As with my journey through Postpartum Depression, my journey through divorce has been hard to talk about, and even harder to contextualize for my friends whose marriages go on while mine ended. Bring into the equation the juggling of self-care, work, household duties, and 2 children now being managed on my own, there is little if any time to talk about it even if I wanted to.
I remember distinctly the day after the decision had been made. I walked out into my small town community of about 2000 folks,most of whom knew about my divorce the second I did (as things go in small towns, word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing strategy). There was a party at the local theater and a couple hundred of our mutual friends and acquaintances were there. This was the first time I realized that marriage was something that held all of us couples together in a tenuous circle, that the dissolving state of my marriage was somehow,if only very subconsciously, threatening to those who were still maintaining theirs. I tried to smile and engage and assure my friends that this was the best thing for all of us, because in these awkward social moments we must keep it together. I spotted a woman who had been a single mother all these years among us very cliqueish couples, and I felt the weight of single motherhood drop like an anchor to the pit of my stomach. I no longer belonged to the neat and pretty togetherness of marriage and family. I was alone, de-husbanded, de-familied. Suddenly the reality of it smacked me in the face and I felt utterly alone.
But at this point I was sure there was no going back, and so I pushed forward reminding myself that fitting in was not going to bring me peace or happiness or anything. I held my head high in public, though the inevitable sides were drawn and yes, there were those who shunned me. I was demonized, gossiped about, judged and questioned. I felt like I wore a scarlet letter everywhere I went. Especially when messy decisions were made and life went on.
Even in the face of all the hardship that came with choosing the divorce, I continued to remind myself that better things were surely to come for all of us, and that divorce could be a way to truly finding those things we most needed but weren't able to find within the marriage we had created. I made my own hope, in my heart, even when faced with excruciating decisions and questions involving the children I love so dearly.
It has been a little over a year since the beginning of my divorce process, and I can say a lot of it was very lonely. But I have made it and I continue to make it. I wish I had heard of a Hopeful Divorce then, but it is a brand new course from Hopeful World Publishing, and even though I am already past my first year, every field note I receive in my inbox helps me move forward, stop looking back, and breathe more easily knowing there are friends out there who understand.
So yes, there is hope in divorce. Lots of hope. And we are gonna make it okay after all.