autopsy of a marriage

I never know when I’ll start thinking about my failed marriage. When I’ll start looking to place blame on someone or something. To understand the exact moment when everything changed. Or maybe it was a series of moments. Sometimes I lie in my bed at night, lights off, eyes shut, and mind racing. Sometimes it is during the day, when I do something that triggers a memory. These fleeting images come and go, like a distorted montage of my life. The images are memories and moments I shared with my husband. My life, in pieces that I have deconstructed in an effort to understand what happened. I take that memory and look at it forwards and backwards, sideways and upside down. It is my own attempt to do an autopsy of my marriage.

My minor league understanding is that an autopsy report typically tries to answer a handful of basic questions. It looks to answer the cause of death, any contributing factors, the manner of death, and sometimes has to be used to identify the subject, among other things. I’ve seen situations in my life where it has provided comfort to a loved one, black and white pages with the reason and a cause that can help them move on.

I yearn to complete the autopsy report on my marriage. My heart aches as I wonder what the catalyst was that made my husband want to cheat on me, that made him decide he didn’t love me anymore and that made me unworthy of his honesty or love. I cry when I wonder what his moments are like with her. What he has told her. What he hasn’t told me. I break over and over again as I think about the parts of us that I thought were good and would survive, but haven’t. I want the autopsy report. I want the detailed account of why and how my marriage died and what I did that caused it. I want to be able to read it over and over again.

I have found I’m living here, in this unhealthy cycle of should’ve, would’ve and could’ve. A cycle filled with what ifs and what thens. Of muted pain that I can’t talk about or share because it is my pain, and it is too deep for me and too insignificant for everyone else.

I have accepted the face that I will never know the moment when my husband gave up. I will never know the moment when he quit caring and started loving someone else. I will never have my answers. I think the hidden truth in all of this is that I really don’t need to know the details, or the time of death. I am constantly reminding my toddler of the difference between wanting and needing something. And this is a case of wanting something but actually needing the exact opposite.

I don’t need the details. In all honesty, I’m not sure my heart would survive the why, the how or the when. And if I give myself the respect my husband should’ve given me for the last years of our marriage, then the other hidden truth is that I deserve to move on, I deserve to heal, and I deserve to take care of myself.