Last Year vs. This Year
I woke up this morning at 5:30 gasping for breath and shaking with feelings of betrayal, injustice, and righteous anger. I’d had another dream about Butch and Celia.
I was in jail with one of my co-workers and a friend of mine. Someone outside of our cell was smoking and we were being forced to breathe in the smoke. The next day, the warden came around and said that he was doing a drug test for nicotine because it was illegal for us to smoke in jail and he knew people were smoking. I told him that someone was outside smoking the previous day and that we had been breathing it in because it was coming in the window. My co-worker tested positive and I knew my turn was coming. I was furious that I would be punished for something that I didn’t do.
Then Celia and Butch were there, telling me that I deserved to be punished because I was a liar and that they knew I was a liar. The test would prove it and I would be punished because I’d escaped punishment before when I deserved it. I decided to talk to Butch to try to make him see reason – that his betrayal of me was what led to me cutting off communication with the family. I started to tell him and he sneered at me. He told me I deserved everything that I got because I lied to him about wanting to divorce Bubba. He told me I had no right to divorce him and that I knew I was going to divorce him and I had lied to them all about it. I tried to tell him that I seriously had wanted to reconcile when I thought Bubba was really going to get help. He just laughed this evil laugh and told me he didn’t believe me.
The part that stood out to me was that it seemed that Butch was relishing the fact that I was in jail and paying for my “crimes.” He was happy that his daughter was suffering. The laugh twisted his face into something unrecognizable and his features blended with Bubba’s and he became a mixture of the two of them.
I woke up gasping for air. I was fighting tears and I was shaking with outrage. I did not deserve to lose my family, to be treated as I had been. I deserved to have my family stand behind me and protect me. Shane sleeps with me on Saturday nights, so I rolled over and hugged him, finding solace in the fact that I will NEVER turn on my own children the way my parents turned on me. I held him for a few minutes content in the knowledge that during my divorce and since then, I have strived to put my children’s well-being first and to not talk to them about what happened between their father and me. I am still trying to teach them how to set boundaries with those around them while not bad-mouthing Bubba to them. It is a fine line but I walk it because I don’t feel that I have a choice. I will not damage them by disparaging their father to them as Bubba does a good enough job of harming his relationship with them all on his own. I simply hope to teach my children how to protect themselves from anyone who would hurt them.
After I finally was awake for a few hours, chewing on the nightmare and what it meant, it hit me. Celia’s birthday is in two days. The tears that have been right at the surface since I had the nightmare make sense to me. I mourned for her last year at this same time. Last year, I ended up a sobbing mess in my laundry room, unable to call Sean because reaching out for help when I needed it was still so far beyond me. I asked Endellion to call him for me because I couldn’t do it myself. I felt alone and wished for strong arms to hold me while I cried.
This year I have Treun. I did my chores for the day, then spent the day at his house with Serenity, Greta, Liam, and Shane. I feel settled when I’m with him and all thoughts of Celia and Butch fled while I was there. Treun is living, breathing calm and peace for me. He soothes my soul.
Last year was so different from this year. Yes, I still have a couple of days to get through before Celia’s birthday has come and gone. But this year, I am not afraid of reaching out and asking for help. I’m not alone. And when those big, strong arms hold me, I know they are the big, strong arms of the man I love. I know he is with me and he’s there for me.
Life is much different this year.