Thursday, January 1, 2015

How to forgive when one is consumed with anger? It takes time, and work.

Some things are really hard to write. They are raw, terribly honest, and painful, and they always will be. And some things are even harder to write when I had the best day EVER and I'm so incredibly happy, which I will put in my next blog post. Still, this story is powerful and I want to tell it. It comes it fits and spurts, whenever I feel the energy to write, or I feel compelled. And for this one, I feel compelled, because I've heard from several readers in the past week and I know I must keep writing about this very topic. And also, I just saw the movie, Unbroken. I read the book when I was in the darkest days of chemo treatment and my divorce. It gave me strength. And it gave me tremendous hope that some day, I could heal and forgive, to be free of my anger and sadness. And so this is my story via Divorced Moms. I'm really proud of this one.

My Own Unbroken. Finding Forgiveness Through the Haze Of Anger
by Lizzy Smith                    
January 02, 2015
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On the day I was undergoing tests which would, just days later, lead to my cancer diagnosis, I called the police and had my abusive alcoholic husband removed from the home. He was literally screaming at me and spitting in my face when I retreated to the bathroom, locked the door, and called the police for help. It was January 2, 2012, the last day we lived together. I was officially diagnosed the following Friday, and a week later, I packed up the kids, the cat, and as many clothes as I could fit into our Jeep Commander and moved from San Diego to Salt Lake City and into my parents' basement. It was not a pretty move. To this day, I had never felt such repulsion and pure, dark evil from anyone as I did from him and I had to get away from him immediately.

As if having cancer wasn't punishment enough, my husband couldn't leave things alone. Should you kick someone when they're already down? If you asked Rob, the answer was yes, beat her to a pulp and spit on her. So, true to form, Rob spent the next several months threatening me, and sending me the most hateful texts and emails one could imagine. He threatened to cancel my health insurance if I left him, he called me horrible things (like a thief and liar), he told me that everyone we knew hated me and thought I was crazy, and so much more. There are no words to describe how low, frightened and horrified I was by it all. I just knew that in my parents' home, in the tiny basement bedroom that became mine, I felt a refuge of safety, love and support. I never wanted to leave.

But I also felt something else... hatred. Anger. I tried many times to remind Rob that I was sick and please, to leave me alone. That didn't work-- he accused me of making the whole thing up and demanded I get my lazy ass back to work. And oftentimes, I said horrible, awful things back. It was horrific.

When I was originally diagnosed, I had Kaiser medical insurance, which meant that I could only be treated at a Kaiser facility, of which there were none in Utah. I left and moved to Utah anyway, with a ton of medications and a treatment plan from my oncologist and a follow up appointment scheduled some three weeks later, which I planned to fly back for. I sent Rob an email asking that I have use of the home for three or four days for my appointments during which he could stay at his mother's home. Rob said HELL NO (despite the fact that the home was still mine, too). He then forwarded an email to me from his mother, who called me a Princess and that I deserved no mercy because I made my bed so I would just have to lie my pretty little head in it and deal. It was horrific, shocking, disappointment, and hateful.

I was angry. I had never felt such disgust with people in my entire life. My mother-in-law, with whom I had enjoyed a very good relationship, and who asked me to write and deliver her husband's eulogy (which I did), write his obit, plan his entire wake and after-the-funeral luncheon, and who called to talk to me about her son's alcoholism countless times and ask me to reconsider divorcing her son, was supporting him in a way that was wildly... um, not helpful (for him). She knew her son was a very sick man with a horrific addiction. She knew he terrorized me and the children, and he had done this in his prior marriage, too. Yet she was calling me a Princess who, I suppose, made my bed by getting cancer and... leaving her son? So I needed to... what...?

I felt the first feelings of ... hatred. Bitterness. Incredulity. I started writing in a journal that my friend, Amy, sent me when I got sick. "Write," she told me. "It will help you." I took that journal to soccer games, doctor's appointments, you name it, and I wrote and wrote and wrote. Many months later, I read through it and it was the start of my blogging articles. Some of my writing were tough to read, it was so raw and painful. My blog became my new refuge as I attempted to try and make sense of it all, to set the record straight, even if there were typos and no sense of order. I simply had to get it out. Writing was emotionally consuming at times, leaving me distraught and exhausted. I started praying that someone in my husband's family would get cancer too, so they could get an understanding of what I was going through. If they thought I was having a grand time on disability, they were sorely mistaken.

And then I bottomed out. I couldn't feel that way anymore. Keep reading...