May 2, 2006, having finally made the most difficult decision of my
entire life, I walked out of my marital home with nothing but my bed and
a suitcase full of clothing, and moved into a tiny basement bachelor
suite. I didn't have room for anything important...including my
children. For months, until I could afford a bigger place, I went back
and forth in the early and late hours of every day to be with my
children at their dad's place whenever he wasn't there. Singing my
little boy his usual bedtime song became bittersweet and I cried through
the words: "Rest and relax knowing Jesus is near / And when you wake
Mom will be right here." On the nights I knew I wouldn't be there when
they awakened I had to change those lyrics.
I moved many, many
times over the years, each time trying to make a better home for these
three children who struggled with the painful knowledge that their
parents were no longer together. They couldn't understand why all these
moves were necessary, and though each time I tried to build a home that
would be comfortable and welcoming for my family, of course they
preferred to be home with Dad, the place they had lived for years.
There were court battles and custody issues and financial fights.
There were attempts to reconcile, knowing that this pain was too much
for our children to bear...so many times I thought I should have - may
have preferred to have - just stayed where things were difficult for me,
in order to spare them the suffering that comes from a broken family.
There were tears of pain, tears of frustration, tears of heartbreak,
tears of acceptance. There were misunderstandings, there was
hopelessness, there were thoughts of suicide when it got really bad.
There were revelations. Through recognizing my culpability and my part
in the breakdown of our marriage, I began to see the things that I had
done wrong in a different light, and have learned to take responsibility
and accountability for them. While I don't believe that my former
husband will ever forgive me for my failings - although for his own
sake, I pray that he will be able to - I have learned to forgive myself,
and I feel fully forgiven and blessed by a loving God who has brought
me to this point. I wish it had not taken such huge mistakes, blunders
and setbacks to get here, but I can find peace in where I've ended up.
Today, seven years and eight months to the day after I walked out that
door, and two days after what would have been our nineteenth wedding
anniversary, my divorce is final. This in itself is not a cause for
celebration; the end of a marriage is never something that I will
celebrate. However, it is a time for reflection, for remembrance, for
thankfulness, and for relief that - although repercussions of my choices
will always remain - this particular part of the battle is finally done
with, and I can move forward in life no longer tied even in paper to
that time of pain, suffering, loneliness and regret. So, with tears
even now, it is a quiet observance of the fact that I and my children
have gotten this far through it all, and now I can finally say, "IT IS
Thank you to all of you who have seen me through these past many years.
"Without the setbacks, I would not appreciate where I am today." - Sarah Trowbridge