One of the hard things about divorce is the loss of what you expected your life to be. I hear this happens around the time you start to realize it’s over: your marriage is ending. Or maybe it sets in as hope that the marriage might survive exits.
I’m not really sure.
It didn’t really happen to me, this sudden loss of the expectancy of a long and happy life with my spouse. Maybe I realized well before any separation talk took place or divorce papers were filed that that just wasn’t going to happen. Maybe I knew deep down inside that eventually the differences and the ill treatment and the unhealthiness would just be too much for this marriage to survive.
I know what you’re thinking, call this self fulfilling prophecy if you want. It’s always hard to say with those but I’m fairly certain this is not one. History, my version of it (though surely not the one he would give you), shows that I really did give it the old college try, that I stuck it out and tried to make the best of a bad decision for a long time.
A very long time.
When the shit hit the fan I wasn’t really surprised. There was none of this grieving for a life I thought I would have. I read what others wrote about the loss of life expectancy so to speak and thought “Well, at least I’ve been spared that particular pain. That’s something.” Because when shit’s flying around the room at a rapid pace are you really that surprised when it does hit the fan?
Nope, not so much.
But I was wrong too. That pain of grieving, that sudden loss of the life I always just thought I would have, it turns out I wasn’t spared that. It just took a different form for me. I can even pin point the exact moment it happened: it was my daughter’s birthday. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. How could I? That half hour or more I spent on the bathroom floor almost passing out because I could barely breath is riding at the top of my Worst Moments Ever list. I hadn’t even read all the way through the Friend of the Court investigator’s report. I just couldn’t do it. I got the gist of it and that was enough for me to know that this too had not gone as I truly thought it would.
Even though the process had been long, terrible and full of procedural faux pas I still thought it would be okay in the end.
Maybe I believed in Fairy Tales more than I realized.
I don’t any more.
I thought at some point someone would see through his charade and that bad dream would have a decent ending. After all he was doing all the things they say you’re not supposed to (in addition to he years of absentee parenting). He didn’t go to any of the recommended court education sessions. He started dating, introduced her to the kids, and moved her into his home in a matter of three months. He told the children inappropriate things about me specifically to damage their opinion of me and my relationship with them. There are things twelve year olds just don’t need to know, he didn’t care. He even blatantly disregarded court orders.
Surely this wouldn’t all go unanswered for. That is what the system is there for isn’t it?
My faith in “the system” is at an all time low. It’s hovering just above Absolute Zero , you know, where Bose-Einstein condensates form.
Suddenly my life is something I thought it would never be: missing my kids fifty percent of the time. That loss of time with them, the emptiness they leave behind, this sudden displacement of the purpose my life has always had leaves a bloody, gaping hole inside me. I lost a part of my self, a piece of my identity.
Suddenly what I did, what I’d chosen to do with my life, that thing I decided to devote my time to instead of higher education & a career, was just gone half the time. Poof! Gone…nothing there. A void.
I wasn’t prepared for this.
But here I am. This is the reality of my life.
Six months later I’ve adjusted but there’s a part of me that’s still not okay with how things are, that still wants to fight to change it even though right now it would be fighting a losing battle.
I definitely don’t need more frustration in my life. Maybe this is one of those things they talk about, the things you should accept because you just can’t change them. Accepting feels like defeat though. Can I live with defeat? How much choice do I really have in the matter?
Most of this is probably some part of the process of coping with a change in my life’s reality. It is called grieving but what am I really grieving over?
Basically just an idea, a perception of what I thought the future would be. But we don’t have the future. It’s not a thing we posses. So how can we lose it?
I thought I would continue to have my kids with me for the majority of their childhoods. But all I actually had was the time we were in and our past together. Sure there was an assumption that the present would continue on as it was but that’s just an assumption. I lost an assumption, an expectation. I didn’t even lose a real thing, just a perception of a thing.
It’s as if I was looking down at my reflection on the surface of a lake and I thought the person staring back at me was real. But she wasn’t, she was only my reflection. I’m sad because I thought I had a friend but I didn’t. There was never really anyone there.
Life is like that on a daily basis both on a small and large scale. You think it’s going to be one way then it’s not. Expectations and reality are rarely the same.
I look at my life now and mostly it feels “normal”. The kids moving back and forth from one parent’s to the other’s week after week has a rhythm to it now like the ebb and flow of waves. I still don’t like it all that much but I look around and realize this is my life, it’s just the way things are.
I’m thirty-four years old. I have more grey hairs than I’d like to acknowledge, more than is feasible to pluck out and pretend I didn’t see. I’m usually tired and can never seem to get as much done as there is to do. Most the time there’s a sense of being completely overwhelmed lurking in the back of my mind. My house is always hovering on the brink of disaster; life is always chaotic. I suck at making phone calls, mailing things (even important things), and the library books are always overdue. My kids are only with me half the time and in never feels like enough. There are unfinished projects piling up, things we wanted to do or make but didn’t get around to. We never quite have enough time to do everything we want to and we’re almost always running a little late.
This is life. This is just the way things are.
This is my reality.