I have a hard time separating the pain of my mother's death and my husband's betrayal because both occurred within a matter of months. And both left me reeling.
My mom was my rock, especially after D-Day #1. She was the first person I called and the only person who, I think, truly understood the depth of my pain.
And then, just a few weeks after D-Day #2, when I learned that my husband's affair wasn't one but many – and over many, many years – I lost my mom. Suddenly.
I felt utterly bereft. I still do much of the time.
And my world looks so different.
There's something about betrayal, however, that's different. That alters your world view in a way that routine death doesn't (and by routine, I simply mean the end of a life by natural means at a time of life when death is, somewhat, anticipated). Betrayal rips the glasses off your face...and replaces them with lenses that change your view of...well...pretty much everything.
On the one hand, you might see beauty in things you didn't much notice before. Your children's faces seem more precious. Your mother's aged hands stronger.
On the other, the world looks so much more sinister. People's smiles might be insincere. Seemingly happy relationships could be hiding treachery.
And there's no way of turning back. Your view is forever altered and it's up to you to determine which direction you want to face.
Though it has been an excruciating lesson, it was one I needed to learn.
These days, I'm far more clear-sighted about many things. I appreciate how fragile life is and understand how crucial it is to cherish every moment with those we love. I also have far lower tolerance for dishonesty and deceit. My friendship comes with the condition that you must treat me with respect and decency. If you don't on any occasion, friendship is withdrawn. As a result, the friendships I've developed post-betrayal are deeper. Gone are the friends whose discourtesy I tolerated and whose dishonesty I shrugged off. I won't bother with anyone I can't respect. It's a boundary I wish I'd had in place years ago...but it's there now.
So yes...the world looks different. Not necessarily better nor worse. But certainly clearer.