My mom passed away nine years ago. We grew up in a small, Catholic town. My parents were married 25 years, and during that time, my dad carried on an affair for about 21 of those years-a relationship that produced a child. My mom had one for the last few years of the marriage that continued until her death 21 years after the divorce.
I was aware of Mom’s affair early on, but had no idea that it lasted the rest of her life. Another family member new, and thought I was aware of it. I didn’t learn the details until I cleaned out her belongings after she passed away, and found photos and correspondence from the two of them. Her lover showed up at the funeral home before her funeral. To say it was soap opera-ish is quite an understatement.
When she passed away, I also found the letters from my father that she had kept for 30 years. I still have them. They show a relationship that merited their marriage, but obviously it was not strong enough to last. Their marriage produced good children, but not children without hangups and issues. Some of us have dealt with it better than others.
Three months after my parents divorced, and we children were young adults, my father married his lover. They have been together for 30 years, and have a warm, loving marriage. Obviously my father married the wrong person the first time around. It happens.
The best thing about growing up: You can choose what you want to take with you into adulthood. You can choose to forgive, or not. You can choose to get help for those things you can’t work out on your own, or not. I’ve found forgiveness is the way to go. life is way too short.