The first kiss from the man I married was unlike any other first kiss I can remember. Sparks flew, it was more than I expected to feel and I was taken aback in the best way possible. Not even knowing that I had feelings for him, until he kissed me. We didn’t know it yet, but that was the start of our love story. We met as teenagers with all the freedom and excitement for life and all that was to come. What actually did come was an unexpected uproar of turmoil that we would struggle through for many years of our life. These struggles hit unexpectedly and fast, once they started coming the pain and struggle just wouldn’t end. It seemed as though this love story was going to end, that it had to end.
While dating my future husband he was all the things a girl could ever want, loving, caring, kind, compassionate, exciting and my best friend. We trusted in each other fully and loved entirely. It seemed as nothing could come between us and we couldn’t stay away from each other even when we tried. I remember our first fight like it was yesterday and it even sparked our first break up. He out of the blue said he was joining the military right in the beginning of the Iraq War. The love of my life going to war was not something I thought I could handle. Everything was so great between us and his dreams of becoming an architectural engineer, what would happen to this dream? I was baffled. It was like I could see a train wreck happening right before my eyes only I lacked having super powers to stop it. So I did as any girlfriend would, I acted confused, puzzled, hurt and wondering where the hell this genius idea came from. From what I understood he was mislead, assured he was never going over seas and would go to drill one weekend a month with the promise of a paid college education. Nothing and I mean nothing comes free in this world. The second you think it does, you will quickly find out the opposite. This disagreement on what was best for his future and ours ended in the first break up that ever mattered in my young life.
A few months went by, the break up probably only lasted this long due to us both being extremly stubborn. Then unexpectedly he contacted me again, from that point on it was all happiness and butterflies. I guess with time apart I accepted to love him and stand by his side for whatever crazy ideas he choose for himself. Basic Training was our first time apart, boy did I miss that crazy stubborn man. Thank god I had school, cosmetology classes and work to keep me very busy during a time that went by very slowly. We wrote each other all the time(yes real letters), we spoke on the phone everyday and did everything we could from a distance to stay connected. When he returned home things couldn’t have been more perfect, we were in love, together and had our whole life ahead of us. We spent the entire spring and summer in blissful happiness until word came through that he was being deployed to Iraq. My heart sank, I couldn’t bare to say goodbye to this man and was scared for his life. The next couple months we had together before his deployment was the last time I would see my best friend and love of my life for a very long time.
Just weeks into his deployment I got the surprise of my life, I was pregnant. I’ll never forget the moment when I found out, the whole world seemed like it was spinning yet completely stopped at the same time. I was working as a hair dresser, going to college and just eighteen years old when I found out life was not going to happen according to Trina once again. Then I had to make a very important phone call, one that would forever change my boyfriends life as it did for me shockingly starring at those two pink lines. When I told him we both had the same immediate reaction, lets get married! He was still in Wisconsin going through the final stages before leaving to Iraq, so we planned on making the marriage happen within days. It was meant to be scheduled for February 12th and then unexpectedly got change to that following Saturday which happened to fall on February 14th. Let me be clear, I hate this date for myself! So cleshay and I absolutely did not pick it, but forever the day I remember being so in love, hopeful and terribly scared for the future. There we were young, in love, pregnant and married. I went home just hours after marrying him and he went back to the barracks waiting to be shipped off to war.
I remember thinking that the next fifteen months would be the worst moments of my life, I wish! About seven months into my husbands deployment I was at a loss for how the phone conversations started to change. He became distant, cold and unlike the person I knew. He was withdrawn from talking about things we would normally talk about and it was as if I was talking to a stranger, not the man I was about to have a baby with. I was devastated and held on to hope that it was just him trying to make it through. During his time away I seeked help through a trusted phycologist and remember telling her of these changes that were starting with the phone conversations. I was advised to not question it while on the phone with him, to be supportive and loving, to listen. Only listening wasn’t always possible because he did not have very much to say. I never believed that our relationship would change so drastically while he was gone. I remember very clearly praying everyday “just bring him home”, we will deal with any of the challenges together, just bring him home. The idea of my husband never meeting his son Patryk was too much to bare. More than anything I prayed and prayed for his safe return and to see the joy on his face when he held his baby boy. The dream I had of our family reuniting was simple, he would have the biggest smile on his face as he embraced his baby boy and then me. From that moment on I imagined things could only get better because we would all be together, boy was I wrong.
The day had come for my husband to return home, I remember getting ready in the bathroom like it was yesterday. Happy, nervous, overwhelmingly excited and feeling a sense of peace, all the turmoil we had been through was finally ending. The drive with my then five month old son was one I can never forget, I sat in the back seat with him as my parents drove to the military base. Just wanting to get this little boy to his daddy as fast as I could, it saddened me that they both had to miss out on all that time together. When we arrived my heart was pounding out of my chest in excitement, we walked into the main hall of the military base and then the moment happened when all the soldiers returning entered the room. I could see his face, so still, quiet, and a bit rounder than I remembered. In that moment I knew something was off, just like the conversations had been, only the excitement I had for his safe return was more overwhelming at the moment. The soldiers were released to their families and he walked over embracing me, I kept trying to hand him his son and awaited that moment he released all that excitement for the first time he held his baby boy. That moment I awaited was nothing like I had anticipated, he was again cold, distant and very quiet. The ride home I remember I was starting to have feelings of anger, this man had his family all together which was the goal from the beginning of this journey, why was he not happy? He was home safe and we were free to start our future together. Again here we were with our whole lives ahead of us and something stood in the way, only this time it was my husband.
My husband was home from war, only he seemed to forget that it was over. He had two new enemies, number one being himself and number two anyone who loved and cared for him. Primarily the number two enemy being me, I will not go into specific details of the struggles we would face over the next three years out of respect for Patrick and our marriage. This is only what I will say, I endured things no one should go through and I stayed when I shouldn’t have. All to save the man I loved who seemed to be gone forever. During this time our son Patryk was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease(dermatomyocytis), which was another push into my husbands deeper depression. You could tell for a while he was trying harder to be there for him, he truly loved his son with all his heart, but his own struggles were too much for him to handle. Now I felt at war, battling for my best friend and husband to return along with my sons health. I pushed myself during this time to do everything and anything I possibly could for both of them. Despite everything horrible that happened during those years this was a man that I knew was struggling more than anyone could understand.
Then the day came when I was back at my parents house living as a single mom raising my son and caring for his struggling health. It had to end, the destruction our family had faced was unfixable and I had to move on. The day I returned home to my parents house was the most devastating moment I can recall in my life at that point. Shear pain, broken, defeated, unwilling again to find those super powers to stop my husband from self destructing any further. I felt like I failed to save him, but also knew I no longer wanted to. Now I would have to let go and put all my focus on myself and my son. Months went by and I was beginning to heal, really heal. Feeling happiness for the first time in a long time, thinking only things could get better from here and I had my whole life ahead of me. I didn’t hold onto what could of been of my marriage because I knew in my heart I did everything humanly possible to save it. I was ready to move on with my life and our divorce was in the process. My sons health was taking a turn for the better as was anticipated with the treatment he was on, it felt like everything was going to be okay for once. We had a short time where health and happiness was in abundance for myself and my son. Just before those rare health complications unrelated to my sons diagnoses started happening. This is when my best friend unexpectedly decided to show up.
My husband, soon to be ex husband showed his face again. Remorseful, loving, caring and the man I had pleaded and gone through hell and back for to try and find. My initial reaction to this was anger! Where the hell was this man the past years, why is he here now, I’m so happy with my life and please do not give me false hope that our son will have a chance to meet the man I always dreamed of him meeting. Only he was there, right in front of me, it was like seeing a ghost. What changed this man, what made him snap out of a depression he was struggling through, destructing everything good about him. Then he said it, I had to lose everything to realize it was me! BAM! It was like getting hit in the face with the truth that I always needed to hear. He admitted he blamed me for everything he was going through to escape the truth, that he was the problem and needed help. I had no thoughts of this marriage ever reconciling, at that moment what I did feel was hope, hope for my son to have the father he needed and deserved. Only my husbands intentions were much bigger than I anticipated. He pleaded to me first, he would do anything and everything to get his family back and he didn’t care how long it took he was not going to give up. I have seen this kind of determination before, but to trust in it would take a very long time from this point, if ever. He pleaded to me, to my father and then to my mother. Thanking them for taking care of his family when he couldn’t and swearing he would do everything to make it right. Well this defiantly pulled at those emotional strings I once had for him, but I was not naive. Proof is in the pudding, in time he would show his true colors one way or another and I was going to give the opportunity to see what may happen.
My guard was up, I was in full protective mode making sure not to let the happiness of seeing this person again cloud my judgment. My main concern was my sons happiness and health. The strange episodes that my son started having just before my husbands return into his life began to be a monthly occurrence, only during these hospital visits my husband was there with him. Not just physically like he was before, but truly there. He wanted to be there, he called into work if needed and stayed right by his bed making him laugh like no one on earth could. Being his super hero and mine, making a sick little boy the happiest I had ever seen him in a time when his health was so poor. This pulled me in closer, I couldn’t have asked for more in such a devastating moment. My son had the dad he deserved and needed, I was relieved. Having that emotional and physical support from a man who caused so much pain and heart ache was confusing, but an unbelievably happy moment all at once. His fight for his family did not end there, he did the most unexpected thing no one saw coming.
The moment my heart opened again, my husband who is unbelievably stubborn turned for help. He reached out to professionals seeking the tools he needed to get his life back on track. I know typing this my husband will have a hard time with me releasing this information, but I have too. I want to publically tell the world how proud of this man I was in this very moment. This was when my heart began looking at him in a way that truly saved our marriage. I could tell this was harder for him then going to war and for that I am truly deeply proud, still to this very day. Not even knowing how proud he made me and probably still doesn’t after reading this, but it takes a real man to turn for help, to admit he can not do it on his own. He broke down a wall he had built up in me, I was going to give us an opportunity, but again proof is in the pudding. Slowly and quickly all at the same time I found myself in love again. The father my son needed was back, the husband I dreamt of was in front of me and it all seemed to good to be true. Right before the divorce was set to go into its final stages we reconciled, I decided to give this man in front of me who was trying so hard a chance. Not just giving him a chance, it felt like for the first time ever our family was going to be given a chance, the one we never had when he returned from Iraq. I finally felt like the war was ending and my heart could breath.
I forgave my husband, for everything! I forgave him for me, wanting to give our love a chance and it was the only way. More than anything I wanted to forgive him whole heartedly and it didn’t happen over night. In time my heart healed, I have scares that will always be there, but they also remind me of the struggles we survived. The truth is forgiveness was an ugly process, we got help together and through counseling we faced all the anger and hurt that happened. Traveling back in time to things we never wanted to relive trying to understand how it all happened. The even bigger truth behind this love story that I want everyone to know is we still struggle, everyday there are struggles that we both carry because of everything that has happened in the past. The difference now is we refuse to let it stop us from loving each other. We work on our marriage still to this very day. Our struggles have made our relationship dynamics interesting to say the least, but at the end of the day we have a real deep love for each other. I will continue to never give up on my marriage as long as we are both here to make it work. Willingness to love and work hard is what marriage is all about. We all have things that we can work on, I continue to try and better myself while loving a man that drives me crazy and makes my heart beat all at the same time.
I was questioned a lot by friends and family during my journey towards forgiveness, understandably they were worried for me. They knew of the heartache and destruction I had faced the past years. I’m thankful for the concern each and every person had during that time, I too was questioning all the same things. As I look back on this time I am thankful more than anything that my son Patryk got to know the man I first fell in love with and out of that love he was created. I thank God everyday that Patryk got to know this man and call him daddy! The reconciliation happened one week before my son passed. I could never regret giving my husband a chance even if things didn’t work out because for that one week my son was given his family back in whole. We were all together, happy and in complete bliss. God works in mysterious ways! The blessing of having this man truly alive and there for his son in his darkest hours let’s me know I made the right decision for my family. I’ll continue to work on my marriage and make my son Patryk proud till the day I die. Everything I do is out of love for my children, family and friends and I believe that will keep me on the right path.