This is a story I have never gotten around to on this blog, because I generally focus on my life as it currently exists, not on what it used to be. That is not to say I don’t remember my history, that I am not informed by it, I just choose to stay focused on now and the near future in my daily thought process. My addled brain and soul cannot handle much more than that quite frankly.
But there is a need to share it, as a way of saying to a couple special people in my life who are all facing something very very difficult, that it sucks while you are going through it, but you can and will survive it.
Much like when a doctor needs to break a previously broken bone that has begun healing badly, so as to reset it and let it heal properly, divorce often is necessary so that all parties can become something else, something new, something hopefully better separately than the individuals had become as a couple.
No one stands in front of the officiant of choice (minister, judge, justice of the peace etc.) and speaks the vows of marriage thinking “Well, I can undo this any ol’ time I want and it won’t be a big deal.” Well, most people don’t. I know I didn’t. I have been married once before I found The Bob and I certainly thought it was a forever bond. We had been friends for quite a few years before we became spouses. I went into it knowing there were some serious health issues on his part, and that he had some pain and suffering in his past from the loss of a parent, the subsequent poverty and alcoholism that his family had to deal with. I didn’t think I could fix him, but I did think that by choosing something so positive as marrying me, he was choosing to look forward. Choosing to embrace the future together as a couple.
There isn’t much you can do when someone is very broken in the heart and soul. I decided after a short time that his heart condition was from a scientific perspective the result of a bad infection he contracted while on vacation in Mexico (a sign to his perpetually dark and brooding psyche that he was always going to be punished for thinking he deserved to enjoy life and audaciously chose to go on vacation), but I saw it as a spiritual and psychic breakdown on the part of his body. If you choose to stay so angry at everyone and everything for so long, that is eventually going to manifest itself in your body. And his heart was what gave out first.
After a year of what turned out to be a five year long marriage, I knew our marriage was doomed. It took me another year to grieve that realization, and come to an acceptance that it was OK for the marriage to end, and another two years before he found the job opportunity that would take him to another state. When he first indicated he needed to leave New England because he was miserable being cold for 5 months (the result of his condition and medication) I asked him one question. If he found the perfect job, and he decided he wanted to move to wherever that job was, would this be “I am moving and I want you to come with me” or was it “I am moving and I need to do this by myself.” He said quietly that he needed to do it by himself. I nodded, expecting that answer, and told him that he needed to go find that job, but here was what I needed to make this work, and that mostly included assistance paying the mortgage on our house until such time I could afford to buy him out or I could handle moving and selling it.
It took another year or so for him to find the job and move, during which time we lived pretty much as roommates. Roommates who shared a bed and house, but not much else. It was at that point that I began some of the projects he never wanted to get involved in around the house, painting and such, because it was too exhausting for him to deal with. I was beginning to make the space mine, without him.
I helped him pack. I tolerated having boxes in my life that would be sent by UPS or he would come back for later. I just wanted him to move on, so I could as well. I didn’t want this angry unhappy person in my space anymore. The anger was never directed at me, but it was just always there.
The day he drove away was a hard, hard day. But I walked through my house, my quiet, slightly emptier house, and said quiet prayers for his safe travels, and for my own safe travels forward.
8 months later I met The Bob. Two years after than we married, and the next year Cooper came into our lives. In the meantime, I managed to find my way back to being friends with him. It has been almost 10 years since he moved to Arizona, and I have been married to The Bob longer than I had been married to him. We have been divorced longer than we were married. It is now all ancient history. Not history I have forgotten, but also not history I choose to wallow in. I am happy, he is finding his way to happier. He has found some physical healing, and is finding his way to some healing of his soul. It’s all good. I don’t regret anything, but I also don’t wish for it to have gone differently. It just is what it is. We had to break something apart that just wasn’t working so we could both heal as two better but separate spirits.
Divorce SUCKS. It drains you, it hurts, it makes you question and second guess everything you believed in, that you have decided to do. But you will be OK. If you take it one step at a time, if you don’t let the snarky darker parts of you get the better of the situation and get hurtful toward each other, especially when there is no reason for it, if you try to hold in front you the vision of the person you first loved, and the reasons you loved that person, and the reasons that you will continue to love that person, but apart, not together, you will be OK.
Remember that none of you is alone in this. There are people who love all of you who are here for you and will care for all of you in the new world you are creating. We will love the new you you are all becoming.
One foot in front of the other…