Broken together – our story

I was looking in my husband’s eyes thinking “This can’t be happening, not to us, it can’t be him!” and yet I knew deep in my heart it was true, it had to be. All those nagging thoughts I was pushing away all year, the voice in my head I was telling to go away – they turned out to be true. As much as I didn’t want them to be, they were there looking me straight in the face through Charlie’s tearful eyes.

I wanted to ask him “Who are you?”. I felt like I didn’t know this man. It certainly wasn’t the same man I married a little over 13 years earlier.

The 13th year. I dreaded it and wasn’t sure why. I’m not superstitious but there was something I feared about it. I was so happy when our 13th anniversary came and nothing happened, we were still there, no disasters. I remember my father standing in the doorway when I was leaving, all dressed up to go out with Charlie to celebrate. My dad was visiting for a few weeks and he braved staying the evening alone with the kids. I was so proud, I hoped he was proud too and happy for us. We were so different from him and my mum. We never argued, didn’t have ‘quiet’ days and we weren’t afraid to show love and affection. We were just the perfect couple I dreamed we’d be and nothing could ever change that… until that day.

What do you think about when you look at me
I know we’re not the fairy tale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery

I thought of our wedding day, of the pictures I had engraved in my mind, our parents, the place we got married, my dress and the way I felt that day. And him, my man. My dad walked me down the aisle, it took some effort to persuade him to do it, like anything I ever wanted him to do for me, but he did. We said “I do” and we belonged to each other from then on, in a good way. The mystery of married life started.

I thought this so many times, how marriage really is a miracle. When two people become one, in body, soul and spirit, they share everything, start having kids, support each other and even think alike. I know this is not everyone’s experience, I know it too well, but I always believed it was possible. I guess I always was a dreamer and believed in dreams coming true. They did for me, many times, always with the help of my Heavenly Father. This was not going to be an exception, it meant to me much more than other dreams.

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night

How I wished someone would tell me it wasn’t true, that it was a bad dream, a stupid joke. I literally was afraid I wasn’t going to make it through that night. My heart was pounding so loud I could hear it. Every time I fell asleep I would wake up in a panic. I had never felt that way before and I wasn’t sure what to do to calm down. All I could do was pray.

It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

I didn’t know what the future held, I couldn’t think of the future more than the next hour, next day at most. I didn’t prepare myself for a time like this simply because it wasn’t on my radar.

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

We were broken, God, how broken. Broken hearts, broken dreams, broken innocence, broken vows. So broken I didn’t know if we could ever mend and be whole again. But I knew someone who could help us. The One who performed miracles bigger than the one we needed. The Healer, Redeemer, Saviour – Jesus. He held me together. The pieces I broke into that day were in his hands, I felt them around me. That day He was everything I had left – my Loving Father, my Faithful Husband.

How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we won’t give up the fight

We got so busy with building up the business, bringing up the children, looking after the house and the pets, working for the school and the church. We hardly had time to meet with friends, do what we liked. I thought it just had to be this way, that life was so mad for everyone at this stage.

Going to bed that year, often around midnight, after 101 daily tasks had been finished, I would find Charlie in his ‘sleeping position’, facing the window, away from me. Sometimes asleep, sometimes not. He would turn around briefly, kiss me and say goodnight. “Do you mind me sleeping like that? It’s my favourite sleeping position” – he often said as if trying to explain. I would snuggle in from behind trying to get some of his warmth thinking “I don’t remember him sleeping like this before, maybe he’s changing, getting older?” I felt lonely although he was right next to me. Sometimes I cried quietly and quickly wiped away the tears hoping he wouldn’t hear me. I didn’t want to be self-pitying, I had everything I needed, everything I wanted. Would it make a difference if he turned around, hugged me as he used to do? I knew he loved me, did I need proof? I told myself I didn’t and I prayed for us to be together, safe and healthy, for ever.