In those first few days and weeks of sudden singlehood, I was angry. I wanted to curse his name in a thousand languages, yet I knew only one. I wanted to create effigies of him and burn them, but our county had posted a burn ban that summer. I wanted to use his mug shot for target practice, but I owned no range weapons.
I realized soon enough that this mindset would not help me in the long run. I turned to the internet, looking for inspiration from people who had been there. Guides through the hellish journey of the end of a marriage.
I was disappointed in what I found. The vast majority of sites were populated with people who were in the early stages. Filled with vitriol and anger, spewing forth their rage across the web. I get it. You cannot heal until you release the pus that poisons the wound. But I wanted to hear from people who had started to scab over. I wanted to know what to expect when the scab fell off. Or how to keep it from becoming infected. Even better, I wanted to know what the scars of divorce would look like and how to help them fade.
What I found was that people stopped sharing, stopped talking, once their own journey was set and they were out of the overwhelming darkness and confusion that dominates the early stages. That is a shame, for there is much to be learned from those who have traveled the long road and know all its markers.
The most powerful image I have from Tough Mudder is the spontaneous creation of human chains, as people (strangers in most cases), who were just slightly further along on an obstacle, extended a hand to the person behind them. This linkage allowed all to successfully navigate an obstacle that would have been insurmountable alone.
Those of us who are just a little further along on our journey through divorce and trauma can help others by extending a hand.