Broken Promises, Broken Dreams

It’s funny the things one thinks about when in a moment of intense pain or personal crisis. A friend once told me about the events surrounding her father’s death. He had lived with her family for several years and was an important part of their daily lives. Her young daughter had a special relationship with him and often ran into his room early in the morning so he would be awake in time to take her to school. One morning when she ran into his room she was unable to wake him. So it was through the hysterical screams and sobs of her daughter that she learned of her father’s passing. While attempting to calm her daughter she looked out the window and saw a friend passing by on her morning walk. I remember her telling me, “I don’t know what came over me. In that moment of intense loss all I could think of was that I had borrowed a can of beans from her and that I needed to give her another can in return.” So she grabbed the can and chased her friend down the street with it.

I cannot help but think about this story as I remember the events surrounding the discovery of my husband’s infidelities. In a lot of ways the early stages of my grief following discovery felt like I was mourning a death. But more about that in part two.

Today I want to focus on my initial reaction. As I sat in my office at work staring at the computer screen full of evidence of my husband’s betrayals, my mind went back to the night he had graduated from college. All of the guests from his graduation party had left except for me. We had decided to go for a swim, and as I was walking across a wet spot next to the pool he protectively guided me past it, explaining as he did so that he did not want me to fall. He then looked deep into my eyes and promised “I will never let you fall.” His words to me that night held great significance for me through our dating and married years, and became ones which I had reminded him of many times.

I will never know why, out of all the broken promises that I was staring at on that computer screen, that was the one that my mind grabbed onto like a steel trap. Looking back, I have to wonder why the bigger promises like “keeping only to me” or “till death do us part” weren’t playing through my head that night. Perhaps it was due to the emotional connection I had made with that promise. Or maybe the broken wedding vow promises were too big for my heart to let them sink in. Whatever the reason, as I mentally heard him say “I will never let you fall,” his words suddenly felt like a cruel lie. “No.” I said aloud to an empty room, “You didn’t let me fall. You pushed me over the edge.”

That broken promise became the ‘bean can’ that I carried around with me for a while. The question of why he had let me fall is one that I continued to ask until I was satisfied that I understood it as well as I could. Not that I liked the answers. In fact, most of them were incredibly hard to hear. But, in the end, understanding how we had gotten to that point did help to bring healing.

Which is what this blog will be about. How two very broken people in a very broken relationship can come back together and form a healthy and whole life together.

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