June 2008. The month my life changed forever. My worst nightmare came true. My husband announced that he wanted some time to think about our marriage. He walked out the front door and came back a few days later, a complete stranger.
I couldn’t understand how my partner of 10 years, the father of my dear 13-month-old daughter could change overnight. Who was this person?
Months later I would wonder if it was me who had changed? I definitely know now that becoming a mother had made me a stronger person. Taking care of a helpless infant had changed me in so many ways I could never have dreamed of. I realised that if I can be a mother – I can do anything. It was with this attitude that I managed to survive.
I was left with only two months rent on our home, no job, no income whatsoever, and no idea of what to do next. I was reeling from the shock. Looking into my daughters’ eyes and knowing that she needed me was the only thing that kept me going, helping me get up in the morning and trying everything in my power to get my life back on track. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I was devastated. There was no ‘normal’ life to get back to. Every hope and dream that I have ever had was gone. Just gone. I felt empty and betrayed and lost. But she kept me grounded. Every time I would feel myself slipping, I would remind myself that she is there and that she needs me. I couldn’t indulge in self-pity or too many “Why, oh, why me?” pity-parties. There simply wasn’t time and room for it.
Our divorce took months to settle and at the end, I was the one standing in court. I remember leaving the building that day thinking that on your wedding day, your entire family is there, and everyone surrounds you with their love. But when you get divorced, you are all alone in front of a room full of strangers, telling a judge why your marriage ended. It seemed so cold and sterile. Just another day of business on the divorce roll for them. Later, sitting in my car I wondered: “So, this is the first day of the rest of my life? Yay.” Not.
It took a good 2 years for me to get back on my feet emotionally. To reconnect with myself and find the person I really was. The person that got lost in my marriage, and who I didn’t realise was missing until it was almost too late. The real me.
Who knew that such a devastating life-changing event could be the best thing that has happened to me, besides my dear daughter? I smile when I look back at it now. It turned out to be the start of my BETTER life! It has made me even stronger and more determined to lead a more fulfilled life. It also left me thinking: “If I can survive THAT, I can do anything!”