March 14, 2010

SERIES - #1 I Didn't Expect: To Be Divorced

I have dragged my feet and my mouse on starting the 'I Didn't Expect to' series.  I am still 'a work in progress'  having a hard time letting go of my black and white, all-or-nothing thinking.   As a result of that thinking I wanted to capture everything that is pertinent to each topic before posting it.  I now know that is impossible.  I realize that all of my posts have part of at least one, of my 'unexpecteds' in them somewhere.  Because of that there may be repeated lessons.  Not so unlike life huh?  I am sure as long as I blog that is how it will be.   So I will write the series the best I can from where I am at right now.   I know you are probably saying, "Alright already.  Just start!"  Well here it goes! 

"Divorce: The past tense of marriage."~Author Unknown

#1.   I Didn't Expect To Be Divorced 

As I stood at the counter and waited numbingly, all I could hear was the sound of the stamp being brought down hard, paper after paper.
I was in the court house filing for divorce.
I hated the sound of that stamp.
I wanted it to stop.
It sounded like the cell doors in a prison being slammed shut.
Door after door after door.
Oh, how I wanted it to stop!
And right then I knew that there was some symbolism to what I was hearing and feeling.
I was about to start my life sentence.

I felt a devastating heart ache overcome me.
I had now become a statistic.
I was now going to be divorced.

How did this happen? 

I never expected to get divorced.
Who does?
Although some plan for it, most of us do not get married just to get divorced.

I was not prepared for what was to come my way.
I had no idea of the pain and the fear and the frustration and the emptiness that would follow.

I did not want to divorce.
I did not want to secede.
But I had run out of options.

Denial was not a vacation spot for me, it had become my home.
My home of many years.
But I could no longer stay there.
I could no longer pretend.
The pain of not looking at what was and staying married had become greater than the pain of looking and getting a divorce.
I would have to be willing to let go of what I knew and step into the unknown.
So I roboted forward going through the procedures needed to make it final.

You can not be prepared for divorce anymore than you can for death or for having a baby.
Sure millions of people have done it before but no one has your unique situation, therefore no one can tell you exactly how it will be for you.
You can never brace yourself for what lies ahead.

Sometimes I was absolutely sure that I was crazy.
One minute I would be watching a movie,
wishing he was there beside me,
and five minutes later, had he been walking behind my car,
I would have wanted to put it in reverse and push the gas.
How insane is that?

The emotions went up and down like a skateboarder on a half-pipe.
And then sometimes when I thought I was starting to get my footing,  just like a skater, I would crash.
What was happening to me?
Is this what divorce was like?

Finalizing was a slow process for me.
Not because of contesting or litigation but because I kept hoping my knight in shining armor would come to my rescue. 
That is how it is in my favorite movies.
So I postponed, waiting.
But he never showed up.
He never stopped it.
He never protested.
He never came to save me.
What happened to the, 'And they lived happily ever after?'

My Visa had finally expired.
I got kicked off of Denial and was forced to come home.
Back to the U.S.
Back to the court house again.
This time to hear the words, "Your divorce is final."

My life felt final.
I hated the nights, going to bed alone.
But I hated the mornings even more.
I hated waking up to the truth that it was not just a bad dream.
It was my life.
My life I had not signed up for.
It was happening without my permission and I had no choice but to go along.
Getting dragged along.

I hated that I had no control.
I would hear a song, smell his cologne, see a car similar to his, hear his name, taste his favorite food and I would bawl.
I could not stop the tears no matter how hard I tried.
No matter where I was.
No matter who was around.

Although I still did my motherly duties to the least of my ability,
I often spent most of the day in bed.
From day to day.

My poor children.
I do not know all the effects that time of my oblivion had on them.
I was not a mother, I was a hollow shell functioning as a zombie.
It was all I could do at the time.

I could not even say the 'D' word.
I could not write it in my journal.
I would go around my house practicing, "I am not married."  " I am single."  " I do not have a husband."
I was afraid I would fall apart if anyone were to ask my marital status so I practiced.
And I fell apart anyway.

I felt like I should be saying,"I am a failure."
Because that is how I saw myself.

I cried so hard and so much.
At the bank, over the phone with the utility company, at my children's school- anywhere I had to make changes because of the 'D', I cried.

The touching, sad thing is that so many people understood.
Because they had been there themselves or knew of someone who had.
They were so patient with my blubbering self. 

The divorce brought new awareness's to me.
Things I either had never wanted to see before or was not aware of.
With this new awareness came suitcases full of my past.
There seemed to be baggage show up on my doorstep daily.
It was as if a new roommate was moving in every single day.
For months.
People who were not welcome.
Memories I had sent away but that had returned.
I was running out of room, both in my heart and in my head for all the visitors.
The desperation for reprieve from the overwhelming weight of it all caused me to search for answers that would free me.
Thus another unexpected in my life.(#18)

I was asked, "Is it a good thing or a bad thing?"
I replied, "It is a sad thing but a healthy thing."
It felt as if part of me was dying, and it was.
It was the part that had kept me from growing.
It needed to die.
Only I did not know it.
I did not want it.
I did not want to grow right then.
I wanted to die too.
So many unexpecteds. (#10)

I believe I survived because of prayer and a loving Father.
Others prayed for me when there was nothing left within me to plea.
Not even silently.
Thank God for loving, compassionate friends and family.
Unexpected friends and loved ones.(#13)

It was during this time that I learned of a love greater than any other.
It was a time that would forever change my life.
It was a testimony I could not have gained any other way.

It was the beginning of climbing, crawling, dragging myself out of the darkest abyss I had ever been in.
It was the beginning of allowing others to help me.
Something I was not so good at.
It was the beginning of change.
Healthy, much needed change.
Unexpected change.(#16)

It was the beginning of the most unexpected life I had had thus far.
It was the beginning of really living.
It was the beginning of me....
Someone I had never expected to meet.(#20)

"If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any divorce.  Argument would never be heard.  Accusations would never be leveled.  Angry explosions would not occur.  Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness."~Gordon B. Hinckley



1 comment:

  1. Even now, 11 years after that final stamp on my paperwork saying "divorced 10/18/98", I cry as I read this post. Divorcing the man I promised before God to love until I died and with whom I produced a child that is the light in my eyes is the saddest thing I have grieved yet. In ways, it feels worse than grieving a death, maybe because death means no more choices. With divorce - there are people making choices and different choices can always be made - there is the mental torture of why he, you, or both of you cannot make different choices and make things right. If only - he'd do the right thing - if only - you could change - if only YOU COULD STOP OVERSIMPLIFYING SOMETHING VERY COMPLICATED! And there he is - one mile away - a place I found for him so he could be close to the child - and yet I, too, had fleeting moments of wishing he was one mile UNDER instead. As I read your post I relate to so many of your aptly written feelings and experiences. One experience I had that I don't see is that I began to see little "things" in my peripheral vision...therapy helped me with that one! Well, I think I'm gonna borrow your passport and go to your vacation spot now.


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