I need you to know, my heart breaks for you, it breaks for us.
I wish I could have been perfect for you. I wish that these hurts, these scars would have healed better. Because I know you have never hurt me like those in my past have. I know you are not my predator, my attacker, my rapist. But, you pay the price. Our marriage pays the oh so steep price.
You have watched me cry and gasp for breath trying to wrestle with what these scars bring. You have stood beside me as rushes of memories fill our bedroom invading moments between us. I’ve pushed you away while trying to pull you close. All because of them. The men that broke my body, my heart, my spirit. Because of those men, you have spent years trying to clean up this mess, this person, this wife of yours. This wife I never wanted to be.
Oh love, I had huge hopes for us. I prayed that slipping into that white dress would flush out the battle scars. Yes, I knew there would be moments, hiccups, where the monsters under my dreams would scratch and pull, but they would be reined back by something borrowed and something blue. Like a little harness made from tulle and beading. I was wrong. Those monsters were stronger than the veil I tried to wrap them in.
Now, I’m scared, love. I’m scared the memories won’t stop fighting in my nightmares. I’m scared I won’t ever be free to not carry around these little bricks, these pieces of walls. I’m scared you will one day see me, as I see me, too broken. Too broken to be with till death do you part. Because how do you promise life to someone who is partly dead? Somewhere between fighting for air and straining against the sudden stabbing memories, I hear this pounding in my head. A rhythmic drumming of desperation, you deserve more. You deserve perfect. You deserve someone besides me. Someone who doesn’t lock bathroom doors to shower out of fear, who doesn’t panic if you move too quickly, or stop breathing if she smells something that reminds her of him. You deserve someone who can give freely, openly, and not have to constantly pry open your wife’s ever shifting walls.
Yet, still you stand, wading in the undertow of my trauma. Steady, yet slightly swaying with the changing of the tide. I see your heart, trying to understand. I see your strength, trying to fight. I see your face, flinching when you realize a trigger. I see you, struggling to understand the non-understandable. I hold on tightly to your hope while still straining against it, praying that the sun will rise a little higher, the tide would go out a little further and maybe the ground will bake and crack. Crack the defense, breaking into the places where there might be a trickle of life.
My love, I pray so hard for that breaking. I long for the day when I see you without him hiding in the shadows. For the days when I can welcome you even deeper into my heart without fearing letting the demons out. I pray for the day when the waves are gone, the past is healed, and the future can be what you see. Till then, please know, I am trying.
Your wife, the survivor.