The Ronald McDonald House is an organization that provides free or low-cost housing for families who have a child undergoing treatment in a hospital in a city away from their hometown. The homes are designed to be welcoming and comfortable, providing a haven for the family while they are dealing with stress and uncertainty.
I think that same model could work for the recently separated.
When my ex left, I found myself with I home a could not afford (literally or emotionally), no family in the city where I was employed, and I knew that I should not live alone (not that I was in any shape to go apartment hunting). I was fortunate. Very fortunate. A friend and her husband immediately offered their spare bedroom, even though they had just brought home an adopted preemie that had problems of her own. I went from 2000 square feet to 200. It was perfect.
That home, which I was in for a year, was a key component of my healing. It was a safe place, filled with the sounds and energy of family. It was space where I could cry, scream, and curse. It was a house that provided normalcy, as my friend and I engaged in our usual debates. It was a place for gaining strength, the baby and I both placed on weight-gaining diets. It was a home that welcomed me, as I was.
Not everyone undergoing a divorce has the opportunity to be in such a place. But maybe they should. Perhaps we could have transitional homes for those who are leaving one life behind and unsure of what the new life will entail. Homes where discussions of depositions, custody, and infidelity are just normal nighttime ramblings. Spaces where we can scream the anger out and cry the hurt out, until we are ready to leave intact, ready to face the world again.
I don’t see Ronald McDonald taking up this cause, so let’s help each other by creating safe spaces for those navigating the pain of an unanticipated and unwanted major life renovation.