Sometimes a song comes on that reminds you of something from your past. Other times it’s a certain scent. These both can elicit strong emotions and vivid memories. Tonight it was neither of these two that brought me to tears. Instead, it was a simple line on a TV show. During the episode, the husband had lost his loving wife of 60 years after undergoing surgery. When he had made the arrangements for her and was leaving the hospital, he realized he’d arrived in an ambulance and was going to have to take a taxi home. The doctor who was with him offered to take care of calling a cab for him, but he replied by saying that he was going to have to figure out how to do things on his own now. Just those few words spoken by him immediately caused me to be reminded of a very significant time when those exact words were not only spoken by me, but someone else. That person was my ex-husband.
I’m not sure how other couples experience the moment when they decide their marriage is over, but as for my ex-husband and I, it was very touching. We had originally decided in a bit of an abrupt manner two days after our 16th anniversary. The night that it was first decided, I had found out the reason I had been feeling so awful was because I had strep throat. My husband at the time offered to make me some soup or get me some sprite, but I told him not to bother because I was going to have to figure out how to do things on my own.
Two days later, after I went to an individual counseling session, we both agreed that, just to be sure, we should go to a couples counselor to make sure this is what we really wanted. Fifteen minutes into the third counseling session, it was obvious that it would be our last session as we were at a critical decision-making time. The next day, my husband wrenched his back so badly that he could barely walk. He’d hoped it would be better the day after, but instead he looked like an elderly person as he tried to go about his daily activities. I tried helping him but he refused to accept any help. It was breaking my heart to see him like that.
Finally the next day, he made a trip to the doctor’s office whereby he was given two prescriptions. One was for a muscle, and the other was for pain. How he drove there I will never know. He came home after picking up his prescription and went to the bedroom to get some rest. When he was moaning in pain, I asked him if his pain meds were working. He said that he didn’t get them because he was afraid they’d make him sick. I told him that he can’t go on like that and that I was going to go pick them up from the pharmacy. He argued with me about it, but I stood my ground and told him I’d be back in just a few minutes.
When I got back home with his pills, I entered the bedroom where he was trying to rest. I got him some water, took out the recommended dosage, and handed both to him. At that point he was sitting on the side of the bed facing me. He took the water and the pills and, after swallowing both, told me through tears that he couldn’t have me helping him because he was going to have to figure out how to do it himself.
We both knew that was it. It was over. This was the moment we decided to end our marriage. I gently held him in my arms as our emotions took us both over. We talked and together agreed that we were done. Looking back, it really was a beautiful moment. What surprised us both was that once we made this decision together, all of the stress we’d been feeling for so long was finally gone. That was yet another reason we knew we’d made the right decision.
Things for us ended amicably, and he is remarried with a daughter of his own. I, on the other hand, am still single but very content and happy with my life. I guess if things were going to end with my marriage, I’m happy to know that despite all our differences, it was the one thing we could agree upon together.