to these words. I was going to show up and be a man. Be a husband. Be a father. At that moment, I was able to start the long process of building back what had been destroyed. If she would be willing to show up and do what needed to be done I wasn’t going to run no matter how much it hurt or how long it would take.
I am going to end it there for now. It has been hard to write these words. To think that this was our life… That this actually happened, is hard to believe right now. We have come such a long way and have built a relationship… a marriage that is stronger than I ever dreamed. I have more love for my wife than I ever knew possible. I am so incredibly proud of the woman and mother she has become today. Sharing her story takes courage and shows a side most aren’t willing to openly share….but if it can help just one person face their addiction, one couple get through what feels like defeated marriage… then it is all worth it.
I love you Tayla. These hands will always love you.