When I was 5 or 6 I recall standing in line at the grocery store, and feeling a gripping pain in my chest when I looked at a man in front of me. I watched him stack his groceries on the belt, move forward in line and smile tentatively at the people around him. His purchases were insubstantial, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to set him apart from another shopper. As I watched him I had the sudden urge to cry, but it made no sense. What was it that made this man have such a beautiful sadness that captured my essence so deeply? It probably wasn’t the first time, and it certainly was not the last time, but I began to recognize that the greatest beauty, grows through sadness and creates love.
To this moment I can feel the pain and shock of watching Travis get pulled out of our home, all of my things searched through and being spoken to with suspicion from police officers. I can see myself looking at text message after text message from friends and family all over the country as my life became a national news story, I can still feel the hurt and confusion and remember crying night after night wondering what had happened and what I had done to deserve this life. Accusations and blame were thrown at me, I must have caused it, I handled the situation wrong, I was too angry, I wasn’t angry enough, I was too sad, I wasn’t sad enough and I believed some of them, I denied some of them and I questioned everything about my life.
From the moment I looked at my life from the outside I knew I had a choice, beauty or bitterness. Many wouldn’t blame me for choosing bitterness, it wasn’t a fair hand I was given and the situation warranted a certain amount of pain and suffering. Who doesn’t take a few years to wallow in sympathy after their marriage is torn apart through unfaithfulness and deceit, but it didn’t feel like me, and it didn’t feel like someone I wanted to be. Looking back on my life I wouldn’t want to see someone who turned into an unhappy woman because life wasn’t fair and I didn’t want to see what kind of daughters that would produce, so I made a choice and I chose to be happy not just for me but for Clare and Eden. They had lost one parent and they didn’t need to lose a second. Through my pain began to grow a strength I didn’t know I had and a beauty that grew from an interesting place. A place of hurt, deception, pain and ultimately forgiveness.
A year later as we waited on the courts to make the ultimate decision of the father of my children’s fate my youngest brother passed away in a tragic car accident. I sat through this tragedy with nothing but tears and pain questioning how all this heartache could happen to one person. Confusion, shock and disbelief was all I could feel. For the funeral Travis wrote “Interesting Beauty”, a song for my brother and a song about me. He said it was for me and claimed that my life wouldn’t be a story of sadness, but a story of strength and beauty. The first time I heard the words they meant everything to me and I knew this was what I saw when I saw people, when my heart ached at the grocery store and when I looked at my life. I wasn’t sure how I would accept it, or how I would live it but slowly I realized it would be through my normal everyday life and through all my choices to be a strong, loving person, instead of a sad bitter one. I wondered often how I would share my story. The decision to start blogging started out with excitement but as I began to retell my story it opened up pain I had stopped remembering. Still I decided to go ahead and open up my story that is an interesting beauty.