Divorce: The Day After
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” … Truer words could not be penned when describing the disposition I had to take immediately after divorce some 3+ years ago. I can barely describe the hollowness I felt back then. Something in me died. I didn’t know it then, but I had actually experienced the tragic death of a loved one so dear and true to me: this person was the “we/us-in-me” that developed through the oneness of marriage over the previous 6 years.
I’d been asked by a number of people the same question: “Didn’t you see it coming?”. It is indeed a very insensitive inquiry. You don’t even ask that question of someone who is mourning the death of a loved one whose pending death was known. Neither should you ask that question of someone going through the process of divorce. (To the numb-nut that would ask that question, I say: don’t do it bonehead!). Why? It doesn’t make any difference once one spouse has already made up their mind to leave. (Stop being nosey, and be supportive.)
Divorce is a tragic death, and it is the damnedest thing.
The ugly truth now was there would be no “growing old” together. “Our house” no longer existed. All shared dreams dissipated. Simply put, divorce was and is death. Whether you are the divorce-initiating spouse, the responsive spouse, or even if there is mutual consent, the result is death. As of marriage, two lives had become one. As of divorce, that “one life” is torn apart, and dare I say, on a spiritual level rings true the culmination of marriage, “’til death do us part“, however, not according to plan.
As for me, I did not want divorce. So, when faced with this death I felt hate, hurt, vengeance, bitterness, and more. I was weighed down. I’d cry until my head pounded, and eyes could barely squint. Admittedly, I wanted to punch “him” in the face. I wanted him to get hit by a bus so all my problems would suddenly disappear, because that’s how things work (right?) . Yet, while dealing with a whirlwind of emotions, I had to somehow continue to function as a Mom (that’s right, capital “M”), and maintain productivity at work. I had to restructure finances, as there were a number of expense items to address. Daycare had to be paid. I had to figure out how to manage the mortgage of 2 homes, and pay a $10,000 home improvement debt. As a woman accustomed to sharing a home with a man, I was now concerned with the safety of my home in his absence. My chores increased as I assumed my new, unanticipated, unwanted role. Things were a mess, and so was I.
Self-medication, so to speak
During the day I was in a complete fog, and couldn’t see beyond the next hour. There was no “pass-interference” with the care of my son. I had to continue to be strong and not let my son be affected by what he observed in me. I had to maintain normalcy for him… feed him, sing to him, play with him, pray with him, comfort him. My tasks were many. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t afford to just crawl up in a ball and cry.
Sometimes I’d use my vacation time to just sit in the movie theater all day (my personal therapy). There were plenty of sleepless nights; the light-weight that I am would easily address insomnia with a glass of white wine (my special personal therapy). When the wine didn’t work, I’d just lay on the floor and moan, and pray, and cry, and moan some more (my super, special personal therapy), barely getting sleep, and waking up just in time to start the foggy day again.
I was already experiencing the death of divorce, so my only alternative was life. To find life, I had to be strong. I was strong, sure, but had been “going strong” all alone. It was only a matter of time before I couldn’t maintain it all.
Soon I began to lose my hair, and I lost weight (and for those who know me, I can’t stand to lose an ounce!) When I’d pick up my son from day care, I’d arrive to his classroom, and just sit there — in a daze. I did this repeatedly. Observing me each day, my son’s teacher finally said to me, “You don’t have to do this alone”. She was right. Being strong on my own just wasn’t enough. Something had to give…
IF YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW HOW I FOUND LIFE AFTER DEATH — overcoming the whirlwind of emotions, dealing with the financial dilemma, continuing as a successful Mom and more, subscribe to this blog. In the meantime, share with a friend, and/or leave a comment. Let me know you’re “listening” …
Posted on April 20, 2012, in Life After Divorce, You Know You're A Real Mom When... and tagged Divorce Care, Finances and Divorce, Lehigh Valley Divorce, Life After Divorce, Single Moms and Divorce. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.