Divorce entails one successive kick in the balls after another. Painful step after painful step.
There’s no getting away from it. It will be difficult.
So I’ve made the decision to try and see every heartwrenching moment as a hammer blow, that forges the sword of my character.
Because they’ve already started happening. And each time I’m taken off guard.
Each one takes the wind out of my sails.
And there will be many more.
The big one, of course, was my wife telling me that she’d made her mind up, and we were separating.
A devastating blow in itself, and I’m still processing the grief that follows that. For losing my family, my life as I know it, and for not being able to be in my daughter’s life every day.
But that’s just the start, the real challenge is just beginning. And it comes in a thousand cuts.
Putting our home on the market. The first viewings. The first offer.
When I reluctantly agreed that we should accept that offer. And today my wife told me she’s arranged to go view some houses.
This all happened in the space of a couple of weeks.
Although I know that these events will happen, each one is hard.
They arrive in moments when I don’t expect them, and it feels like another piece is being taken away from me.
So much sadness. The sense of disempowering loss. And the gradual resignation as it all becomes more and more real.
It’s easy to feel sorry for myself, and I’d lie if I told you I didn’t sometimes. Often.
But I need to survive this. More importantly, I need to come out of it stronger.
For my daughter’s sake. And for mine.
So, I’ve decided to try on a different viewpoint.
I’m not saying it’s easy, or that it fixes everything, or that a simple change of perspective can take the pain away. It doesn’t.
But it puts me in a position to make each painful blow meaningful.
A sword gets forged under tremendous heat, with thousands of hammer blows.
Each one makes it a little bit stronger. Each one is necessary.
It toughens and forms the steel.
Until it becomes what it is meant to be.
These things are going to happen. The house will be sold. We will have to pack, and move, and dismantle our home.
We will have to tell our two-year-old girl, in the most tactful and positive way we can muster, that mummy and daddy won’t be living together anymore.
I will face the first night alone in my new house.
The thought of all that is almost too much to deal with right now.
But these things will happen.
I can only choose how to take it.
And the only thing that helps me find meaning in this, amid the guilt and the grief, is that the pain and the journey can turn me into a stronger, better version of myself.
Someone my daughter is proud of.
Someone who can go on to make much more of my life than I have until now.
That has to be the thing to aim for.
I’m not trying to sugarcoat this, far from it. It will be shit.
Or pretend that all it takes is to ‘see the positive’.
But there is an outcome to this where I’m capable of so much more, because of what I have faced, endured, and dealt with.
I don’t have all the answers yet. But my hope is that framing it this way will at least help me avoid the default of passive self-pity or the rabbit hole of self-destruction.
So while I certainly don’t welcome these challenges (I’m not that wise or strong yet), I anticipate them.
I expect that they will come when I don’t feel ready, and temporarily derail the self-esteem I’m working to build.
Even though they’ll still blindside me; I will feel the pain, and then acknowledge that through it I am becoming stronger, sharper, and ultimately, the man I am proud of being.