Why Leaving My Husband is Still the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done – Three Years Later

AB-10It’s been three years since I boarded a plan from Germany, back to the States. It’s an anniversary I’ll always remember. While my friends surround me and celebrate the anniversary of their weddings, their children’s birth, and the day they bought their house, I’m reminded that my anniversary, this anniversary is just as important.

I may not be where my friends are in their lives, because I took a much different path to end up where I am today, but I’m so grateful I did. While it was not an easy road, and it’s still quite bumpy at times, it’s one I needed to take.

For years I tried to make my relationship with my then husband work time and time again, and time, and time again, it failed- yet at the time was failing to see that the relationship I needed to work on the most, was the one I had with myself. There were numerous times I wanted to leave, wasn’t happy, and was lying to everyone around me. I did this for so long that it became comfortable, it became normal, and I feared what was on the other side.

It was a place of the unknown.

Every time I wanted needed change, doubt crept in. Fear was at the forefront of my brain and all of the reasons why I shouldn’t ended up being the reasons why I did.

Being comfortable is something we all strive for. Whether it’s in the form of financial stability, job security, or in our relationships with others, and it’s a feeling that we tend to let lie around (in certain situations) for far too long.

Right before we’re supposed to take a leap of faith everything seems uncertain- it’s scary, and often paralyzing, yet we know it’s something that must be done in order to take the next steps.

I speak candidly when I say leaving my husband was the best thing I’ve ever done, but it wasn’t easy, by any means. To this day I struggle with commitment issues- that spans from where I’m going to make dinner reservations to my personal relationships with others. I still have anxiety over the unknown, and have a difficult time trusting people. I’m still in therapy (thank God), and truly fear loss. When people say that they’ve made the right choice, that doesn’t mean that it comes without baggage. It simply means that the choice they left behind, the one that didn’t make the cut, was far worse than the choice that they’ve made to move on.

Looking back I would have been in a relationship that I was trying to make work which ultimately never would have, but now I’ve learned to be in a much more open, honest, and genuine relationship…with myself.

I’ve learned so much about who I am, who I was, and who I no longer wish to be. I’ve become something I never thought imaginable and I have myself to thank, honor, and applaud for making a choice that seemed nearly impossible but oh so necessary. Whether I was still in a relationship with my ex, or where I am today- they all require great work and continuous effort.

Three years “sober” and free (I will use that word loosely) of my past, I’m a living testimony that we must leave what may seem comfortable for the mere reason that it no longer serves us in a way it once did.

The people that tell you it’s easy, are lying, but knowing you have a choice will set you free.

 

Seven Pounds

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The past few days I’ve been struggling with an emotion I often have a hard time associating with. One that surfaces with little to no explanation and hits hard when it appears.

Thursday afternoon I got the news that a dear friend of mine was killed. His life taken way too soon because of a drunk driver. She was in her car, and he was crossing the street. I met Andrew a few years back when I was living in Germany. We met at the gym (where I tend to meet a lot of future friends) and we instantly had a connection. We were both right brained individuals that would often discuss “what’s next” in our master plan. He was finishing up a book he had been working on about relationships, wanted to move back to the states to open up his own gym, and was slowly preparing his body to compete in physique competitions.

We got each other. You see, in Germany friends became family. Most people were in the same boat; having little to no family with them overseas, hence creating one. The friendships over there were honest, open, and would quickly progress, despite where life would take us, or the military would place us, it was a silent vow that we would all somehow stay connected…and we did.

I left Germany before Andrew did, he then got deployed to Kuwait…we kept in touch and we would chat about his daughter who was about to turn one, t-shirts that he wanted to order for his fitness company, and his plans for returning home.

When my old client from Germany sent me a message asking me if I had heard to news about Andrew, my eyes quickly began to swell with tears. Unfortunately, part of being associated, or having been associated with the military is accepting the fact that people near and dear to you heart risk their lives to protect others. I assumed that Andrew had been killed at war, I was wrong.

He had come back to the states, opened up his own gym, competed in his competition and was walking across the street when he was struck by a 28 year old female. He wasn’t killed instantly, but rather several days later.

This was all too much for me to process. How could someone who had been deployed several times come back to the states to only have their life taken from them? I had so many questions, so many emotions, I wasn’t able to process it all. I spent the majority of the day crying, I canceled clients as I wasn’t in the right state of mind. I went to the gym and ran my fastest mile in a year, not because I was motivated but because I was angry. I was angry that someone could be so selfish to not think twice before getting in their car intoxicated. I was angry knowing that Andrew had two little girls that looked up to him and called him “Daddy” I was angry that he had accomplished everything we’ve discussed, but yet there was so much more life left for him to live.

I was angry, and still am. I consider myself a problem solver but this problem had no solution. There’s some things that have no explanation, that you’ll fight with yourself to understand but truthfully you’ll never be able to comprehend.

I spent the majority of my weekend curled up on the couch with a movie, and a bottle of red wine. I canceled plans with friends and allowed myself to feel my emotions, and let me tell you-there was quite a mix. I found myself watching Seven Pounds, a movie starring Will Smith. He played a character named Ben Thomas, who discovered he had the power the change the circumstances of seven strangers who deserved a second chance. He would meet these people, put them through tests to make sure they were deserving, while ultimately sacrificing his own life to save theirs.

Andrew was charismatic, uplifting, encouraging, and truly wanted to help others succeed, and find their life’s passion. It was evident in his personality, his work, and through the people he chose to surround himself with. I can’t make sense of it all, and I realize I may never be able to, but as I watched the movie the line “I’m Ben Thomas and  I have the ability to drastically change your life” continued to echo in my mind.

Although Andrew is no longer physically with us, he was able to give five complete strangers another chance at life through organ donation. The fact that Andrew was an organ donor doesn’t surprise me, the fact that he touched so many lives doesn’t surprise me, and the fact that his legacy will live on through others touches me.

I have to accept that he is gone, that what happened isn’t fair and in order for the healing to begin I have to feel the pain.

Each day is not guaranteed, each moment is not promised, let us remember that life is to be lived, that love is to be given and that we only have one chance to truly live a life worth living.

Andrew, thank you for impacting the lives of so many, thank you for living each day to the fullest, and thank you for showing us what living truly means, you’ve left your footprint here on earth, and you will continue to shine down on so many…you will be missed. 

Jayel_Sig