As I sat in the park and felt the warmth of the sun on my back, I watched my children play, and noticed a smile forming at the corners of my mouth. I was finally beginning to feel human again. From the start of my divorce, life seemed to come to a screeching halt. Waves of sadness, anger and confusion had become a “normal” state of being for me. The potential for stability and happiness in my life seemed so far away and out of reach. At times, I remember feeling that the loss was too overwhelming. Then through reaching out for support, finding out I was not alone with my pain, I had slowly begun to heal.
When we experience a divorce, we are not just grieving the end of our marriage. The pain is experienced in layers and at times all at once. Along with grieving the loss of our relationship, we grieve the loss of our family, of seeing our children every day, of our financial and emotional security, of our friendships we lost because they chose him or her over us, of the relationships with our in-laws, of lost hopes, dreams, and our futures. We even grieve the loss of ourselves.
I can still recall what compelled that slight smile in the park that day: it was the laughter of a family—the joyful sound of two loving parents and a child in the midst of a warm embrace. My heart sank, and my gut began to ache. Then the tears came. I was still grieving.
As a counselor specializing in divorce recovery, I often hear the statement, “I thought I was through the pain and becoming stronger—then BAM: I feel like I am back to the moment when it all first happened.” The truth is that we grieve our divorce in stages and even when we experience what feels like taking steps backwards, we are not. Our growth does not disappear simply because we experience a trigger or another element of grief. But, committing to surround yourself with support is an important element of self-care that can contribute to moving you in a positive direction.
As a result of my experience as a participant in a divorce recovery group years ago, I now facilitate groups around the Phoenix area. Whether or not you chose to explore additional support, please know: You are not crazy. You are not broken. You are definitely not alone. And in time your heart will heal. Be patient with yourself and know that this is not the end of the novel that is your life, but only the beginning of a new chapter.
If you are interested in joining a Divorce Recovery Group or other Counseling Services, please contact: