As part of my throwback series, one of my priorities was posting some of my ‘end of my marriage’ series from my old blog.
I will forewarn you: this is probably the most heart-wrenching writing I have ever done and re-reading each post and every single comment brought tears to my eyes. A lot of them. Not because I am still sad about being divorced, but because I am incredibly happy with where I am now in life in every way, and as my friend Jeannine wrote in one of her comments on my old blog: “I’m so sorry you had to be hurt to find your way to where you are now…I truly feel it was for the best.” Friend, that couldn’t have been more true then, and now.
The beginning of the end of my marriage ended in October 2008…here are some snippets from each of these posts…strung together to flow as well as I can (and if you’d like to read the full posts and don’t have the old blog URL, I will email it to you directly if you leave a comment here):
I asked him what was wrong, he didn’t answer. I asked him if he was ok. He didn’t answer. I asked him if he was stressed. He said yes. I asked him if it was work. He said he didn’t know. I asked him if it was his family and he said no. I asked him if it was me – fully expecting him to say ‘stop being stupid’ – and he said yes. I asked him what he meant. He said he didn’t know. He was facing away from me in bed, and curled up, and he refused to look at me. I shook him slightly and asked him to explain what he meant. By that point, my heart had sunk, my body was shaking, my knees were knocking and I was scared. This felt real, and scary, and the first inkling in my mind that something was definitely – perhaps permanently – wrong. And to think it could be us was so unfathomable to me at the time, that I was in utter shock.
Then he said it.
I’m not happy. Something is wrong with me. I think it’s us. I think I don’t want to be married anymore.
I was crying, shaking, bawling, but at the same time, I was angry. I didn’t understand, I thought he was jumping to conclusions. HOW COULD IT BE US?! It has never been us. So, HOW COULD IT BE US? After almost 9 years together and 2 years of marriage and never a fight between us.
How could it be us?
I was stunned.
He said it. “I want a divorce.”
And he was adamant.
I told him that I didn’t think it was us, I think if I wasn’t there, he would miss me and realize it’s not me. He was still adamant, but we agreed that I would move out for the week and live with my sister. No contact. No phone calls, no emails. That was a Monday night. I packed up a week’s worth of clothes. I was crying. I couldn’t see straight. I was numb. On my way out the door, I gave him a hug, and a kiss on the cheek, and I was bawling. I told him that I loved him. He told me he loved me too, but his eyes were a million miles away, and his face looked crushed. He knew was killing me from the inside out, but he was still doing it.
I drove to my sister’s house, bawling. I walked in the door, and she was in the kitchen. My brother in law was on the couch, and he just sat there and didn’t say a word (I think he was trying to respect my privacy, perhaps). I walked into the kitchen, looked at my sister and just broke down and cried. She held me, tighter than anyone has ever held me, and we both bawled, and cried, and cried some more. Despite how close we are, we never hug. Ever. But I couldn’t let go, I wanted to just hide in her arms and make it all go away. At that moment, I knew.
There was no turning back. My marriage was irretrievably broken. The pain I was feeling was irreversible. The saddest, hardest, most painful feeling I have ever felt. It literally felt as if my heart was breaking. In my mind, all I was thinking, over and over was, I’m 29 and I’m getting divorced. No, no, NO, this is not happening…what happened to my life? My perfect, wonderful life?
Wednesday morning. Two days after I left the house. The longest days of my life. Pete called me at work just after 9. I asked him how he was. He said he was fine. I said I missed him. He said he didn’t miss me, he felt a wave of relief, he was happy, and he didn’t need the rest of the week to decide.
It was me.
I was stunned.
…I got in the car, and was shaking, and started to cry. I called Jess (who was back in the office) and told her, and she was about to leave too and come with me, but I told her to stay, I needed to talk to Pete. At that point, I decided I had to tell my mom, really tell her. I had hinted at it in an earlier conversation, but did not nearly tell her the gravity of the situation. I cried all the way home, blurting everything out to her as I drove. I’m sure she didn’t really hear half of what I said, but I could feel her pain for me. And that made it even harder for me, because I knew she wanted to protect me, and take this away for me, and she couldn’t. She knew what I was about to go through would be life-altering, and all she could do was sit back, watch, and be as supportive as possible. It was hard for me, because I knew she was hurting for me, and for some reason, that was so hard for me.
I walked in the door to the house. It was silent. I felt like I’d been gone for weeks. I sat down, I cried again. I waited for Pete to come home and suddenly, I knew what I had to do.
I had to let him go.
…Our marriage as we have ever known it is over. It’s broken, and it’s broken so quickly and so badly that there’s no turning back.
He didn’t know if this was the right decision, but it was the decision he had to make. And knowing there was no turning back was the decision he had to make. Little did I know that that decision would end up being more right for me than it was for him. I saw the confusion in his eyes, I saw the fear, and the worry (what if I am making a bad decision?) but he still made it.
Some might think I didn’t try hard enough to “win” him back, or “keep” him, or fight for my marriage. But I tried. I tried so hard. I suggested we rekindle, maybe it was just that. I tried to suggest counseling, he wouldn’t do it. I tried whatever I could…but he was unwavering. And because of that, because he was so willing to just GIVE UP, and walk away, I lost respect for him…if he couldn’t respect me, our marriage, or our life by TRYING, then he wasn’t the man I thought he was.
And I deserved better.
So, I made the decision not to try anymore to retain my marriage…because, no matter what, it would never be the same between us. Never. It was already too far gone, I was already too hurt, and he was already too far gone. I knew it was going to be a long road, but at the end of it all, I knew the one thing I wanted to retain, was our friendship.
The ‘atomic bomb’ of divorce affected so many around me, like an atomic bomb or a tsunami, a tidal wave of damage around me is how I felt the effects of divorce were. One of the most poignant and memorable moments from my divorce was the very last ‘real’ conversation I had with my Nonna (Italian for ‘grandma’) before her passing (little did I know, the day after this moment, she had a massive heart attack and within 5 months of multiple heart attacks and strokes, my beloved Nonna passed away, on May 20, 2009. I will never, ever forget this moment. I can still feel her arms around me and her hands holding mine…)
…my Nonna pulled me next to her, as she sat in her favorite chair, and looked at me, and could tell I was really sad. She held my hand, hugged me close and talked to me quietly. She said “nonna is always thinking about you, and praying for you. I love you, you are strong, you will be ok. I love you honey, and am always here for you.” And she gave me a kiss on the cheek, and let me cry, and just sat with me. And it was a really powerful moment for me, and I am so thankful God gave me that special time with her, its significance will never been forgotten.
Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.
Wow. Revisiting this series brings it all rushing back. One of the most difficult periods of my life, yet it feels like a lifetime ago. I never want to feel such pain again, but at the same time, I am grateful to have struggled through it and not only survived, but thrived. I wouldn’t be who or where I am now. I wouldn’t have the job I have. I wouldn’t have M in my life. I wouldn’t want my life any other way than right now. I am firmly planted right where I am meant to be.
Divorce, I truly believe, was meant to happen not TO me, but FOR me.