This Saturday, April 25th, 2020, it will be exactly 5 years since that horrendous Saturday morning, April 25th 2015, when my husband came downstairs as I was making his breakfast and announced our marriage was over.
I thought I was over it.
And then, this weekend something happened which brought me (temporarily) back to my knees.
I had hoped a good night’s sleep would help me put things in perspective, but it didn’t. So when I got up this morning, I wrote about it in my Morning Pages, hoping that would exorcise it… but all I did was stain the pages with tears.
So I sent an e-mail to the friend who was my main support during that awful awful time.
Not in great shape today. Just heading out for my walk, and I have a horrible feeling it will be one of ‘those’ walks, like from 5 years ago, where I cried my way around the Riverpath…I’m really really struggling here today and I don’t know how to deal with it. I think I’m doing so well, and then something like this happens, and it’s like ripping off the bandage over something I think has healed, only to find an ugly gaping wound still underneath and not knowing if it will ever get better again. F–k, f–k. f–k, f–k, f–k!
And I was right. I did cry my way along the river. I even composed a letter in my head to my ex – and to his new wife’s pastor. Then I stopped to check my e-mail to see if my friend had responded. What I wanted was a ‘virtual’ hug from her, for her to agree that my ex was a s–t etc etc. But she didn’t give me what I wanted.
Instead, she gave me what I needed.
Oh yes, those days still do occur on and off. You’ve outlined your tools – a walk, a good cry, and shouting f–k, f–k, f–k, f–k to the universe. I think the social isolation is starting to get to us so that these things seems worse because of it.
Breathe, walk, cry, wash your face and get really really busy with something that takes over your brain and thinking. Not creative type things, but something like bookkeeping, or editing, or sorting lots of papers that engages the front part of your brain so it can’t connect with the horrible stuff….
… Hope your walk helps sort out your thinker. Just tell the thinker you don’t want to hear this chatter in your head, and to f–k off and leave you alone. It takes practice but in the long run it does help along with the walking and the crying and so on. See you on Skype at four. Hugs.
I continued my walk a bit upset that she hadn’t indulged my misery. I continued to wallow in it for a few more minutes, then started to feel ashamed. Given what’s going on in the world, my problems don’t ‘amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world’. But the thing is, they are my hills and my beans.
So I continued on my walk and started noticing things. There were two ducks swimming down the middle of the river, which is running really fast right now because of the ice melt. Only they weren’t swimming, they were surfing, flapping their wings to go ever faster. They were having a wonderful time… and I couldn’t help smiling.
Then I noticed other things – like how much easier it is to hear the birds and observe nature with less traffic around these days. The geese are moving in closer to town and there are tiny signs of spring.
By the time I got back home, I’d done 8,000 of my targeted 10,000 steps for the day, and I felt so much better. As I say, my friend didn’t give me the pity I wanted, she acknowledged my pain but gave me the push I needed.
The reality is, the pain of divorce is a scar. It’s going to stay with you in some form or another for the rest of your life. As I heard someone on a TED talk say, you don’t ‘move on’ from grief, you ‘move forward’.
When I came out of the shower after my walk, I noticed the two blueish scars I have on my knees. I was about seven when I took a bad fall coming home from school one day, and I can remember my terror, holding my gym-slip over my knees to staunch the profuse bleeding, as two friends helped me hobble painfully home, while I sobbed my heart out. Mum called the doctor – they did house calls in those days! – and he came round and sorted me out. For weeks I went around with missing teeth (nothing to do with the fall) and two huge bandages around my knees. (I have the pictures!)
I still have those scars. I will always have those scars. I’ve pretty well forgotten about them, but even now, very – very – occasionally – they itch, and it takes me back to the day of that horrible fall and its aftermath. Just like this weekend when the ‘itch’ from my divorce was provoked.
But I am okay now. And so will you be – even if you’re not feeling it just yet. It may take a while, and it will be a painful journey, but it will happen.
And when that scar itches, please believe me that it won’t itch for long. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the river, surfing down the water like those two ducks this morning!