The Courage to Change
Almost four years ago, I took a deep breath and found the courage to change. It was impossible not to do something. What I didn’t know at the time was how hard it would be. I’ve never been afraid of being alone. I rather like it. At times, I need it. But deep down to the bones alone? I wasn’t prepared for that.
It’s hard to think back to that time. I cried a lot. I missed my kids. I missed my sister. I missed my home, although my sister left me with everything I needed to start over again- a house, fully furnished, close to the kids. I even missed my mother. Suddenly, I was in her shoes- divorced with three kids. There were days when all I wanted to do was to crawl into bed and sleep. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I felt like such a failure.
Let’s get one thing clear- nothing about divorce is good for kids. Okay, if there is abuse, yes, but when it comes to two parents not able to be together anymore? Nope. Nothing. I knew that. Leaving felt like one of the most selfish things I had ever done.
It took a long time to realize it was self-preservation. That’s the tricky part as a parent. My kids have always come first. They still do. That didn’t mean I had to suffer. My life mattered.
What I didn’t know then, is that pain is not necessarily permanent. Not for me, not for my kids. Healing takes time. The loneliness I felt and still feel, is not forever. It comes and goes. I still feel the ache when my kids are not with me. I know it, see it for what it is- a moment.
Healing doesn’t mean there aren’t scars. When one loses a limb, they continue to feel it, phantom pain, for a long time, nerves without a pathway blindly triggering the brain. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, the stages of grief, swung wildly about because in divorce, fear is thrown in, not allowing for a smooth transition. Eventually, I learned to accept my children would have lives that went on without me. That I was alone as a parent and had to navigate the empty spaces on my own.
I no longer miss what was. I’ve pasted back together pieces, a mosaic of the old combined with the present. I do not regret my marriage or my life up to that day when I packed a bag. There was much beauty, times I will always cherish. I’m taking the shards of glass and torn pieces, along with the new, weaving them together, creating something beautiful.
It's not perfect, not without struggle and doubt, both riding shotgun, always present. This ride, with the windows rolled down, the sun strong on my face, is for me.
I found the courage to change because I realized I was worth saving.