I was out running errands over the weekend and as I walked by the shaving cream aisle at Target, I reached for my phone to send my husband a text asking, “need anything from the store?” When it dawned on me that he’s now my ex-husband, I immediately felt as if I was dropping hundreds of feet from an amusement park freefall ride. I walked out of the store empty handed and sat in my truck for a while, just crying.
Time and time again, I’ve also sat in the living room, in the same spot where we made our decision to go our separate ways, in tears imagining a different outcome. What if he chose us instead? What if it was just a blip in our marriage that we looked back on years later as a defining moment in our relationship? What if it was just an obstacle we overcame that brought us closer together and made us a stronger couple?
But that’s not what happened. I remember feeling like someone took a serrated knife to my stomach and extracted my guts out the moment I knew it was over. I was empty – completely hollow inside – and didn’t have the energy to pick up the mess before me. Instead I fell to my knees and gave up. I quit my job. I slept in. I stopped answering the phone. I stopped cleaning the house. (And anyone that knows me well, knows that I’ve reached a catastrophic level once I’ve given up cleaning!) Nothing mattered anymore.
I got married later in life, and I thought that in doing so, I had a better chance at a long-lasting happy marriage. I knew marriage would be life changing, and going into it, I was willing to give up whatever might get in the way of our future together. Despite, that romantic and naïve notion, I remember telling him, “I don’t want us to lose ourselves in this relationship.” But I did lose myself. I gave up relationships. I gave up hobbies. I gave up anything that took me away from him. And I justified it by telling myself that I was doing it for us – for our marriage. Worst of all, I convinced myself that he would do the same for us, if it ever came to that. Regardless of my distorted expectation, my heart was completely severed when I found out that wasn’t the case.
A friend asked me the other day, “what makes Mini happy? What do you love doing?” I couldn’t find an answer. It’s been a long time since I asked myself that. If you had asked me six months ago I would have said, “making dinner for my husband, running errands with him, going on a road trip with him…” Although we weren’t together for very long, I can hardly remember who I was before we got married. And it hurts so bad to face the fact that I have to close this chapter now.
I am aware that people around the world are experiencing pain so much worse than what I’m going through. After all, I’ve spent the majority of my time recently watching the news to hear about the latest on the hurricanes around the country, the earthquake in Mexico, the mass shooting in Las Vegas – not so much to be in-the-know, but to run away from my own pain. The pain I’ve been trying so hard to avoid since the divorce. I finally decided to shut it all off and face my own demons instead.
There is no way to prepare for any kind of pain, but I know that the only way to get through it, is to just be with it. I’m hoping that in doing so, I can find what makes Mini happy again too.