I can love my Secret Keeper again. It has happened slowly and, sometimes, begrudgingly, but there you are.
The other day we needed to meet at the Realtors to sign the paper work to sell our home. We got out of our respective cars and walked towards each other. My heart softened for the poor guy; for who he once was and for who he has become. He has abused his body so badly and it shows. This guy who once worked tirelessly was limping toward me, so heavy from the medications he now relies on to have even a semblance of normalcy. A man who was a doting father and dedicated husband. How must he feel now? In the past few months, I could only care how I felt or how my kids must feel but not him. He was the culprit and I was the victim. No longer. Although he must live with the results of his actions, I now see that he was a victim of a brutal disease, left untreated because he gave into the urges and could not ask for help. NAMI helped me see him in a different light. Being able to do so has been a gift to me as well as him. Hating or resenting someone, for any reason, is poisonous and only does harm to me and the ones I love.
I also needed to look at my responsibility in the situation. That's a tough one but the hard work needs to be done. Years ago I could not see what was going on with him. He hid it well but there were many signs. I no longer feel stupid about missing the clues as I once did. Truly, I felt like a huge fool but now I realize there were deeper reasons for those emotions. I remember being a teenager and deciding that I was going to "smarter" than my mother or sister when choosing a spouse. I picked the opposite of my father who cheated and drank and lied and left. Through the years, I had a deep seated, rarely recognized, feeling that I had, somehow, been the creator of my wonderful family by making wise choices. A childish notion, unwittingly held onto by a woman who wanted nothing more than a practically perfect family. We Al-Anons love perfection, don't we? How could this poor man, slipping into mental illness tell his perfect wife that he was having strong impulses to indulge in various dangerous behaviors. Impossible!
In order to forgive myself for my many flaws, I need to be able to forgive him. I will continue down this path with the help of a God who desires my happiness, as well as my Secret Keepers. I will continue because it is the right thing to do. I will continue to be kind.