Stories of Us – Annabelle
Stories of Us is a regular feature on the Mom-Spiratonal Blog, where ordinary men and women are acknowledged for their extraordinary lives.
Annabelle is a friend of mine. She is a tad older than me, with 3 daughters – two of whom are grown – and has been dealt her fair of an ugly hand over the past decade of her life. Her resilience, ability to laugh, and perseverance to survive heartache – make her a hero in my eyes.
Since Annabelle was a little girl, all she dreamed about was a family – of being a wife and a mother. When she met the man of her dreams and got married, they went on to have 3 beautiful daughters. They lived in a nice house; she took care of the home and the kids, and kissed her husband every night as he came home from work, feeling grateful that she was living her dream life.
Then one day, out of the clear blue sky, her husband wanted a divorce.
He left her no choice. He didn't want the children. In fact, he wanted NOTHING to do with the children. He stopped calling them by name, and he left, just like that. She realized later that his ‘business trips' to Mexico were not business trips at all and that he had spent the last 10 years with another wife, creating another family. And he decided one day that he was going to choose them – with no explanation, no warning, no nothing.
Then, he disappeared. Just like snow flurries are here one minute and gone the next, so was he.
Leaving her broke, leaving her with three young girls to take care of, leaving her with lots of unanswered questions, broken dreams, squashed hopes, pain, a broken heart, and confusion. Bank accounts were closed, her car was repossessed, she didn’t have a job and had no idea where her next meal would come from. Even the law couldn’t help her since her husband had literally fled the United States, unable to be found.
What Annabelle did have was courage and love for her girls.
She suffered long and hard to make a life for her kids, and still today – things aren’t easy. Her ex husband showed up a few years back after being gone for so long with the sole intent of taking custody of his daughters that he hadn't spoken to in years. She won that battle, and in turn was able to procure some sort of settlement for the decade of abandonment. Yet still, he refused to look her in the face, explain his actions, apologize to his children, or acknowledge the 15 years that they spent together as husband and wife.
Annabelle works two jobs and was accepted a few years back to an RN program. She rarely sleeps, yet her daughters are happy, her home secure. She still goes without an awful lot of things in order to make her and her daughters’ dreams come true. Her ex husband has not spoken to her since the day he woke up and left, leaving her without any sort of closure. There are days she still mourns the loss of the life that she loved so much, but she never ever allows self pity to keep her down for long.
This August she will be graduating and already has a job lined up. Her daughters are now young women, astounding human beings – who have seemingly lived happy and fulfilling lives in spite of their father’s actions. Because their mother refused to be a quitter. Because Annabelle refused to lay her broken heart down on a pillow and stay there. Because even though she didn’t know where to start over, she knew she had to.
To me, Annabelle is a hero. A role model for her daughters. A survivor of such bizarre circumstances that it would make the perfect primetime Lifetime movie. Even today, she occasionally has a tear to wipe away from her eye – but she does with the knowledge that while she can be hurt, she cannot be broken.
Background image via Flickr/Patrick Hoesly