When I married in the spring of 1998, there was no part of me that would begin to believe that I would be a divorced, single parent at the age of 40. There were many happy and sad times during that chapter of my life. The birth of my two beautiful children were obviously one of the best parts. For whatever reason, things changed as the years passed. There were many struggles, countless marriage counseling sessions, tears and being run over with the Mack Truck of adultery. After an attempt to reconcile, there was that elephant in the room staring right at me. The divorce elephant.
Being scared to take that step is an understatement. I was terrified. Terrified of being alone and just surviving. I never set out to be divorced and I certainly didn’t want my children to be the “kids whose parents are divorced.” But I also knew that I deserved better and so did my kids. More so, I began to realize that my courage to leave an unhappy marriage after everything I endured would someday serve as an example to them instead of a failure.
Working through the pain, loss and anguish was grueling. Working on myself was both painful and liberating. As time went on, I began to feel a little bit more at peace with each passing day. It’s one of those things you can’t quite put your finger on and there isn’t some big epiphany. You just realize you are healing. As I look back now, I realize I didn’t have what I needed and wanted in my marriage in addition to the other issues. I just wanted to be fulfilled and feel validated, as we all do. Some days I just wanted something as simple as a hug. I’m big on hugs. I get it from my Dad. The man who barely went a day without giving me one in the 16 years I was lucky enough to have him.
Every chapter and every love story has a beginning and an end. My mother’s ended with the death of my father. My mother was able to write her next chapter when she met and married my stepfather whom I hold very dear. Mine ended for many reasons. Reasons I have come to own regardless of fault. Owning them is key in unlocking the hurt, the anger and the regrets. It allows you to turn the page and be hopeful of the possibilities of the future and grateful for the lessons of the past .
Even in spite of everything, I still believe in true, unconditional love. And I still believe in marriage. Love is everywhere. We just forget to notice sometimes. It truly is the one thing that makes the world go round. The other chapter of my life may be closed but a new one awaits. It’s one that I am creating now even as I write these words. I do get to control my own destiny. I know that if I am the person that I want to be with, I will attract that to my life. I know that the person I am today may be older, but I am better and wiser than the person I was yesterday and last year. And certainly better than that young girl in the white dress in the spring of 1998.
So my next chapter will be written with love, laughter, respect, compromise, trust, contribution beyond myself and not taking life too seriously. Most importantly, I will show myself and my children that we all do get second chances. I know and believe that I’ll get that hug when I most need it… or maybe, just maybe, because I’m simply standing in his presence.