life after divorce | complexities

it just won't stop hurting.

i don't think it ever can. and i've learned not to expect it to.

this morning we shared breakfast, as a family. cracker barrel is our saturday tradition. we go for the pancakes and the tiny individual bottles of syrup that the kids can handle on their own if they want to. it makes them feel big.

"this is what it used to be like," i think to myself. sticky fingers, forks accidentally clattering  to the floor, both of us smiling over shiloh, our youngest's,  healthy appetite and way with words.  this is the feeling of my family. except we're not a family anymore. not a mom and dad in love spinning our love web over three fiercly adored, though often tiresome little ones. we are a mom and dad apart. nursing wounds we left with one another, while attempting to smile. doing our best to put the kids first, to make them feel that little has changed. that they did nothing wrong, and that though the balance has shifted, no love was lost.

except it was.

no matter how grateful i am that it was "amicable."

no matter how lucky i am to actually have an ex husband i don't argue or power struggle with (and believe me i know i am so blessed!).

the fact remains that our  love has been lost. and i don't care what the context was, death of love is an immense tragedy.  one that  will leave a hole forever the same way a star leaves blackness when it burns out.

speaking of context. let me be clear on something-

i chose this divorce. it wasn't something he wanted. it was me. i assessed the situation, i looked at my mashed up heart to see how much life she had left, and in the end, decided it would be better for me to do the final breaking.

"say whhhaaaaaaa?" you're thinking.... i know.

"then why is she so sad?!"  and,  "how can she possibly  complain?"

the best way i can explain, though it will be oversimplified, is that my choice was based on survival. i could stay in the trap i was caught in (one i created for myself, i don't want to put any blame on him), waiting for death to slowly but surely arrive. or i could gnaw off my leg, and accept the pain and loss sure to accompany the rest of my life. i chose the latter, because it meant that i could live.

beyond the pain of loss, the guilt cuts deepest. hurting someone i spent 8 years protecting. the person i promised never to hurt, who didn't sign up for it, ask for it, or in the end deserve it one bit. from his point of view, the unfairness of the situation is astounding. but then again, unfair is often the way things are in life.  and i cannot defend or disagree, i can only apologize, as i messily try to manage the endless strains of hurt.

then of course the mourning i do for my children. no matter how much i wanted to give it to them, they are never going to get a mom and a dad holding hands on a family vacation to disneyland. period.


my choice makes it clear i'm not of the mindset that one should suffer through marriage for the sake of one's children. but the excruciating moments in which i question myself are often. like when i was alone on christmas day, watching les miserables in the theater, sobbing as fantine gives up not just her dignity but her life for the sake of her daughter cosette, and i wondered how i can possibly justify my "selfish," choice against one of the most beautiful themes in all of humanity. the sacrificial element present in love.


i can't really. i can't make sense of it all. i can only know what i know and do what my gut tells me its gonna take to survive.

time will deaden the potency of my feelings and weaken my memories. it will be called healing,  and i will have knowledge i couldn't have gained in any other way.

despite alllll of that; my pain, my guilt and doubt, my bouts of emptiness and despair, the final fact remains:

i feel hope for life again, and so i would not take it back.

spring is coming. the sun is out a little more these days. its warmth soaks into me in places that were impenetrable before. and i believe in love more than i ever have.

if you've paid attention to my blog for a millisecond, you'll know that  nothing speaks to my heart as strongly, or makes me want to pick up my camera more, than the beauty that is two people committing to one another, and then committing to build a life together. i pride myself on photographing the rawness of that connection-- the quiet daily moments, that strengthen and reinforce that choice. family. relationships. the ties that mean more than any others. and so i'm learning to sit and make peace with the bumps and turns my own family has taken, always with respect, always with wonder.

 thanks for listening.