T.S Eliot’s poem claims that ‘April is the cruellest month’, but when it comes to marital break-ups, that title belongs to January. In fact, Family Lawyers refer to January as ‘Divorce Month’ as it’s the busiest month of the year for divorce filings.
Why? Because many spouses hold off for Xmas to be over before they drop the bombshell. And although my husband didn’t leave me until – ironically enough – April, I can now look back and say with certainty that December 27th, 2014 was the day he checked out of our marriage both mentally and emotionally.
With the divorce rate now being 40% in Canada, it’s possible you have found yourself in this situation over what is supposed to be the happiest season of the year.
They say only fools give or accept advice, so what I’m going to offer here is an observation from someone who is almost 5 years down the path in which you might have suddenly found yourself.
Bear with me.
I went out for a New Year’s walk along the river path this afternoon, and what I saw was a perfect metaphor for where you might have unwillingly found yourself. Along with several other spectators, I stood on a bridge and watched as some chunks of ice floated along the river, before smashing into an ice jam. There they lay, stuck, for some time, until one or two broke free and slid under an ice bridge.
We watched. Would they reappear… or would they be trapped under the ice until spring came along to release them?
But no… first one, then another emerged from the ice and continued on their journey.
It still wasn’t smooth sailing. There were more ice jams, more ice bridges to navigate. Sometimes they got caught once more… but they finally broke free and continued down the river.
And that’s what the journey through divorce feels like. Especially in the early stages. You get battered from place to place until there are times when you feel like you are drowning. But then you re-emerge and continue down your path. It’s still not going to be plain sailing, and there’ll be another ice jam. Once again you may get stuck… but once again you WILL break free.
As I headed towards the second bridge which would bring me back across the river, I found it closed off to the public. Structural problems, apparently! So I had to make a detour to a smaller bridge about 100 yards away. This one was decorated in roses, the flowers of summer. And as I made my way across it, I spied 2 pieces of ice floating quite happily down the river. But what they didn’t know, was they were approaching some small rapids. They were in for a bumpy time.
And that made me think about this post-divorce journey. In the beginning, it’s rough, so rough that you feel like you’re drowning in the pain and anger and loss and grief. But, over time, it starts to ease. You go through a smooth patch… and then it gets rocky again. Smooth for longer this time… then you hit some rapids… but then it eases and you float along.
And so it goes.
If you’re on this painful journey, trust me, you’ve got it, girl. You can do it.
This year, you will discover that you are stronger than you ever believed possible.