Twelve years ago, I lost my husband. Tragically and in a way I would not wish on my worst enemy. I remember my heart shattering in a million pieces. It took me many years to finally process the grief enough to love again. Then, just as I finally mended enough to let my walls down…my heart was broken all over again. I am not talking about those small broken times where chocolate, ice cream and wine in bed with a sappy movie makes me feel better times. I am talking about the gut wrenching; it hurts to breathe breaking moments. The sad part about it is that I let myself get hurt. I blamed myself. If only I had kept my defenses up. If only I had not allowed the walls to come down. If only I had questioned the supposed truth. If only I had not trusted that someone could love the way I loved. If only I hadn’t expected someone to be as honest as I was. It cut to the core. I realized as I laid in my bed that night that I was married to a complete stranger. I didn’t even know the person I had said “I do” to, or promised to love “till death do us part.” I didn’t know that he had a dark side that could shatter me without thinking or even having remorse. I didn’t know that this marriage would cause me to question my own sanity at times. I did not know he would cause me to feel worthless and abused. 

As I came to the realization in bed that night…that the person next to me breathing in his sleep was literally someone I had no idea who he was…I decided I had to let go. I had to make the decision to love myself more than I loved the idea of love. I had to get out before the abuse became too much and that I wasn’t able to function anymore. I had to choose to put one foot in front of the other no matter how scared I was to go back to being a single mom, now with three kids in tow. I had to choose me. I had to choose to love myself when he didn’t. I had to choose my kids. I had to choose happiness. I had to choose self-worth. I had to choose a better life with respect and honesty. I had to choose someone who loved me enough to stand up for me and fight for me. Until then I had to fight for myself, because I deserved all of that. 

We can sit back and question our very existence sometimes due to the constant narcissism, gaslighting and emotional abuse. We can question if we are even who we think we are. We can question if we are really crazy. We can question our if maybe it is all in our heads. Things start to get so cloudy that navigating through our relationship and life starts to feel like a drive in some deep fog where we cannot see. When we do catch glimpses of the truth, we wonder if it is really the truth. We start to question ourselves and our intuition. Living with a chronic liar can cause us to even question the truth period. We no longer know what to believe, who to believe or if we believe anything. 

As confusing as it got. As toxic as it became. As suffocating and abusive as it fell into the pattern of…there was still love and where there is love…there is grief. You will grieve when you let go of a toxic person you love. You will feel all the emotions even when you know it is the right thing to do. You will hurt and your heart will shatter even if they don’t deserve that kind of pain inside of you. It is the reality of love. It is the reality of letting go.

Just as a butterfly opens her wings after breaking out of the cocoon…so can you my dear. So can I. Beautiful things wait for those who choose to break out of the confining situation and open their wings to fly once again. I can promise you that better days will come. The sun will shine again. You will love again. Your heart will mend. You will smile again. Your tears will stop. One day you will fly so high that you will be grateful you broke free and opened your wings once more. 

Open your wings and fly, fly oh so high.