Yesterday evening Tall D called and came by. He loaded up some of the stuff out of the garage, we filled out the divorce paperwork, and arranged a time to head to the courthouse today for filing. After he left, I let the tears fall as they may and Anna lay by the front door sad to be left behind, I graded, I mourned, and I went to bed early.
This morning he came by as scheduled. We stopped by Starbucks to pick up coffee and we headed back to the same courthouse where our journey into marriage began 3 and 1/2 years ago. After finishing one final section, the paperwork was notarized, we paid the fees, and if everything was filled out as required, the divorce should be granted within a few weeks. (If not, they mail it back and we re-submit.) We drove back to the house slowly and then sat in the truck at the end of the driveway talking for a bit--catching up on the last several weeks, discussing separate holiday plans, saying the few things we'd allow ourselves to say about how we felt, sharing that we'd still do it over again given the opportunity, acknowledging the difficulty of trying to see each other but tentatively talking about backpacking next summer, attempting to arrange pick-ups for the rest of his stuff, and giving each other one final long hug and emotional verbal exchange before I hopped out of the truck, ran inside, and let the tears fall in the safety of my own home.
Divorce is hard. It's sad. It's bittersweet. It's not like you all don't know that...but I could never have even imagined what it would be like...except by going through it.
In some ways, Tall D and I are fortunate. We've almost always had separate finances, so selecting how to navigate after the divorce in terms of finances is easy. He pays for what's his. I pay for what's mine. Most the details of other bills and things have already been separated and arranged over the course of the months of our separation. There's one more official account to split and then there are two smaller things that I'll still use under his name until upgrades can be made. Everyone keeps telling me to be grateful that we also don't have kids, although I have mixed thoughts about this, since I do want kids....and I think Tall D would have donated great gene material.... I've agreed to continue to house some of his stuff that is tucked along one side of the garage until he can figure out another option eventually, although based on recent circumstances, he might be needing some of it sooner rather than later.
Honestly in some ways, at least with Tall D, and I think with the end of a lot of relationships, it's just that sadness of having to truly force a separation between yourself and another individual who in many ways has been your best friend, your confidant, and that person that you just actually enjoy spending so much time with. Even with the many ways I've felt unsatisfied/unfilled in my marriage or that I felt I wasn't enough for him, I've still really enjoyed the good moments and having someone to spend so many moments with---period. As much as we drove each other batty and left each other worse for the wear in some ways, it's partly because we're both slightly batty to begin with...and in ways that only we get about each other. I also do know that separation between us must ensue, at least for a while, as it's so incredibly hard to see him and continue to recognize the forced change that must exist between us. It's also hard to be okay with him potentially being with someone else or wanting to move on myself if we were to continue spending time together. As much as I want both of us to "get it right" and be happy in the future, it's still a difficult process to watch happen, when you're also still trying to process that it wasn't you who could make it work with that same partner.
All that being said, I am feeling grateful this evening as well. Maybe it was the 3.4 mile jog this afternoon, maybe it was letting myself cry as needed throughout the day, maybe it was a well-timed conversation with a coworker during my quick trip to campus this afternoon, maybe it was happy hour with T this evening--whatever it was and is, I also recognize that I am and have been fortunate:
--I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and spend so much time with Tall D. For the lessons he taught me about myself...and the difficult reality of him finally choosing to let me go. For the opportunity to meet the man he thought he wanted to be...and the newer reality of getting to choose in the future to embrace in my friend set the actual man that he is.
--I'm fortunate to have a great job that I love. For wonderful & supportive coworkers. For the ability to set my own schedule and to know in advance about job security. For two interviews lined up for this week and the opportunity to add needed employment.
--I'm fortunate to be in one of my physical primes. To be embracing good health and reaffirming the notion of balanced health. To be able to run longer distances than before. To be mindful of where I am, where I've been, and where I'm going.
--I'm fortunate to have the capacity to pray as I desire. To believe in God & His son Jesus Christ. To feel their reaffirmed presence in my life and to recognize their guiding hand along the way. To open Bibles and "stumble" upon the passages I most need to read & hear.
--I'm fortunate to be surrounded physically and emotionally by so many wonderful individuals in my life. To have reconnected with old friends, to have made new friends just when I needed them the most. to have developed renewed relationships with many of my family members. To feel unconditional support and love in the truest form from so many has really been amazing.
--I'm fortunate to live in a nation where I have access to things like clean water, curbside garbage and recycling pick-up, so many freedoms, and so many valuable laws to protect us.
--And... I'm grateful for the hope of the future. Even though I have difficult days wondering if the future really could hold the hopes of my heart, I can't help but continue to hope that this shut door might truly lead to a piece of the future I long for...and have longed for. So even though I won't be ready for that future for some time now, I pray and dream that it's reality won't be as far away as I fear...and I'm grateful for the opportunity to believe in its existence again.
--And many thanks to you: those of you who read, comment, and brighten my day with your encouragement, humor, and support. To those who write words that leave me moved, impassioned, and nodding my head in recognition of similar lives. And to those of you who quietly read from a near or far distance. May you each find your own moments of gratitude out of the sorrows that so readily can exist in our lives.
Where one chapter closes, another one duly begins.