Immediately following the final decision to divorce there were so many important issues that demanded my full attention.
My three kids were going through unexpected and unwanted transitions and needed my support. Nothing mattered more. The nature of my professional required me to meet with and share the difficult news with dozens of people within a few weeks’ time. That was exhausting. Figuring out the financial challenges of going from one household to two was hard work that required creativity. The stress was real. For about three months all of my available time, effort, and energy were required to do what simply had to be done.
Finally the logistical challenges were resolved. It was then time to turn to my own emotional needs. I took three days by myself near the beach to reflect on all that had happened. I joined a divorce recovery group to find support. Once I allowed myself to pay attention to my own needs, they surfaced with a vengeance. I had experienced the loss of many things, and those losses needed to be grieved. Once the grief began, it came in torrential waves. The intense season of grief lasted well over a year. Though it was devastating in a way, it was also liberating. The grief provided a pathway to healing.
For the first two decades of adulthood I knew tears only rarely. Richard Rohr described me well in his book Falling Upward when he said: “The only way to get to the bottom of anger is to face the ocean of sadness underneath it. Men are not free to cry, so they just transmute their tears into anger, and sometimes it pools up in their soul in the form of real depression.” But when I paused to grieve the losses of divorce, something broke open within me. I was able to plummet below anger and access that ocean of sadness and find healing as a result. Some of the losses I grieved were directly related to the divorce. Others were old issues that had been long submerged in that ocean.
As poet David Whyte described with precision in The Well of Grief: “Those who will not slip beneath the still surface of the well of grief, turning down through its black water, to the place we cannot breathe, will never know the source from which we drink the secret water, cold and clear . . .” I would not wish the losses of divorce upon anybody. But for those who find themselves wandering through grief’s dark valley, the path can ascend to healing and new life.
For more thoughts on coping with the grieving process during divorce, please follow these links: Divorce Anonymous: Recovery from the Grief of Divorce and When Bad Things Happen to Good People
This is the third article in a series by Alpha Attorney-Mediator Greg Hubbard, Esq. about his personal journey through divorce. Drawing on his experience as a practicing attorney and clergy member, Greg was able to work through issues with his spouse to reach an agreement that allowed his family to begin to rebuild their lives from a positive foundation. This experience led him to join Alpha Center as an attorney-mediator.
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