The end of a marriage is unchartered waters. It’s relief. Disappointment. Empowerment. Failure. Possibility. Sadness. Hope. Loneliness. All mixed up with no sense of which will hit when. These emotions happen even when you knew the marriage had to end. But they do fade with time.
Almost five months ago, my marriage ended.
It had been looming for a long time. I feel I had tried every way I knew how to save it. But, in the end, we were swimming against the tide and my limbs were tired. My mind was tired. And I was running out of breath.
It was time to get out of the water onto dry land.
Another transition and finding acceptance.
Life is nothing if not a series of transitions. Some good. Some not so good. Most of us know this by now. We also know that, eventually, we will get through them. And there is great comfort in that.
Of course, like anything we do for the first time, we don’t know what we’re doing. How we’re going to do it. Or how we’re going to feel. Five months on, I feel positive more often than not. I never doubt that this is the right thing for us all. But there have been moments that have crept up on me, where I wonder how I got here. Often, it’s really silly things that stop me in my tracks, like the day I first realised I’m now responsible for feeding the blooming cats every day. Stupid, eh?
And there are days where I am sad that I could not make this work. That I ran out of breath. That I could not make this right. Me, who usually always reaches where I’m going. Even if I am always late.
But I have also accepted that, sometimes, the tide is just too strong.
A bright future.
And now, with the dawn of a new year almost upon us and all the promise that brings, the time has come for me to move forward confidently and openly in our new life and look to the future. I am ready.
Because there are three little people watching me. Taking my lead. And I want to continue to do the best by them and show them that this is going to make their lives better. That they still have two parents who love them to the moon and back. That they still have a ‘real family.’
That they always will.
I choose Love.
Love really is all around us. And I will always believe in it. In all its many forms.
It’s in my children, my family and the wonderful friends that have kept me afloat when I’ve found myself sinking. It’s in all of you who read my blog and have taken the time to write and tell me when my words have made a difference. Thank you. These days, I am even learning to love myself more than maybe I did a year ago, trite as that may sound. Acknowledging that relationship, the one you have with yourself, is liberating.
And when I feel low, uncertain or overwhelmed by the reality of our situation. When I need to remember that many marriages end and it doesn’t make us abnormal, inadequate or failures, I think about Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire. And his closing monologue that once I just listened to and thought, ‘Ah that’s so lovely,’ never imagining that one day it might mean so much more.
Those words helped me through the difficult, early days. They helped me find the strength to trust that, one day, my kids will understand the decisions that were made and, I hope, even be inspired by them; to never settle and always have faith that everything will be as it should be in the end. They’ve already responded with great compassion and a maturity beyond their years and we are so proud of them.
But when they do occasionally wobble, I squeeze them extra hard and tell them this… because I couldn’t say it better myself.
‘There are all sorts of different families. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever.’