It all began at age 19 when we were married. We were young, full of life, had plans for the future, and were hard workers. We waited three years to have children so we could purchase a home and completely furnish it. Everything except the home was completely paid for.
After three years of marriage, our first child was born. After three more years, our second was born. The perfect family, we thought. Our plan was working just as we had imagined it would. We both had jobs and worked hard for what we had.
As time flew by, the kids grew up. We moved to the country, had lots of toys and were always busy. The responsibilities we assumed became greater and greater. The stress increased but we paid no attention to it. We had a job to do, raise our family and look forward to a good future.
Then after 26 years of marriage it all stopped.
The kids turned out good and had grown up. We were on our way to being grandparents. Our marriage seemed solid and was not a concern. It was Mother’s Day and she was not in a good mood at all. She and our daughter had borrowed a van to go winetasting for a Mother’s Day gift. I was driving for them.
After the celebration we arrived back home and she announced that she was leaving me. She was tired of marriage and had been married too long. She wanted to see what being single would be like. She said I had done nothing wrong, but she did not want to be married any longer.
I was devastated to hear this. Within two weeks, she was gone and I was alone. The fact that I had done nothing wrong was difficult for me to accept and ate at me constantly.
Soon I became quiet, somewhat angry, lost interest in daily life and forgot what fun was. I had entered into a depression. I saw a counselor who treated me with pills, but they did not seem to help. I just couldn’t understand why she had done this to me.
Over the next 13 years I remained in a light depression, not enjoying anything in life and being very resentful of the position she had put me in. I had made a promise to myself to never see or speak to her again, and I didn’t. I never attended any functions that she might be at, and the years went by. The depression remained and I was never going to forgive her for what she had done.
Then I met a very nice woman, and we were married. Even though I thought I was happy, the excitement of life was not there. I continued not to forgive my first wife and never spoke of her to my new wife. I called her my ex, never by her name. I had started to become ill a lot and was in pain constantly.
Over the next 15 years the pain increased and the illnesses were more frequent. Doctors would treat me, but could never really find anything wrong. Then it happened — my second wife and I separated. I went further into the depression.
Finally, I awoke one day feeling a little better. Within hours I was feeling good and had no more pain. I had decided to forgive my first wife.
I sat and spoke to God and asked for his guidance in forgiving her. It was as if He was sitting right next to me, and I continued to feel better and better.
I then sat at the computer and emailed her. I said, “I just wanted you to know that I have forgiven you. I hope you and your new hubby are well and have a happy life.”
It has been five days since I forgave my first wife. God has remained beside me, guiding me through this new way of life. I met with my doctors and they confirmed that the only possibility for this type of healing was accepting what had happened to me and really forgiving my first wife. I now feel no more stress, am looking forward to my future life, thinking clearer, am singing, closer to my family, wanting to make some friends, and hoping my second wife returns.
Forgiveness is a type of medication or healing. Forgiveness has to come from the heart, with God’s support and knowledge. By forgiving her I was able to forgive myself. I now feel so much better. I am looking forward to life. I am a much healthier and better person.
Thank you, God, thank you.
Phillip Hamilton is a local resident.