When Hope Dies

Posted on | May 10, 2011 | 25 Comments

We’ve moved into casual conversation land. 

I don’t know when it happened or how I feel about it but yesterday Ex called to check on J and we managed to have a conversation that didn’t end in my wanting to curl up in a ball and die.  That’s got to be progress of some kind… or else I’m just slowly losing all my nerve endings.

When I hung up the phone, I felt such a sense of finality.  The fact that he was kind, the fact that he was pleasant and not yelling, the fact that I was able to tell him how J was doing without wanting to reach through the phone and throttle him.  All of that made me realize that this is, in fact, the end.  Sure, I’ve been taking baby steps in that general direction for a while, but something about that conversation just hit home.

He was kind… maybe that was it.  Maybe his ability to no longer want to hurt me made me realize that he’s moved past loving me at all.  Or maybe it was my ability to be kind to him without choking back bile that seemed ever present in my throat.  Maybe it was the fact that we were being adults together, for perhaps the first time in our relationship.

Regardless of the reason, I found myself devoid of any hope of reconciliation after that call.  Obviously, it wasn’t ever in the cards, but somehow I kept waving the olive branch in the hopes he’d see it from across town and come back to me.  I don’t know how that would have played out and I don’t particularly want to even imagine it.

The thing is, I didn’t realize I was still holding on to so much hope until that conversation.  I didn’t know how much of me  it was killing  to wonder if he was going to change his mind and come home.

Hope is a funny thing.

And you’d think that hope would be a good thing but in this case? Hope was the end of me.  Hope was what kept me awake at night, wondering who he was talking to.  Hope was what kept me staring at his number in my phone and making daily trips to his facebook page.  Hope was what kept digging deeper and deeper beneath my skin until I was presenting myself to him brimming over with hope and bleeding my need all over him.  I was so full of hope that there was no room for acceptance.

And now that hope has died, I can maybe start to pick up the pieces.  I can maybe stop dreading his phone calls.  I can maybe start to make plans for my future without him. 

It’s not going to be easy.

The thoughts of Christmas without him, birthdays without him, any days without him still fill me with so much dread that I can’t stand it.  And more than that, the thought of holidays and weekends without J makes me shudder with the agony of what we’re doing to our marriage and our son.   I’ve tried to keep the image of a two person table set for dinner out of my head.  I’ve tried to erase the memory of family portraits with both parents.  I’ve basically just tried not to think about this at all.

But now that hope has died, perhaps the thoughts will be easier to process.  Perhaps I can take them out of their eggshells and hold them gently in my fingers without fearing that holding them will somehow make them more real.

Perhaps I can let myself grieve now that I know there is no more hope.


25 Responses to “When Hope Dies”

  1. Jana A
    May 10th, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

    I think that’s an amazing hurdle you crossed. ((hugs))

  2. karmen
    May 10th, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    oh momma.
    you have so much to look forward to.
    so. much.
    i just KNOW it.

  3. April
    May 10th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    You will have good days and bad days. There is an ebb and flow with divorce. There will be days that things seem civil, then there will be others. They are days. Moments. Moments that you WILL make it through, mostly for your son. If I hadn’t had my daughter…well my thoughts during that time were not great. The only thing keeping me going was my daughter.

    There is a bond with her now, that I would not trade. Would I like for us to be a family (for her?) Perhaps. Were we good together? No. Hindsight is indeed priceless. Your situation may be different. But just know that you will make it. You are strong. Your son loves you and needs you. You can do this.

  4. Julie
    May 10th, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    Now that you have put the hope of reconciling behind you, please go find yourself the best lawyer you can find, while you remain above the fray and continue to wow me with your grace. Lawyer-wise, I’m saying the sharkiest shark in shark town.

    And while your ex is still feeling bad about his decision to abandon you and your son, sign an agreement that protects you. The longer you wait to get his signature the easier it will be for him to feel ok with being selfish. He may feel some guilt and conflict now, even if he thinks his choice was for the best. But in 6 months – he will feel no such qualms and he will be much less likely to be considerate and generous. I’m not advising raking him over the coals or being an unreasonable B (not matter how much I may think he deserves it).

    I’m saying MAKE SURE YOU GET WHAT YOU AND YOUR SON NEED AND ARE ENTITLED TO AND DO IT RIGHT AWAY. Get what you can, and get it now. If that makes things slightly uncomfortable for him… Well that’s just gravy.

  5. YaraC
    May 10th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while but never commented. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for what you are going through. It’s so unfair when you took your vows as a serious promise. I hope that you will someday look back and realize that you are happier than you ever imagined you could be while you were in that marriage. Good luck with your move, your new job and the new you.

  6. Jess@Straight Talk
    May 10th, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    this is the beginning of great things…

  7. Amy
    May 10th, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    Just found your blog and read today’s entry. Looking forward to reading it from the start. My husband of 10 years decided he wanted a divorce and is leaving me with our 3 year old son. The line “I’ve tried to erase the memory of family portraits with both parents. I’ve basically just tried not to think about this at all.” really got to me. Hugs to you! We women are so much stronger than we think we are.

  8. LegallyInsaneMommy
    May 10th, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    Ditto what Julie said above.

  9. Jennifer
    May 10th, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    Now that the hope for the past is buried, put the hope into your new future.

  10. Marnie
    May 10th, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    The night of my son’s first birthday party, I spent the evening listening to an intimate conversation between my then-husband and his then-girlfriend. It came out of the blue and hit me like a ton of bricks. I went through the death of my marriage and dealt with the guilt of my son being raised in two homes by divorced parents who didn’t get along. It gets easier.

    This year on my son’s birthday, my new husband and I will have our first child. I never would have imagined that horrible night that life would give me what I have now. If I had hoped for a reconciliation I would be tethered to a selfish man with no future other than the inevitable divorce when my son was 5 or 6 or 10 that would tear his world apart. It is easier for children if divorce happens when they are very young. Your son will grow up with no guilt and no memory of this time and that will be a blessing for him.

    Do not allow yourself to look back. You may have thought it was good and what you wanted, but I promise you will find out that it was not. There are better things ahead for you and you have to move toward them now. You may only manage one day or one minute at a time for now, but down the road you will look back and see that this had to happen for you to have the life you truly want and deserve.

    Put your hope in the future, not the past. It will never serve you there. But for now, live in the present. Make the best decision you can for you and your son every day – whether it is financial, legal or just something as simple as a good meal and ice cream. Before you know it, all those good decisions will add up to a better life.

    Best wishes and good luck to you.

  11. R's Mom
    May 10th, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    I hope that this milestone will help you focus more on the here & now, and not the “what ifs.” And like Jennifer above commented, that you can refocus your hope. Maybe hope is gone for reconciliation, but there is lots of hope for happiness, for peace, for a wonderful future with your son, and many other things.

  12. Heidi
    May 10th, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    I don’t have any advice or profound insight for you. Just a big virtual hug.

  13. Marci
    May 10th, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    I just found your blog thanks to Kate and Lydia. I have to say that I am so sorry to hear about what you are going thru. I can also say that I have been there and I know how you feel. I really and truly have. My ex decided when I was pregnant with our son that he wanted someone else. Hello slap in the face. Talk about reality crashing down. I have felt everything you are feeling and gone thru every phase and emotion in the book. It is sooo not fun and sooo not fair. But it gets better and you will be a better person for it. I am living proof of that. I have a wonderful 6 yr old that I have practically raised by myself and I am happier than I ever thought I could be. Just remember, the sun will always shine again.

  14. Andi
    May 10th, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    I found your blog through Rants from Mommyland. From experience I can say it gets easier in time. Not right away, mind you, the deeper you loved the longer it hurts. There are no magic shortcuts.

    Clearly, you love to write. Bloggers are all just amateur fiction writers wishing for the time and brilliance to be novelists, aren’t we? You should write, not just here, but for yourself and no one else. All the things you want to say to him, all the questions you can’t bring yourself to ask. Write a letter to your son about what you thought your life was like before that day and seal it. Write a obituary for your marriage. Pour out the pain so that it can’t fester.

    I did wind up going the therapy route, because nearly a year after the divorce, I still had so many doubts and so much guilt. The writing was key for me. And the essential premise that my child deserves the very best life I can give him. I can’t make it work with his father, that takes two. But I can be the best mom I know how to be. I can put him first for a while. I can be the bigger person. Just don’t sell his interests short in the settlement. Be brave and hold your ground on that.

    The time will come when being a great mom will be enough, then somewhere down the line it won’t. When you realize that you a more than a mother, that you want to put on pretty things and be treated like a woman, you’ll be ready for that next step into single life. But it’s ok to be a recently divorced mom too. When just getting up and putting on makeup feels like a marathon. It too shall pass.

    My own parents have been unhappily married for nearly 45 years. They have lived like divorced people who share a house for three decades. It isn’t pretty, it’s barely functional. Fear keeps them together, though I have no idea how. There are worse things in life than divorce, not many luckily, but they exist.

    For a piece of practical advice, if I may, buy a trunk or foot locker. Pack away into it all the wedding albums and nostalgia that you think your son may one day want to see. Store it somewhere safe but out of sight. As your son gets older, add the treasured items from his milestones so that it’s not the trunk of dread. Class photos from preschool, favorite baby toy, trophies from tee ball…

    I had great advice from my grandparents and I took it to heart. Life is what we make it, there are no shortcuts to happiness and success is the best revenge.

  15. Alma
    May 10th, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    I just found your blog (via Rants from Mommyland) and I can’t stop reading it. I just wanted to say that I truly feel for you. Your writing is provacative – I found myself brought to tears more than once. And though I may not be going through the same thing you are, your writing really touched me as a mother and as a woman. I think this phase in your life will be kind of like high school: you can’t imagine that there is life on the other side, but eventually you’ll be there. I can only send you my deepest and most sincere best wishes.

  16. ada_hoping
    May 10th, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    Maybe it’s not the end of hope, so much as the end of what’s been holding you back. Now that it’s gone — you can go forward.

  17. Mindy Lee
    May 10th, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    Ah, but see? There is hope. There is hope in a new dream, even if you don’t know it yet. There is hope in the next page, hope in the next chapter. There is hope in a newly formed relationship, one as friend and co-parent, to a man you still love. There is hope.

    When I was going through my second divorce, a ‘friend’ bought me a little plaque that said “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Nietzsche” And I hated it. I hated Nietzsche, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be alive, and I was absolutely positive I was strong enough, thankyouverymuch. And then, a dear, sweet friend, one who knows me so well, sent me a tshirt in the mail. It said “God is dead. Nietzsche.” Below it? “Nietzsche is dead. God.”

    And for some reason, that silly tshirt helped me. It reminded me that no matter what? God is in control. He cares for the sparrows of the air, and the lilies of the valley. How much MORE does he care for me? People can say whatever they like, but GOD is in control.

    Jeremiah 29:11 – God gives you a promise. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    Take comfort, friend. God has a plan for you. And it is GOOD.

  18. Christi
    May 10th, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    I’m sending you hugs and thoughts and prayers and rainbows and cuddly kittens and ice cream cones and anything else that might make you smile. You’re in a tough situation, but it does get better! When my oldest was 3 months old, I went through a divorce and moved in with my mom. Now, 11 years later, I’m remarried, have a fabulous pre-teen daughter and have an 8 month old daughter now as well. My ex and I still sometimes get on each other’s nerves, but we communicate well and the hard feelings have long since gone away. Hang in there, find a strong support system, and things will get easier!

  19. Alexandra
    May 10th, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    I know the feeling you’re talking about.

    When you hear it in their voice, that it is really over.

    I’m so sorry.

  20. Laura
    May 10th, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

    I’m so sorry that you’re living this life right now…

    Something that may help you through this is “construcive living”. It may help you create a new perspective and bring more positivity into your days. It’s basically the act of thankfulness and awareness. For instance, being aware and thankful of the things most often taken for granted, like that green light that kept you on time, or the convenience of running water, and the ability to have a warm shower to start your day. I know it sounds rudimentary, but when you begin acknowledging these small blessings, the hardships to endure seem less hard.

    Be good to yourself, trust yourself, and make a point to enjoy something about each beautiful day.


  21. JD Momma
    May 10th, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    Wow! That is a great place to be.

    Now, let me explain why I say this. With my ex, I held out hope for years that he would be the husband and father we needed. Finally, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen. I am sorry that you had to go through this, but am happy you have finally reached this place. This is the “clean slate” place, the “I’m going to make my life mine” place, the “I can see a future” place.

    While you may not know what that future is, or how it will look, you get to chart your path.

    Good luck and know that people are cheering for you and praying for you and happy that you are taking the steps.

  22. Anne
    May 10th, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

    Welcome to my village.

    My village is populated with professional single mommies. We did not imagine we would be single, but here we are.

    We do what we have to do for our children.
    We have bad days. We have really crummy days.
    We cry ourselves to sleep over the dream lost.
    We pull over to the side of the road because we can not see the road through the tears.

    But each challenge we conquer. Each step brings us further away from the pain. The loss. Closer to something new. Different. Better. Stronger.

    We are survivors.

    Welcome to my village.

  23. Kelly
    May 10th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    congrats on getting over that hurdle. I really can’t imagine what you are going through. I think I would try to hold on with everything I had, but that would be exhausting and you can be putting all that energy and time into time with your son.
    Good luck and God bless!

  24. KristinaYellow
    May 10th, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    🙂 This is the first post in awhile that sounds like you may have felt closer to the “at peace” end of the spectrum as opposed to the “lost and sad” end. I’m really glad. Honestly-I’ll admit that my nun’s voice popped into my head and told me, “See, God gives you miracles-you just have to give him time” Remember this feeling and celebrate. I think it’s a sign of progress–granted you may have bad days again but still, you’ve seen the light and now you know it’s there. HUGS. Go hug your little man (and by the way, if you have any secrets regarding how to win a discussion with a toddler…share! I figure you are a lawyer and must have some tricks up your sleeve and my 2 yr old can argue better than me!)

  25. Susan
    May 13th, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    I know how you feel. After every post I read I become more convinced that we are living the same life, only hundreds of miles apart.

    ((hugs)). Things will only keep getting better; at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

    A word of advice: defriend him on Facebook. That has made things so much easier for me. I still have friends who are friends with him, so I could see if I wanted, but I don’t anymore. And that feels like a step forward.

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