It comes in all forms. It can be unexpected or a long-time coming. Whichever way it goes, it’s always hard and always a very emotional process; no matter if the end result is for the best. After living life beside someone for so long the detachment process gets more complicated. My husband and I were officially divorced in January after separating last August. Our divorce was unexpected, even for me, and I am the one who initiated the conversation. I had everything I needed to be happy, yet I wasn’t. It didn’t make sense and it was a very scary and overwhelming time. It was also the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I remember our conversation and how we both cried and I remember the moment he decided to move out, not knowing what the future might bring. None of it seemed real at the time and now, months after that conversation, sometimes it still doesn’t. Sometimes I find myself living life, doing the most mundane task and thoughts of my previous life come into view. What would I be doing right now if I hadn’t drastically altered my future, his future?
I thought long and hard before making the decision that we couldn’t be together anymore. It certainly wasn’t an easy one and one that I will feel the consequences of for the rest of my life in a lot of ways. With that decision, I also lost my connection to Europe and Spain, a place that feels like home to me-that is home to me. I also lost the two best in-laws and best brother and sister-in-laws, grandmothers and cousins that a person could ever hope to have in their life. I lost the chance to go to Spain every summer and visit them and to visit the very dear friends I made all those years I lived there. In an instant, when the judge signed our papers, all of that was gone.
I still have my friends of course and I am extremely fortunate that my ex-husband and his family have been so kind and so understanding and have made it very clear that I will always be in their life. That means so much. I’ve also written about my mother-in-law on this blog, in the past. She was in every sense my mother during those years. She took care of me, loved me, accepted me, travelled with me, cooked with me, learned with me-she was my best friend and in my heart, always will be. I am so grateful that she still feels the way she does about me because her love and her grace are helping me to get through this hard time. It is priceless that she has been open and accepting, knowing everything, and loving me anyway.
Divorce is like a death, a death of the life that was once yours, a death of your partner who was once by your side. It is grieving and it is being nostalgic for the past and for the future that you won’t have with that person. It’s crying for no reason while doing the laundry and it’s an ache in your heart for the life you once lived. It’s not being able to listen to certain songs or watch certain movies or even say certain words anymore. It’s realizing that you are not that person’s soulmate any longer and that you’ve hurt the person you loved. It’s getting up everyday and dealing with the knowledge that your life is growing and changing and there isn’t anything you can do to stop it. It’s putting on a brave face when you have friends who have stopped talking to you and responding to your messages, who treat you differently than they used to because they don’t agree with the choices that you made. It’s knowing that you did nothing wrong and that you are still the very same person they knew and loved the day before all that happened but-what can you do? These thoughts haunt you at night or even during random moments on an idle Tuesday when the crushing realization hits that every single thing in your life has been altered and you are the sole cause. It’s knowing in your heart of hearts that even though you made the choice to separate, it was due to reasons and circumstances out of your control and it doesn’t feel fair but you know it was the right thing to do.
Divorce is not being able to be 100% who you were before and trying to bridge that gap between who you know you are, who you were and who you will be. In my case, divorce also means learning how to live on your own, by yourself, after being with someone for so long. It’s rediscovering that independent woman that existed and who was alone in the world before she was married. It’s figuring out your life and your path and feeling like a twenty-year-old again; discovering all the possibilities.
Divorce also means living your true life, being happy in it but realizing that your previous other-half is living their life too, with someone new, someone who you hope appreciates them and loves them. But it is also feeling your heart ache and your eyes get hot with tears at the thought of someone else getting to be with them everyday and being angry that the only reason they get to be with that person is because you let them go. But it’s also knowing that they might be happier too, and that gives you comfort.
And yet, you get up and you express gratitude for the one you are with and you receive the compliments and what you know is truth from people who tell you how brave you are and how resilient you are. You go to sleep and you know that you made the right choice and you know it is right because it was extremely hard but you did it anyway. You thank your lucky stars everyday for putting someone in your life who understands you and who stays with you every step of the way because they love you and even with your baggage and the hard transition, they hold your hand and tell you it’s going to be ok. This new life means anything is possible now. This new life means anything you want it to. This new life means getting to know and to grow to love someone else and being so grateful that you got to meet them and their family and friends and that you might just get to live life beside them. This new life means the ability to hope for a future that is right for you and one day, even in the darkness, seeing the light that is the hope and possibility that you might even get married again one day. This life means a whole new set of adventures next to somebody that you care about and the excitement of loving them. This life is beautiful and messy but exciting and fun and full of adventures. This life is one that you were maybe meant to live; a second life, another life. A reincarnation.
Every situation is different, no one is the same. The one thing that is constant throughout all of this is that it will be okay in the end and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. I am thankful and grateful for each day that I wake up and am a part of this crazy, messy world. I try and see the positive in every situation, try to see the goodness in everybody and the goodness in myself, even if it hurts.
So whatever you are going through in life, lean on your friends, communicate with each other, tell the one you love how much you love them, be true to yourself, try not to judge other people when you don’t know their battles and don’t let them judge you or make you feel bad about who you are. Still continue to let love in because at the end of everyday, love can make everything ok again.