Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Day the Switch Got Flipped

Please welcome our new Sunday writer, Melinda McDonald...thank you so much for sharing your love, your loss, and your unique story with us.

I will never forget the day.
It was August 12th, 2008.
Our 3 year wedding anniversary.
Out of nowhere, my husband (Seth) tells me he doesn’t love me anymore and wants a divorce.
I was floored.
We were happy. We rarely had problems or fights.
Yet, he didn’t love me anymore.
Shortly after that, he moved out and got an apartment by himself.
I knew something was wrong with Seth. He wasn’t “Seth”. He was some strange guy I didn’t know. He didn’t look the same, talk the same, he even walked differently. He was just so different.
Every time I would ask him if he was ok or wanted to talk about anything, he would say he was fine.
We started marriage counseling. For three months we went weekly.
Our weekly counseling sessions were the only time I saw him or talked to him.
I did weekly personal counseling as well.
Our marriage counseling always revolved around what I was doing wrong in our marriage.
If I tried to talk to Seth about what I felt he was doing wrong or could improve on, he would get furious and leave our counseling session.
In marriage counseling, I listened with open ears and an open heart. Listening to all the things I had done wrong. I tried to become a better person, friend and wife. I worked really hard on myself, trying to find my own faults, and hopefully come out a better person.
In counseling, he would bring up times that I asked him to help me clean. That he worked too many hours at work, to help clean (I worked full time too). He brought up the time I asked him to not buy fast food because we couldn’t afford $10.00 on fast food. Things that made no sense to me (and it was completely ridiculous to me that we were in counseling talking about hamburgers), but I figured if it bothered him, then I would listen.
After three months, I realized that no matter I did, “I” was the only reason for our marriage failure.
I accepted that no matter how I tried, Seth wasn’t willing to look at himself, and in his eyes, everything was my fault. I realized there was nothing more I could do.
I went to our last marriage counseling, with plans of telling Seth I was filing for a divorce.
I wanted to be in a safe place to tell him this and I knew with my counselor there, it was the best place to tell him.
When I got to counseling, Seth was there already.
But he wasn’t waiting in the waiting room.
Seth and our counselor were already in the room, which was out of character for our weekly meetings.
When I walked into the room, Seth was crying.
Through the three months of counseling, he had never once cried.
I was totally shocked, but knew what I needed to do. I needed to file for a divorce and start rebuilding my life. I couldn’t listen to how badly I messed up our marriage anymore, when I knew the damage wasn’t one sided.
I sat down next to Seth. He had his face in his hands and was hysterically crying.
I didn’t touch him or talk to him. I just sat there.
Eventually my counselor broke the silence.
She said “Seth has something to tell you”.
I figured he had filed for a divorce or was having an affair.
What came out of his mouth, I never in a million years expected.
Seth looked at me and said “Melinda, I see dead people and hear voices. I realize now that our whole separation was over what’s going on in my head and there is nothing you have done wrong.”
He continued “Every night, a dead woman that is missing her legs, tries to crawl into my bed. Even though I know she isn’t real, she’s VERY real. She’s not a ghost, she is a dead human being”.
I was so shocked.
I had walked into counseling expecting to tell Seth I was going to give him what he wanted – a divorce.
Now it all clicked in my head and made perfect sense.
It made sense why he was so different.
Why he was no longer the person I married.
He was just an empty shell of a man.
I decided I would stick by his side, get him medical attention and hopefully the man I married would return to me.
After all, I believed “Through sickness and health, till death do us part”.
To be continued next week!


  1. Wow Michelle! oh the suffering on both of your parts. It must have been so confusing and so painful. I don't know where this story leads but it has brought you here. Thank you for sharing this very personal story.

  2. Wow. You go to counseling from a place of strength. You believe and stay true to your marriage vows from a place of strength. What a strong woman you are. I can't wait to read next week.

  3. Unfortunately, I do know where this story goes. I'll read along anyway because I support you. I won't ruin it for everyone, I'll just say you're strong and I know, KNOW what this type of story does to a person. Way to stand up and be stronger than you feel.

  4. Your story and your strength will be of such benefit to so many who read Widow's Voice. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Melinda.

  5. You have my support and understanding. I personally know the same pain you are (were) going through.
    Thank you for opening your heart to us.

  6. Such a compelling story! I think I share a similar story, but I won't know until I hear the whole tale. Thank you for your courage to share it with others.