“Giorgio and I were married after being engaged for three years. As our relationship grew we thought of having a family.
A few years later we had a wonderful daughter with a slight malformation of the heart. I was happy. I felt that her birth had united us even more. But a year later while in hospital for a regular check-up, she died suddenly. It was horrible. I was overcome with darkness and angry with God for having taken away what was most dear to me. My husband supported me, without his love I would never have made it.
A year later Sofia was born and we were happy again. Later we adopted a boy. As the years went by, I noticed that Giorgio wasn’t at peace, he wasn’t involved with the children. Even though he loved them very much, he left decisions about their lives to me. One day he decided to leave his job and begin some new activities. So we began to spend time with other people, most of them single who enjoyed travelling the world and keeping late hours.
At first I tried out of love to follow my husband in this lifestyle, but then I realized that I didn’t have anything in common with these people and so, little by little, our lives began to follow different paths. I knew that my husband loved me and the children, but he was troubled and searching for something. I thought we could use some help as a couple, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said there were no problems. Meanwhile his business deals were failing, also because he was surrounded by people who had no scruples.
One day he decided to leave us because he “didn’t feel like being a father anymore,” even though he still loved us, he needed to find himself. I couldn’t believe after so many years together it was all going to end like this.
I wasn’t able to think, I felt desperate. What hurt the most was the sense of failure, and I felt like it was my fault. It was a difficult period: during the day I tried to be strong for the children who were 11 and 14 years old, but in the evening all the suffering would come pouring out along with a thousand questions. What will I do now? Will I be able to raise my children at this delicate age of their life? I tried to make them feel that I was near and that their Dad loved them, even though he was rarely around.
I didn’t go out with my friends anymore, they all had families and I was alone. The only thing that kept me going was the love for my children, our relationship deepened and grew. My family was also close to me, even though after a while they began to tell me that I was still young and could begin a new life. But for me matrimony was still a sacrament, even if my husband was no longer there.
Then someone invited me to a Focolare event for couples experiencing separation. Surrounded by so many people who were experiencing the same pain, I felt loved and accepted, and our friendship united to journey of faith that we were sharing together helped me to overcome my sense of failure. I experienced for myself that love is greater than suffering, I realized that I was still a sacramental sign and, whenever I received the Eucharist I felt that Jesus was saying to me: ‘I will never abandon you!’ This gives me strength each day to stay faithful to the yes that I said on our wedding day, even though civilly we are separated. I know I’m not alone because God is with me and helps me to look at my life the way He sees it: with all his love and mercy.”