Divorce: Not always the easy option 

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.

Rejected

Abandoned

Unloved


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)

Then…

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!

What a feeling!

mixed-emotions-2

It’s just over two weeks since my fiftieth birthday. I’m still pinching myself at the thought of the number of my age. I actually find every excuse to mention my age. “It’s because I’m fifty” I responded to someone who complimented me on my dress at work yesterday! A totally ill suited answer, however, like I said, I’m finding any reason to mention my age. I’ll probably get bored of it soon, but for now I’m basking in the high that I feel from reaching this milestone year. Please read my last (first) blog post ‘Gratitude’, if you haven’t done so already, to understand what I’m talking about.

Anyway, this brings me onto what I really wanted to share with you today.

I was watching the insta-story of one of my favourite bloggers Ty Alexander-Williams @gorgeousingrey on Instagram or www.gorgeousingrey.com and she used the word ‘Multi-emotional’… Is that even a word? But as she was talking about her feelings on the day of remembering her Angel mom in heaven and celebrating her current wins in life, I instinctively knew what she was trying to express and resonated with that feeling. You see, at the moment, as well as having this new lease of life and excitement for the future, I also have other things happening in my life that are a complete contrast to all the positives.

Multi = many : multiple : much, more than two, more than one
Emotional = having and expressing strong feelings

To put some context to what I’m trying to say, let me reveal a little of my life.

People who know me know that my mother suffered a stroke almost two years ago. She had a massive bleed to the brain, spent months in hospital and has gone from being an active, sociable, ‘never in the house’, ‘always helping others’ mommy to one who is unable to walk or stand, unable to sit unaided, incontinent, lost all use of her left side, limited ability on her right side, has seizures, has short term memory challenges, aphasia and is generally a shadow of her former self. As a family we have been caring for her at home 24/7. She has improved in some areas over the course of the last 20 months but in general she is still completely dependant on all of us. During this same time period, our father’s health has declined severely. Bear in mind, he already had health concerns in the form of: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems and he has a GIST. Unfortunately, the impact of Mom’s sudden ill health really ‘knocked him for six’ emotionally which manifested itself in this severe decline in his physical health. Honestly if I was to write about life for us as a family now, it would be another blog post all by itself. Actually I will do so one day, as I believe that there is a lot that I can share about meandering ones way through this season of life i.e. Looking after elderly or ill parents. 

So… the day before my fiftieth birthday (there I go again!) my dad was discharged from hospital after being in for two and half weeks. The day after my birthday, my mum was admitted into hospital and remained there for four of five days. As I write this post, my dad is in hospital again. I won’t bore you all with the reasons why they were admitted, but I will say that I’ve given up worrying about it. Unless God chooses to miraculously heal them, then ‘it is what it is’. I do not want them to suffer with ill health to this extreme for too long and due to the severity of what we have experienced in these last few hospital admissions, we, as a family, are being led to really think about life without them being around.

As you can imagine, if I were to dwell on the reality of this part of my life I would be quite depressed. Yes, I’ve had my moments where I’ve had a mini loss of composure but for the most part, I’m being strategic in how I handle this current season. After all, if I don’t look after myself and my own wellbeing then who will?

I have put some things into place, practically, in order to keep my sanity and to stay well balanced.

* At work, I pleaded until I got my own way, for an assistant to help me with my workload.

* On the home front, I have ensured that I regularly get some time away from looking after my parents to just ‘be’; whether that be spending time with my (grown up) children at home, or going out with friends or just chill-axing or working on my hobbies or better still resting! Rest aids recovery.

* At church I keep in contact with my leadership so as to ensure that I have their spiritual support and I pace myself with the things that I am involved in.

This is just a season, it will pass and life will then take another turn in the road.

So in conclusion, I agree with my friend Ty; It is absolutely possible to be multi-emotional (still not sure if that’s a word).

And no, you’re not going mad when you flit between two extreme emotional states, whether that is on day to day basis or in the course of one day. However, it is much better to be self aware of what you’re experiencing and to make a choice to face the issues, deal with them or manage them so that you can be more evenly balanced as a human being.

It’s what we choose to focus on which determines how we get through the season that we’re in. I have chosen to focus on all of the positives in my life: I am in employment so I can earn money to keep a roof over my head, I have hands and feet to use to get around even when I have no car, I have talents and skills to use, I have children & grandchildren who keep me young and give me joy, I have good health and a sound mind, I have my parents still here even in their failing health. I have so much to be grateful for.

And I have made moves to manage the challenges so that they don’t overwhelm me.

It is this disposition and self management which I believe keeps me smiling genuinely from the inside out.

I love you all and pray that you too can find a way to smile again!