Last fall what I affectionately refer to as my “Un-Divorce” finally became FINAL after a mere seven and a half year process. Initially I was jumping for joy and popping the bubbly because this Mama was hot to trot and ready to prowl! By December and contrary to what I thought was “normal”, I felt like I had been hit by a Mac truck. There were so many emotions seeping to the surface, then like a toddler they were whining for my undivided attention. Darkness surrounded me and I was breathless. I was speechless. Why were these emotions surfacing again and so intensely?
I surrendered to my grief.
Seventeen days of rain and the sappy movies on TV made me feel worse, you know the ones where the woman always finds her happily ever after? Her life gets tied up with a red ribbon in less than ninety minutes. Snotty nosed and spotty faced, the result of chronic ugly crying episodes, I left the safety of my couch only to restock the essentials; Cookies and Kleenex.
To add fuel to my emotional pyre, this was the first year neither one of my sons would be home for Christmas. Here is the visual…….No shower for three days, so I was sticky, snotty and spotty AND on a sugar rush. Not a very pretty picture, even in cute pajamas.
GRIEF….. Unless you have experienced divorce, you may not be able to understand how much it REALLY sucks. Divorce is on the list of the top five stressors in life (death, divorce, moving, job loss and serious illness). Not only was I struggling to get divorced for seven years, I moved three times, struggled with clinical depression and changed jobs twice after a lay off! And I might as well add the stress of being a Modern Day Mother. (Thank God I survived to bitch about this.)
(Thank God I survived to bitch about this.)
It is not like my “X” died – in fact in some ways that may be easier! I wouldn’t have to think about him with his new girlfriend or his white carpeted pied-a-terre. (actually the list is quite long but I restrained myself to the top two on my list!) My grief meant I was letting go of my happily ever after and facing the future alone.
My body vibrated with fear. Most of my critical voices are female but this one was definitely male. It bellowed, “Will you grow old alone? Will you ever find true love? Will your sons be impacted by the divorce and never have healthy relationships? You are pretty old to be starting over.” on and on an on…….
While treading the muddy waters of the last decade, I learned that two things would be important in order to keep myself healthy and my mind present.
- Give back—volunteer. Find a way to help others and practice kindness.
- Commit to self-care and not only cultivate “My Girlfriend Voice” but let her flourish!
Following MGV, I researched various types of “letting go” ceremonies and decided that instead of focusing on failure, I would celebrate my INDEPENDENCE. I would write a goodbye letter to close the marriage chapter of my life then burn it. Surprisingly, it was an easy task as the words flowed onto paper and filled me with a sense of calm. My thoughts didn’t even take up a whole page but their message felt complete.
I drove over to the house we shared knowing no one would be home on Martin Luther King Day. I sat in my favorite spot in back yard and read my letter out loud to the Universe. Crap! I forgot to bring matches! Luckily I found an old book in my glove compartment.
I settled in again, read the letter out loud and three matches later, I let it burn. The wind carried most of the ashes away. I left the others in a pile with the burnt match; so symbolic of my grief; a little goes away and some always stays behind.
As I walked back out to my car, I knew I was going to be alright. Letting go would make room for compassion by expelling the negativity. Then I saw the police car blocking the drive way. Crap! It would be just my luck to get arrested for trespassing on my own personal Independence Day!! The officer was actually attending to a situation in the school yard next door and waved to let me know he would quickly move his car out of my way. Phew. Arrest averted!!
Are you curious about my letter? I am happy to share it with you and in return I hope you will share with me ways in which you have dealt with divorce and feelings of grief. Please comment on my post!
No experience is ever wasted. I am writing an ending to this valuable chapter in my life. I am thankful for the experiences which led me to strength and that I can identify my self-worth.
I am capable of love despite the harsh reality that we didn’t complement one another nor were we able to support and respect those differences.
I am thankful that I can demonstrate my growth and happiness to my sons. It is not too late.
I remember telling you I felt like a flower with no sun. Now I feel the sun on my body and I have become a garden.
I am releasing myself from this pain, sadness, disappointment and frustration so that I can move on with my life.
I am a delightful, beautiful, engaging, authentic woman and I am celebrating my resilience and strength.
Martin Luther King Day is the celebration of a great man, his vision and his courage. I don’t stand in the same league as MLK but I love the idea of coupling my personal celebration with his holiday. I will remember that despite difficult times, change is not only possible, but worth it.
From the heart,