Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stages of Grief

This week I started separating out the kitchen items.

I went back into my spreadsheets of finances to update them.

I started making lists of home repairs that I was just going to have to deal with, whether I wanted to or not.

I contacted my friends with a list of items I need for post-split: like most households, we have one blender, one toaster, one vacuum, etc. and we're going to have to figure out how to double these items in the next three weeks.

Work is busier than ever.

Katherine is struggling to accept these new changes.  Except for the one giant fit - transference of every anxiety she has into something small and petty, but perhaps it was good for her to let it all out, even if it hit me where it hurts - she is doing well, but I see the small shadows around her eyes.  She's worried.

And I'm in a new stage of grief: depression.  I think I like this stage least of all.  Denial has its advantages, after all, because I'm pretty good at pretending all is well.  Anger is at least energizing.  I spent most of my marriage in the bargaining stage, so it worked for at least a decade.  I thought I was in acceptance - ah, blissful acceptance - of where I am: I have been thinking it through, planning, imagining a better future....

But right now, I'm just sad.  My family doesn't work.  Our finances are broken.  I'm exhausted.  My daughter hurts.  The word "overwhelmed" feels like it is tattooed on my forehead.

This is to be expected.  How could I divorce without deep sadness?  And now that things are put into piles, his and mine, how could I not grieve the life that might have been? 

I'm trying to live with this sadness.  I grieve for the death of the fantasy of the happy family; I grieve for the hopes that I thought we shared; I grieve for the life I've lost.  I grieve for our daughter.  I grieve for myself.

Readers, how do you manage your grief, sadness, depression over a divorce?  Any suggestions as to how I can both accept that sadness is a part of the process....and move out of sadness?  I learn a great deal from your stories and suggestions, and I welcome both.


  1. This may not be what you want to hear, but I think you just have to feel it. You'll feel it sooner or later anyway. And you need to let your daughter feel it, and be her "vessel" for those feelings.

    Walking helps. Something that you find soothing (and healthy, or at least not unhealthy). Writing, talking, crying, more writing and more talking and more crying. It is a sort of death. And you learn to live with it.

    And living with it becomes easier.

    Sending good thoughts, and understanding.

  2. I just found your site tonight after googling, "divorcee blogs" because (like you said in a previous post) I also can't get enough of reading or hearing about other people's experiences right now.

    This post struck a chord with me tonight as I just finished sobbing like a baby over the loss of what I wanted so badly...a functioning happy family. I have spent so much time in the past year or so on figuring out what was really wrong with our marriage (emotional abuse is so confusing to spot) and then anger and resentment and bitterness set in. Then all the energy on "getting out." I know I grieved the loss earlier, but tonight, I really cried just about the loss and not about all the other things I've endured. It's hard. It's sad for my children. I hope to hear more responses too on how to cope.

  3. It just does. And then comes anger. And, you might slip back into depression again. It's a cycle of emotions that keeps churning along and it just keeps you constantly off balance. You just have to keep moving...just keep moving.

  4. I remember those moments.. when all the good thoughts about moving on seem to desert you and all you can think of is what you are losing. But just remember that it is just a stage... it doesn't mean that you may not re-visit this stage but it will pass and you will move on. I look back on my darkest days and still feel the heartache, but I can also recognise how far I have come since those days. Good thoughts for you from me :-)

  5. Oh, I could have written this. I had it so bad over the weekend. I had hoped I was done for a while with the sadness, but no. We go through the stages of grief over and over again. Hugs to you.

  6. BLW, you did tell me what I wanted to hear, because I wanted the truth, not some saccharine substitute. I'm trying to learn to balance the need to be sad with my desire to work through the sadness; it's tricky business. As always, thank you for your support as I fight through it.

    Anonymous, you are certainly not alone. Grieving the end of our dream is a tough one: we know there are other dreams for us, but this dream, the one we held most dear, is gone. I'm glad you're joining the conversation, and I hope you come back. (Please consider giving yourself a pseudonym so I know which "Anonymous" you are if you comment again. :-) )

    Lee - "just keep moving" sounds like a pretty good mantra. How I wish that I could get through the phases and be done with them, but they do seem to cycle. (sigh)

    Newstartruby, thank you for your good thoughts - I appreciate them! I can't wait to feel "look how far I've come." Thank you for visiting here, and I hope you come back.

    CM, look how far you've come in a week!!!! I'm glad to share this journey with you, and while I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond, it's a good reminder that we can be sad one weekend and flying :-) the next, and it's proof of Newstartruby's stages theory. Maybe my time of sadness will pass soon, too.

  7. When my bestfriend got divorced, I saw the heartbreak she went through. I wanted to be a responsible friend to her, so I helped her pick up the pieces to get back on her feet once more. I kept her busy doing fun activities with her daughters. I took her out for spas, movie nights, bowling nights, etc. I even helped her get a makeover. Little by little, she was able to move on, feeling more beautiful and stronger than ever.

    Louisa Matsuura

  8. @Louisa: Well, you really proved how reliable you are as a best friend. :) You know, in hard times like this, she really needs someone to be on her side. It could be her family or close friends. What you did there was great. I’m sure that person was really grateful to have a best friend like you.