When the magistrate stamps your divorce decree, it signifies the last breath of your marriage. It also triggers the beginning of mourning the death of your relationship in a whole new way.
No one died…
But, consider this possibility: marriage is a living, breathing entity that you and your Ex created and sustained for its entirety. Most marriage ceremonies include some reference to “two individuals coming together and forming a union”, or a third entity, called a marriage. To this we vowed “til death do us part,” or something along those lines.
If you’re anything like me, those words meant the death of one or the other of our corporeal bodies. But there is a third death to which those vows pertain, which we never consider as a possibility until it smacks us head-on. That is the death of our marriage. The death of that third entity we created.
No two marriages are alike. What we put into them is as unique and varied as the partners within them. We literally breathe life into this entity. Some survive, some don’t.
Some marriages die a slow, lingering death, like someone with a terminal illness. In these cases, we are acutely aware of the pain of the impending death, knowing it is just a matter of time. In other cases, the death comes as a shocking blow, akin to a sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, giving us no time to prepare for it. And, of course, there is everything in between.
Regardless of the nature of the death, we still find ourselves thrust into grief. It’s real, and it’s soul-crushingly painful. Regardless of how good or bad your marriage was, you are still going to mourn the death of this intimate relationship. There’s really no way around the grief. You just have to work your way through it, which can be particularly difficult to navigate because there’s no body or grave to visit. There’s nothing tangible to attach your grief to.
It’s crucial that you recognize this and give yourself full permission to work through the various stages of grief anyway. Don’t worry about the people who think you should “just move on” or “get over it” or “get on with your life.” Your grief has its own timetable, and a stamp on a piece of paper has nothing to do with when it will end.
But, our inherent drive to stay alive eventually takes hold and we slowly find our way back from grief, even though we have lost someone or something that was incredibly precious to us. And because this entity was such an integral part of our sense of “self,” we have to rediscover who we are as separate entities.
This is where we find the fertile soil in which to grow as strong, independent people. It takes time to remember that before we married, we were fully self-contained individuals… we weren’t partial people. Finding our way forward is the mission we have before us.
What are you doing for yourself to help propel you into your future?
What single step can you take to help yourself heal from this loss?
For me, I have moved into my own home, and I am in a perpetual process of creating a sanctuary for myself. I am building a space where I can continue to grow, not only as a single woman, but as a human being. I am building a fortress of strength and compassion from which I operate my life.
I have no idea if I will ever be coupled up again, but I don’t fret over it. If it’s not happening for me, then I know it’s because I have more work to do on my own path of rediscovery. And, you know what? I’m ok with that!
With loving compassion for you and your journey,