One Year to the Day

Precisely a year ago to the day, my world shattered into more pieces than a lifetime of counting would be able to account for. It has now been a year since I showed up at my parent’s home, nigh inconsolable and utterly incoherent with me bags packed. How they understood me between sobs I don’t know; but eventually they pieced together the fact that my marriage had ended.

At the time, this felt like a sudden and entirely unpredictable event that had crept up on me without the slightest hint or warning. Two sessions of therapy a week for a year has helped me face the reality – I had been refusing to recognize problems in the relationship, most likely as a form of avoidance. After all if you don’t look at it, talk about it, or acknowledge it, something really isn’t happening.

There is no good way to have a marriage end that I know of, and I know that my ex went about breaking things off the best that he knew how. That said, if you are in a relationship that feels over and don’t know how to end things, don’t plan it out for six weeks. Trying to tell your partner’s parents before you actually split is also shitty. Essentially the message here is that a breakup needs to start as a conversation between the actual couple. Respect the agency of the person you are with.

To get back on topic, the actual ‘I’m leaving you’ conversation was mostly civil, especially considering the late hour. None of it felt real to me at the time – a large part of me was convinced that everything was going to blow over. After all, we had never had a fight in which one of us did not come home, Justin had only recently been diagnosed as bipolar, and he had just started medication. We hadn’t even tried marriage counseling.

I was still convinced that we would manage to pull everything back together on the first of October, when I was in a car crash. The very next day Justin came to see me, to tell me that there was no possibility of reconciling. Truth be told, between crying my eyes out, pulled muscles from the crash, and the constant overwhelming urge to kill myself I don’t remember much over the month or two that came next. What I do remember is the constant struggle against how hopeless it all felt. Thinking that no one would ever want me again because of how broken I was inside and out, railing against the unfairness of everything.

I wish that I could say there was no self-pity. That would be a lie. There were tubs of ice cream, at least a pound of chocolate, and enough Thai food to keep at least one restaurant in business. In order to preserve at least a little dignity, I’ve decided to file all of these things away as forms of medication and treatment that were completely necessary.

At first what kept me going was my routine (okay I still fall apart without it. Sue me) – knowing that I have things that are coming up to be ready for, things I need to do. The time between things is when pain sneaks up on me unaware and catches me off guard. It was only my routine that kept me from falling apart, because I was too busy pushing through the daily motions to let myself dwell on the hurt that threatened to swallow me whole.

At one year out, most days aren’t so bad. I still need to stay busy and sometimes the hurt catches me off guard. Building a new life after losing one isn’t easy, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t even happen over the 90 day mandatory waiting period between filing and receiving a divorce (that’s as fast as it happens here in Washington, folks. No faster). 90 days for someone to leave your life completely. Really weird to think about.

Sometimes it hits me that it only took a year to get here. That’s forever and it’s also only a blink of an eye. A year ago me making it through a 5k was astounding, and yet this morning I went seven miles as I get ready for my second half marathon. We’re even going to pretend that I can jog for some of the race this time!

I thought that my whole life was already figured out a year ago, but everything got turned and all kinds of twisted. It turns out I have no idea where I’m going or even who is traveling with me (well, okay, Dakota is coming with. That I do know). This is going to be one hell of an adventure – anyone want to come along?




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