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Two steps forward, one step sideways?
Hello all. Today I got through my father's memorial service. He died two weeks ago and for the past two weeks I've been handling the preparations of photos, coordinating of incoming relatives, writing what I would say at the funeral, and figuring out ways to take care of my four year old so that he would not need to constantly be at my side out of fear that "mommy will disappear." I've also had to send out links to people who would not be able to come in person so they could watch it live, and then had to coordinate when things went sideways (those who planned to play music there couldn't come) and worked with the sound person to ensure there would be some of dad's songs played at the service.
I'm proud that I got through it for multiple reasons. The church has lots of memories for me -not only of me and my dad - but also several of my STBXWH. He and I went to play school together, got married there, and went to special services with my dad there for holidays. I take pride in getting it done, not breaking down due to all the memories associated with the place, and coordinating it in such a way that people enjoyed the service. I'm also happy that family friends were able to come to the service with their children so that my son had close friends to be with. So why am I writing this? It's how I had to deal with my STBXWH.
Since October 2021 (when his affair started) my STBXWH became more self-serving to his wishes than what he used to do which- was being caring for the whole family. STBXWH knew when the funeral would be, said a few times he thought he might try to come (was told multiple times not to show because my family wants to kill him) and was provided with a link so that he could watch it virtually. He went on and on about how he wanted to be there and how much he loved my father. He did not show at the funeral (as requested), but he also did not watch it. Despite knowing how much work I put into it and knowing I would be speaking he did not watch the live service like he kept saying he would. Why you ask? The residential program he is at for his mental health was apparently having an "open mic talent show" at that time, and he decided it was more important to participate in that/sing a song in honor of my father there instead of watching the actual service.
In a way I'm not surprised by what my STBXWH did. It does not take away from the pride I have in having the service done and done well, but it does confirm that which all of us (I, family, and friends) already knew. His words mean nothing, and through his actions we continue to see that STBXWH's priorities aren't in support of the family - or even in the slightest of support of me. Again, not surprised that he did not value any work I was doing. There's surprisingly no disappointment either. Just resignation at the continued selfishness he shows.
In essence, my two steps forward are getting through triggers without melting down and being able to get through one of the most difficult events of my life. My one step sideways is not being angry (just resigned) at being confronted with STBXWH's actions. Can't really say that was a step forward, but at least there was no real setbacks!
7 comments posted: Saturday, August 6th, 2022
Dealing with Parent death/Hospice timeline
Hello SI. My father had a surgery last month that he never recovered from and has slowly been slipping away for the past month. He had been in the hospital ever since having the surgery, and was in ICU for two weeks after catching pneumonia. As of yesterday my mom finally came to the decision to get dad transferred to a "Hospice house" so that either his breathing can be stabilized enough he can be returned home to pass, or so he can be in a calm environment (the hospice house itself) to go with dignity. I thankfully live locally and have been able to be a support on the sidelines for mom when I'm not having to stand alone myseslf due to custody issues/STBXWH. I have found ways to get mom more support through this process like getting my sister flown in for a month when dad was first going downhill, arranging with my sister other relatives who could be called in to help mom, and trying to make plans for when the inevitable happens. Just recently my sister and I had to reassure mom she's making the best decisions she can for dad with what medical issues there are as extended family is causing...drama over what is/isn't being done for dad. A complicating factor is that dad's mental state was already deteriorating from Vascular Dementia over the past three years, so moving him from place to place and getting him the care he needs has been...less than ideal for his peace of mind.
I know I am a person who copes by having plans, back up plans, and back up plans for the back up plans. I have never had to prepare myself for losing a parent while also dealing with the death of my marriage though. My questions for SI would be:
1. What kinds of timelines might I expect for my father's passing?
I know that this will vary greatly, but knowing a range of possible soonest to possible latest that others have experienced would somewhat help me grapple with what is going on. We're also being given a back and forth on "best practices" for letting him go - feeding tubes/fluids versus medications only- so this makes the letting go even harder and is adding to the stress/guilt for my mom.
2. Ways to continue support for my mom after it's all said and done.
My parents have been married since 1975, so losing dad will be very hard on mom. She also stubbornly took up all of his care and refused to get other services/help in the past few years as she'd keep saying "he's not at that point yet." I know she's now feeling guilt that she didn't push for more to get done sooner, but I want to make sure that she doesn't let herself slip away after dad goes.
3. Any suggestions for talking to my four year old son about losing his grandpa?
I honestly do not know how to approach this with my son now. He loves my dad. He also now thinks that when people go to the doctor/hospital they go "poof" and never come back because both my STBXWH and my father went into hospitals around the same time (STBXWH due to mental health) and my son has not been able to be near either of them since. My son had a mini meltdown when I said I had to go to a check up with a doctor because he thought I was going to "go poof" and never come back either. Before my STBXWH's affair and leaving us I had an idea of how I could talk about it, but what I would have said then would only make my child worry more now that he's going to lose me.
Edit to add:
Number one was answered just this morning. My father passed away at 12:47am. We are notifying extended family.
24 comments posted: Thursday, July 21st, 2022
Well that sets me back...
Hey All. I am still less than a month away from my last D-Day and I'm slowly crawling out of the special hell pit that is my life. Every day I'm noticing so many things have been easier since WH decided to walk out on me and our child. The house is cleaner than its ever been and my housework load has gone down significantly. The only problems? Now that my brain is saying "oh it's over" and some such I'm having nightly dreams of the original D-Day, of WH purposefully refusing to understand why I/my son is hurt by his actions, of WH trying to blame me for everything going wrong so he "doesn't trust me," and many other things he has pulled post D-Day 1 with trickle truth.
It's painful to have these dreams as it takes me time to reset back to what I cognitively know. On my calmer days I cognitively know and accept that WH is not coming back, is not R material as he refuses to do anything/set boundaries, and to protect me/my child I have to go forward with D and figure out what a new normal will look like for us. The dreams do not come from a place of "I know these things" but start out with me still being the loving, trusting person who is at that moment being betrayed by her best friend in the world who -for some reason- doesn't care that he's destroying everything we'd built.
There's also the strange illusions (is that what it's called?) where I'm doing something and that old urge to tell my best friend pops up. For a split second I've forgotten everything that's happened between I and WH and my mind is back in it's happy trusting state from before the A. When I look around to tell him it hits me again that WH is no longer here and he happily destroyed our family over OW.
So SI, how long after your D-Days did you have these dreams and illusions? How often did they set you back from being "Ok-ish"?
8 comments posted: Friday, July 1st, 2022
Advice for child/custody visit?
Hey all. I'm having to facilitate a visit with my WH so that our 4 year old child can see him for the first time in 2+ weeks. I have primary custody of my son, and WH (probably STBX) only gets to see him if I supervise the visit. What I'm looking for is advice to make the visit easier on me as I have to deal with my own conflicted baggage (his continued affair/refusal to acknowledge the damage that's been done) and not let it ruin the time for my child. Also, my WH likes to play the "we can still be friends" card while doing the absolute opposite of what friends do (continued lies, gaslighting, blame shifting, shutting me down, etc).
Since it looks like me doing supervised visits is going to be my thing I have to do for the next several years, what suggestions or advice does the community have for me to make this bearable in the long and short term? Any suggestions for how to talk to my 4 year old on reasons why his dad isn't coming home or why he doesn't get to go with dad would be great too.
It sucks being the BW and only responsible parent.
7 comments posted: Thursday, June 23rd, 2022
I never wanted this
Hello all. I had to make a new account some time ago as my WH started reading my posts (making me feel less secure getting help) and then tried to gaslight me saying "As long as you know everything you're writing isn't true!"...so keeping some things vagueish for now.
I never wanted a separation and I never thought I would be having to get in touch with a divorce attorney but things have come to a head. My WH keeps acting out and - instead of using what he learned in therapy- keeps reacting on impulses which lead to more poor decisions, which lead to more "guilt," which leads to more "I want to die" moments from him, etc.
A couple weeks ago after he performed more self harm on himself and I did not react the way he wanted (no pity, just fear and trying to figure out how/where he got the object to do it) he decided he needed to leave the house as talking to me supposedly makes him want to die. Pulled a whole spiel about how I needed to trust him (no one did) and that he would find a way to not want to die. He basically bounced from place to place for two weeks - barely telling the same story on what he was doing or where he was. It got to the point that he lied to me, a close family friend who was supposed to help keep him stable, and apparently to the OW about where he was. He told me he was one place, he told our family friend he was at home, and he told the OW that "oh yeah, wife and friend said it was OK for me to be here with you!" Our family friend found out where he was, told me, and is forcing him into help (inpatient something).
At this point with my WH doing everything he can to get OW attention - including some things that potentially put my/my son's safety at risk- I'm now having to contact a divorce attorney. I never wanted a divorce. I just wanted my best friend who I used to be able to trust with everything to come back. I don't know what it is about his obsession and infatuation with this OW that makes him throw away the family and life that we built but nothing seems to be getting through to him. Even pleas to do better for our son go ignored.
Sorry for the long rant. I never thought that we would ever be in this position as we were childhood sweethearts and knew everything about each other. Forcing the legal separation that can lead to divorce seems like the only way I can protect my child from the idiocy that my husband keeps acting on. Where we are you have to be separated and living in different places for over a year to be able to divorce. In home separation wouldn't count. Also, I'm trying to establish a good routine/schedule with family and friends for my young son to make him feel secure despite his father suddenly "going poof." Hopefully being around more extended family that love him will help...
28 comments posted: Tuesday, June 7th, 2022
Is it bad to enjoy the Schadenfreude?
Wondering what this says about me as a person. As you can see from my signature WH is still chasing the OW. He's put me through a half year of hell with his EA and -though he stopped constantly messaging her - is still trying to connect with her and be "friends."
My dilemma is that I'm now enjoying seeing him suffer while doing to her the same things he did to me. Oh, you're upset that you're making her sad that you're not doing things and spending time with her like you used to do? She's now the one irritating you because she apparently has a temper or is saying things that upset you? Things are awkward because you refuse to let her go yet refuse to just go with her?
Is it bad that I'm enjoying that he's apparently suffering from his continued actions? I know I've laughed at him as he complains to me about his issues with her now and throw it in his face that "this is how you treated me for months!"
8 comments posted: Monday, March 28th, 2022