The thing that has been the most jarring part of this entire experience is the range of emotions. Years ago I lost a baby and experienced indescribable grief that I still feel to this day. The grief of losing my marriage is definetly grief, but a totally different kind.
I go from feeling strong, good about my decisions and my future, to moments later feeling complete and total despair. Then maybe that will send me into total panic and anxiety, which honestly I am feeling 100% of the time on some level anyways. I haven't stopped grinding my teeth for weeks, it never ends. My jaw is so tired and I have tried relaxation techniques but I go right back to it, especially at night. My muscles are always tense and I always feel uncomfortable, no matter what I am doing.
Then maybe I will be triggered and shoot straight into complete and total ANGER and even RAGE. My life was NOT supposed to be this. I had it all and it has been taken away beyond my control. I even get mad at myself for still feeling love or empathy towards my husband, all in the same moment. I've been trying to let the anger go as much as possible. Over the last few weeks I felt myself becoming THAT woman, the angry bitter ex. I know that for awhile I do have to experience the anger because it is part of the grieving process, but my goal is to feel it then let it go. I hate how toxic it feels to be mad all the time. And believe me, in the situation I am in, it has been REALLY hard not to be bitter and angry.
For one thing, I have been left to raise three young children on my own. My husband is a really good father, very attentive and loving. He wants to see the kids everyday. He offers to help and was coming over every evening for a good while to help put them to bed and give baths, make lunches. But this just couldn't last. It wasn't worth it. We were still together constantly and that is defeating the purpose of the separation, to be SEPARATE. So even though I have a best case scenario as far as the co-parent, I am still the one who always gets up with the baby in the middle of the night. I'm the one who nurses our sick dog through her episodes at 3am. I'm the one who makes breakfast lunch and dinner, does all the grocery shopping, everything is on my shoulders for 90% of the week. The alternative? To see my kids less and have them live with him more of the time, or even give up custody? NEVER. It's worth it and I get that. But I still get so angry at him for the decisions he made and putting me in this situation to begin with.
And then there are the moments of complete and utter despair. These usually hit me when the kids have left and are with him. The other day I found his wedding ring in my drawer. I have no idea why he put it there and didn't tell me about it, but it sent me plunging into sadness. I haven't seen that ring off of his finger unless he was making meatloaf for 11 years. Seeing the clothes slowly disappearing from his side of the closet. Finding his things around the house. Sometimes an email from him that discusses details of our separation (finance, bills, etc) will send me over the edge. Also, I am not used to having to plan my weekends ahead of time, so many weekends or evenings where he has the kids have snuck up on me and I have no idea what to do with myself. I'm learning to think ahead and ask friends or family to get together. But the nights when I don't plan ahead and find myself alone in the house or go out to dinner alone are the absolute worst. I try and make the best of it but it just still feels so bizarre not to have a partner. It's like learning to live without a limb. It makes me aware of the gaping hole that has been left behind. This has been a good lesson for me though, because I realize that I was not a whole person before. I think I was definetly better off than he was, I have found myself somewhat over our 11 years of marriage (we married very young), but there is still so far to go. These nights I usually will climb into bed and not move for hours and hours, sometimes I will sleep, sometimes I will cry until I pass out from exhaustion.
Nighttime is the worst. During the day I can at least fill my mind with tv or internet or work or the kids or friends. Most nights I fall asleep with the tv on, on purpose, just because the worst moment of the entire day without a doubt is turning that tv off and being quiet, in the dark, in our bed, alone. Going out to eat alone is the second worst. I don't know if it's just where I live (suburbia, bordering on Stepford) but everywhere I look are couples. Now common sense tells me that with a more than 50% divorce rate, they can't all be happy married couples. I know this. But it is still hard to see. I had a moment just before our separation when I had the choice to confront my husband about our marriage. Do I go on and pretend it is all ok, just so I don't have to be alone? Or do I do the authentic thing and face this, knowing I will end up alone? I chose to face this and sitting alone in a restaurant is the natural consequence of that choice, and one I will take. Nonetheless, it is really hard and I have spent more than one meal holding back tears.
Then there are days when I am starting to feel hopeful about the future. Not about dating or meeting anyone new, that is sooooo completely out of my range of sight and I don't know that I will ever be there. But just the possibility of figuring out who I am and what I love. I think about trying new things and having certain freedoms I didn't have before, including the empowerment of stupid things like taking out my own trash, or fixing something around the house. These moments are still few and far between, but they are there and I hope that soon they will be my norm. Thus the title of my blog, Desperately Seeking Me.