Posted on | May 14, 2013 | 11 Comments
In 2011, my husband moved out a few weeks before Mother’s Day so technically, it was the first “holiday” I spent “alone.” I put a much smaller J in the car and drove down the street to the grocery store where I bought a balloon and flowers and chocolates for myself. I filled the cart with junk food and took it all back home where I cried through a box of chocolates and several bags of chips about how I’d never feel whole again, about how I’d never move again.
See, when you’re newly separated or newly divorced or hell, newly broken… everythinghurts. For a long time. Everything hurts because you can’t let yourself focus on the part, the piece, the broken… because to focus on it would hurt too much. Like with any injury. The day after my finger was stitched up, another doctor unwrapped it to do x-rays and I remember staring at it with a complete abstract interest. It didn’t seem like it should be a part of me. It didn’t seem like it was mine. It was foreign and strange and looking at it closely seemed so bizarre that I only cried about it in a global sense of “ouch”… thinking about the actual disaster in front of me was too much to take in. That’s how those first few holidays felt without my husband. I cried about silly things, like not getting a present I didn’t already know about or not having someone to tell me dinner tasted good… I couldn’t cry about how broken I was… that was too much.
It’s been two years now since I last lived in the same house as my ex-husband and to say that everything is different, to say that everything is better seems to minimize just how different and better everything is. People told me it takes time. People told me to wait and see. People said all the things that were true and right and obvious but what they said always just felt wrong. I couldn’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t hurt because the hurt was so big. I couldn’t imagine a time that I’d draw in breaths without wondering if they’d bring tears on the exhale. I couldn’t imagine healing.
But the healing comes.
After a brutal breaking of your soul, the healing comes.
First it’s awful and then it’s worse. Then when it stops hurting to breathe, it’s numb again and then it’s oh so hypersensitive that the barest brush against your wound breaks you all over again… checking “divorced” on a health form, writing your mother as your emergency contact, struggling to zip a dress or fasten a bracelet by yourself. Just when the numb becomes familiar, the feelings creep back in and they’re just all wrong. You laugh when you shouldn’t, cry over things that shouldn’t bring tears, get irrationally angry over something small and insignificant. It’s like you’re waking up from a dream or a nightmare or at least a long and drawn out sleep, and you can’t quite figure out where you are or who you’re supposed to be.
But those feelings? They sort themselves. Slowly. You help them along through your passion for something new… painting, planting, running. You become someone new. And then one day you wake up and the thought of your ex doesn’t make you want to drive nails into someone’s back. One day you can have a conversation with him or her and you don’t wonder what they’re thinking about how you look or what you’re wearing. One day you realize that not only are you not sad or angry… you’re not in love with that person any longer. One day you throw your arms out wide and spin around in the sun with the son you always wanted and you don’t believe or think or feel that anything is missing.
One day, you are healed. You are whole and strong and better than you were. But there are oh so many days before that day, that it feels like it will never come.
Then it does.
And on that day, you sit and think back on how many steps you’ve taken, on how many miles you’ve run, how many races you’ve finished with your arms high and your soul higher… since that day when you sat on the floor of an empty bedroom and wondered how you’d ever walk again.
And you realize that for some, for you, it took the breaking to make you whole.