Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change. ~
The other day I was visiting an older couple my daughter had met at work. They were adorable, and sweet, and mentioned they’d been married for 50 years.
When I got home, and had some quiet time to myself, I realized: I’ll never have a 50th wedding anniversary. Even if I meet someone tomorrow and remarry right away, I doubt I’ll live to be 106. Maybe so, but not likely. And I felt so sad, and demoralized.
Part of me deeply grieves my divorce. Sometimes it almost seems like childbirth – we forget the messy, painful bits after it’s over. Looking back, I remember the good parts, and have to remind myself that yes, there were valid reasons why I left. And those reasons are still valid.
Still. Never to have a 50th wedding anniversary. It pinches the heart.
Then again, I never had the relationship that would make it to 50 years the way this lovely couple does. Sometimes I wonder – should I have tried harder? Should I have done something differently? Yes, of course. There are lots of things I could have done differently, but deep in my heart I really do believe that nothing would have been good enough to change the trajectory of our relationship. We were broken, together.
I’ve realized knowing that still doesn’t mean there’s no grieving. The rational part of my mind that gives me all the reasons why, and tells me it was the right thing to do, doesn’t silence the irrational, emotional side that grieves the loss of the dream we had on our wedding day. I grieve for our failed relationship. I grieve for my kids, that they no longer have one home with both parents in it. I grieve for the future, when there won’t be Christmas mornings with everyone in the house, meeting in the living room at 7 am for presents and breakfast. I grieve for the things I could have done differently, but didn’t in the depths of despair over a relationship that made both of us miserable, no matter how many times we went to counseling or tried to fix it on our own. I grieve for the life that should have been.
I grieve for myself, on my own again, alone.
Just because a marriage was bad, doesn’t mean we won’t grieve its ending, and all the things that now will never be.
I know this is all part of the process of moving on. I sit here in this in between phase, grieving the past and what wasn’t, and not knowing the future and what could be. It’s hard, and scary, and sad.
It’s also essential. I have to deal with this emotional crap if I’m to move past it. So there’s no telling myself not to feel it, not to grieve, not to wish things could have turned out differently. It’s essential to feel it all, to own it.
I’m working on that – feeling it, owning it, free from blame and guilt. It’s a process, and part of the process is forgiving myself for what I view as my mistakes that led to where we now are. Maybe once I do, I’ll be able to move on, not with grief but with hope. And embrace the unknown, the insecure, not with fear but with elation.
Friends tell me everything will be okay; I’ll be fine. I need to believe it.