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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Dangerous Cargo

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A Surprising Change in Airport Security Policy
A Surprising Change in Airport Security Policy (Photo credit: Milo Winningham)




From the book, Lessons From the End of a Marriage:


Summer 2010

A year passed. Anniversaries knocked against my still-fragile mind like branches against an unsheltered window in a storm. Three hundred and sixty-six days after I lost my husband, I again stood in front of the security line at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. One year ago, I stood ensconced in my husband’s arms for the last time before I left to reconnect with my father. One year hence, I stood with my new boyfriend, trying not to crumple under the memories as he embraced me before sending me on my way to see my mother’s side of the family. My past, present, and future all collided in front of the TSA poster that advised travelers about carry-on restrictions. I wasn’t worried about the contents of my bag; I was still carrying dangerous cargo in my heart.


Tuesday was a huge victory for me. It was the first day since July of 2009 that I passed by the location where I last saw my husband where I not only didn’t relive the scene, but I didn’t even recall it until much later.


There is a balance between exposure and avoidance that allows trigger places like this to lose their power in time. It’s not easy – it takes the patience to wait and the strength to face your tormentor. Don’t rush it but also know that it can happen for you as well. The effort and waiting is so worth it because it is such an amazing feeling when you realize that those places cannot hurt you anymore. On Tuesday, I wasn’t worried about passing through security; I had already released the dangerous cargo.

The trip relates to some exciting news about this blog. More information to come soon! 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Dangerous Cargo

  1. Congrats on your exciting news! And on the distance from sensory memory triggers. Some people relate the healing schedule to half of a relationship’s length but for me, it’s about overcoming these sensory memory triggers. Places, seasons, foods, smells. And once they’re conquered, you’re on your way to freedom. Happy flying!

  2. Fantastic that you have reached that place where the uncomfortable memories are no longer triggered. It means you are no longer defining yourself by the end of your marriage. That is fantastic. I am so glad for you.

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