Divorce Can Feel Like a Terrible Car Accident

Self on 04.21.11
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My wedding day was the most joyous event of my life. All my hopes and dreams and visions for the future arose in me and spoke the words "I do" and on we proceeded down the aisle hand and hand as we exited our church, and climbed into the open bed of the vintage red milk truck that drove onward and upward over the hills, beaches, and countryside of Aquidneck Island toward the biggest celebration I had ever been atthe center of in my entire thirty year old life. I was married. I was married.

The Vintage Red Milk Truck
Photo Credit: Kim Fuller Photography ( The vinatge red milk truck that carried us to our reception) 

Who am I?

 

But several years later, I was divorced. 

No one tells you that getting a divorce can be like getting into a very serious car accident. You walk away looking unscathed from the impact, and yet your internal organs have sustained severe trauma. For many many months my ability to think straight was seriously impaired. It was as if the very sound of life was just to much for me to bare and so my version of turning down the volume was to climb into my bed shortly after getting the kids off to school and gratefully surrender to sweet relief of Garnet Hill flowered sheets and sleep until it was time to greet them again at 3:00 when the bus brought them back to me.  

While awake my senses were skewed and my very balance in the world just seemed incredibly precarious. I could not seem to process my thoughts and it was literally as if the cord between my head and my heart had been cut and neither were on speaking terms. To add to the injury was the disappointment of  my surrounding community. Many who had celebrated our union seemed distant, and foreign now... their judgement suspended heavily in the air where the bubbles they'd once blown in our honor had formerly drifted bobbing hazy and happily as bubbles do.

Milk Truck


I was in a terrible state and my isolation was acute. These side effects lasted for a very very long time as I navigated the excruciating process of finding my will to begin again.

Throughout that process I found comfort in audio books and journals and music. Having very little desire for socializing I opted instead for long walks with my headphones and lost myself in the stories of those whose titles I was drawn to. One of the kindest gestures offered to me during that time was from my dear former Newport neighbor Ellen. She gave me a long embrace as she whispered her regret for my pain and pressed a small book into my hands. This book sat for months by my bedside unread until finally I dared open the cover. Inside those pages were words that held my redemption.  

When things fell apart I finally surrendered to the wisdom that comes with realizing you can not always control the grim realities of life.  Fear, dispair, rage, and all of the horrid emotions we spend most of our daily lives trying to avoid have so very much to teach us about the things that really matter. The wisdom I have gained from this experience has given me an inner strength and compassion for myself and others I never knew was possible. I remember that as Ellen whispered in my ear that day she told me not to return the book, but instead to pass it on. And so I am. 

Butterfly
I found the symbol of a butterfly trite before this event in my life; now it makes sense. Photo Credit: Monica Rodgers.

 

I know there is someone out there who has felt the pain of divorce or who is going through it now. Perhaps this post can be helpful to you in some way, and if the book too resonates for you, I have a joyful heart and know that you too might find the strength to begin again.... 

Don't give up. It gets better. I promise.


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