1995 was very routine and boring following the previous two years of a wedding, move to a new city and state, new jobs and Christian’s troubling illness and surgery. There were however the occasions for travel. When Chuck had business meetings, I would become travel agent and tour guide to plan extensions of his trips to allow us exploration and experiencing the locale of his meetings.
We attempted to see our children and other family several times a year, even with the distance between us. Their visits to see us were infrequent, but always welcomed. FL was a large and diverse state, so I embraced opportunities to share the culture and environment of our new home. Routine also were the continuous battles of our marriage. As I remained in counseling while Chuck refused to participate, I was reminded that his behavior was surreal. No one remains at their office 6-7 hours after others had concluded their day. Even Chuck’s colleagues noticed his odd behavior and cited to me there was nothing to do at the office until such early hours of the following day.
As Chuck continued to deny any immoral behavior on his behalf, I endeavored to trust him. My queries were frequent, “Chuck, why won’t you come home for dinner and to share our evenings together?” His reply was constant, “I just have much work to complete.” Those statements would also prove false repeatedly, as his colleagues noted there was no work to be performed per his claims.
As the battles increased and Chuck’s refusal to give me his time, attention or affection, I again filed for divorce. Yet again, Chuck vowed he would change, stating he realized he should give me and our marriage more of his attention. As had happened previously, I withdrew the divorce petition, earnestly believing he desired to keep the marriage as much as I. Within months, our lives were as they had been; arguing and conflicts. Yet I continued to hope and pray, God would heal his calloused and indifferent heart toward me.
1996 would be another eventful year. In the spring of 1996 one of my recurring health issues had become so intense it required surgery at Cleveland Clinic; with the same physician as had operated on Christian less than two years prior. As I awakened from my surgery, still unable to be totally audible and cohesive with my conversation, I noted Chuck was extremely upset. I was able to comprehend that Oklahoma City; his birthplace and city which he loved so dearly had been the target of a terrorist attack. There had been a bombing at the federal building in downtown Oklahoma City with great loss of life and injuries to hundreds of people.
As I began crying, the nurse was trying to assure me I would be fine. She never truly understood, my distress was over the events on the news. My tears were not because I was concerned about my recovery. Additionally, when she did understand the tears, it was of no importance to her. Oklahoma City was half a continent away from south FL and she knew none of those people. She continued to tell me to calm down. However, with Chuck’s significant stress and the realization of the loss of lives and damage, I realized there would be people we knew impacted by such a cruel and inhumane act toward others.
As I spent the next few weeks recovering from my surgery, Chuck was informed, he would be dismissed as the tax director for his company. He and his superior had been involved in conflicts for months prior to his notice of termination.
Chuck now believed he had more validity in becoming angry at me. Whenever his days at the office didn’t go well, I always realized I would the “target” when he arrived home. Now Chuck’s anger was more intense than any during our 27-year marriage. I felt as though I were a punching bag which had not only been pounded to a pulp, but also totally deflated. It was taking a toll on my health but with the uncertainty of our future, I knew I must remain at Chuck’s side. Always present was the fact also of my unyielding love and devotion to him.
By mid-summer we were preparing to sell our FL home. Chuck was provided a generous severance package including an outplacement office and staff. Thus, his few weeks of unemployment was not a financial burden to us, as we relocated back to OK. The only harm endured in this termination was Chuck’s pride. He would harbor the anger of this broken relationship for years to come.
During the interim of our departure from FL and return to OK, a tragedy had touched the hearts and lives of our family. The young lady whom Christian had dated for three years in high school and whom we all believed would be our “daughter” was killed in an automobile accident while attending college in another state. Not only was Christian devastated, but so too were all of us. We loved Tiffany and she in turn loved each of us. She was beautiful inside and out and a joy for all whom knew her.
Please continue to follow me on my autobiographical journey, which I began blogging on April 2016. It’s my life filled with the emotional and physical pain of abuse and betrayal, but also of God’s healing.