Loss and Love: Grieving my Divorce

Maureen, Age 59

I see my divorce as a living loss. It has all the feelings of guilt, sadness and frustration amidst the various stages of grief. The final act of severance, from separated to divorced, was like an exhale. I could finally breathe freely.

Still, divorce is not something you can ‘get over’. It is not an obstacle, rather an unfortunate experience that must be lived through. Dealing with these emotions but still having to work, raise my children and fulfill everyone else’s needs was a harsh test of my mental and physical strength. I have learnt to accept the situation but that does not minimise the emotion, particularly as menopause exacerbated my feelings even further. I can expand and pull in other feelings as I realise I am more than just that situation. But the hard emotions exist and always will.

I had high hopes for post-divorce life. In preparation I cut my hair, got a new job and planned out worldwide trips during this new chapter. I quickly realised that going to a new place and meeting new people was a plaster on the wound rather than true treatment. I wanted connection, yes, but with people who already knew me and loved me deeply. I didn’t need to run to a new place and find a new crowd. I was loved here. I am valued here.

The freedom of not having to speak to lawyers or sift through papers was an escape that I needed to appreciate. For the first time in years I could just enjoy my life — not as a distraction, but as a truly present activity.

I recently got divorced in the month of May and each year it is a reminder of the loss. However, 2020 hit the hardest as I was struck by the death of George Floyd. As a black woman, I was engulfed in the feeling of loss twice over. Grieving my own situation and this heartbreaking loss of life, I was inspired to remind the world of the importance of caring for each other. The fight of being in the divorce felt strangely mirrored by this tragedy. Floyd’s death highlights the negative impact testing relationships can have when issues may be unresolved. Both hurt and inspired, I started planting trees for healing and growth in different areas across England as a reminder that regardless of the pain, growth is always possible.

I want to emphasize that we can all love each other and there is love within us, even if a situation tries to take it away. Hope is the seed which I have sown to embrace the changes during mid-life. I am open to the growth within just as I am excited about the growth in nature.

Looking forward, I am excited to watch my children flourish as young women and I can be confident knowing I have been a good parent. I find solace in the fact that I am free to do or go wherever I want.

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