When The Worst Happens

When life-altering change occurs in your life, whether it be sudden death, family breakdown, or divorce is there a right way to react? The short answer is no. For me it was divorce. After 19 years of marriage and being a huge proponent of marriage, for marriage, and trying my best even under the worst of circumstances I was served divorce papers and my life changed overnight. I went from being at home and fulfilling all the household duties and raising the children to working outside the home full-time while still fulfilling my prior obligations and responsibilities. When the worst happens the hardest part is trying to find the time to process, feel, and heal. So how does one even begin to navigate the steps of grieving when there isn’t time? I’ll be brutally honest with you, it comes out, often at the most inconvenient and oddest times.

My immediate circle of family and friends is filled with married couples. I’m the first in my immediate family to be divorced. I received sympathy when the divorce papers were first received, but after a while, I don’t think people really know what to do, especially those who’ve never had to go through a divorce. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the kind words, sympathy, and words of encouragement. But it’s the anger that pops up out of nowhere on occasion, like, when the children are requiring my strength, understanding, guidance, and redirection when it’s 2am and I’m depleted and have to get up for work in 3 hours. I didn’t sign up to do this alone. I took my commitment very seriously, I took my vows with the intent of having a help mate to raise these children, to be there at 2am, to be my partner in deciding all these vital decisions for our children, to be my witness to my life and theirs. It’s hard. It hurts. But healing has to occur if not for me, for my children. My children deserve a parent that is fully present, available, and there to provide unconditional love in their moments of despair.  

My best advice is…

You don’t have to be with others

If you find yourself in a situation or scenario that is uncomfortable kindly remove yourself. For me this is any event that is a couple event, these are difficult for me. Will they always be? I’m hoping not, I’m assuming time will heal this wound. But for now, I can’t put salt in the wound. So if I’m invited to a couples event please understand when I politely decline. It’s not about you, it’s about me, where I’m at in the grieving process. That being said, I think it’s important to go at your own pace.

Go at your own pace 

There is no timeframe for the grieving process. Feelings will come and go and know that it is entirely normal. Recovery is non-linear. To be in your mind space, to be mindful and present means to feel it all and that includes the pain. Going through a divorce is like going through death. The death of a marriage. It means no future plans together as a family, it means extinguishing that flame of hope, no more “us”, “we”, “hubs”, etc. just you. Speaking of you, take time for yourself.

Take time for you

This is probably the most difficult and complicated thing to do. When you work full-time, are a full-time parent, and run a household you literally never get a moment to yourself. You go and go and go…but you must pause to at least collect your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. If you don’t put on your oxygen mask you will not be able to continue to provide all the things for everyone else that depends on you. 

It took time for me! This was my birthday gift from my amazing parents. I spent an entire night alone at a hotel, just me, my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, and my tired soul. I had time to reflect, feel, process, and even do something I enjoyed, read! I have so many books just piling up waiting to be read. This was the best birthday gift and what I needed.

Have I healed? Not by a long shot but I am much further along than I was last year, I’m smiling more, small victories! Go easy on yourself and when others are pushing you to do something you’re just not ready to do acknowledge their kindness and politely decline, they often have the best intentions. 

One thought on “When The Worst Happens

  • Any sudden change like that causes us to experience grieving, grieving the loss of our previous identity etc. Healing is not at the same pace for everyone. It is important to give yourself grace. God does.

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