In our culture, we treat divorce like it’s a totally separate thing from weddings and marriage. We talk about Divorce with a capital D. But if I’ve learned anything from growing up in a family where lots of people are divorced, it’s that divorce doesn’t necessarily exist in a bubble apart from marriage. Rather, divorce can be just as much a part of marriage as any other unexpected milestone in a relationship. But so often, divorce is treated as failure, as an eraser of all the good that came before it. Reading Kayla’s post, I think it’s clear. Divorce is not failure, and it doesn’t undo all the good that preceded it. Divorce is just life. Like anything else.
This past Saturday was the nine-year anniversary of our meeting. Yesterday was our second wedding anniversary. We’ll start there.
Our wedding day. It was perfect. We shared a first look at a bed and breakfast that overlooked Lake Erie and my husband cried, lots of tears, and told me over and over how beautiful I was. I have never been happier in my life. We were married at a winery in the middle of nowhere with our closest friends and family and felt so wonderfully surrounded by love. We left the next day for a trip to Hocking Hills and spent our days glued to one another, only leaving the cabin for adventuring through the wild. We stayed up late, drinking wine and talking about how amazing our future would be. The home that we would eventually purchase, the little ones that we would eventually have running around, accomplishing our career goals, and the years of growing older alongside one another.
Our first year of marriage was stressful but we got through it. I felt like despite having lived together for so many years before we still had so much to learn about being married. After that first year I felt like we were in a much better place, learning how to communicate better. When we would have a disagreement or argument, we were learning how to better relay that to the other person and also learning how to apologize and own up to what our wrongs were.
On top of all of that, we were busy. Between buying a new house, a full-time day job and full-time photography business, I had very little free time. The very little free time I did have was not filled with excitement and was not invested into our marriage. My husband was going to school and taking really difficult prereq classes for his future goal of becoming a PA, on top of working hours that were opposite of mine. Despite these difficulties we always remained involved, several phone calls or texts every day, kisses and hugs when we were able to see each other, little notes or gifts left for one another, and constant reminders of our love. I had assumed that we were both on the same page with the thought process of, “This sucks, I miss you and want to see you more, but we both know that it’s going to be like this for a little while longer and the pay off will be so very worth it.”
Four weeks ago that theory was completed flipped upside down.
I am still working through all of the pieces of this puzzle and am trying to understand how we went, in my mind, from happily in love to on our way to divorce. And because I deal with every part of life better when I am able to capture it with a camera:
I got to see my best friend immediately after the start of this and I felt very sure of being able to fix this. And then I got really sick with a bad cold.
Sat outside with a friend and drank wine and talked about everything. Did some retail therapy the next day.
Left this note on the door hoping to help him realize that what he was feeling was temporary and that our love was strong enough to get through anything. I rushed home that evening to get there before he left and sobbed when his car was gone. This was one of the worst days out of the past four weeks. None of this made sense.
I poured over old memories. I took a photo of his Facebook page because I knew it would be one of the last days it would be a photo of us and say that we were married. I found a song that he wrote for me just a few short months ago and sobbed more. I put up photos all over the house trying again to remind him of the nine years of love that we shared. In one of the photos he has his arms stretched out showing how much he loves me.
I felt like we had a break through. He got it. He realized that he was making a mistake. The next morning I found text messages to another girl. I lost my mind.
I immediately met with an attorney, contacted our realtor, called off of work, screamed, cried, and was completely paralyzed by all of this. It literally felt like a horrible dream that I was going to eventually wake up from. But it was all very, very real.
I went to stay with my best friend that night. I sobbed. I was awake every other hour hoping for a text or some kind of peace offering. I woke up and sobbed more. We went to get Starbucks before I drove home and I sobbed waiting in line. When I got in my car and was ready to light my cigarette I saw this note that she wrote on my lighter. She is my strength.
I ended up going to the doctor to get a prescription for anxiety issues that I was having over the past few weeks especially with having to photograph a wedding the next day. At my doctor’s appointment they weighed me and I had lost twenty-two pounds in just two and a half weeks.
Received another roller coaster text message and poured over years of cards, photos, notes, gifts to convince myself that I needed to try counseling. That as angry as I was, I could not throw away nine years and a future with my love.
The top photo is all of our memorabilia that I put together so that I could box it all up and not have to stumble across a photo or note and fall apart.
We had big plans for his commencement and had family coming in from out of town but when this all happened he cancelled. He called me last minute to tell me he needed me there so I went. I supported him. He hugged me, kissed me, told me he loved me and that everything would be okay.
Two days later I found this slip of paper with a song titled after her. That was that.
I spent Monday searching for an apartment. I got up, got dressed, did my hair and makeup and was determined to have a full day of no tears. Mission accomplished.
I drove to Pennsylvania after looking for apartments and visited with my grandparents. They are amazing, wonderful people.
I came home from PA, packed up as much as I could in a few short hours and left a list of how some things would work, what I would be taking with me, and left my ring on the counter.
I showed up for work yesterday morning. I looked at the phone and realized that it was May 21st, our anniversary. I broke down. I came home, sat outside, felt the breeze and sunshine.
I went home and finished packing. Seeing our home empty out is one of the saddest realities I have ever faced.
I woke up this morning to go to work and I can’t explain what I feel other than being completely numb. I can’t begin to visualize what this life is going to look like. This all has transpired so quickly and I am trying my best just to hold me and my life together.
Photos from Kayla’s personal collection