By Tania Rochelle
I was 45 when I had my first D-Day. My nest was half empty, but I still had a nine-year-old and a sixteen-year-old living at home. I remember well those long days when I could barely force myself out of bed. I'd get my youngest off to school and myself to my teaching job, and move through the hours in a post-traumatic haze. It was difficult to function at work, and even the most routine household tasks felt like skills I had to learn all over again. My life before discovery lay in shards around me, and I had never done anything in this new life I found myself in. Everything was a first: first time facing a class full of young adults, first trip to the grocery store, first goodnight kiss for my third-grader who had no idea that her mother had been changed forever.
This month, I turn 56, and I am so grateful to be alive and full of joy, grateful to have a peaceful home and a loving partner who wouldn't know how to gaslight if I lit the lamp for him. There was a time I didn't think I would make it, a time I did't want to make it, a time when I'd fall asleep praying I wouldn't wake up. I didn't want to live in a world where I could put my faith in someone for 20 years, raise children and build a life with him, share a bed and my plans for the future...and then find out he was an imposter, that he'd been playing me the whole time.
The pain was indescribable. The story itself was impossible to tell back then. As my friend Diane Strickland used to say, Something happened to me, to which I would add, and I will never be okay. But I am okay, and so is Diane. In fact, she is one of my partners in this new adventure. We are thrilled to be able to offer you what we didn't have ten years ago: a safe place to commune with other women who are going through this fire. I mean really commune, not just sit in a circle for an hour, then go have coffee.
We expect that the friendships you'll form will sustain you as you continue putting one foot in front of the other on the way back to wellness. And you'll have us, a small corps of knowledgable veterans who want to help make sure you don't lose your sense of personal agency to someone else's recovery. We are ready. We've done our own work; we have found ourselves again and created lives we never thought possible when we were slogging through the swamp of that massive betrayal. We are proof that you can get to the other side, and we want to help you get there too.
We're offering these long weekends for resting and healing, and for gaining the skills and wisdom you need to move forward and find wholeness again. We have chosen beautiful locations and spaces, and we're attending to every detail to ensure that you feel valued and cared for.
Sweetwater Retreats have been a long time coming. Now we can't wait to meet you.