Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FORGET (10/17/19)
- TITLE: That Orange Sweatshirt
By JANET JONES
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
The sweatshirt used to be my first husband Stanâ€™s. Heâ€™d bought several in blue, green, grey and this fabulous burnt orange one on sale for five dollars each at Kmart at the beginning of winter one year. When I told him how much I liked it, he gave it to me. I loved the feel of wearing this sloppy over-sized sweatshirt over my pair of navy blue flannel, pajama bottoms that had orange and white plaid lines running through them. It was just a cozy, yet put together feeling. It felt good, comforting, to wear it. Over, probably the last 20 years, Iâ€™ve worn it every winter. That is until Stan died.
Stan and I had a marriage that was marred by the effects of his drug addiction and my codependency. We struggled to make our marriage work, together and apart, for 37 years. We endured separation by prison, jail, drug rehabs, and just plain coming to the end of our strength. We would reunite and separate again. After a near death experience, Stan got clean and stayed clean for 9 years. But he let drugs back into his life to make money, then relapsed. The struggle and cycle of separating and reuniting, drug use and sobriety, continued for five years. During the nine months before he passed away, we were living separately.
The day Stan died, I received a call just after I got to my job. I left work and went to his momâ€™s house where his body had been found. There I learned that his mistress had seen him through a window, collapsed at the table, and called the ambulance. His mistress. I had suspected, but could not bring myself to truly believe there was a mistress. That day I learned these truths. Stan was dead. There was a mistress. He had been cheating on me. Later that week, I found out this affair had lasted about 4 months, and there were probably others.
After the initial pain, the family, giving things away, brief getaways for tears, the funeral, the goodbyes, and getting back to work, it was time to make some space in my schedule for grieving. The pressure of the loss of my husband, my hopes that we would eventually make it, and my faith in his fidelity was bearing down on me. I thought, â€œIf I donâ€™t make time for grief, itâ€™s going to take it when I am not ready for it.â€ I took a sick day and went to the mountains to pray, and cry and question and journal. I spent the better part of the day there, and found some relief.
I had given some of Stanâ€™s things to our sons while we were all together. The bigger items and sentimental things were handed out. I went through the rest of his things. I kept the Eagles shirt Iâ€™d bought for him when we saw them in concert and the Forty-niners sweatshirt Iâ€™d gotten him for Christmas, and the orange sweatshirt. I cleared out the rest of Stanâ€™s belongings and donated or sold them.
As part of my healing I got rid of a few of my things as well. I couldnâ€™t bear having underwear I thought Stan had seen me in, so I threw them out, and bought new ones bringing some solace. I kept the orange sweatshirt through two closet purges and a move. I couldnâ€™t wear it. It hurt too much, but I hoped one day it would bring me the same sense of comfort it once had. When I remarried and moved into my new husbandâ€™s home, the orange sweatshirt went into the office closet with my winter things. Ed doesnâ€™t know that the sweatshirt reminds me of the better parts of my first marriage, but I believe he would understand that keeping, and on rare occasions wearing it, is part of my healing. Remembering the good, letting go of the pain. Maybe someday Iâ€™ll get rid of it, but I doubt it. I think it will always be a small reminder of the good I shared with Stan. I donâ€™t want to forget. I love that orange sweatshirt, but more importantly I love the healing God is bringing into my life.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.