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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Broken Promises...Broken Vows


The four of us have been as close as sisters for most of our adult lives. We have shared heartbreaks, heartaches, and cried together so many times I would never be able to count. We have shared our family troubles, our individual joys, our collective laughter and overall good times with each other. In other words, we have been down in the valleys and up on the mountain tops holding hands, praying or celebrating and not one single time has any of us had to be alone whether in sorrow or in joy. That is why three of us from our sisterhood are feeling side-swiped, confused and hurt...so very hurt over what we have just discovered about our dear friend Helena Clayton.

We knew about the extramarital affair she had been involved in for a while now. She never did try to hide it from us. She told us about how this man she had met had expressed interest in her and she was going to take him up on his offer to have lunch. After a few causal lunches with him, she admitted to us that he had told her that he wanted to become more intimate and that he was falling in love with her. I guess it could have been sheer excitement, the thrill of an adventure or just a death wish on her part that made her agree to cheat on her husband. She was falling hard for this man named Griffin McCoy.

It certainly was not because she was a neglected wife; real or imagined because anyone who personally knew Stanford Clayton knew of his unwavering devotion and his deep love for his beautiful wife. And he loved her just because she was who she was to him and not because she was an exceptionally beautiful and sexy woman. Now that I take stock of this situation, for the very first time in the history of our friendship, I am beginning to realize that Helena had a whole other side to her personality, and I'd wager that neither Claudette or Bonnie had a clue existed.

Stanford had snapped when he came face to face with the bitter truth about where his wife was spending her afternoons, and recently a couple of entire weekends. He had been duped not only by the woman he was married to...supposedly for life but also by a man he had called friend. True, Helena was really unaware that her husband and her lover knew each other.

 He never let on that he knew Stanford beyond speaking with him when he was at the Audi dealership (of which he was part owner) shopping for Helena's new car that he bought as a surprise birthday gift last year, when in fact he had played golf with this man and had attended several professional basketball games later that year at his invitation. When Stanford and Griffin found out they both had the same favorite NBA team, they became fast friends as a love of sports will do for most men.

Helena suffered several lacerations and bruises, a concussion and a broken arm and collarbone; souvenirs from the violent outburst and subsequent fight between her and Stanford. He has been arrested and is now out on bail pending a court appearance. Their children and grandchildren are devastated, embarrassed and hurt, as well as bewildered. They cannot imagine why their beloved Mother would cheapen herself and stoop to an affair while being married to the most wonderful man on the planet.

And worse they are still trying to wrap their head around the fact that their Father...a man who was always like a solid rock for the family, had never laid a hand on any of them growing up, and rarely raised his voice at anyone could become this angry monster who in a fit of rage nearly killed his wife.

When he realized what he had done, Stanford called 911 and reported the whole thing himself. He didn't resist arrest when the officers took him away. Fortunately for him, his attorney was already at the jailhouse and saw them bring him in, and it was not on a weekend so Stanford was able to arrange bail expeditiously. His attorney and long-time friend called Claudette because he knew that out of the four of us, Claudette and Helena are the closest.

We have been to see our sister in the hospital and have done our best to be cheerful and supportive of her at this time. We still love her no matter what. That's the depth of our friendship for each other, and when she is released she is going to stay with Claudette for a few days until all of this sorry mess can be addressed.
Til death do us part. How many couples repeat these words to each other in sincerity and in what we know at the time to be an unfailing love?

These words are meant to refer to natural causes in the life cycle, or circumstances that are acts of God. How many couples are faced with the realization that sometimes it can come from their own hand or the hand of the one they love? Love is a many resplendent thing but when it takes a wrong turn on an off ramp of lies and deceit it can be a very, very dangerous...thing. 

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