“If I can’t have you, then I can’t be with them.” It was the simple way it came out of his mouth. The ease as it left his lips and entered the world, to be heard and felt. Words spoken so lightly, so effortlessly, so quick, that I knew he meant them. I knew they were the intentional and deliberate wishes of his heart, but that doesn’t mean they were easy to comprehend.
I remember the confusion, the disbelief, and the ache. He no longer held a place in my life. To him, without that place, they became discarded things. I had seen him delete people from his life before so I knew that he was capable of disappearing.
“If I can’t have you, then I can’t be with them.” Harsh words, but true words. He wasn’t playing games, he was simply telling me how the future would look, and it did. Those words proved to be true and accurate. More than anything else he ever said or promised.
The day our divorce was finalized, he stood in front of a judge, looking rough from the night before, listening to the finality of our story. Afterwards, he walked out of that courtroom never to be seen by us again. In some ways, it was heavy. In others, it was an answered prayer. No longer hiding from the consequences of his addictions and unpredictable behaviors. It was a harsh but rewarding freedom. Free from the chains of his destruction.
Selfishness had never had a better model or accurate representation. His face, his actions, his heart, all radiated selfishness like heat from the sun. I floated between anger and freeing independence. Angry that he could do this to them, my innocent and worthy children. Independent and free, as we were no longer stuck to the strings of his puppetry.
In the end, while harsh and undeserving of one man’s demolition, my children got the life they deserved. They kept a mom that chooses them each and every day with fierce love and intent. Eventually, they gained an incredible man and father. One that chose to love them. One that continues to love them effortlessly and beautifully each and every day. They lost a man that was never worthy of their life, experiences, or adoration. In reality, I guess they really didn’t lose anything at all. You can’t lose something you never truly had.
When someone shows you who they are, pay attention. When they tell you who they are, listen. It might be the very thing that sets you free.
Even when it’s harsh.
Even when it stings.
Even when you have to wait for the redemption.
“If I can’t have you, then I can’t be with them.”, and he was right, and he never deserved them anyways. Truth told, he never deserved any of us.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.