In the “You Got This: Healing Through Divorce” Group I created on Facebook, I see a lot of women wanting to see that there is hope. And there is.
The following is an interview with a friend who I will call Lin (she wants to remain Anonymous) who went through an excruciatingly painful divorce and rebuilt her life afterward. She is remarried, happy, and thriving at the top of her game professionally. I asked her to share her story because she inspires me and I think she will inspire others who are struggling through divorce too.
This is Lin:
Me: Do you remember the day you knew your marriage was over?
Lin: When my ex-husband was caught using drugs for a second time during rehab.
Me: What was the hardest/worst part of your divorce?
Lin: Losing time with my daughter and having her spend time with a person I no longer trusted or felt was safe or a good influence.
Me: How did you get through it?
Lin: I think mostly it took time, patience with myself, and the support of friends and family. We have been separated more than 10 years and our divorce went final 9 years ago, and I still miss her when my daughter is gone. I still don’t particularly trust (nor respect) her dad. I still worry. But it is more the dull ache than the sharp pain if that makes sense. Being with people I love and respect and filling time with things I enjoy and are meaningful to me worked. I felt like I could get back to “me” (who I was without a toxic influence.)
Me: What did you learn about yourself as a result of your divorce?
Lin: Just the continued reinforcement that, actually, I am a good person, and I have amazing friends and family… that I am strong and capable (which, honestly, I knew but the reminder was nice, after a while with an emotionally abusive person who told me otherwise)… that being away from my daughter, however painful, was far better than staying in a horrible situation… I was reminded who are my real friends (vs. the people who never reached out). I was allowed to remember that my religious traditions and faith are important to me and to enjoy them. I restarted sports I love, like skiing. I learned that I need things orderly in my house and that living with anyone who couldn’t respect that would be a non-starter. I learned that I love my crockpot and that cooking a meal for the family means a lot to me.
Me: What have you accomplished or gained in your life since your divorce that you did not expect before?
Lin: Hmmmm…. not sure. I didn’t “expect” to find love again, but I’m not like ‘surprised’ that I did. I had some career success, but I earned it.
Me: Any advice or words of wisdom to someone who is going through divorce right now?
Lin: The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel looks far away and probably like a train. It is not. It is sunlight, and peace, and freedom. To be your best self, be patient. Don’t expect too much of yourself. Don’t work too hard to maintain relationships that aren’t healthy, that includes friends. Be close with the ones who nurture your soul. When you feel you have time, get a puppy. There’s nothing like puppy love.
Thank you, Lin. XOXO
This is part of my “There Are Lanterns” series where I am consistently reminded of how much inspiration can come from another person’s journey.
Caterpillars must end their existence as caterpillars to become butterflies. Diamonds exist after intense heat and pressure. Flowers only bloom after the bud has broken open. Sometimes it takes moving through the darkness to create light.
Our pain creates our story which fuels growth and power. Sometimes we have to tolerate discomfort and move through darkness to create light and healing. But we don’t have to do it alone. Others have moved through that darkness too and we can use them as lanterns along the way, learning from their journeys and their growth as a means to understand our own.