The Death of Divorce
Updated: Apr 3
Six years almost to the day after separating, I received my divorce decree and there was absolutely nothing about it that made me happy other than to be done finally. I thought I might feel a sense of relief or even in some strange way, the desire to celebrate the ending of something really long and painful for me, but I didn't. Numbed sadness and acceptance was all I felt as I read through the email attachment.
My story now certainly isn't happily ever after, nor was it after leaving the alter. I was miserable married and I have also really struggled after separating, but the difference now is that truth paves the path in front of me because in addition to lying to myself before, I was lying to everyone around me because I was masking the fact that I was in a relationship that wasn't right for me and in no way supported who I am or where I want to be going. I was constantly trying anything and everything to make the life I'd chosen and worked so hard for, fit me. I tested a hundred different ways to see if things would be ok if I changed one more thing because maybe then, everything would finally be how I'd imagined, but the first step I actually needed to take was just to accept reality. I had believed so much in my life and my future with my partner that I didn't want to admit I was actually believing in something that it wasn’t. Disappointment doesn't even begin to cover it. Firstly, I had to admit to myself what my life actually was and not what I wanted or desired it it to be, and that turned out to be one of the saddest parts of separating because it was the moment that I took off my rose-colored glasses and accepted that I wasn't happy and I wasn't going to be no matter how hard I tried, changed, or hoped to be.
Initially after separating, I thought I was going to be able to skip over grief by patching up my broken heart with the presence of another, but I only ended up with two wounds in which to recover, followed by grief that haunted me with a vengeance. It made sure I didn't forget its role or presence because the death of divorce is not only a loss of money, energy, and time invested, but also the loss of a home once lived in and the dreams and hopes held inside of it, which are tragically shattered upon completion. It can leave you both homeless and hopeless in one swift slap across your awareness. You also don't get anything back from it except the brutal fact that it will all have to be reconstructed and you'll be alone with yourself throughout the entire process. Not only did I grieve the dreams and life that I lost, but I also grieved the loss of my old self that had had so much faith connected to love and family because I’d always believed so easily and naively previously. Although I am grateful for the knowledge and awareness that comes with life experience, I miss my younger innocent self who flew among optimism and unlimited possibilities for the future without so much worry.
To say that I was angry after leaving my ex-husband would be an understatement. I left the house we shared in flames and the fire in my energy was enough to burn down anything and everything left behind me. I saw a version of myself that I didn't know existed and one I hope not to revisit. I actually started writing this story years ago, but I wasn't able to finish it till now because my original draft was written all in caps so you could feel me screaming it. I was screaming inside while tears of frustration filled my eyes and each tear fell like the hope I once had inside for the love I didn't find.
Now, I know that just because I moved around the world for love doesn't mean I should win a prize or something, but I thought it did. Where’s my prince charming in the end? I didn't want to be in my 40s and starting again. I wanted to have a loving family, which is why I got married and had a baby to begin with. I wanted to create the one thing I never had in my infancy because my father left and my mother had to raise me single-handedly. I wanted to live a different experience than the one that had been dealt to me and hopefully that's still a possibility, but so far, there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or miracles sent down from a halo. The reality now is that I'm 41 years old and divorced halfway around the world from my family and culture, and constantly working really hard to provide and maintain a life for myself and my daughter.
I've done a lot of work in the six years leading up to the big "D" and what I realize now is that the wounds of divorce run deep and it takes a while to stop the bleeding and recover fully. Much like a physical wound, it takes time and care to lead to healing and even then, there will be some scarring from the previous life lived and the version of yourself that once had been. There's a lot to understand about individual choices, why we make them, and how they lead us to where we arrive in the end. I've gained a lot of insight on what I would prefer to live and how I can deconstruct patterns in my behavior and choices so as not to not repeat the previous experiences. Lastly, I did get one great thing from this, which is knowing that I lived my truth regardless and put myself as most important.
As a follow up to this story, I did want to mention that my ex-husband and I have now come to a great place. In fact, better in my opinion, than when we were married. We don't have the stress of trying to make a life work together, but only the comradery of being a team for our daughter, and surprisingly even to me, we have been able to do that quite well actually, so somehow in the end, divorce isn't all tragedy.