Table of Contents
- Firmly Planted In a Man’s World
- I Fell In Love With My Friend
- I had A Void Inside Me
- “I Escaped to a Fantasy World”
- “I Really Thought It Was Normal”
- “Deeply Entrenched in What the World Teaches”
- “Being Married by the Water”
- “I Got Swept Up in Motherhood”
- “I Must Start Paying Attention”
“Firmly Planted In a Man’s World”
As I am sitting here writing, I am a divorced woman and a mother of two beautiful children. I am at peace and full of joy. After so many years of searching, I finally came home. I am finally where I needed to be all along—in the loving arms of my Husband, my Heavenly Husband. My journey to this place that feels like home started more than three years ago, actually nine years ago when I first found out about Kevin’s adultery. However, my Heavenly Husband only got my full attention more than three years ago.
But let me start at the beginning, to where I met Kevin...
It was the first day of July, a cold, sunny winter's day here in South Africa. It was my first day at my new job, my second job since I graduated. I studied Electronic Engineering, specialising in Automation and Instrumentation. My dad believed that I must go and study after I matriculated (when you finish school here in South Africa) enrolling in a college or university. I had no idea what to study and the day he took me to enroll, I basically flipped a coin. Unbelievable, I know, but that is how it happened. I fell into engineering, but I quite liked it and did quite well. I studied hard and after I did my three years theoretical training, I had to do one-year practical training at a company before I could graduate. I got offered two training positions very quickly and accepted the one in the town where my parents lived.
After I graduated the company offered me a permanent position and I worked there for almost two years. I was young, single and ambitious, bought my first townhouse and was on top of the world. A woman breaking into a man’s world, leading the way for other women to follow.
Then I decided it was time to expand my horizons and applied for another position at a prominent international company. They made me an offer I immediately accepted, a new and exciting opportunity for me. The company was in another town, but not too far away that I couldn’t drive in and out every day. My plan was to eventually sell my townhouse and move to this town and buy a new property.
Everything was planned and organised and that cold day in July finally arrived….
The first two days were just inductions, like safety procedures, company history, things like that. To my surprise somebody else started with me that day, he introduced himself as Kevin. We had to go through the inductions together. We were both appointed as Electronic Technicians, but in different departments. We studied at the same tertiary, third-level institution, but didn’t see each other because he started a year later. I didn’t pay much attention to him, nothing about him really caught my attention. We were going to sit in the same office, but work in different departments.
I was now firmly planted in a man’s world; the only female in an office full of men, working with the different Plant Engineers, Operators and Tradesmen. But for me it was no problem, yes I was young and single, but I was there to work and prove myself, not to get a husband. That was not one of my ambitions in life, or let me rather say, at that stage, it was not one of my ambitions.
Kevin and three other guys were single. I found out a bit later that Kevin was in a serious relationship, but because I had no interest in him, it didn’t phase me. I befriended another guy, John, and we became very good friends. John and I started to go out together, but always in groups, never on dates, then I later found out he was not interested in women. It broke my heart because he was such a great guy and I’d actually fallen for him. But we remained friends, we partied together, always drinking. I worked hard during the weeks so over weekends, we partied just as hard. Although we partied and drank a lot, I didn’t have a boyfriend, I was happily single, having a lot of friends, independent and successful.
Kevin and John were also friends, but he never partied with us because he would go home every weekend, to his parent’s house, and to visit his girlfriend. He stayed in a small flat during the week because his parents stayed in another town. Sundays they went to church twice, and Kevin helped with the sound in the church.
Although we worked together, and we all got along very well, me and Kevin were worlds apart. We became friends in a way, but nothing more than that.
“I Fell In Love with My Friend”
The first year at my new job passed by quickly. Due to the nature of my work, I had to do standby every second week, and I had to move closer to work. I eventually sold my townhouse and rented a flat, but I never bought another property closer to work.
Over time Kevin and I became good friends, but I never developed any interest in him other than a friendship, and I always respected the fact that he was in a serious relationship. Over weekends, I either partied with John or I went to visit my parents.
I was also required to work some weekends when there were big projects, but it didn’t happen very often. Kevin’s department had to work at least two weekends per month, but he never worked over weekends because he always went to visit his parents and his girlfriend. I worked normal dayshift hours and Kevin worked shifts, so we didn’t see each other than at work.
At some stage things didn’t go well with Kevin’s relationship and one evening he came to visit me and I could see something was wrong. He told me that they broke up, he didn’t think that the relationship was working, so he decided to rather end it. I was quite shocked because I thought they would get engaged at some point. After the breakup Kevin had a brief relationship with another girl, but that didn’t work out very well. He confided in me, and I was there for him as a friend.
Kevin also started to work every second weekend because it became a problem for his colleagues that he never worked over weekends. On the weekends he worked, he didn’t go home to visit his parents.
Things changed, one Friday Kevin asked me to go and watch a movie with him. I agreed, thinking nothing of it. I also worked that Saturday and didn’t have other plans. At some point during the movie he grabbed my hand and held it during the rest of the movie. I was shocked to say the least. I did not expect it, we were just friends after all. When he took me home he kissed me goodbye and that is when our relationship began. I fell in love with my friend.
I met his parents a while later; his mother was friendly, but his dad liked me a lot and wanted me as a daughter-in-law. Things went well between us. Then came the first heartbreak. Kevin stopped by one evening like he normally did, but he was very serious—he told me that he must go back to his long-time girlfriend, that it was the right thing to do. My heart broke in pieces. I really fell in love with him but I let him go.
Soon after there was another guy pursuing me; he was a personal trainer at the gym I went to. So I moved on very quickly to try to forget about Kevin, and it kind of worked. I was putting a band-aid over the hurt.
When I saw Kevin at work I just ignored him. I was angry at him for hurting me in such a way. We were friends and he spoiled it, he should have just left me alone. But I continued with this other relationship while Kevin’s relationship became more serious.
One weekend John told me that Kevin was going to get engaged the following weekend. It hurt me but I just got more involved with the other guy, trying to forget. After the weekend, Kevin came to me and told me about the engagement. I was able to congratulate him and moved forward.
During this same period of time, my mother suddenly passed away. I went through a difficult time for a couple of months, but I buried all the pain and continued with my life as normal. But all the pain would come back to me later…
Time passed and while Kevin and his fiancé were planning their wedding, I started to look for another job as far away from Kevin as possible. Then something happened that I didn’t expect. About two or three months before the wedding, Kevin came to me and told me that he loved me, that he would call off the wedding if I would take him back. But I couldn’t, I told him that I cannot be responsible for calling off the wedding, and that I would always wonder if he thinks of her or regrets his choice. I told him if he wants to cancel the wedding, he must do it because it is what he truly wants to do and not because of me.
I got a new job and moved away while Kevin’s wedding accelerated.
“I had A Void Inside Me”
On Kevin’s wedding day, I moved to the city 100km away. I started at my new job, but suddenly I found myself all alone. I was far away from my friends and family. I had no friends there and this new job was a disaster from day one. I still continued in this other relationship, but it started to fall apart, and I knew deep down that it wouldn’t work out in the long run.
On weekends I would either go to visit John, or I went to visit my father and brother. I rarely stayed at home over weekends because the loneliness would get to me. And in this loneliness a lot of hurt from my childhood (up until my mother’s death) came back to me; an incredible hurt I never really dealt with and I locked away somewhere in my heart.
For a while I tried to suppress all the hurt that came back. I tried desperately to keep it locked up, but in the end it just got too much for me to handle. Within a year, I found another job even farther away, it was a management position with a very good salary. I had a void, an emptiness inside me that I was trying to fill, and I was searching for something or someone to fill it.
The first two days at this new job I cried so much; I just felt lost, not finding a place where I belonged and could be happy. The other relationship finally ended and that broke me even more. No, not because I loved him that much or even because of the relationship, it was more like the final nail in the coffin for me to finally face all my childhood pain.
As far back as I can remember, I always knew there was a God. I never doubted it for one second. As a child my parents always took us to church,and when we went to visit my grandparents, they would always take us to church. I went to Sunday school and eventually did my confession of faith to be adopted as a member of the church we belonged to, which enabled us to take communion.
But although I knew God was out there somewhere, it never occurred to me that maybe He is what I needed in my life. I guess I always felt like He was there for others, not for me. I did not receive any love and affection as a child from my parents and I guess it spilled over in how I viewed God; a God that sits on His throne—just waiting for us to do something wrong in order to punish us. I did not see Him as a loving God filled with mercy.
When I finally faced all my hurt, I did the only thing I thought I could do, I went to see a psychiatrist. When she did not help me feel better, I went to another one, and she booked me into a psychiatric hospital and perscribed a lot of pills for me to take. But after three days I told her I did not belong there. I threw away the pills and made up my mind that I would not follow in my mother’s footsteps. But one good thing came from this, the second psychiatrist was a Christian lady and she started to plant the seed in my heart that God is my Healer and my He is my only Hope.
Even though the seed was planted, I still couldn’t get to a place where I started to look to Him to heal me. But He was there, always knocking, always waiting for me to open my heart to Him. Yes, I read my Bible and my daily devotionals. I prayed and I cried out to Him, but it was like there was always a wall between us, something that prevented me from fully surrendering to Him.
Now, looking back, I know it was all the hurt and all the pain from my childhood that had hardened my heart. As a child and into my teenage years, I used to lock myself in my room over weekends to escape the reality of the things that happened in my parent’s house. Sad things that no child should see or go through. And that was exactly what I did with my heart, I locked my heart away and that prevented me from having a relationship with God. I tried desperately to fill the emptiness myself, but I couldn’t.
My earliest childhood memories were happy memories; we were a normal family. We went to church and we did a lot of normal things as a family. Everything felt and seemed normal. When I was born my dad was studying towards his doctorate degree full time, my mother was a teacher and she supported my dad in his studies (my dad had a bursary, a scholarship, and that is how we survived financially.
After my dad finally graduated and received his doctorate degree, he was offered a very good job at a company in the town we stayed. My mother was able to stop working and became a housewife. My parents started to attend a lot of work functions together, but my dad also attended a lot of work parties alone and and that is when he started to drink. They also had friends they used to go out with, and something happened there that changed everything. Until today I don’t know what it was, but something happened that changed my parent’s relationship. I do remember fights about a blonde lady, but that is all.
Over time, my dad started to drink more and more, not just at work parties, but also at home. At one point he was admitted to hospital and I guess he was there to get sober. Afterwards he didn’t drink again, not that I can remember, but he applied for another job and we moved to another town. And that is where things turned really ugly.
Before I continue to the next chapter, I must add something here. I feel led to include things that happened in my childhood in this novel. It is not my intention to speak badly about my parents, I’m thankful I’ve reached a place in my life where I can think of my parents with love and understanding. I realize that things happened in their lives that caused them to do what they did and I forgave them completely. But maybe there is somebody out there who went through something similar and it is my hope and prayer that my story might help them, while trying to remain as discreet as possible.
“I Escaped to a Fantasy World”
After we moved to the new town, things went well for a while. My dad had a well-paying job as the head of the laboratory for a fertilizer manufacturer and my mother continued being a housewife, she didn’t want to go back to teaching and didn’t need to. We were a middle-class family staying in a new four-bedroom house in a good neighbourhood. My brother and I were still in primary school at that stage and we quickly settled and made new friends. Everything seemed normal on the outside.
Sundays my dad would take us on field trips to museums or sightseeing, he loved teaching and showing us new things, always expanding our general knowledge. Those were the good times I remember and treasure in my heart because at some point things changed again.
My dad befriended the company’s representative and he went with him to visit farmers to sell and get feedback about the fertilisers the company produced. Afterwards they would go to pubs and my dad started to drink again. First only during these visits, but later at home over weekends as well. I used to dread weekends because my dad’s drinking would lead to fights between my parents. Later these fights became physical, with him hitting my mom, and later she started fighting back. Over weekends I locked myself in my room, escaping into a fantasy world where I played with my Barbie-dolls. My brother disappeared over weekends, playing outside or going to his friend’s house.
Then something happened that I couldn’t really grasp or understand at that age, I was about 10 years old. One Friday we went to visit my dad’s friend, the representative, which turned out to be a drinking party as always, I stayed over that evening because I was friends with their daughter. The next morning my dad phoned to say he was on his way to pick me up because something happened. On our way home he just told me that my grandparents came to visit and he hit my grandfather. I couldn’t understand why but when we got home things started to unfold.
My mom and my grandparents (her mom and stepdad) all sat in the living room and I could see everybody was crying. They called my brother and me in and then started to tell us what happened. My mother’s biological father died in a car accident when she was about 3 years old, my grandmother married again very quickly to a man I got to know as my grandfather. I knew him as a Christian man, but it turned out he was not always like that. They had two more children, my aunt who is my godmother and my uncle. When my mother was still a child, he abused her, but not his biological daughter. My mother didn’t tell anybody what happened, not even my dad, and that weekend they came to visit because my grandfather wanted to ask my mother’s forgiveness, although he repented and became a Christian some years before. That was the day my dad found out what happened and in his anger he hit my grandfather. I never knew abuse even happened in real life and couldn’t really grasp the extent of something like this happening to somebody. I have heard about it, but as a 10-year-old I did not understand the impact it had on a person or the hurt and pain it caused the victim of this horrendous act.
Within a year after this event my grandmother passed away suddenly, I took it very hard because she was my rock, the only normality I knew. Over school holidays my brother and I went to visit them and that was my escape from what happened at home. That was also the day I lost my mother, not physically, but she changed after that, it seemed like my grandmother’s death threw her off the deep end and she started to fall into depression, and started to use antidepressants to cope with all her hurt and pain.
Things continued like always with my dad drinking over weekends and the physical fights. Soon it was time for me to go to high school (secondary school). The weekend before the school started, I stayed at my best friend’s house who lived down the street from us. That Monday the two of us would go to town to buy school supplies, but we had to stop at my house to get money. As I opened the front gate I could see something was wrong because some of the windows facing the gate were broken. I thought somebody tried to break in because when I went inside there was blood everywhere. It turned out that it was my parents fighting the previous evening, my mother had a black eye and somewhere in the process my mother pushed my dad and he fell into one of the bathtubs, hitting his head on the tap, cutting open the skin on his forehead, at that stage he was at the hospital getting stitches. I never felt so embarrassed and angry in my life; here I was standing with my best friend, two days away from starting high school, witnessing what happened the previous night. We just turned around and walked out. Outside my friend told me that I did not have to feel embarrassed, that she understood because the same kind of things happened at her house, which I never knew because things like this are kept quiet. Later that day her mother took us to buy school supplies, she and my mother were also best friends, I guess they comforted each other being in the same situation. This is one memory that I can still recall vividly because of the impact it made on me.
That is how my high school years started, and things didn’t really get better. My dad went to rehab a few times and eventually, he did stop drinking, he also stopped visiting or going out to see clients with the representative, but at this stage, my mother started to drink on top of her taking antidepressants.
“I Really Thought It Was Normal”
During my high school years I noticed that my mother drank and took a lot of pills each day. I didn’t think anything about it, I thought it was a adult thing; once you become a adult you start drinking, taking pills for everything from blood pressure to depression. During high school I made more friends and when I visited them, I noticed the same thing, everybody seemed to struggle with depression and was on medication for everything, so I really thought it was normal.
At some point my mother was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she stayed for two weeks. During that time, she received electroshock therapy or ECT. Apparently, they use this kind of therapy for severe depression or bipolar depression when the patient does not react favourably to medication. At that stage, I thought if it helps, then its probably not a bad thing. We went to visit her a few times and she seemed to be doing very well.
After my mother was released, she functioned normally, or at least it looked like it: she cooked every day, she went to visit her friends, she went for creative sewing classes, she saw to it that we had everything that we needed and she even started to go to gym—so nothing seemed off in the way she went about her normal day-to-day life. Unfortunately underneath the depression was still there, a very real part of her life, so she needed all the pills to function.
Things went okay for a year or two, my dad didn’t drink anymore, my mother went about her daily life, but there was clearly a rift between my parents. My mother didn’t want anything to do with my dad, or so it seemed. They treated each other very business like, there was no affection between them. My relationship with my mother also became very strained, she blamed me for everything, or that’s how it felt. I remember she stormed into my room one evening, after I asked my dad for something that I needed, and she started yelling and hurling insults at me, but it was the hatred in her eyes that stuck with me for a long time.
After a while I reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and I unfortunately started to fight back. The two of us couldn’t be in the same room for long without fighting and yelling about something. That was our relationship for many years and later, I just avoided her as much as possible.
After a while my mother met another couple and they decided to start a small business from our house. My dad was not happy about it, but my mom made up her mind and they continued with this crazy idea they had. This couple would come over once or twice a week in the evenings and then they would drink wine while they worked. During those times my brother, my dad and I would just go to the living room and say nothing. Luckily it didn’t last very long, but drinking wine in the evenings rubbed off on her and it became a habit. During the day she functioned normally, but in the evenings, she would drink a few glasses of wine, go to bed and sleep until late the next morning. I think the mixture of the wine and all the medication caused her to sleep a lot and she would go into a incredibly deep sleep, nothing could wake her, and it was best to just leave her to wake up naturally.
During my second to last year of high school, my dad got retrenched because the factory he worked for closed down. After he was laid off, he didn’t struggle to find another job, and so to help we had to move to another town. I was busy with my record exams, which is very important exams before your final school year, so I had to stay behind and go to boarding school to finish the year and also matric to enter a university. I quite enjoyed my time at boarding school. I only went home once a month and school holidays; I didn’t really miss my parents during that time, because I didn’t miss the drama. But my mom took moving to another town very hard, and she missed me a lot. I think despite the fact that we didn’t get along, she loved me very much, but due to her own struggles she didn’t know how to express her love for us. The time apart did help our relationship a bit, but it only healed completely later on.
My mother really struggled to adapt to the new town, although she was closer to the family. The depression medication she was on for years, were suddenly discontinued. After that, they prescribed many different medications, but nothing seemed to work and she fell deeper and deeper into depression, drinking more to kill the pain inside of her. After I completed school, I moved back home to study at a tertiary, geology institution. There were universities and colleges in that town, so I was able to study from home, but it came with a lot of drama.
My mother had to go for a hysterectomy and afterwards she just gave up, she didn’t take her hormone replacement medication, or her depression medication. She just drank from the time she woke up, stayed in bed and didn’t want to live anymore. We all tried in our own way to reach out to her, only to be met with hatred and anger. It continued like that for years. She went to a psychiatric hospital again, but it didn’t help. She stopped doing anything in and around the house like she always did. I took over the cooking and everything else in the household. During all of this my dad just kept quiet. He tried whatever he could to help my mother, but nothing helped because she didn’t want anything to do with him, or with me and my brother.
After I found the job I shared about in chapter 1, I went to visit my parents at least one weekend per month. During those weekends, I could see that my mother tried to be normal for me, but the relationship between my brother and mother took a turn for the worst at this stage and was never restored. Then things took a weird turn. My mother asked my dad for a new car, and when he got her one, she started to get up, dress nicely and went to town to buy herself new clothes. She went to visit friends and family, phoned me regularly to tell me how proud she was of me—she even looked for godparents for me, although I took care of myself. That Christmas she really tried to make it enjoyable for us as a family and cooked and sat with us to eat.
That following January my world shattered. It happened on a Friday afternoon. I was going to visit my parents for the weekend, and I was looking forward to it since my mother had changed so much. I had to wait for a colleague to pick something up before I could leave and while he was there, my dad phoned me. He told me my mother passed away, she was not feeling well during the day, and when he went to the room to take her to a hospital, she was lying on the floor. We discovered she had heart failure. I couldn’t believe it, I phoned my aunt because they didn’t know yet and they came to pick me up because I was in no state to drive. I just cried and cried for more than a week non-stop. I couldn’t believe that I just lost my mother after I’d just gotten her back. On the day of her funeral, all my work colleagues, including Kevin, came through to support me, so I tried to put up a brave face, but I was broken.
After a while I just buried the pain and I continued my life as I mentioned before. Looking back, I think my mother knew she didn’t have much time left and she tried to make the most of the time she had, and why she tried to fix our relationship. I also believe the way I was being held up due to waiting for my colleague on the day of my mother’s passing, was the Lord’s way of protecting me, otherwise I would have been home when she died, and He knew I would not have been able to handle it. My brother got into a fight with her earlier that day because he was discouraged with the situation and he left, never to see her alive again.
“Deeply Entrenched in What the World Teaches”
After my mother passed away, I moved to the city to get away from Kevin, and went through the stage where I looked for help from psychiatrists and eventually decided that I would not follow in my mother’s footsteps by dealing with all my hurt through medication. I slowly got to a place where I made peace with everything that happened in my childhood, sadly, however, it was more me doing it in the flesh than seeking healing from the Lord. Although I read my Bible and prayed, I did not think of Him as my Healer because it always felt like there was a wall up between the Lord and me. In my mind, I had to be strong enough to deal with everything and get over the hurt and pain myself. I knew praying and believing would help, but most of my healing had to come from within myself, or so I thought. And for the most part, I felt I succeeded in this. Looking back, I can only see how deceived I was.
My dad’s health rapidly deteriorated after my mother passed away, he had back problems and was on strong painkillers, and on top of that, he tried to kill his heartache with alcohol. He started to drink again every day, throughout the day, so much so that he lost touch with reality. During this time, I tried to visit my dad and my brother (who stayed with him to look after him). Later, we made the decision to put him in a fragile care unit because my brother was working all day and couldn’t take care of him. It was something I felt guilty about for a long time, but because I “had” to work and stayed, living far away from him, I couldn’t take care of him. I told myself visiting as much as possible was enough.
I accepted the situation I was in, living alone far away from my family and friends, I started to enjoy my work and just made “peace” with my situation. At the same time, I still visited John every other weekend after I got over Kevin completely and didn’t think about him anymore. John just told me Kevin also resigned and moved to another town after the wedding. But it didn’t bother me, we had no contact so I moved on. One weekend while I was visiting John, we went to look at a new complex in that town, and I decided to buy a townhouse to rent out and to have a place should I one day decide to move back. Deep down, I wanted to move back to that town.
The desire to move back grew stronger and stronger so I started to look for a job closer to that town. I quickly found one and the day they finished building the townhouse, I moved in. It meant I was closer to my dad and could visit him every second weekend, and I was able to visit John more often and party like before. But deep down my desire to get closer to the Lord grew. I started to also help my friend, Amanda, in her salon because I took parttime beauty courses and a personal trainer course while I was staying all alone in the city. Not long after I moved, the company I worked for started to suffer financial losses, which meant I was let go because I was last in. But I already had a good client base at Amanda’s salon and also had personal training clients, and because I really enjoyed this new direction my life took, I decided to stick to it and see where it led.
One weekend while I was visiting John, he told me that he saw Kevin at mutual friends and they spoke a bit. Apparently things weren’t going well with Kevin’s marriage. I just listened, but it hadn’t make any impression on me, since I moved on.
A couple of months later, John and I got into a car accident; a guy skipped a four-way stop and crashed into the side of John’s car. His car was wrecked, but miraculously neither of us got hurt, although we were taken to hospital to be examined. The next day there was a knock on my door, when I opened the door it was Kevin. He told me he’d heard about the accident and just wanted to check up on me, then he said he was never able to forget me. I was a bit shocked and didn’t say anything. After about 15 minuntes he left, and I didn’t see or talk to him again for a couple of months.
At that stage, my life consisted of working at the salon and the gym. I trained to compete in a fitness competition and partying with John over weekends. As I mentioned in a previous chapter, John was gay. Yes, that was my life at that stage, I did not have a boyfriend and just lived my life. In my mind, I was a Christian so I accepted John and what he was. I did struggle with it for a long time, but came to accept it, although I knew it was wrong. Deep inside I had the desire to get closer to the Lord, but I was so deeply entrenched in the ways of the world. Although I hated alcohol due to my childhood, I would drink over weekends when we partied, and drink a lot. But praise the Lord, it never became a daily habit or something I would use to help me cope.
One of my regular nail clients always spoke to me about the Lord; most of my clients were Christian ladies who shared their faith easily. It wasn’t strange that everybody in the salon would talk about the Lord. There was one elderly lady in particular who I loved listening to; she was also the one who many years later confirmed what I thought I heard the Lord share with me when my marriage crisis hit. Spending this much time with ladies sharing their faith so easily and openly, rubbed off on me and it increased my desire for the Lord, but I couldn’t completely cut the worldly ways. I was always pulled back. And the fact that it always felt like my prayers bounced off the ceiling, didn’t help either.
One Friday afternoon, while I was busy working on a clients nails, Kevin came into the salon. He was also friends with Amanda and somehow knew I was working there. He just came there to see me, and although he was talking to Amanda, he was staring at me the whole time. He wasn’t there for very long before he left. Again I didn’t see or talk to him for a long time, and it honestly didn’t phase me at all.
The next time I saw Kevin was at a party at John’s place, he came to talk to me and told me he already filed for divorce; he was just waiting for the court date that was already set. He said he really tried, they even went away on a cruise to try and work on their relationship, but nothing worked. They did not have children and that is why they decided to simply end it. He again told me he was never able to forget me and that he always loved me.
Just writing this makes me realize how deeply entrenched I was in what the world teaches. I thought divorce was okay, it is something that happens sometimes, I had no idea what the Bible teaches about divorce and remarriage and nobody said anything because almost everybody believes it’s okay, it's sometimes needed or necessary. And after his divorce we became seriously involved, and all the old feelings came back.
“Being Married by the Water”
After Kevin and I became seriously involved, he lived in his house in another town until he sold it. Because we both worked during the week, I only saw him on weekends. He was employed in the town where he resided. It didn't take long for the house to sell, and he began looking for residences in my town to buy. He also received a job offer from the company where we both worked when we met years ago. So everything was coming together. We'd both be working and living in the same town. Kevin was searching for engagement rings in order to get engaged as soon as possible.
We made the decision to take a midweek break and vacation to the beach one weekend while he was staying with me. We visited a sizable shopping center while there. As we passed a jewelry store, we noticed that they also made rings. Although we had a general notion of what we wanted, we were never able to find the specific ring. They promised to have the ring ready before we departed for home after we made our diamond selection, and sure enough, the day we left, the ring was ready. Kevin went to get it since he had a certain manner that he wanted to propose and didn't want me to see it. However, he made the decision to stop as we were driving along the shore, and he took me for a walk on the beach where he proposed. I accepted right away. There was no question in my mind that he was the one for me since it just felt so perfect.
We made the decision to move in together after returning home because our wedding was only a few months away. We immediately began looking for venues and discovered a lovely hotel on the riverbank. It was perfect; I had always dreamed of being married by the water.
My aunt (my godmother) immediately stepped in and started to arrange everything for our wedding—the flowers, table settings, everything. We basically chose our wedding clothes and asked a friend of ours, who was a singer and music teacher, to sing in church. We were very relaxed about the arrangements; everything my aunt suggested, we agreed to.
But then tragedy hit—something that changed Kevin and almost broke him. His dad was over the moon when we got back together and was looking forward to finally becoming a granddad. But three months before our wedding, he had a heart attack and passed away. I will never forget that day. Kevin and his dad were extremely close; his dad was his hero and kept him on the straight and narrow. I will never forget that evening. I was still busy cooking dinner when Kevin received the phone call from his aunt. They were all at the hospital, where his dad was rushed and where he eventually passed away. Kevin wanted to drive there immediately, so I shut the stove off and told him there was no way he was going to drive there alone in his state. It was the fastest and scariest ride of my life. Kevin cried non-stop for the next three days; nothing could console him, but I just stayed by his side and tried to do whatever I could to be there for him.
After the funeral, we wanted to postpone the wedding for Kevin's mother's sake, but she insisted that we go ahead with the wedding plans and stick to the date. So we went ahead with the plans, but Kevin was missing his dad and still struggled to come to grips with his dad's passing away. Looking back, I can see that he never recovered from the shock or came to accept his father's death. It was something he always struggled with.
At that stage, my dad was very sick; they suspected that he had leukemia and a brain tumor, but his health deteriorated so quickly that he was never tested or diagnosed. But although he was very sick and skinny, he still agreed to walk me down the aisle.
During the time leading up to the wedding, I prayed about it a lot. As I shared before, I did have a desire to build a relationship with the Lord, but I was also still entrenched in the ways of the world. I knew marriage was forever and divorce was not an option. I asked God to give me a sign if it wasn't His will for us to get married, but nothing happened, and we got married. Kevin surprised me with an idyllic island honeymoon; everything felt like a dream.
My father died three months after our wedding. Although I was upset and devastated, it didn't effect me as much because we had anticipated it. He was admitted to a fragile care facility before his death, and I sat next to him the night before he died, holding his hand. Despite the fact that he was unconcious, I was able to say goodbye and tell him all I needed to tell him, and I prayed for him in my own way.
For two years after our wedding, things went very well. Yes, we had our ups and downs, disagreements, and the occasional fights, but nothing serious. Kevin asked me to apply for a job at our old company; I was still working at Amanda's salon. I applied and received a job offer I couldn't refuse. So Kevin and I were both working at the same company again, but in different departments. This time I was also required to work shifts, but it was not a problem; we just arranged our shifts in such a way that we were always on the same shift. Later on, this would be our downfall.
“I Got Swept Up in Motherhood”
After two years of marriage and maybe a bit of pressure from my mother-in-law, we decided to start a family. I stopped using birth control, and within two months, I fell pregnant. We were so excited; it felt so surreal. I never thought I would one day become a mother.
I must admit that I was hesitant to become pregnant. I was scared that I would turn out like my mother. After the blood tests confirmed that I was pregnant, I felt uneasy. I had all these doubts deep inside: Will I be able to be a good mother, do I really want to be a mom, or am I doing it to please others? Am I ready to be a mom, how will this affect my life and will we be financially able to raise children? The doubts lasted for about two months into my pregnancy, but slowly, I started to accept the fact that I was pregnant, and I was determined that I would not be the same as my mother.
Kevin went with me to each appointment; he made a point to always be there with me, even if he had to take off from work for an hour or two. At about 12 weeks, the ob-gyn told us it looked like a girl and confirmed it at 16 weeks. We were both very excited. Kevin's dad always wanted a granddaughter since he never had a daughter; he only had two sons, Kevin and his brother Ray. Deep inside, Kevin and I were both a bit sad that his dad and my parents had passed away and would not be there to see their first grandchild.
During my first trimester, I didn't really struggle with morning sickness; certain smells did not sit well with me, and I struggled to eat certain foods, but I actually felt pretty good throughout my first and second trimesters. I gained a lot of weight because I suddenly wanted to bake, and I baked cakes and tarts almost every weekend. I still went to the gym and exercised during my pregnancy with only a few adjustments. I also continued to work shifts; there was no opportunity for me to work normal hours, so I had to push through; we needed the money after all.
During the last part of my second trimester, my blood pressure started to rise. The ob-gyn was worried and placed me on medication to keep my blood thin. He was also worried about my weight, but even though I tried to eat better, my weight just climbed. I was very bloated and had to wear wider shoes because my feet were so swollen. My blood pressure kept rising.
Kevin and I went to prenatal classes together, where we were prepared for a normal birth, but ultimately, we did not have a choice. During one of my routine checkups in my third trimester, they picked up blood in my urine, and I was immediately admitted to the hospital in order for them to monitor the baby and me. I was told a natural birth would be too risky, so the ob-gyn booked a c-section for the expected due date. I was released from the hospital after three days with instructions to take it easy until our baby girl's arrival.
When I went for my last appointment before my date, the blood count in my urine test was too high, and the c-section was moved forward two weeks. We went home and had to be at the hospital early the next day for the c-section.
It was a bit scary, but Kevin was there the whole time, holding me upright and straight while they injected the epidural and also during the procedure. Our beautiful baby girl was born; despite all the difficulties—it was a wonderful experience for both of us. During the three days my daughter and I were in the hospital, Kevin was there the whole time.
After we got home, I was on four months of maternity leave. It was a difficult and beautiful time adjusting to parenthood. Kevin went back to work after a week. In South Africa, dads only get three days of paternity leave, but Kevin took two days extra.
As I got swept up in motherhood and life with a newborn, I’m thankful Kevin was supportive and understanding. But as my maternity leave came to an end, we had to make a decision regarding work and shifts. Because our shifts were eight hours each, for a total of 16 hours per day, we decided to work opposite shifts. Our daughter, Elaine, had to go to daycare during the day when one of us worked (normally the other one was then on nightshift and had to sleep), but we wanted her to be at home during the evenings and at night. We did not want her to have to sleep at somebody else's house when we had to work, and since my mother-in-law stayed in a different town, she couldn't help us. It was only supposed to be an interim solution, but after two years, it started to take its toll on our relationship because we didn’t see each other, we were like ships passing in the night.
“I Must Start Paying Attention”
After Elaine turned two years old, I decided I wanted another baby. Initially, I only wanted one child, but suddenly I had the desire to have another baby. Looking back, I don’t think I actually asked Kevin how he felt about it. I just told him and stopped taking birth control. We were so far apart because we worked opposite shifts, as I shared in the previous chapter. Kevin talked to me many times about how I had changed and that I did not give him any attention, but I always justified it. I always blamed it on being tired because of the shifts (I couldn't sleep during the day and had to take sleeping pills) and because of us not seeing each other. But I knew I didn't give him any attention; Elaine was my everything.
Again, I fell pregnant very quickly. Just like my first pregnancy, Kevin went with me to the ob-gyn for every appointment. At around 16 weeks, we found out it was a boy. The ob-gyn started treating me early for high blood pressure because I suffered pre-eclampsia with Elaine. But just as my first trimester came to an end, I got bronchitis, and for the rest of my pregnancy, I was sick. I was admitted to the hospital twice and placed on eight courses of antibiotics. On top of that, my blood pressure started to rise dramatically during my second trimester.
Although Kevin went with me to all the appointments, he was distant and not very supportive; it almost felt like he blamed me for being sick the whole time. As a result, we grew even further apart during this pregnancy.
Because of all the complications I experienced during my pregnancy, I again had to have a C-section. Everything went well, and Joshua was born. Joshua was a healthy boy, and after two days, we were released. But after two days at home, Joshua became very fussy and couldn't settle down; he did not cry, but he had to be held to sleep. The moment you put him down, he’d wake back up again. Needless to say, we did not get a lot of sleep, creating more tension between Kevin and me.
After four months, I went back to work, and we stuck to working opposite shifts. Kevin suddenly developed a desire to work for himself; he started a plumbing course and got his Red Seal as a qualified and trade-tested plumber very quickly. We found a franchise opportunity for a plumbing business, and he resigned to start the franchise in our area while I continued working. The plan was that it would eventually enable us to get out of the shift situation we were in.
The business started slowly because the competition was stiff, but soon people started to notice Kevin's ability, attention to detail, and perfectionism. He got more and more contracts for maintenance work at estate agents and complexes. But he changed a lot during this time, and at some point, it felt like the Lord told me to start paying attention to him and start doing things together. It was a wake-up call, so I started to give him more attention and looked for things we could do together, but he seemed uninterested.
Then, one week before Joshua turned one, my world fell apart. I was busy planning a birthday party for Joshua, and the invitations had already been sent. I was working the morning shift, and that Wednesday at around midday, there was an outside call coming in on the office phone. I can remember it being a local number. Because it was the office phone, I picked it up. A lady asked if I was Adina, and when I said yes, she just told me that Kevin and a lady at the gym, Celia, were getting very cosy and that I must pay attention to what was going on. I chose to believe Kevin when he told me nothing was going on between them, but unbeknownst to me, Celia's husband also received an anonymous call. This forced a confession out of Celia. He found my number, and that Friday, he called me to tell me everything that he knew.
I was in shock, and Kevin finally confessed to everything. Without saying anything, I took the kids that Saturday and left. I canceled Joshua's birthday party and went to visit my brother. I just had to get away. All that I was thinking about was that this means we must get a divorce; that is what should happen, right? If your spouse cheats on you, you must get a divorce; there is nothing else that can be done in a situation like this. Still unsure of what to do, the children and I went back home. It was late afternoon when we arrived home. Kevin's car was in the driveway, but all the lights were off. Something was wrong. When I opened the front door and immediately saw Kevin lying on the floor, unconscious.