*Content warning; this is a creative writing piece describing how the first 18 months of recovery felt for me, I’ve used some strong imagery that may be an emotional trigger for others who are on a similar journey. Please proceed with caution.
You’re cruising down a long straight stretch of country road in this car called marriage.
A familiar road, one you’ve both driven down a thousand times.
Sitting comfortably on 110kmph it’s a smooth open road, there’s no speed limit.
Singing along to your favourite Spotify playlist, he’s humming in tune with the music.
Something catches his eye he becomes distracted, glancing sideward for a little too long his eyes fix on an object in his peripheral.
By the time he diverts his attention back to where it should be it’s too late.
Over correcting, the marriage car slams into a tree.
There’s screeching of brakes, your song turns into a scream then a deathly thud, carnage is strewn across the road and into a paddock.
The marriage car is a mangled mess, your bodies lay motionless, barely a pulse.
Plumes of smoke and dust billow from the wreckage.
Blood is pouring out of gaping wounds, you’ve been pierced by debris.
He’s not bleeding but he’s hurt, badly hurt.
Emergency services arrive and once you’ve been freed from the wreckage you’re both rushed into the ED.
Your condition is critical lapsing in and out of consciousness, suffering substantial injury you’re placed on life support in ICU.
He’s ok but in a lot of pain, suffering concussion and a broken wrist. His body badly bruised, he’ll recover.
He watches you fighting for life, tubes helping you breathe, buzzers, monitors, Drs & Nurses fussing.
You’ve lost a lot of blood they’ve stitched the wounds and you’ve stopped hemorrhaging for now.
No one is sure if you’ll make it through.
Sitting beside you, he’s wracked with guilt.
You wouldn’t be in this mess you wouldn’t be so broken.
Three to six months you’re in this state.
It’s touch and go.
He’s still there watching you, wishing he could fix it, wishing he could change the past, wishing he didn’t make such a bad decision, wishing he didn’t look sideways.
He can’t fix or change anything, he can just sit and be there hoping and praying you’ll recover.
Surprisingly the marriage car is not a complete write off as first thought, it’s gone in for assessment, maybe it can be repaired?
After 6 months of critical care you’re moved to a ward. In the crash you received two broken legs, fractured ribs, punctured lung and broken ankles, crushed pelvis and both eye sockets were broken, your jaw was dislocated.
You were a mess, the recovery road is long, but you’ll make it, we think.
He’s been doing Physio to help himself heal and he’s been there with you.
He still beats himself up that he caused this, but he’s determined to help you heal too.
While you’re in the ward you’re beginning to sit up, you still need help showering and the Physio’s are helping you get out of bed each day. Plasters are off, you’re out of traction. You’ve kind of been wired back together with pins, it feels weird but at least you’re beginning to get sensation back.
For the next twelve months, you undergo intensive physiotherapy and as an outpatient, you’ll continue daily at home.
He picked you up from hospital in the remodelled marriage car.
You were really frightened to get in. Everything flashes before you.
What if it happens again?
What if it’s not safe?
The kids are in the car this time.
They want you to get in, they want to bring you home.
Dads been fixing things around the house to make it safe for you too, it looks completely different, way better than before.
He opens the passenger side door for you, you tentatively hop in, he’s in the drivers’ seat.
As he cautiously pulls out of the hospital park, he tells you the panel beaters and mechanics worked hard repairing the mess.
They replaced every damaged component and it’s got a brand-new engine.
There are even new leather seats.
It’s a miracle they could make anything of it.
He thinks the marriage car might even be better than before, you’re not so certain…
He’s still doing Physio, he wishes he could help you with yours, but he can’t, and you can’t help him with his.
The best thing you can both do is your own work and encourage each other to keep going.
Some days you feel stronger than others.
Some days you get flashbacks of the crash and just want the world to swallow you up.
Some days you just want to die, some days you want to blame him, he did this to you, he caused you to feel so broken.
You look at him and see the remorse in his face, you see pain and you see love.
You can do this.
After about 18 months you’re walking unaided, slowly and tentatively but look how far you’ve come.
You run into an old acquaintance they’d heard you’d had a bit of an accident.
They tell you you’re looking great, you thank them for being kind.
Although the physical scars are all but healed the internal injuries have still got a way to go. You’re getting there, heading in the right direction, still doing what the Drs have said.
He’s still there too, he’s supported you when you’ve needed, encouraged you.
He’s also invested in assertive driving courses to make certain nothing like this will happen again.
He’s not taking his eyes off the road again.
Blind spot detectors and lane departure warning sensors have been installed.
You’re beginning to think that the marriage car is better than ever and you’re both committed to maintaining it, taking turns in booking services, keeping fuel in the tank and making sure it has regular tune-ups.
You both want the marriage car to last a lifetime, with care, it will.
Infidelity hurts, really hurts. It’s not just the betrayal or betrayals that pierce you to the core, it’s all of the behaviours which accompany betrayal. The undermining, gaslighting, lies, secrets, sneaking around, deception, losses; an endless list of loss and grief.
There really are no winners in an affair fog, a delusional state of momentary fun, games and selfishness, deceit is a heavy burden to carry.
Beware the lure of greener pastures.
There are mountains to climb and valleys to sit in, no matter which road you take to recovery.
Noni & Dave xxx