March 2015. What a month. This was the month of my life that changed my course forever. I remember waiting for the court date to arrive. What was I going to do? What was I going to wear? What was he going to say to me? Is he going to speak to me? I was riddled with fear and anxiety of what my life was now going to look like, without my husband.
After we separated in November 2014, it was so very lonely. I hadn’t been speaking to my parent for months prior to the separation because they suspected that he was having an affair. I stood by his side and denied it, over and over. I had refused to see what they had been seeing. When I finally decided that I deserved someone better, after fighting the battle of “don’t give up,” and “stick by your husband,” I made the call.
It was a very humbling experience having to call your family to let them know that they were right and you needed them now, more than ever. I called Dad at work and asked if he could take a half day, and that we could talk to Mom later that night. I had called and texted with my younger brother throughout the night because he worked 3rd shift. Next, was my older brother, who had been through a divorce a few years before. I was met with vehicles ready to help me move, loving arms to hold me when I cried, and fierce protection from them and my few close friends. I had never been more loved, but I instantly felt the sting of loneliness.
That chilly weekend in November, I moved into my parents house, into the spare room. That weekend I slept on an air mattress with sheets I had from childhood. Alone. In a new room, without the comforts of my own home I had built just 4 years before. I cried a lot that weekend and didn’t sleep but maybe a few hours over those 3 nights. I thought God was punishing me, for what I wasn’t sure, but I blamed God. I didn’t want to blame Tex, (that’s what we’ll call my ex-husband), because I never stopped loving him. I didn’t want to take responsibility, I stayed faithful, I remained in a relationship that I knew was dwindling.
I tried to figure out what I had done wrong, and in hindsight, that accomplished nothing. I thought maybe he would come back and would leave her for me, his wife. I thought that he would get over it, he would come back. A lot of thinking and blaming myself for nothing. Nothing. But I posted about it on social media. And then something happened.
I had support. I had friends that I had lost over the years that came back and wanted to help take my mind off everything. I went to bars, I went to dinners, I went to the gym, I started to see that I was going to be okay. Now, don’t let me fool you – this was a several month process. Those people slowly coming back into my life and it was great! They didn’t let me sit around and have a pity party, they knew me and who I was before I got married. They started to put me back together in a new improved version of me. They let me cry with them, laugh with them, sweat with them, drink and eat with them. Breaking bread does amazing thing when you’re in such a lost and lonely state.
My court date then started to creep up. I had been hitting the gym hard – at that point I had lost about 20 pounds due to stress and getting my gym therapy. I started to look better but I didn’t really feel better down in my heart. My neighbor, that I had lived next to when I was married, had recently gone through a divorce a few months before my separation, and wanted to do a class at church called DivorceCare. I was very hesitant about it because, after all, I was Catholic. We don’t do those sorts of things…. Or so I thought.
After a while of asking me to go, I gave in and we went. It was the best thing I had done since separating. The short version is this – its a 13 week class that goes through the stages of grief when dealing with divorce. Its a safe place to go and let your feelings fly with people who know exactly what you’re going through. I would not be where I am today without it. I knew God was tugging at my heart that first night and I surrendered. It was a night of thinking, “God you got this because I’ve been lost for too long.”
The days leading up to my court hearing were a blur, to be honest, I don’t remember much about it. Tex wanted us to go to the hearing alone and I told him I would have to think about it. The day of, my parents took off work, and drove me to the courthouse. They were by my side the whole time. Waiting for our case to be heard was hard because he was sitting less than 15 feet from me and he was staring at me. I wanted so badly to walk over to him and beg him to change and leave her and stay in our marriage. But all he could say was “I thought we agreed we were going to do this without our parents.” Heart. Breaking.
It finally became our turn and it was over before I realized. I only looked at the Judge and had tears streaming down my face the whole time. Once he declared our divorced dissolved, we left the courtroom, and I headed to the stairs with my parents and collapsed in tears. I don’t know how long I sat in that stairwell, or how I managed to file the paperwork to become a Smith once again. If it wasn’t for my parents, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through that day, those months, and even up until now.
I kept going to my DivorceCare class because it was my one constant – it was there for me every Thursday night, no exceptions. Those people let me cry, vent, and eventually, laugh with them. That class, my parents, my neighbor, and my best friends got me through. They loved me the whole way. God loved me. God brought them back to me, God led me to them and back to him. I started going to mass again, going to confession again, taking the Eucharist again.
My life was hard at that moment, it was a season of heart ache, grief, and sadness. But the sun had started to peak from behind the clouds and the light was starting to warm my face. A new day was dawning and I just needed to wait and see what He had in store for me.