Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let It Go

It has been almost 5 years now since my initial cancer diagnosis and subsequent marital breakup; five years of ups and downs and all arounds.  Five years of raising four kids alone, fighting the system, financial hardship as well as five years of growth, laughter, good times and adventure.  This family packed an awful lot into five short years!

Somehow, the number "five" holds great significance.  My children each started kindergarten at "five," one is considered cured of most cancers when the five year milestone is reached......we have five fingers on each hand - the very first thing we learn to count.  In five years, we have lived in four different houses, four different town and two different states. We've traversed the west, been to California four times and have taken ample cross country romps across the U.S. The kids have grown from ages 2-8 to 7-13 - translation; from daycare - third grade to first through eighth. We registered for high school last week and won our first of many sports trophies.  A lot can happen in just five short years!   

If you are just beginning your journey, the road ahead looks long and scary - I know.  This was not the "plan" when you started out all fresh and new and in love.  Once upon a time, you felt invincible, loved, protected and cherished and now, you simply feel grief, disappointment, anger and frustration.  Life has been reduced to a business contract.  It feels unnatural - everything you believed to be true no longer applies.

I have learned a lot in these five years - much of which on my feet as I fumbled and fell along the way, some through counsel and guidance.

1) Divorce is a grieving process like no other.  A person who has never been in these shoes CANNOT comprehend the range of emotions that accompanies this loss.  You cannot expect them to.

2) You must always put your children FIRST - even if that means coming into direct opposition of those around you.  They are entitled to an open and loving relationship with both parents - in fact, they need this to be whole.  Do NOT use your children to prove a point or otherwise fulfill your own needs.

3) People around you will enjoy pointing out the faults of your spouse and will encourage you to "see them" for what they are.  This is counterproductive and will keep you in a bad place longer.  You may need to vent, they do not have to return the favor.

4) You will be judged - both positively and negatively - for how you process your grief, get back on your feet, parent your children etc.  Remember, this is a learning process and you will err along the way.......you would have if your marriage remained intact as well, but somehow, the world perceives 2 as better than one.  Ignore this judgment.

5) It takes two people to make or break any relationship......accept your role.  You cannot force the other person to accept theirs, but hopefully, in time, it will come.

6) People will take sides.  You will lose some close friends.  Your social life will change.  This is, perhaps, healthy!

7) Always take the high road whenever possible.  Do what is right and best for the kids and for your own emotional health.

8) Be cautious of the advice to take from others.  What is best for them may not be what is best for you.  Weigh your options carefully before reacting.  Look toward the outcome you desire.

9) You are not here to prove a point or teach a lesson.  You are not the person to fulfill that role.  You are not a parent to another adult. 

10) Do something nice for yourself every day - a nap, a 1/2 with a good book, a chat with a friend......something centered on rebuilding your inner self.

Look at today as the beginning of the rest of your life.  If you blew it yesterday, so what......you get another chance with each sunrise.  Things will become more natural as they evolve and you will have the life you desire.  Don't let anything stand in your way!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice. Keep it coming!