He has been back home since late October of last year. Nine months of trying to make it work again. His absence last summer was a strange thing. For him, it was devastating. He was away from his family and his home, staying in a small bedroom in his brother's house, 45 minutes away. The hardest thing for me was knowing how excruciatingly painful this was for him, while at the same time knowing that our home was so much more harmonious and comfortable with him gone. For him, the return in the fall was the end of something terrible and soul-destroying. For our children and for me, it was a tremendous loss. For those three months, the kids could walk down our street toward home and never have to worry about what they would face when they arrived. My son made a comment to his therapist that it was so nice to not have to get half way down the road, see his dad's car in the driveway and wish he could go anywhere else but home. My daughter told the same therapist that she loved getting up in the morning not having to worry about how she would be treated that day, or if she would have to make an excuse to leave the house in order to escape the verbal assaults on her. And for me, there was not one time during those three months that I had to go driving in the country in order to scream and swear and cry in the privacy of my van and out of earshot of my kids, just trying to get the anger and sadness and frustration out. I did not have a single stress headache in the centre of my forehead. I slept soundly and peacefully. All of that changed when he came back home.
It was clear early on that it was not going to work. But it was so important to try.
But today, I called a lawyer, a wonderful mediator with whom I had worked many times. I shared with him our circumstances, surprising myself with the wash of emotion that came over me as we talked. That night, having listened to words and phrases coming from my husband that sounded very much like they'd come from the mouth of a lawyer, I asked if he had called one. He said no. Then he asked me the question that nearly stopped my heart. "Have you?" Big breath. I said yes. No turning back.