They never left me


I was 20 years old when I ran away from home.

Yes, I do think you can run away even when you already moved out of your parents’ home. And that’s what I did.

I was married. Going to school. Working. My then husband was having a hard time keeping jobs. It was always something. He didn’t get along with management or someone got promoted over him and that person didn’t like him. Or he’d be late too many times. I was so tired of asking for money to help us pay our electric bill. We had a very small house payment (we lived in a mobile home) and could barely make that.

I felt trapped. I had signed on for this. I was miserable. Embarrassed over our finances. So young that I hadn’t a clue what to do. I came from the camp that believed you don’t divorce. So I tried to make things work.

The ex had lived in California before and felt sure he could get a job back at his old employer. He was so sure there were more opportunities there. He wanted to leave. I didn’t want to let go of my family. Eventually he wore me down. But I was too afraid to tell them. Afraid they’d tell me how silly it was. I already knew it was a bad move. But I so hoped that something, anything, would be better than the way it already was.

So we packed everything up and drove to Cali. I called my parents after we entered Palm Springs. I cringe to write that out. Those words hold so much pain. So much hurt. That *I* inflicted. I don’t blame the ex for that. He wanted me to tell my parents. I was so afraid. Afraid of their disapproval. Afraid of them talking me out of it, or seeing the disappointment on their faces. So I ran away. Avoided it.

It took a long time to rebuild that relationship. They never stopped loving me. Never broke ties. I was so ashamed of what I’d done to them that it took a while for me to ask for their forgiveness. In the meantime, my ex took advantage of those broken ties to fill my head with lies about them. Things they had (allegedly) said to him when I wasn’t around.

My parents aren’t like that. I knew that deep down. They have never said anything bad about anyone who has done them wrong. They would not make snide comments. Other relatives? Yes, they would. But my parents? Never.

It took three more years of heartache, of hearing lies about my family before I finally realized what was going on. That I could leave. That it was enough. That I didn’t have to take it anymore. People divorce. We make mistakes when we’re young. We don’t always choose well.

But I am so grateful that my family stuck by me. Even when I hurt them. And didn’t really deserve it.

I left them. They never left me.

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