If you’re ever in a relationship where there are adverse issues, sometimes it feels like divorce will be the option to resolve things but instead you swap one sort of pain for another. Divorce is not the easy option.
These are three words that still reside in my heart, even after four years of physical separation and fifteen months of being officially divorced. If you asked him, he would say it was ‘over’ long before he left the house… I would probably agree but for ease of reference I’ll use the poignant dates of exit and divorce as my memory markers.
A few days ago I received a text which disturbed my peace. Please don’t get me wrong, it was not sent with that intention at all but nevertheless I still felt a pang of hurt at what was shared as it was information that further solidified the split. I use the word split because divorce is the separation of two parts that were once fused together. If you can imagine two pieces of wood being glued together and being in that situation for years… as time goes on, the adhesive begins to fix firmly and there is nothing much that would make you think that it wasn’t one whole block of wood. When divorce happens, its like tearing those pieces apart and no matter how careful you may be, there will still be remnants of one piece on the other. So with divorce, no matter how amicable it is, there will always be something of each left on the other, sometimes taking years to erase if ever at all. So with that being said, when things happen even after years of being apart sometimes it will still hurt. It’s like a scab that had started to form over a cut being ripped off, rather than falling off naturally, exposing a wound not yet fully healed… in fact it’s still bleeding.
So why do I still feel like this? Is it because I loved hard and I was fully committed and that I didn’t make the choice to end the relationship? Is it merely because I’m a woman and I feel things more deeply? Is it because I’m soft? Is it because deep down I still want reconciliation/restoration? Actually, do I even want that? Am I envious that he is moving on so swiftly in his life? Is it because my life has been filled with lots of other trauma since our separation? Is it because my mommy, my go to person, is no longer ‘here’ for me to share this with? Is it because I’ve just lost my dad? Or is it all of the above mixed up together? Or none of the above, just part of bereavement?
I just don’t get why I feel this way sometimes… in fact it irritates me that it still gets to me… and it seems like there’s no one that I can turn to who would understand. You see, I’m not looking for someone to remind me of how much better off I am without him (how he was) in my life… or for someone to try and give me all the positives as to why this is a good thing… I get it already, I’m not dumb! (pardon the expression) I just want someone to understand how I feel and give me permission to feel it.
You see divorce grief is pretty much the same as death grief. Having experienced both, I would say it’s worse to be honest. However people don’t seem to allow you to experience it in the same way. If four years on, you have a moment of sadness over the loss of a 20+ year marriage, you’re expected to be ‘over it’, especially if both of your lives have ‘moved on’. However if it were the loss of a close friend, a sibling, a parent or a family member people would empathise with the fact that you will still sometimes feel a pang of pain for the loss of that relationship. It seems so unacceptable to be grieving over the loss of a relationship especially if it wasn’t even 100% positive.
So what do I do? How do I cope?
I ride the waves (allowing myself to go up and down with the emotions)
I cry (I mean I sob)
I write (that’s what you’re reading now)
I talk to myself (I do a lot of that)
I say a prayer (sometimes find it hard so it’s usually only a few words)
I search for a relevant scripture (thank you bible app)
I find an encouraging, motivational quote (thanks Google)
I dry my tears, brush myself off, reframe my mind, fix up, stand tall and face the world again… with a smile. After all, the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased… But it can be accepted.
Anyway like with all grief, this is just a stage… I’ll be ok!
Thank you for sharing and expressing a feeling from a real long term marriage. It’s right to feel the feelings and only this year i learnt divorce or break up is a grief, it’s a loss of the person. I didnt know the dates- but you’re definitely still out here looking fabulous when i see you. I’m glad the end of that didn’t take you out as you’ve definitely become stronger, more resilient and a host of other qualities. Although we don’t want to say because it makes a bad end have a good meaning when we sometimes just wanna be upset.