We had small children. Three and six years old: button noses, tiny hands. When my husband and I separated, we needed to because that was the next and only step we knew how to take. We’d forgotten how to breathe our own breaths, and breathing each other’s breaths had taken both our souls.
The first nights away from each other after 11 years together were strange. We said, ‘How are we going to do this?’ Neither of us knew. We didn’t belong together, anymore, but we still loved each other…we didn’t know how to be apart. Not from each other, and certainly not from our children.
The children. I was ripped into a million flimsy shreds of soul tissue. I admit, a part of me was relieved at the thought of the new found freedom I’d have when the children stayed at their Dads house. I’d have time to find myself. Time to learn who I was as a human being— I’d never truly done that before. The rest of me grieved for the half of my children’s lives that I would miss.
No one ever talks about that part when discussing divorce. No one ever presents the true reality of what ‘splitting the children 50/50’ means. It means missing precious moments, it means not being there to hold their tiny heads when they vomit, it means not being able to comfort them the way a mother needs to at a primal level. I was learning this new, startling reality for myself. It tore me to pieces.
A friend had mentioned how I might like to keep an open mind (and heart, perhaps.) That maybe down the track we might rekindle what we had—she had travelled a similar path and found joy on the other side of separation. A second chance with her husband. A new love for each other beyond the grey. They’d even gone on to have another child after the devastation had faded; which was lovely for her, I thought, but not a likely scenario for us. Our broken parts had solidified. There was nothing of the old us remaining to encourage us to remember the beautiful pair we once made.
Months passed and though I thrived in my new world, finding and learning to nurture new and beautiful parts of myself, I was depressed. My soul howled when my daughter cried for her Dad. Three years old. (I still ache when she picks up the photograph of him that laid beside her bed while she was without the real thing.)
Although there was no shame for me around the idea of divorce, I was crippled when it came to my daughter. My little girl is highly sensitive. I am too, and no matter which way I spun it: we would both lose if this separation continued. I couldn’t see how future good times would outweigh the depths of that kind of despair; it was a joint pain, mine and hers. We all know what empathy feels like, but my empathy goes to the extreme. I embody the pain of others, as if that pain is my own. As spiritually strong as I had grown in my life, even I wasn’t sure I could handle such a heavy dose of pain, every few days.
Then COVID struck. I couldn’t believe the timing. As if a marriage falling apart wasn’t enough pain and confusion to navigate, now the world was falling apart. Supermarket shelves were bare and people in the streets walked around with frightened eyes, wondering things they’d never wondered about others, before.
I’ll never forget the eerie feeling in the supermarket; shelves of silver I’d never seen beneath the normal abundance of household items, not a toilet roll in sight. It was a feeling of doom, is the only way I can describe it. A feeling of charcoal and cold-grey stone. Who had I been sharing the world with all this time? I thought I had known. Now, I was frightened by the realisation that I had no idea.
Fragile me both thrived and fell, during COVID. I used my skills in writing to entertain and help others learn more about books and writing while in lockdown, and this brought my life colour, confidence and inspiration. I became a version of myself I’d only ever dreamed of. Intelligent.Wild. Sexy. Empowered. Free.
Still, I was depressed. Divorce, and what divorce would mean for our family’s future, weighed so heavily on my mind. I tried to frame each negative I found with a positive, and yet always I would find myself back in the same place. Not home. Home, for me, was where my babies were. Where my family was. My husband was a part of that family, and divorced or not, I would be damned if I would allow us to become emotionally separate. So we started spending time together as a family, and though it was odd and uncomfortable at times, it was home. Both of us knew that, both of us needed that.
I sit here, perhaps eighteen months later, twenty-four weeks pregnant with our third precious babe: my two little ones in the next room, my husband at work. I often think back to that conversation with my friend, the one who told me to keep an open mind. It’s hard not to giggle, thinking of the absolute unlikelihoods that have come to pass. A healing marriage. A new member of the family on the way. It’s broken, beautiful life: messy and glorious, and it’s mine. It’s ours.
Is my whole soul entirely happy? No.Will it ever be? Perhaps not. I am, and always have been, as deep as the ocean, as free as a bird, as soft as a petal. Very few people, places, things have ever truly fulfilled me.
But there is hope and there is home. There is a beautiful, supportive husband, who truly is a magnificent human being and father. I adore him. He adores me. We are good.
And, of course, there are my babies, still so small, still so in need of their Mum.
Mental health is a very important issue at this time, and precious humanlives are the sweetest thing. Including yours. Reach out for help if you need it, beautiful friend. There are people who can help you find your own sun again. Let them. So much love. You’ve got this.You do. ❤️
I’m hovering over the heater. If my pants were made of plastic, in fact, they’d have melted to my legs by now.
That’s beside the point, I suppose. The point is…actually, there is no point. I’m just feeling a little glum and I wanted the world to know that this sort of thing happens to people.
It happens, and here I am, gifting you all with the gloriously heavy mud bricks of proof. Proof of glum. (Thank goodness I made this a little blog of everything. Today, it’s my diary.)
I wonder if any of you remember the girl who started this blog. Perpetually happy. Not a cloud in the sky. She was a little soul starved, certainly, but she was sparkly, and happy happy happy. She could walk in nature and listen to music without bursting into flaming sobs of aching life.
My life is broken. And it’s also the greatest, most beautiful magical life I’ve ever known; a creative adventure that touches me to the very core. Can you see the utter confusion I’m dealing with here?
I’m angry. At everybody and nobody at all.
I’m sad, because I am.
I’ve just read a wonderful article about the creative brain, actually, and how creative folk do tend to go through bouts of depression and the like, just because of the way we’re wired. Because of the often self imposed isolation (umm, me.) Because of the heightened senses (umm, also me.)
I suppose it’s a seperate can of worms when you throw in a marriage seperation, two small children, a global health pandemic and a raging angry sea of humans. I feel all these things deeply. And where once I buried pain as soon as it struck, I now allow myself to feel it. (Who even does that. Blurgh.)
I don’t want anyone to worry about me. The clouds always clear. Usually by morning (so there’s the bright side girl, being annoying again.)
But life, hey. ☺️ Sometimes I just feel a little more human than I really want to, and I suppose the next part of my journey is learning how to be okay with that.
I’m certain I must be known around town as that girl who walks and cries. It’s the music. It quite literally becomes me, to the point where I feel like I’m a floating puff of emotional cloud. It’s not even my emotion. Its the emotion (the energy) of the song. People must think I’m barking mad as I float along, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in tears.