Tuesday, June 5, 2012

This is really happening

When I had cancer, after the initial diagnosis I was required to have three surgeries (two large and one small) before I started chemo, and then I did two sessions of chemo before I started to really lose my hair, about two months after the initial diagosis.  I chose to get my head shaved, rather than having it come out bit by bit, leaving a trail around the house, because it completely unnerved me to touch my head and have a handful come out.

Being PollyAnna, I turned it into a bit of a party.  I got my closest friends to come, and my hair stylist hosted us at her salon early on a Saturday before it really opened.  I didn't want to see myself half shaved - I've never been a punk rocker - and so I faced away from the mirror, towards my friends, as she shaved me.

Finally, it was done, and they asked me if I was ready to see myself.  I took a deep breath, and they slowly turned my chair around to face the mirror.  The words that flew out of my mouth at that moment shocked me, because what I said, with tears streaming down my face, was, "I have cancer!"

I knew I had cancer.  I had plenty of proof that I had cancer already.  But there was just something about seeing my bald head that drove the point home in a whole new, painful way, and it was at that precise moment that I finally understood that this was really happening to me, that it was not a bad dream, that my life was forever changed.

I feel like the next stage of my divorce might be similar to that moment of seeing myself in the mirror.

After much resistance (a topic for another post), Bryan has finally agreed to go out and get an apartment on schedule for his July 1st move out date.  In so many ways, this makes me happy: when he's here, it is awkward in the extreme, and I never know if he's going to be nice or snap my head off with sharp words; I am always certain that he will leave a trail much worse than breadcrumbs that I will have to clean up.  But the biggest reason of all, is that it allows all of us to move forward, to start the next part of our lives rather than this really difficult living in limbo.

We have been exchanging lists of what to keep, what to give up.  We've got a plan for Katherine's room (and I need to go furniture shopping for a new bed for her).  We're divvying up the kitchen things, and I have a shopping list for that, too.

But despite the fact that for more than a year we've lived separately in this house, that we have had a child custody schedule of alternate weekends, that we are very open with friends and family about the divorce, that many life changes have taken place to move us closer to divorce (including my working outside the home, and him working out of state during the week)....I'm pretty sure that the day he moves out and there are spaces where his things used to be, it's going to be a bit of a shock.

I have no regrets about the decision to divorce.  I gave it everything I had, I played by the rules, and as hard as I tried, I couldn't make the marriage work.  If Bryan begged to have me back - a VERY unlikely scenerio - I would not be tempted, because I know that our marriage was not good for either of us.

But still, some days, it's hard to believe that this is happening, that this is really my life.  Sure, I'm a capable woman who is taking charge of her future....but this is scary stuff.  Sometimes I wonder how I'll make it through.

And I'm really dreading the moment that I look in the mirror in a half empty house, and see the face of divorce.

Note: I will address the parenting aspects of this major change in another post.  Tonight, that just feels like more than I can manage.  Katherine is doing great, but I am not a fool, and every time I think about the changes in her life I feel my heart breaking.

Does this make sense to anyone, or am I truly looney to feel this way?

What has made your divorce feel more real and tangible? 

Do you ever feel like this (divorce, or other difficulty) isn't really happening to you, that somehow this can not be your life?

Thank you, dear readers, for sharing your thoughts.


  1. I remember staring into space alot, "zoning" my kids called it.I just wanted to be left alone so I could dwell on my thoughts about what had happened to my marriage. It felt like I couldn't get my mind around it,and maybe if I thought hard about it I could make sense of it.It wasn't fair, I made the cake according to the directions and the cake fell! The 5 stages of grief ran my life and I became right at home with the anger stage! I read somewhere that divorce is equal to death in the loss and grief category. Now that I've experienced both, I'd have to agree. Hang in there PollyAnna, your a tough broad - I've heard Cancer beats em both !

  2. I think a lot of us "zone out" in a way when traumatic things happen. You just kind of keep going through the motions when things happen. I had times of...just keep going and times of...just let me cry. One thing that really helped me was writing out my struggles. I wrote about my entire relationship with X and about what was happening with my dad's death and my cancer scare. I haven't read it in a while and when I do, I know that I have let a lot of stuff go. At the same time, I cry that I had to go through all of that and can't believe I did. Time truly does heal you. Only 20-something days until you can breathe! You will get there! Brenda

  3. Anonymous, like you, I really wish sometimes I could just be left alone too, and then I feel horrifically guilty because there is so much to do. I love your analogy of making cake - that's it exactly! Stages of grief: I'm not even sure which one I'm in, isn't that funny? Sometimes I long for the anger because it's energizing, and I just feel tired all the time. I am tough...but tired. Thank you for your support - it is very much appreciated. (Can you sign your posts with a name so I know who you are, as there can be multiple "anonymous" posters? A pseudonym is fine if you want to remain anonymous, just something so I can figure out which comment came from which poster. xoxo)

  4. Brenda, I agree about writing it out - this blog is cheap therapy for me! :-) You really went through so much all at once, my heart goes out to you. I want to cry for you! But you give me a great deal of inspiration and hope that you have walked in my shoes and made it to a happier place, and I can not thank you enough for that.