The Sympathy Card

The Sympathy Card

I recently received a sympathy card from a dear friend.  It was a sympathy card for my loss.  The loss of my marriage.  It was probably one of the most touching cards that I have ever received but nonetheless, it was a sympathy card.  At first, it struck me as odd but the more I think about it…it was completely appropriate.

Today I was jogging which I do about three days per week.  I place my daughters in the jogging stroller clad in their little pajamas with breakfast in hand…and I run.  I run away from the world and I think.  I put my IPOD in and I explain to the girls that this is “mommy time”.  I process my current reality: the divorce, the loss of my home and the loss of the life that I once knew.  I think of happy things and I plan for my future.  I make mental notes and I think of the things that I am grateful for.  My jogs are my time to focus and prepare for whatever the day will throw my way.

Today was different.  I normally run at the Cal Poly Campus which has been quite and serene all summer.  Today was bustling with incoming freshman and their parents.  I ran past moms who were walking and laughing with their daughters…we shared the smile that only mothers can share.  I could almost see a tear forming with the smile as the mothers looked at my young daughters…and it was an unspoken message from them to me: time flies quickly…enjoy it.

I ran past parents who were walking their teenagers to their dorms and I sense of sadness washed over me.  This time the tear was in my eye.  There were actually many tears in my eyes as I ran.  The reality of the impending divorce hit me like a ton of bricks.  Am I robbing my daughters of this experience? The experience of walking hand in hand with two parents to their dorm rooms on the first day of college.  I felt more grief as I ran past these glowing families than I did on the day I decided to leave.  Reality set in.  My family is broken.  Today it hit me.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and I felt guilt like I have never felt before.

I continued running with more momentum and an urgency to be free of the college campus…and the happy families.  I ran for about a mile and then slowed down to catch my breath.  I remembered the sadness in my marriage for so many years and the sense of despair that I felt.  I remembered the tension and the arguments.  I remembered the loneliness.  I remembered questioning myself daily for four years: how could I be married but completely alone in every sense of the word?  I cried and I allowed myself to feel the loss.  I allowed myself to grieve for my failed marriage but I also let go of the guilt in that moment.

I stopped running and I sat on a curb.  Cars flew by us one after another and my daughter asked me why I was crying…I was crying because I knew that I made the right decision.  I know that there will be times when I doubt myself and there will be happy families that cause my chest to tighten and tears to flow…but I know that I am on the right path.  I feel sympathy for the loss of my marriage and the vows that I spoke almost 8 years ago.  I feel sympathy for my daughters and the loss of their family.  I feel sympathy but i know in my heart that I made the right decision…and that we will be ok.

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2 Responses

  1. You are so brave. Thank you for writing this blog! The last paragraph is exactly how I felt tonight. I cried for the same reasons. I am divorcing my husband of 13 years who has NPD or traits of it mixed with other PD and I still love him. The divorce was my decision and he did try to get me back but I knew they were empty promises because he doesn’t believe he has a problem. After I gave him divorce papers and he saw it was real, the verbal abuse got worse, but somehow I am not as hurt by it. I understand where it comes from now and have a peace in knowing I did all I could for him and this marriage. and it’s not my fault. My daughter is very happy about the divorce ~ that’s something people (that do not live in this hell) don’t understand. They think she is angry or sad about the divorce, no she is angry about the past 8 chaotic years of her life – the mood swings, the rules changing every day and you never know when or why, the temper tantrums (and not from the child). We will be OK, in fact we will be better!

  2. wow, I’m so glad I found this blog. I think this is exactly what I’m going through at the moment and I honestly feel so lost.