Oftentimes I think of life as merely a novel of love and loss. Of eventualities that happen as if it was meant to be all along.

Last night I finished a novel I’d been reading. It was about this “perfect” family of three.

The mother, a beautiful woman who turned heads, the husband, a novelist who was starting to gain fame, and a young son. 

The couple had been married for twenty years. It was apparent they were in love, that there was some sort of magnetic force between them. 

Another Woman:

And then, a young woman comes into their lives. She has appeared at one of their parties with a man she’s been dating.

As soon as she meets the novelist husband, she is smitten. All thoughts of the man she is with are cast aside. 

The two have an argument outside, and she runs in crying. The man she was with is told to leave when it is apparent he has upset her so much.

So the wife takes her under her wing. Which is the first in a long line of mistakes the wife makes, once she has time to reflect upon it. 

The Young Girl Wants Their Life:

The girl likes what she sees, the life of parties with famous people, pretty homes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Old money. 

Eventually, she breaks him down. She is young and beautiful. He cannot help himself, or so he thinks. They begin an affair. He is mesmerized by her adulation of him. It becomes like a drug he has to keep going back for. 

And of course, what always happens, happens. His wife, by accident, finds out. Which makes one wonder if there are really any accidents at all.

The Grass Is Always Greener:

We all know that the grass is always greener on the other side. So once he’s on the other side, he realizes how much his wife means to him, has always meant to him.

He misses his boy. His need for the girl lessens. His wife won’t speak to him or allow him to explain. Now he wants what he already had, and has no more. 

How many times have we heard this tired old story?

We are relatively content in our lives. But naturally curious about what else is out there in the world. Wondering what we’re missing out on.

Flights Of Fancy:

Men and women alike ruin marriages over flights of fancy. They do irreparable damage to their families.

Men are famous for their wandering eyes. I’m not saying women aren’t. But women tend to want to protect the family unit in their nurturing way. Probably due to something biological that has helped the species to survive. 

A man can tell you he loves you more than anyone can love you. You shine inside this glowing spotlight. And he can be telling another woman the very same story. Or at least one similar.

He is lured by the novelty of another woman, the illicitness is provocative, and it is so exciting to have another woman fawn over him so. 

This Is The Story In Many Families:

Everyone’s family seems to have a story within it similar to this one. An aunt or uncle, father or mother, brother or sister.

Their story eventually unfolds and is revealed. They are then under intense scrutiny by people who held them in high regard. 

Just one little slip and their lives are forever changed. And so are the ones who were waiting at home for them, not even having the slightest doubt that they are where they said they’d be. 

What is it about human nature that makes us take chances? Gamble on what we have with what could be?

Young & Foolish:

We’ve all been young and foolish at some point. It’s part of growing up and our eventual maturity. We do things that we don’t stop to anticipate the ramifications of. 

So what happened in the novel?

The wife travels to Mexico to clear her thoughts. She is thinking of possibly trying to save the marriage. She leaves their boy with the shamed husband who has promised to show him a grand time.

The day before her return the husband takes the boy up in his small plane. He wants to make up for the time he’s been away, show the boy the exhilaration he feels when he’s in the cockpit. The boy is enthralled. 

The night before her return, the wife gets a call from her oldest and dearest friend, a man she grew up with who had loved her from afar for so long. But he knew the man she married was the right choice for her.

How Can He Tell Her:

He doesn’t know quite how to tell her what he doesn’t want her to see in the printed media once she gets off the plane.

That the man she’s loved since college and their only child is dead. They have mysteriously crashed into the water.

You know how things are. When someone semi-famous dies, their fame grows to exponential proportions overnight. His books begin to fly off the shelves as soon as the news gets out. 

The wife will blame herself for leaving the boy. She will feel selfish for wanting that time alone to think and try to make sense of her life. 

A Decade later:

A decade later, the man who is her best friend, who is the actual narrator of this story, gets a phone call from the young woman who had helped break up the marriage.

She wants to meet with him. It is a brief time he spends across the table from her. He can’t imagine what she wants now. All these years later.

He had married the grieving wife, his best friend in the world, years before. Not because they were in love or wanted to sleep with one another.

But because he knows that if he doesn’t watch out for her, she no longer cares enough to watch out for herself.

The light in her has gone out and cannot be replaced.

The once young girl who turned the husband’s eye is pregnant. She has married and already has two sons.

The Envelope:

She gives him an envelope with several photos of the lot of them on the beach. Back when she was just a young girl he and his friends had taken under their wing.

There is a photo of her and the now-dead novelist in Rome during one of their trysts. And one of her husband and two sons. 

Why would she think he wanted these things? He knows he will not keep them. 

They leave the restaurant. He takes the envelope and goes home to his study, where he can take the photos out and gaze at them alone.

Upon closer scrutiny, he sees that the older boy is much older than his younger brother.

Then It Hits Him:

And then it hits him that the older boy is not the wandering husband’s child, but instead is the child of the novelist. 

Ramifications. We all know what they are. A child is far more than a ramification.

Sometimes he or she is the embodiment of two people who merely passed one another like ships in the night. 

The man throws the photos into the fireplace. He does not want her to know. It would be too much.

Reminds me of a phrase that often comes to mind: “Sit round in a ring and suppose. But the secret sits in the middle and knows.”

Can’t recall whose words they belong to at the moment.

Love & Trust:

When we love, we begin to trust. And before we know it, the two are intertwined. And when trust erodes, so does love.

Whether something similar to this is our own story, or that of someone we know well, disillusionment is the hardest pill to swallow. It is what will change a part of us forever. 

The most painful slap in the face is the fact that we thought we were loved, and therefore safe within the confines of it. Only to learn, somewhere down the line, that love is a tenuous thing.

That while we innocently go on with life, the deceit is slowly changing and evolving. Mutating. And eventually, it will take what we thought we had away. 

Loss & Regret:

We all live with loss and regret. If we knew what was going to eventually happen, we would never dare to love. 

What is the old saying? It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? I suppose this is true in many ways.

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  1. These are some excellent questions, Brenda. And this sounds like a sad,sad book.

    I believe we make choices in life that have consequences, as do those around us. There are laws of cause and effect in place, and as such, our actions have consequences, whether immediate or long range. I also believe we are responsible for our actions. We have accountability to others and to ourselves.

    I don't believe in accidents, but I do believe in stupidity and duplicity as well as believing in honor and love. I also believe in forgiveness, more for the person who has been wronged than for the sake of the one who has done the wronging. Bitterness is a root that is not worth cultivating because it ends up hurting the person who is embroiled in it the worst, more than the event that caused the original hurt. As cliche as it may sound, living WELL is the best revenge.

    I think when we have been hurt, it is up to us how we respond. That is not an accident. That is an act of the will. I also think that, while it is painful to lose the people we love to death or whatever, it is wrong to curl up in a ball and die. For me, and you have to understand I am coming from a Christian perspective, that is like putting an idol on the throne of our hearts, the throne which rightfully belongs to God. We have a choice in this life, and I have watched some amazing people close to me who have overcome some pretty serious injuries that would be considered severe handicaps, rise up and overcome them. They chose to be overcomers and not victims, and that is inspirational to me. You are inspiring in the way you have picked yourself up and continued with your life in the face of difficulty and how you have inspired others with your blog.

    I do think there are people who are like pariah, feeding on the lives of others and not caring one bit about the lives they are destroying in their wakes. That is sociopathic behavior and not much better than murderers except they may limit their murdering to other people's spirits. They see something someone else has and want it for themselves. I have seen them in action, and I find their behavior reprehensible. And even though they think they have gotten away with it, they have not. Because God sees what they have done. There are both natural and spiritual laws, and one day, they will have to reap what they sow. It is sad because they are their own worst enemies. You can bet that the grass will be greener in the next pasture, too, and they will drag their baggage in terms of their abhorrent behavior right along with them. If something is born out of a web of deceit, it will get tangled up in its own web before it is all said and done.

    All of that being said, I am still surprised when people disappoint me because I want to believe the best in others.



  2. Such a bittersweet, but beautifully written post. You have a wonderful way with words. "What is it about human nature that makes us take chances? Gamble on what we have with what could be?" — So heartbreakingly true. I don't know why we do this, but I see it time and time again.

  3. These are very tough questions. I have a husband who loves me and has stood by me even when I wouldn't have stood by me. He has incredible values that were unknown to me when we got married and they have been our strength all along.

    There are so many variables in a relationship ending. So many are cliche. Some character flaws. What makes a relationship? What breaks it?

    Are you going to tell us the name of the book?


  4. Hi Brenda, I too am suffering the aftermath of a similar situation. It is more than 13 years since my husband passed away at the age of 46, a heart attach in his sleep, we were married for 25 years. The woman who was 12 years younger than me at the time, had a daughter and a few years later also passed away quite young from cancer that developed while she was carrying the child. I am alone, never remarried, not a day goes by where it doesn't haunt me. I do not know if it was meant to be,but my husband continues to be in my heart and soul.

  5. I do not believe things "happen for a reason." Life is a series of random events, and what we make of those random events is what we ultimately make of ourselves. Just my humble opinion.

  6. I have had close family members and friends that have gone through this. It actually seems to draw my husband I closer together because we have seen the pain, the damage (to the children) and distrust it has caused. I guess we have learned by others mistakes. Plus, our faith and commitment to God and to our marriage have seen us through those rough spots that all marriages go through. As with Trudy, I know he will love me forever. He is an honorable man and is very committed to our marriage. At his job, a new law came into place that all employees were not allowed to wear their wedding rings anymore for safety reasons, even though no one had ever been hurt because of their ring. My husband refused to take his off and therefore ended up quitting instead of being fired. He had worked there over 15 years! We were told that his commitment to keep his ring on went clear to the top of this big corporation. I am sure many thought he was nuts, it is just a ring. But it was more to him than just his ring, it was a symbol of commitment to his vows. What he did spread through our little town like wild fire. Some people were impressed and some even had their "rings" tattooed on their finger in honor of my husband, some thought he had really lost it. One thing I have learned through 34 years of marriage is that love is not an emotion. Emotions are wonderful, but they put you on a roller coaster ride. Love is an act of your will.
    Believe me, I KNOW that I am blessed and am very, very grateful for the man I am married to. My heart aches for those whose life was changed by the choice of another.

  7. I believe God puts us exactly where we need to be when we need to be there. It is through faith in Him that gets us through the rough spots.
    I didn't believe in a love that would last forever. Until I met my husband that is. He will love me forever, he will never leave, he will never stray. I know these things about him, because he is an honorable man. My love for him is returned in the same way. It is honor and and unshakable faith that if God brings me to the fire He will bring me through it.
    Is the book you talked about a real published book or are you the author? Either way I would love to know the title and read it.

  8. Ah, Brenda … you pose a difficult question, but my firm belief is that love and life are made up, not of accidents, and not of what was "meant to be," but of choices–our choices, and often the choices of others.

    I have two sisters, both of whom faced unwanted divorces after more than two decades of marriage. The choices their husbands made not only changed the course of my sisters' lives dramatically, but, in one of the cases, it changed the direction and course of my own life. My husband and I were forced (asked to leave, if you will) to give up the only church our daughter had ever known, the one my husband had attended for over 40 years, and that I had attended for 20 years. Another person's choice caused an earthquake in my own life. It was devastating, to say the least and we've felt a lot like lost souls ever since.

    While I believe God is omnipotent, I also believe He has given us the ultimate freedom and that is the freedom of choice. In love and in life, our choices bring either consequences or rewards, not only to those who make the deliberate choice, but to those inside his or her circle of influence.

    I hope this makes sense.

  9. I think we have to trust that things happen for a reason… if not, we'd constantly badger ourselves with "What ifs"… What if my husband had stayed home from work? Would he have died anyway? What if we had never met that couple, and my husband was never introduced to the other man's wife? Would he have had an affair? What if I had applied makeup EVERYDAY instead of only when I left the house? Would I have been appealing enough? What if I hadn't laid my new infant on it's tummy in the bed? Would it still be alive?… you get the picture. We can't question destiny. It steals the joy out of life… steals the ability to move on. And, if I'm constantly looking over my shoulder, questioning what could happen next, I'm missing the moment. We have to simply live life fully… and, remember that some things are out of our control. That's what I believe, anyway…. and I think it's easier said, than done.

  10. Our lives, are better left to chance~

    I could have missed the pain but
    I'd have had to miss the "Dance"
    I rarely read any books that have even a whiff of romance- love and such in them. They annoy me greatly. You KNOW the other shoe is gonna drop. You just dont know if it'll be on page 50 or page 250, thats the only mystery:) I'm not cynical- I'm realistic. Personally I think everyone in any long term relationship- should already have made several contingent plans in the event it doesnt work out. I mean serious plans like money saved , friends of theirs, seperate, from friends they have as a couple, alternative lives they'd be just as happy with. I'm not kidding here~!
    The main issue when one gets cheated or news of their partner wants Out of a relationship isnt grief, its FEAR.. afraid of being alone- insecure as to where they'll live- financial devastation- loss of insurance, income and the lifetstyle they liked… The main person someone should put their Trust in is, Themselves and even then they can shock themselves with some of their actions lol.. The big thing is a good plan and MONEY their partner knows nothing about. People need to accept the truth and the simple fact that they could get over the loss of the person, but they cant get over what that person provided..
    Our need to live in fantasy land has caused more pain that any injury or illness. Everyone always says "why is the woman always the last to Know"..cause she's always the one with her eyes dang near glued shut because she doesnt want to SEE.. If one sees,, then they Know and knowing brings change and that change takes away the lifestyle they were very much enjoying. The heart will heal if allowed to but the pocketbook stays in pain a longggggggggggggg time..

    just my 5 cents on the subject.. I was speaking of spouses/partners here= not parents or children.. just wanted to make that clear

  11. For my own peace of mind, I'd like to believe that everything happens for a reason. That someday, I will finally understand what the reason was for all the traumatic events in my life.

  12. I think it's easy for a person to believe that everything is meant to be when they have not had great tragedy in their lives. It comforts us to think it is meant to be …because if we realize how random things are…we wouldn't get out of bed each day.

    If I'd known 14 years ago when I moved back to Oklahoma be closer to my parents that my father would be dead from an accident in a year and a half. I would not have kept going. Was it meant for him to have that accident? No. It just happened…a stupid split second in his life that ended it. Our lives are different today because of it. Good things have happened that would not have happened…because we HAD to make good of it. We very easily could have just lived in grief. But my Mother, sister and I made the conscience choice to move forward through the pain. I would not live in my house if my father were alive. I don't like to think about that because my house is a very good thing in my life. But had he lived. I would be living somewhere else.

    I've known the kind of love that you can really count on that doesn't go away. But then my father died and it was gone. I've also been loved by men that said they'd love me forever and then one day they just didn't. I am rather cynical when it comes to romantic love. Oh…I believe in it but I fine it hard to believe it will last. I don't enjoy love story movies like I used to when I believed my prince charming would come on a white charger.

    Oh…he came but he fell off and left me. And I used to totally believe in fate and that what is meant to be will be. But when you know you deserve something and it never happens or you lose it not of your own doing. No…I don't believe in everything happens for a reason. I believe you make the best of what does happen.

    1. I like your response Nita. I had a finacee die 3 weeks before our wedding and the worst thing people said to me was "it wasn't meant to be". How dare they say those hurtful things. That was 13 years ago and I have even married another since then, but you will never ever hear me say "it was or wasn't supposed to be!"

  13. I believe anything and everything that happens in this life was meant to be…My husband and I were told we would NEVER have a child..turns out I got pregnant on our honeymoon…we had one daughter and she was our one and only child…who in return gave us 5 grandchildren all of whom would not be here if the doctor would of been right…she was meant to be and created by God just for us so we could have the family we love and adore and we thank God every day for his blessing to us…Carol

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