As I stared at the bubbling eggs cooking in the skillet Christmas morning, my mind immediately flashed back to Christmas morning five years ago. My ex and I had returned from a family Christmas trip the evening before and were alone in our cold Midwestern home. Our refrigerator had turned into a freezer while we were gone and the only thing I could muster up for our Christmas brunch that lonely morning was some semi-frozen eggs that I scrambled. It was after our make-shift meal that my ex told me he was tired of being in a marriage where he could not be his true self and he wanted a divorce. It was a dark, dark Christmas day.
But this Christmas, exactly five years after that sinister day, I scrambled eggs for my newly reconstituted family. Four new members have been added to our group in the past five years, including my new husband, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. As our family gathered this Christmas, there was laughter, raucous play and teasing but no tears. We are healing, we are recovering. Hope is alive and well in our family.
Each week, it seems, I connect with yet another partner or former partner of a perpetrating pedophile. While the details of each story may be slightly different, the general themes are so achingly familiar. The shock of betrayal and the horror of discovery are overwhelming and grief incapacitates even the strongest of women. Unless you have lived through it, it is impossible to grasp how comprehensive and devastating this journey is. Nothing makes sense anymore and yet so many confusing elements of life with a pedophile begin to come into focus. The one commodity, however, that is scarce with each one is hope.
Learning that you have been or are married to a pedophile robs you of a future you had believed in as well as the past memories you treasured. Every memory is now tainted with the knowledge that the one you were/are married to is not who he claimed to be. Hope for the future fades quickly and despair becomes a constant companion. My story and the countless others who have come before me is one of hope rising from utter despair--our narratives declare that as long as there is breath, there is hope.
While I felt like my life was over five years ago after scrambling those eggs, it wasn't. Those were dark days and darker ones were on the horizon--days when doors would come crashing down and my ex's secrets would be broadcast on the nightly news. But like the seed nestled in the dark soil waiting for the warmth of spring hope was alive, even when I felt hopeless. Life was not over and my little family was not destroyed. Hope called forth resiliency and strength--it was life-giving. And it is something I gratefully pass on to those who feel robbed of hope by the betrayal of their perpetrating partner.
Scrambled eggs on Christmas morning remind me that eggs must be broken and beaten, much like the promises tying two individuals together when pedophilia is present. But it is in their breaking that they yield the hope of a delicious and nourishing meal. I regret that my children had to experience the heartbreak of their father's betrayal and of our divorce. But I do not regret the freedom from the impact of pedophilia that we now enjoy. I am grateful for the hope we now experience and for the opportunity to pass it on to others who are where we once were. I think I might just go and scramble some more eggs. Happy New Year and hang on to hope, dear ones!