This past Sunday marked 17 years of celebrating October 20th.
17 years ago, around lunch time on a Friday, I had that woman’s intuition thing going on: something was wrong. I phoned my husband (of 1 year and 7 months) at work, who had kissed me goodbye when he left for work that morning. One of his co-workers said he had called in sick. But he left hours before I got out of bed. Where did he go? He didn’t have a cell phone… whose phone did he call from?
I called home. No answer. Maybe he came back home after I left for work and got back in bed?
I kept trying to call. No answer, for hours…
What does this mean? I started to have one of those crazy panic attacks. These panic attacks had started up about 12 months prior. And with this one, I became so ill that I needed to go home from work. I even told a co-worker, I think something bad is happening at home.
My mind was racing… thinking over all the horrible things that could be happening. Was he having an affair? Where was he? Why would he call in sick and not tell me? How many times has he “called in sick” before? And where does he go?
When I pulled in the driveway I noticed that the shades and sliding glass door were different from how I left them that morning.
So maybe he’s home now? I hope everything’s ok.
But when I walked in the door I immediately knew everything was NOT ok.
The couch was moved away from the wall, sitting in the middle of the room… the only piece of furniture left in the room. It was piled high with household items.
I stood in the door way… by myself. Alone. Realizing what had happened.
On the dining room table were a few more household items…
In the bathroom… his toothbrush was gone.
In the bedroom… well, it was starting to sink in. I was alone.
The rest of that day, and that week (as a matter of fact) is a blur… but one thing I know. I call that day my FREEDOM DAY! The past 2 years of our dating and married life were some of the hardest days of my life. And I tried beyond all efforts to save our marriage. But it wasn’t for me to save… under the circumstances I know I did the best I could. The rest of the story is pretty ugly…
But every October 20th I do a little something to celebrate the freedom… from the panic attacks, from the controlling nature of the family I was married to, from the prison I had found myself in but never asked for.
Every October 20th… I celebrate! Whether its flowers, or a nice long drive, or treating myself to something fun… I celebrate!
My God gave me another chance at love! I am so grateful for the gift he gave me in my husband Lee. We just celebrated 10 years, and have had our share of struggles, miscommunication, etc… but even through those moments we stood by each other and knew that we were both in it for the long haul. We are partners in this thing called life…