Written by DeAnna Erdmann
I don’t think that I have lived the best day of my life yet. I can feel in my soul that it is just around the corner, though, so I’m hopeful. I have lived wonderful days. Days that have lifted me and distracted me from what life was throwing my way. The great days that I have experienced have all been haunted by undertones and currents of pain and heartache. In truth, though, it is these moments of beautiful suffering that have genuinely formed me into the woman I am today. Maybe the hurt and the destruction can be recognized as the best days of my life because they have been the most influential.
I had just tucked my 18-month-old daughter into bed and settled down to call her dad, my then-husband. He was an over-the-road trucker, so our only actual contact was by a phone conversation. I was trying desperately to be the mother and wife he wanted me to be, but somehow I wasn’t making him happy. Despite all my concerns, I was determined to be happy and excited when I talked to him.
I dialed his number and listened to the rings, each ring somehow causing my stomach to sink deeper and deeper into my toes. He usually answered after one, but I counted seven so far. Just when I was sure I was going to voicemail, he clicked into the call.
‘Well, hello yourself, handsome.”
“DeAnna stop, I can’t stand to hear you try to make it better.”
“I said stop… I can’t do this anymore. You are miserable… you make me miserable. The thought of coming home to you makes me sick to my stomach. I want out. I’m not coming home to you anymore, and I’m going to move my stuff out this weekend. Stop crying!”
I put my hand over my mouth to stifle the sounds that were involuntarily coming from me. “Please, don’t do this,” I begged.
“Don’t do that… don’t beg. Get a hold of yourself. God, you’re so pathetic, and this is why I can’t stand you.”
I held on to the phone for several minutes before realizing he had hung up.
Stunned, I couldn’t think or feel the pain. I slowly crumpled to the floor. Laying spread eagle on the old blue carpet, I died that night.
I could feel the shell of the girl that I was breaking away from my body. Out came all the fear I felt of being alone. The anger at the way I had been talked to for so many years poured out of me. All the hurts at being ignored and mistreated pooled behind my eyes and spilled out in waves. Sobs cleansed me of the girl I used to be. I screamed out the loss of her broken dreams. I mourned her hopes for her daughter’s happy future. I said goodbye to every part of the word “future” that touch on the girl that I was, and I did what I could to acknowledge that the word “future” didn’t disappear, just the girl’s version of it.
That night, I did die on the old blue carpet, but I also took the first steps to learn to live. I cried out to God and leaned into the truths I knew about myself. The sobs slowly stopped shaking my body. As my eyes spilled the last of their tears. I began to breathe again. It wasn’t the breath of a happy life yet, but it was the breath of a fighter. I had to die that night so that I could truly live, and as hard as that night was, it was one of the best days of my life.