Today Walter & I celebrate 12 years of marriage.
I’ve been up since just after 6am this morning and had some quiet time before everyone else work up, to reflect on the last 12 years….
It hasn’t been all hearts & rainbows. It’s been beautiful & ugly. Loving & hurtful. There have been good times and bad times. Friendship & frenemies. There has been joy and a lot of grief. We’ve been lost too each other and found again.
Just two months after we returned from our honeymoon we found out I was pregnant for the first time and a few short weeks later, we received the devastating news of the loss of our baby. What would follow was 7 years of challenge. Of love & joy & loss & plenty of grief. Its always at this time of year that I’m just a tiny bit sad that we got to experience such a short period of wedded bliss before being thrown into the biggest challenge we’ve ever had to face, as both a couple and as individuals. 7 years of disappointment, loss, grief, anger, blame, financial, spiritual & emotional strain took its toll on our marriage. But somehow we made it through.
Ironically, out of everything we went through together in our first 7 years, the most terrifying was the day that Walter told me he wanted a separation. It was about a year after Ava’s placement and only then that we realized the massive toll the previous years had taken on us as individuals and as a couple. In a last ditch attempt before separation we decided to go for marriage counselling which is where I was diagnosed with PADS (post adoption depression syndrome) and where our marriage counselling included intense grief therapy, to help both of us deal with the grief & trauma of the previous 7 years. We’d thought we were coping fine, funny that our childlessness is what caused the trauma and yet it was the birth of our first child that acted as the catalyst to almost bring everything crashing down around us!
I am forever grateful to our therapist. The counselling was tough. It hurt. We spent many sessions shouting at each other with our therapist acting as referee and not speaking to each other for days after a session. It drudged up so much ugliness and forced us to look at and acknowledge what we’d been through in the years before & the parts we’d each played in the destruction of our relationship & in the trauma we had both experienced.
It took 6 months of therapy to bring us back together but it worked. And I am forever thankful for that experience. Our therapist taught us how to communicate better, how to listen and HEAR each other. The great part is that she’s always just a phone call away & has walked a long journey with me. She’s the one that kept me on the phone until Walter could get to me, in my darkest moments of recurrent pregnancy loss, after my 6th miscarriage, when I very seriously came up with a plan to off myself. She’s the one that stopped me, that intervened and helped me through. Between her and Walter, they carried me through times so painful, I prayed for death to end it all because living with the trauma and pain was just too much.
And so today, as I reflect on the last 12 years, I can acknowledge that we have been tested & challenged. We haven’t always been happy but that’s ok, it’s part of life. But we have been committed to each other and if I had to do it all again, I’d STILL choose this man to be by my side, for what has past and for what is to come. And that is the true testament of the past 12 years!