Today was the big day that I've been anxiously awaiting/dreading/apathetic to for an entire year. Well, really, three years.
It all began three years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest child, and discovered my husband's infidelity while in my 35th week. Upon this news I went into pre-term labor, and delivered my youngest just 3 weeks later.
We worked on things for another two years until last August, when I found out that he was at it again. I made him leave. Part of me for a few months hoped he would have some big realization after leaving. He didn't until this week, and of course it was too late.
It was a very, very long year. With moments like this, this, and especially this making the decision easier to file for divorce. Dad's brain tumor and then disaster of a surgery threw me for a major loop, to say the least, and delayed everything quite a bit. Then there were moments that led me to the point of feeling strong enough to go through with the divorce, like this, this, and even recently this.
It's been an emotional process and one that I am glad to say is finally over. That doesn't mean the last step wasn't the hardest one of them all.
I woke up early this morning to get ready and felt nervous and shaky. Considering the emotionally draining week I've had, this wasn't surprising to me. I dropped my youngest off with a friend. For some reason, getting back in the car after leaving her, I started to cry and couldn't stop. I tried to tap into why I was feeling this way...desperately searched for the feelings of relief and freedom that I've been feeling up until now, but all I could come up with was this overwhelming sense of grief and finality. August 2nd, 1997-September 15, 2009. 12 years of ups and downs, three beautiful children. Being married to my husband was part of my identity for all those years, a third of my life up until now. Today was the final nail in the coffin of our marriage.
Driving to the courthouse, I got a call from Mr. Wonderful all the way from Afghanistan. He is completely understanding of my feelings and my tears, and offered loving support and encouragement. He even found me directions to the courthouse when I got lost (thank God for technology)
I finally arrived, still teary but hoping I could keep it under control. Of course, the same apathetic clerk from the day I filed called my number today. And yes, while tears ran down my face in the office again, she was just as apathetic today as she was 60 days ago.
They gave me my file, more paperwork to fill out, and sent me to the courtroom. I sat outside the court and filled out paperwork, having to text my ex the whole time for information. He kept it businesslike thank goodness, because filling out the paperwork was the only part of the entire morning that I didn't cry.
After being sent first to the wrong courtroom, I finally figured out where I needed to go. I had a little "conference" with the bailiff as he explained to me the procedures when my name was called. I managed to keep the tears stifled long enough to sit back down and wait my turn.
And then, one sad face after another sad face after another sad face filed before the judge to ask for a divorce. Every 3 minutes, someone in that courtroom ended their marriage. Just THAT courtroom. This of course did me in, and I went from teary to downright sobbing. Luckily, the courtroom clerk was more sympathetic than her co-worker in the office, saw me sobbing and brought me tissues. This just made it worse. I sat and prayed that I would just be able to speak when it was my turn.
I was the last person in the courtroom to be called. The judge called my name, my husband's name, and "in the interest of" and then named off my three children one by one. Dagger, dagger, dagger.
I stood in front of him, raised my right hand, and read my "prove-up"; explaining that my marriage was over and could never be reconciled. I sobbed hysterically through the whole thing. The judge never looked at me. When I got to the section where I had to list my children's names and ages, I had to stop and compose myself. I can't describe the feeling in that moment. Not only was I changing my life, but I was changing theirs forever too. I managed to get out two of their names, but on the youngest, my voice broke and I had to stop again.
Somehow I finished reading what seemed like the longest page ever. Looked up, and the judge, just like that, approved the divorce, handed me my paperwork, and I was done. I was divorced.
I ran out to my car, got in and just sobbed into my steering wheel. The whole feeling was so unexpected. I honestly expected to feel so free and imagined myself practically skipping to my car.
But my mind was like a movie all morning. I saw clips of the good moments, the bad moments, the amazing moments, the tragic moments, the beginning, and now the end.
Came home, climbed into bed, and didn't leave that spot until 6pm. I've been getting texts and phone calls all day from concerned friends, and I just can't face anyone.
I hope this is over tomorrow, and I wake up finally feeling the relief I expected. Maybe it will come slowly, I don't know. I'm lucky to have a partner who understands that these feelings aren't about still loving my ex, but just about the death of a dream, and the culmination of years of emotional ups and downs coming to a head. I know he is relieved that my marriage is over so we can truly be together, but he is also just as concerned for me and I love him so much for that.
I think my sister-in-law put it best (she always has the best words of wisdom) when she said "You are so strong. I know it hurt like hell. You just climbed Everest. People are often emotional on the peak of mountains."
Here's to a long period of time with no drama, no major life-changing decisions or moments, happiness, and just plain boring coasting along. Cheers.