AMORE’ (Daughter): When I think back to the time after my life was completely changed, I can’t really pinpoint all the emotions that I was feeling. I guess I would call it an assortment. I was mad, sad, confused, and even lonely.
What most may not know, is that there was a time after we moved that my daddy actually came back. At this point, I honestly felt a sense of relief and a hope that some normalcy would return. I even thought that MAYBE we could move back home. I hadn’t made that many friends, if any really, and it would have been so easy to go back home and get life back on track. I thought this was going to be just a few weeks of a one-off situation. I was wrong.
We stayed in the unfamiliar. Hey – We were together, so looking back now, I didn’t care where we were… we were together. Because we moved in the fall, I had to settle into life pretty quickly. A routine had to be established and I had to start building what would be my new life. I did it. I made the friends and did my homework. I had my first birthday with my new friends. At the same, we were dealing with my Pawpaw having a stroke. It was the first major life event that we were not there for or even close enough to be there for almost right away. We made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. But that Christmas is one that I remember vividly. I remember the gifts that I got (the purple blow up chair with flowers on it, a see-through purple phone… I was obsessed with Limited Too, okay), where the decorations were on the tree and even where everyone sat to open their gifts. For the first time in months, I felt a happiness, a feeling of completion and a peace. What I didn’t know is that it would be the last day and the last time that my family would ever be just that… a family.
The next day, we were sat down again in the living room (with the Christmas tree still up) and they told us that they were getting a divorce. It wasn’t just that they were separating. This was final. The same emotions that I felt before were coming back again… sad, mad, confused, lonely and even more… heartbroken. An assortment of emotions coming at once and then like a roller coaster.
DALE (Father): The next several weeks were a living nightmare both physically and emotionally. Giving up is not an option and trying to figure out ways to make it work became a priority. As a parent, you want what’s best for your children, and divorce was certainly not part of the plan, for either party.
After about three weeks or so, I moved south to work at salvaging and rebuilding the marriage. Sometime around mid November while working on the dock at a trucking company, my supervisor calls me to his office. He begins to tell me that my father has had a stroke and that I needed to go home immediately. What? Wait ! No no no ! You misunderstood the phone call, it’s not my dad, it’s another family member. I rushed home and was met with the news that yes, it was actually my dad who had a stroke during a procedure at the hospital. After we packed, the girls and I made the trip to be with dad.
Once we returned home, plans to repair the marriage begin to unravel. We kept it together until there was no denying the inevitable. From that day forward the next few weeks, months, and quite honestly, the next couple of years were somewhat a blur. When the world that you’ve worked so hard to create begins to crumble around you and then you add the stress of having to acknowledge that your dad isn’t immortal, life becomes survival at best. Forget about trying to make sense of it all because you won’t. While understanding the entire mess becomes a pipe dream, everyday you reflect and try to figure out the role that you personally played in this travesty. Divorce was never an option until it became a reality. I may be wrong but I think it was the late Merle Haggard who wrote there’s three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. The fact is, divorce can be a reality regardless of who you are or the position you hold.
The question then becomes, how will you respond when you have no other choice ? My response was a simple one that only God would and could understand. He commanded me to stay silent and then He would vindicate me and restore back to me what the enemy had stolen. Although I felt it somewhat unfair to feel as if I had to suppress my feelings because I too felt anger, hurt, betrayal, confusion, and yes even rejection just like everyone who was involved. Let me say this, even though I too was battling an assortment of emotions , I’m certainly glad I didn’t allow them to get in the way and allow the enemy a chance to destroy what God had set in motion to restore.