A video came through on my Facebook feed today – an old interview with the actor Pierce Brosnan where he talked about the grief he experienced when his first wife died. How did he cope? His response – With young children to care for, he just had to get up and Meet the Day.
I remember my mum asking one of her friends, whose husband died when their children were young, how she had coped. Her friend replied that she just had to get on with it. She had young children to feed, clothe, house and bring up. And, she admitted, in some ways it was perhaps easier than if he she had been left alone later in life. She had no choice. She just had to get on with it – for the children’s sake. Despite everything, she had a purpose. A vitally important purpose.
One of the challenges of senior divorce is that we are usually left with only having one person to look after. Ourselves. And as wives and mothers, we’ve always put ourselves at the bottom of the pecking order behind husbands and children. With our children probably grown with families of their own by now, it can be hard to suddenly switch focus from being a wife and mother to being… ourselves.
And there are times when it’s all too easy to wonder if the fight is worth it.
But it is. Truly it is. If you are at the beginning of this journey, please trust me. When it first happened to me, others who had been down the same path assured me it would get better/easier – and they were right. It will take time, and there may be a few missteps along the way, but it won’t always hurt this much and YOU are worth it.
Pierce’s advice is good advice Get up and Meet The Day.
Set your alarm. Get out of bed when it rings, and make your bed before you can be tempted to climb back under the covers and sleep away the day. Have a shower. Put your clothes on – nice ones, not your ratty t-shirt and jeans. Meet that day face on.
If the day looms empty before you – weekends can be the worst – make a plan of attack the night before.
– Arrange to meet a friend for coffee.
– If you need to go back to work, work on your resume and contact the library to see if they offer any free workshops to help you update your skills.
– Get outside if you can and go for a walk. Or a bike ride. Go swimming. Volunteer at your local dog rescue centre to become a dog walker.
– Do something creative – write, draw, paint, sew, play the piano, redecorate your room, bake a cake.
– Keep a gratitude journal – find 5 things to be grateful for that day.
– If you have to meet with your lawyer and find it overwhelming, ask a friend to go with you.
– If you find Morning Pages useful/helpful, start your day by writing in your journal
It’s hard. Painfully hard – especially those first weeks, months, year – but you can do it.
You are stronger than you think.
Meet. The. Day.