To say that I have been going through a hard season would be an understatement. Having no previous first-hand experience with my marriage crumbling and dissolving, I have not known what to expect, at all. I remember vaguely standing on the sidelines when my parents’ marriage ended, but that feels like asking someone to do open-heart surgery when all they have ever done is watched a video of the procedure taking place. Of course, there were many well-meaning talks from family members and a few tips given from a place of love. But let me tell you – nothing can really prepare you for the stormy water you enter the moment your mind settles on the fact that you will no longer be able to call that familiar place, that familiar person, that familiar setting, yours. Never mind the storm that is unleashed when the thinking becomes reality.
What makes this season even harder is the fact that you are busy grieving something and someone that is not physically gone. Unlike death, when you know they are gone and will never come back, separation and eventual divorce (especially when there are kids involved) simply means the death of a relationship. With ample “opportunity” to walk into the ghost of your past. And every time you get confronted with that ghost, it stirs up emotions.
Depending on where you are on your journey, as well as how good or bad the relationship was, those emotions can be positive or negative. And there is almost no way of knowing, right up until the second when you experience them. Most of the time too late.
It is a constant up and down. You experience it all – anger, sadness, anxiety, being afraid, uncertainty, joy, hatred, regret. And just as you move through one, the next one will pop up. Most of the time uninvited, and totally out of order.
Another revelation? You will find yourself missing the past. Not because you are sorry it ended or want to try again or anything like that. You will miss the good times (unless it was an abusive relationship, there most certainly would have been good times), you will miss all the firsts you had together, the person you used to be, the dreams you used to have. Because all of those things disappeared when the decision was made to end it.
I am now in month 8, and I have been at a point where I thought I was getting better, actually moving on, about 3 times. That is how confusing this time can be. Just as you think you are healing, another wound or memory or feeling is scratched open, meaning more time needed to get through it. If you do not have the patience, this process will kill you.
What scares me the most is the fact that I am now only going through the separation, and being cognisant of the value of words and labels, I know I will go through it all again when we reach the point of actually getting divorced. So much fun is still to be had!
Taking care of my kids through this time has been my saving grace as well as my kryptonite. Sometimes you need to be able to crumble into a ball and cry yourself to sleep. But when you co-sleep with 2 very clingy and uncertain kiddies there just isn’t the time nor the opportunity for self-pity. Which is a shame, since I passionately believe a certain degree of self-pity is needed in order to successfully move through any healing journey.
8 months in, yet it feels like yesterday. 8 months in, yet it feels decades away.