See the photo of that woman? Those sad eyes were mine back in August 2016. That was the month I found out I was getting divorced. I remember the day the bomb dropped as if it were yesterday. August 2016, my husband, son and I were just moved back into our house in Fordland, Missouri. We had spent the previous three years in Naples, Florida for my husband’s job. On that particular day, it was morning, I was making a protein shake in a blender bottle. My husband was eating breakfast of eggs and bacon. My son was already at school. “Paula, I have something to say to you”, he said, “I want a divorce, I don’t love you anymore.”
I felt the world fall out from beneath me. I won’t get into specifics right now as to why he wanted the divorce. But I knew from that moment that all of our lives would never be the same again. Those three years we had lived in Naples were difficult for us both emotionally and financially. Three years prior, my husband had graduated with a Masters degree and no job. He found a job in Florida, we packed up all our belongings and moved from Missouri. I started working full time as a medical assistant. Our son had special needs, being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was stressful. The entire time we spent in Naples, my husband and I grew apart, talked less, and both became depressed. The move back to Missouri was meant for us to slow down, be near family, and try to fix our struggling marriage.
The few months leading up to that eventful day in August 2016 were filled with revelations, his lies and infidelities. My world was rocked. I wanted us to stay together. Myself being the product of a divorced family, I resolved that I would never divorce. I was resolved to keep my son from being a child shuttled back and forth between homes on weekends, vacations and holidays split between parents. I thought my husband and I were making progress. I thought we were mending our marriage. I was wrong.
The move back to Missouri, I was blessed to find another medical assisting job fairly quickly. And to make things worse, the day I was told about the divorce was two days before my start day at my new job. I was numb for the next couple of days, with our son totally clueless as to what was going on. From that moment forward, my husband refused to touch me, talk to me, or even make eye contact. I felt like I was thrown away, like a hefty garbage bag tossed in a dumpster. My husband threw me away for another woman.
“I’m not paying for any of this.” I said that morning of the divorce bombshell. “If you want this divorce, you are paying for all of it.” I added. My husband did. In short order, the divorce was filed, signed and over within two months. I didn’t have any money, or an attorney, and ended up signing the parenting plan and custody agreement. My husband and I agreed on joint custody. With myself being the custodial parent.
For those two months, my husband and I slept in separate rooms, only communicating when it came to our son’s needs. I spent most of my time in my bedroom, crying and sleeping. After two months, my husband packed up his things, and drove to Naples, Florida to be with the woman he loved. He left me with our son, no advice or help as to find childcare for him before or after school. Thank God for my friends and family, who stepped up to the plate and helped us out. They helped me with childcare so I could go to work on time, helped watch my son on weekends so I could rest.
I was blessed at my new job to have a manager who was completely understanding to my emotional state during the early months of my divorce. I spent my breaks in the bathroom crying and praying for help. I had no idea how to be a single mom, no idea how to live on my own. And outside of work, I was a mess. I drank constantly at night after my son was in bed. I spend hours crying in bed. Morning would come and I would start throwing up due to anxiety. I couldn’t eat. I ended up losing 20 pounds.
But slowly, as the weeks went by, I started healing. It was rough at first. I was so angry and hurt. But slowly and surely, the anger lessened and my son and I fell into a new routine. I started eating normally again. We moved out of the house in Fordland to a duplex in Springfield. I started college again. Things were looking up.
To those of you going through divorce or have been there and are still hurting, know that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. You will get through this. It’s not going to be a quick healing process and it won’t be overnight, but you will get through this. Stay tuned for the next post, I will tell you what I tried to help with the healing process of divorce.