Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today, I awoke afraid of seeing the man who had abandoned me eight months before. And when he passed me in the courthouse hall, I didn’t even recognize him.

Four years ago today, I was ready for the divorce I never wanted from the man I thought I knew.

Four years ago today, I sat in a courtroom with the man I had spent half of my life with. A man I once considered my best friend. We never made eye contact.

Four years ago today, I looked at his face for any sign of the man I had loved.  I saw none. After sixteen years, he was truly a stranger to me.

Four years ago today, I sat alone in a hallway waiting for the attorneys to decide his fate and mine. Hoping that the judge saw through his lies and would not fall sway to him charms. She didn’t, even asking my husband’s attorney if he was “psycho.” The lawyer could only shrug.

Four years ago today, I cried and shook with the realization that it was all over. It was a relief and yet the finality was jarring.

Four years ago today, I felt a heaviness lift as I cut the dead weight of him from my burden. I believed I couldn’t begin to heal until his malignancy had been removed.

Four years ago today, I laughed when I learned he hadn’t paid his attorney. I had warned the man my husband was a con. Maybe he believed me now.

Four years ago today, I held tightly to that decree, still believing that its declarations had power. I felt relief that he would have to pay back some of what he stole from the marriage. The relief was short lived.

Four years ago today, I took my first steps as a single woman. Steps I never expected to take. The first few were shaky. But I soon started to find my stride.

Four years ago today, I sat around a restaurant table with friends and my mother. A table that had held my husband and I countless times over our marriage. We celebrated the end of the marriage that night. I had celebrated my anniversary there the year before.

Four years ago today, I read my husband’s other wife’s blog for the last time, curious if she would mention anything about the court date. She did not. I erased the URL from my history. It no longer mattered.

Four years ago today, I sealed the piles of paperwork from the divorce and the criminal proceedings into a large plastic tub. As the lid clicked in place, I felt like I was securing all of that anguish in my past.

Four years ago today, I started to wean myself off of the medication that allowed me to sleep and eat through the ordeal. I was thankful it had been there, but I no longer wanted the help.

Four years ago today, I fell asleep dreaming of hope for the future rather than experiencing nightmares of the past.

And now, four years on, I could not be happier with where I am.

Not because of the divorce.

But because losing everything made me thankful for everything.

Because being blind made me learn how to see.

Because being vulnerable created new friendships and bonds.

Because being destroyed made me defiantly want to succeed.

And because losing love made me determined to find it again.

I am happier than I’ve ever been.

And I could not be where I am without four years ago today.

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26 thoughts on “Four Years Ago Today

    1. I read a cool quote on Twitter yesterday that I shared on my FB page:

      Getting over a painful experience is like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. – C.S. Lewis

      So true. And just like learning the monkey bars, letting go is scary. Until you get stronger:)

  1. I’m a loyal fan and follower. This post brought tears to my eyes. I’m at the beginning of my own painful journey of divorce but your writing brings me hope.

  2. My divorce was finalized almost two months ago. It was a long, terrible process and I’m not happy with the results but when I left the courthouse that day I felt light. A weight had lifted from my shoulders I’m pretty sure there were birds singing (even though it was ten degrees out) and the world was a better place than it had been three hours earlier. I hadn’t expected to feel like that.
    Great writing and great post.

  3. I so agree with this sentiment. Although it has been 16 years for me, I would never be the woman or the writer that I am today without the horror of living with a man who didn’t love me for the twelve years we were married.

  4. It’s funny, in a strange way, how looking back can bring so much clarity. Thank heavens for strength, friends and family, and for courage to take on the next life. Love this.

  5. You give me hope, where many days right now I feel helpless though not hopeless.

    Three days ago my husband sent me an e-mail that read:
    “Don’t read anything into this, but I miss you.”

    It has been 93 days since he walked out with a backward look, without a note saying good-bye, without an explanation and with very little communication. For the first time since then, rather than be hurt by his actions, that truly made me angry.

    1. Yikes. Anger seems appropriate here. It sounds to me like he’s trying to manipulate you. Missing you is one thing. Telling you and telling you not to read too much into it is another. Anger can help you keep your distance.

  6. Lisa, reading this post came at such an appropriate time for me. I have my first divorce court meeting on Monday, and to be honest I’m scared. I know that the man I was madly in love with is no longer there. In reading about your ex-husband I feel that mine is not that much different. Thank you for posting this. Lately, I’ve been posting about my anxiety with my “life change” which is my pending divorce, so this is a nice support for me. 🙂

    1. So glad it came at the right time. Your comment reminds me I need to update it this week to “Five Years Ago Today.” I promise the pain can fade and the tears can transform.

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