Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Marriage and Divorce

My marriage began with a small ceremony on a beautiful hill in Litchfield County, CT, and ended in a sterile courtroom in Middletown with one other distressed couple in July 2015. We made it just shy of 19 years.

I always wanted to be married and never wanted to be divorced, yet I asked for the divorce. Today would have been our 20th anniversary. When we married we wrote our own vows and service with help from a book. When we divorced we wrote our own agreement with the help of a mediator.  For me what happened in between was a mixture of peak moments, and I count the births of our two incredible sons among those, and pits of agony and distress so profound I literally thought I might die of the pain. Interspersed in there were many days and months of routines and mostly normal seeming life.

 I have always been one to look for beauty whetever I could, hence the name of this blog. I also have a strong ability to soldier on. I was incredibly lonesome and alone much of the time. Some things were off right from the start. Now I see those red flags for what they were. At the time, and for many years, I thought there was something wrong with me. I struggled. Then made do. After all I had been told marriage was sometimes hard. I was loyal. But I was hurting. We had agreed that I would do the bulk of the childrearing as my husband was self employed and worked many hours. While this division of labor worked in many ways, it meant many long evenings alone with the kids night after night.

There were happy times to be sure. Big family parties, cozy times by the woodstove which stands on a hearth we tiled together, watching the kids grow.  There were sad times. Shit happened.We lost family members including some cancer deaths and a suicide. I had a heartbreaking miscarriage at 12 weeks. Today that child would be almost 16. Throughout these times we tried to work on the house. We homeschooled. We developed and enjoyed recipes that became family favorites like tomato basil fettuccine and cajun chicken penne pasta. The economy tanked. We said goodbye to some great dogs and cats and chickens, and hello to our sweet golden retriever.  I battled chronic anxiety and what I now think was high functioning depression. This led me to the healing path I am on today. Practicing and then teaching meditation turned out to be the thing that helped me turn an important corner. My ex had his own demons and the diagnosis of a serious disease. As with any couple we each brought our pasts to the marriage, however, we were not equal in our disclosure of our issues.

While I no longer feel that I failed by divorcing,  recovering from this loss is a thorny process. It is the loss of a family structure and the loss of an imagined future. The loss of a massive emotional investment. The kids have loss too. I was an adult when my parents divorced but it affected me deeply. My heart breaks for them that they cannot have the future I imagined for them even though nobody can ever guarantee another's future! This recovering from divorce is a long term thing stirring up every imaginable emotion, and exposing every unhealed emotional wound and raw nerve, not just from the marriage, but from a lifetime.

 What I want to do tonight is honor the person I was when I stood on that hill and said my vows. I was all in. I was so excited to be marrying and happy to share that day with loved ones on that gorgeous hillside. I was looking forward to a future with a man I thought I knew.

Over the years I nearly threw all my wedding pictures and my ring into the pond on several occasions. Today I am so glad I did not! The ring and the photos are part of my history and my children's history. I'm posting a couple pictures here since I want to mark this day somehow. It was a beautiful wedding and a gorgeous day twenty years ago.

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