o Randal and I began therapy in April of 2011. It was absolutely necessary. Most (if not all) people will benefit from therapy of some kind. I was not well equipped enough or trained to deal with the hardships that had occurred up to that point. I think we attended therapy for a little less than a year. Randal was still in serious amounts of pain and his pain was still getting worse, but now he had tools to deal with it in a more emotionally healthy way. Interestingly (and unplanned), his therapist suffered from a debilitating physical illness of her own (I think it was MS, but I'm not positive). The understanding and tools she gave him were invaluable. I too had new tools to help me. We began to rebuild our relationship with healthier attitudes, actions, and communication. We still use the things we learned in our relationship today! But it was still really hard. Codependency is ugly and moving away from it felt impossible.
During this time, our mental health was improving, but Randal's physical health was deteriorating. It had gotten so bad that he was almost entirely bed ridden. Many days, I would have to physically help him to go to the bathroom or take a shower. Every once in awhile, we would have a night out, we would get together with friends, or we'd try to do an activity as a family, after these outings, Randal would have to recover for days. Even with our new tools and healthier attitudes and help from licensed professionals, it was still physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.
Finally, at the end of August 2011, one of Randal's doctors ordered a CT scan of his back and hip. That CT scan showed a bone tumor. In September, we met with Dr. Little at Barrrow Neurological Institute. In October, Randal had a laminectomy to remove the tumor. He woke up pain free. Over the next 4 months, Randal weaned himself off the narcotic painkillers that were being prescribed for the previous 4 years. When he went in for his surgery he was taking 14 pills a day. By February 2012, he was off of everything. I am still amazed at Randal's ability to do that. It is a testament to his mental fortitude.
2012 was a good year. Randal and I had been going to therapy and our relationship marriage was the strongest and healthiest it had ever been. We had two beautiful boys who were healthy and happy. (I haven't even mentioned the hell that our younger son went through - and put me through - from the time he was born in 2008 to the summer of 2011 when we finally discovered his chronic ear infections and he got tubes put in. He didn't sleep through the night until the tubes.) I had gone back to school and was loving what I was learning. Randal was enjoying his education and most of his pain was gone. And with as great as everything was, our marriage was still falling apart. In July, we decided to get a divorce and two weeks later, Randal moved out.
That first month, post separation, was the hardest. Elijah was rushed to the hospital twice. Randal and I were not cordial to each other. There was yelling and threats and name calling. It's weird how someone you trusted for nearly a decade suddenly becomes the enemy. That's really what it was like for us - well, me anyway. Randal started dating during that month. I was pretty ticked about that. I asked the boys about "Papa's new friends" and they were excited about them! We hadn't even filed for our divorce, but he was introducing new people to our kids. Turns out, the kids were oblivious. Randal actually did a really good job of making sure that new people could only be seen as friends to our boys. And the boys liked the new friends! I had to swallow my pride a little and remember that Randal had good taste in women and that I could trust him. It was hard, but I got there. The first night I was without my kids, I cried myself to sleep. I had nightmares about losing my kids or them dying. It was traumatic. And then it got easier and everyone was happier.
And while all of this was going on, my faith and religiosity was evolving too. My political belief system changed. My moral compass was rebuilt. There were paradigm shifts - several! I have often wondered if I hadn't married Randal, if I would still be faithful and religious. Would I still be politically conservative? Would I still be ignorant and naive? Would I still be happy and fulfilled? Perhaps. I don't know. But like I said last time: Ignorance was bliss - for me and everyone around me.
To be continued...