I don’t think I took enough time to mourn the loss of my marriage. I know this because overall, as time passes, I feel sadder about it rather than more at peace. Honestly, I am a crier. But I really hardly did any crying over my divorce at all. Tyler, I know, did a lot of crying… and I feel awful about that. In the beginning, he told me, he would wake up in the middle of the night crying, or with his eyelashes stuck together with dried tears.
I’ve cried twice. That’s it.
The first time was during one of our divorce counseling sessions that we went to in order to try to rebuild the pieces of our marriage into some kind of coparenting relationship. We were going through some of the issues that had brought us to that point. One major one was my postpartum depression and post-NICU PTSD, and Tyler’s reaction to it. I was trying to articulate how it damaged me when he insisted that I just get over the whole NICU ordeal, that it was in the past. I tried to explain that it was something that had marked me as a mother, that had changed how I see my child. The counselor jumped on that and asked, “How? How do you see her?” And I cried. The really bad kind of crying, where you look away and desperately try to stop but tears keep pouring down your face. I must have sat there for five minutes, silently crying and unable to speak, until finally I croaked out, “It made me feel like she could be taken from me at any time.”
The counselor looked at Tyler and said, “now maybe you understand a little better, the reasons behind her objections to you taking Caroline to North Dakota for several weeks at a time.” Tyler didn’t answer. He was crying too. After we left that session, we stood together in the elevator, tears still running down my face, and Tyler said “I wish we would have done this counseling a long time ago.”
So did I. But it was just too late.
The second time I cried for my divorce, for my marriage, was last night. It came on suddenly. I had been moping around, thinking about our upcoming court date, and walked into my room (formerly our room) to go to bed. I saw our wedding rings sitting on my dresser. I picked them up and sat on the edge of my bed (formerly our bed) and stared at them in my hand. Thought about what they were supposed to stand for, what we let slip away, what we lost. And I cried.
I think that what I am grieving for is not so much the loss of him, but the death of the dream. The family we were supposed to be. We were supposed to be partners, parents, teammates. “Same team!” I used to scream at him when we would fight. “Same team!!”
We still have to be a team, though. Just a different kind. As they said in my parenting class, if you have kids, divorce doesn’t ever mean a relationship is over– it just becomes a new type of relationship. Even though we failed at staying partners, we are tied together for life, by Caroline. At times I find that almost comforting, in a twisted kind of way.