I remember looking into the mirror and feeling complete and utter failure. As a child, growing up in a divorced household, I swore I would not do what my parents did to me. And there it was, this reflection of a woman that had just filed for divorce. I knew my choice would forever change the lives of my children and they would wear the scars of my mistakes. How did it get to that point? The intricacies of marriage are so complex. I had married my high school sweetheart. It was supposed to be the story of happily ever after. Unfortunately, when you fall in love that young, your understanding of love is different. Your perceptions of life are skewed due to lack of life experience. As life happens, you change. And there is no guarantee that your partner changes at the same pace. Suddenly you wake up and you are two strangers living separate lives with the string of children the only connection you share.
Divorce is rooted in pain. It shattered my self image and destroyed my feminine confidence. It left me feeling like I was not good enough and incapable of being loved. There was a gigantic “Why?” that bounced inside my head.
In the end, I lost it all: my children fifty percent of the time, my self confidence, my home, and my financial stability. I lost myself. Everything about my life had been taken down; the way a wrecking ball levels a building. One swoop and I was in the rubble of my grief.
As if that isn’t enough, divorce follows you. It isn’t something that goes away. I have heard stories of those who manage to settle things amicably and emerge with a friendship to speak of. For me, this was not the case. Raising children under these circumstances creates new wounds and tears off old scabs. And every day, when I watch my children attempt to navigate the turmoil, I have to live with the fact that I failed them in some way.
I was lucky. I rebuilt. I found love again. And my dreams of life, love and family were restored. And when that man died suddenly, I experienced a completely different form of grief. And now, as I rebuild from that, I can say, that grief comes in many different forms and it is very different for everyone. Make no mistake. Divorce is grief.
Kim Libertini is all too familiar with grief and the Co-Founder of Goodgrief App, the social network for loss available for less than a latte, for download in the App Store, Google Play and www.goodgriefapp.com. You can follow Goodgrief App on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.