Monday, March 14, 2011

to my (former) daughter in law

Your first anniversary should be this week.  I wish I could say it’s been an awesome year.  I wish I could send a card or make a phone call to say happy anniversary.  Instead, we’re left helping our boy pick up the pieces and go on, learning to live with a broken heart.

What happened?  I know things didn’t start out exactly as everyone had hoped, but I think you know we were excited to have you as part of the family.  We loved you!  His little brothers adored you!  His sisters saw you as a great addition to the group.  We were so looking forward to having you as our daughter in law!  And you gave every impression of being excited to be part of our family.  We gave our blessing to your engagement.  Knowing that, it is strange that you two somehow felt the need to run off and get married behind our backs.   But you know what?  It didn’t take very long to figure out that it really didn’t matter that much, that we were thrilled you were now family.  How long was it before you got cold feet?

He was away at military training.  You knew when you got married that you wouldn’t be able to join him until he graduated.  You knew that it would be at least 3 months, probably 4.  No one could predict what came next—that he would be injured at the beginning of infantry school.  That he would have to spend months in medical rehab, only to be medically discharged with a serious knee injury.  At discharge, he went right back to you.  That’s where he belonged.  As much as we missed him and wanted to see him, it was far more important for him to be with you.  He was dying to be with you!  He missed you so fiercely all those months in medical! 

We knew something was up pretty quickly.  All of a sudden, he was calling his dad seeking marriage advice.  Married not quite 6 months, only together for the 2 weeks in that 6 month period, and he’s trying to cope with your attitude of  “Marriage should be fun. I”m not having fun, so it’s not working.  I don’t want to be married any more.”  What happened??  When he came home to visit us and to get his car, his eyes had a haunted look.  I think he knew then that it was likely over.  How could you?  How could you start seeing (and sleeping with!) another guy while the man you couldn’t even wait to marry was off serving in the Marine Corps?  How could you send him a text that says “It’s over.  Don’t bother coming back here.”  while he’s visiting his family?  How could you not at least give him a chance?

Now it’s time for your first anniversary.  It should be a day filled with rejoicing.  Instead, it’s a day of sadness.  I’m concerned about my boy.  He’s still heartbroken.  I don’t know exactly how he’s going to manage this week.  I know that he’s not perfect, that he brought as many issues to the table as you did.  But he LOVED you!  He WANTED to be married to you.  He would have moved heaven and earth to make you happy.  And you broke his heart.

You’ve clearly moved on.  We know that you know live with ‘that guy’ and that you’ve tried to take advantage of my son’s kind heart.  I know that hurt and anger are taking their toll on my boy.  We do talk, you know.   He suspects that your new man knows nothing about the fact that you were a married woman when you first started seeing him.  If that’s true, I hope for your sake he never finds out.

Slowly, I think he’s healing, but there are still many many bad days.  He’s definitely still afraid to allow himself to care.  That’s hard.  He keeps saying that he’s going to be the ‘rich bachelor uncle’ for his nieces and nephews someday.  I hope not.  I pray that you haven’t totally destroyed his ability to trust, to believe, to love. 

It has been one of the most painful 6 month periods we have ever had.  It’s excruciating to watch your child hurt and know that there’s nothing you can say or do to make things better.  It’s a pain that, quite frankly, I hope you never EVER know. 

You know what else?  It’s hard to admit this, but I miss you.  I miss your smile and your enthusiasm for life!  I miss talking to you and learning more about you and your chosen profession.  You were a delightful addition to our family, and we were proud and excited to call you one of us.  His little brothers miss you too.  When you chose to say goodbye to him, they lost out too, you know.  They loved you very much, and in their short lives, they have lost too many people already.  Losing you was difficult for them. 

Goodbye, sweet girl.  You are missed.


  1. I don't know whether or not this is a post you want comments on (if not, I understand), or whether or not you remember me (my maiden name was Laura Woldstad, I grew up at Highlands). But, I wanted to let you know, I read your post this morning before work, and have been praying for Brent all day, and praying for what to share. My husband is a Marine Reservist - and we've walked alongside dear friends as they struggle down similar paths. It hurts, and I am so sorry Brent has to deal with this. Praying still...

  2. Thank you Laura. I know exactly who you are. :) Your kind words and your prayers mean a great deal.

  3. Powerful letter, Jennifer. It would be nice to think that Kayla has read it.

  4. I hope writing all of this post out helped, Jennifer. Sometimes just getting it out is so therapeutic. I am praying for Brent. I hope that his heart heals soon... because I know that until he is healed, there is a piece of your heart that will remain broken. Much love to you, dear friend.