I’ve been robbed of my story.
I’ve always seen my life as a series of stories that collectively created the big story – my life. And now . . . I’m not sure how to find my stories. They don’t look the same anymore. They are tainted and tarnished. My life story has been stolen.
My married life story began when I was sealed for time and eternity to the man I adored. I prayed and prayed about my decision to marry. I never felt so confident about anything in my life. He was the guy for me. I had no doubts.
My husband was a returned missionary and a natural leader. Even before we were married, he spent a great deal of time fulfilling church callings and assignments. I knew before I married him, that he would always be busy in the church. And he was! He was in numerous church leadership positions. The good saints that he served loved him. He gave his all. Nothing was too good for the Lord. His church obligations often left me at home alone with the kids, but I knew that we would be blessed as a family as we both faithfully served.
People often complimented us. “You guys are such a cute couple!” “You have such a neat family.” “You are so lucky!” We certainly seemed to be the family that had everything together. By all appearances, our marriage was everything it should be. My husband opened my car door, bought me flowers, washed dishes, and treated me with kindness. We were happy. We laughed together and sometimes we cried together. We fought through financial difficulties and the loss of loved ones. We were asked to share our successful marriage tips with others at firesides and Relief Society meetings. We shared our life stories with humor and spiritual strength. We prayed together. We attended the temple together. We listened to scriptures together. We weren’t perfect, but I thought we had an excellent marriage relationship.
That’s my “before” story. D-day changed everything. And now, when I look at family photos and recall happy memories, there is another story that is running in the background. The other story is full of deceit and betrayal. It’s black tendrils slowly creep to the surface until all my stories are clouded and distorted.
Being robbed of knowing my past as I used to know it, is a painful thing. Equally painful is not being able to trust the story of my future. Nobody can predict the outcome of their life story, but in the past I felt that I could rely on the strength of my marriage to get through whatever life threw at me. I anticipated joys, hardships, achievements, struggles, and everything else typical in life. The starting point for all my stories would be my eternal marriage and family. My eternal marriage would be the one thing that could hold all the other story lines together. Now, I must find new solid narrative ground to begin my stories. This is a heavy loss and it makes me grieve.
“Moving forward in life is hard or even, at times impossible, without owning a narrative of one’s past. Isak Dinesan has been quoted as saying ‘all sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.’ Perhaps robbing someone of his or her story is the greatest betrayal of all” (Fels, Anna. “Great Betrayals.” New York Times. Oct. 5, 2013).