A divorce should be the end of the story, right? It wasn't.
Three months after my final court hearing I found out there was another story playing out parallel to my divorce proceedings. Approximately six months after I filed for divorce he was arrested by a police detective posing as a 14- year-old boy on the internet. My husband had been "talking" with this "boy" online and eventually traveled about an hour to meet him for oral sex. When he arrived, he was met by the local police department...think "Dateline: To Catch a Predator" without the TV cameras. He was arrested and charged. He was convicted as a sex offender the week before our divorce was finalized.
I should not have been surprised. Eventually his actions were bound to escalate. I was shocked and saddened but glad he had been caught. I had worried about people he might hurt, but never had any specific knowledge or evidence that I could take to law enforcement or children's services. He served 30 days in jail and had to register as a sex offender. Now I knew why he dropped any requests for unsupervised visitation with our son. I was incredibly sad that it came to this, but I did have a sense that justice had prevailed.
But that was still not the end of the story.
It was now almost four years from the day I found the list, two and a half years from the finalization of my divorce. My furnace had a crack in the heat exchanger and had to be replaced. I had taken the day off work to get quotes since it was October and getting colder every day. The mail came and I saw an envelope from the Child Support Enforcement Agency. My first reaction was that he had finally lost his job (I had always expected this to happen) and child support would be ending. My only thought was NOW? When I needed a $4000 new furnace? When I opened the envelope, I stated reading a motion from his attorney to end child support due to his death. WHAT? His death notice was attached. I cannot begin to describe how this news affected me. I was distraught. I cried from the depths of my soul. But I was also relieved. It was finally over.
Over the next few weeks I was able to confirm that he committed suicide, read the police report and his suicide note. I got some answers. Basically he had created a new life based on the same lies and it was unraveling beneath him. Even in the note he played the victim, took no responsibility for his actions and made hurtful comments towards me and his son. It was sad.
I never wanted him to end his own life, but I was not surprised by it. He was a sick man and he refused to get the help he needed. Even if he would have sought out help, I am not sure he could have gotten better. In some ways, his death finally gave me some closure. He was no longer out there. I did not have to keep wondering if he would show up some day and try to see our son. I did not have to think about what he might be doing. It was over. Really over.
It has now been almost two years since his death. I have been able to grieve his death and my loss in a different way. I have been able to allow myself to remember some of the good things about him. I have been able to continue to move forward.
The whole thing is unreal. And tragic. But it is real and it is part of my story. My story is part of who I am, but it does not define me.