Everything that you have known and believed to be your life, is gone.
You take inventory of the people that you love. What about the kids, how are they going to take it? What about my parents, will they be ashamed of me? Panic sets in. You make a mental list of everyone you know, worried about their reaction when they learn about your break-up. What about our friends, will they choose him over me?” What about the people at my church, will they judge me? Outright panic takes a hold of you.
You have worried about the relationship with your husband. You knew something was wrong. It doesn’t matter if you knew in your heart this moment was coming. You may have even prayed that this day would come and free you from your marriage. Maybe you thought about this moment, but never believed it would really happen.
You sit there frozen, crying, trying to breathe. Your head is stopped up, and your nose is running. You’ve got to catch your breath. You can’t move. How long will I survive without air? you wonder. How long will it take for someone to find me, sobbing, suffocating, gasping for air?
Your instinct to survive kicks in. Oxygen is beginning to make its way to your brain. There is only one thing you want to do. You reach for the phone. After a moment of hesitation, you dial the only number that you can remember. Your hands are shaking so badly that you hit a wrong number. You hang up and try again.
You wait. One ring... Two rings... You hear someone say “hello.” You sob something incoherent. You hear your best friend shouting your name through the phone. You just keep sobbing. “I will be right over!” you hear her shout before the line goes dead. Slowly, you put the phone down. You feel yourself collapsing into a heap on the chair next to the phone. You hang your head, and sit, and wait.
The stuffiness in your head is still there, but you are finally getting enough air. Your breathing has become a little more regular. You look out the window and see a car rounding the corner on two wheels, turning into your driveway. You watch her run up the walkway, yank open your front door and rush through the house into the kitchen. You look up and weakly smile at her. You open your mouth to speak. A sob escapes, and you collapse into her arms.
“What happened?” you hear your dearest friend whispering in your ear. You can’t get it out. Bits and pieces of sentences make it through your moans. Somehow, she knows. “It’s going to be okay.” you hear her try to reassure you, “you are going to be okay.”
“No, I’m not!” you choke. “I’m never going to be okay again.”
“I’m here for you,” she comforts. “I’m going to help you through this.” Somewhere in all the panic, the weight gently lifts from your shoulders and silently floats away. She leads you to the table, and you both sit down. She brings you a glass of something, and you take a sip without tasting the liquid sliding down your throat. You sip again, recognizing the tang of the wine and begin to piece together what happened. You tell her everything. You re-live every word, every accusation, every emotion that you felt. With an unexpected finality, you announce to her that your marriage is over.
You do what must be done, nothing more, nothing less. You go through your day like an automaton, exerting no more effort than is necessary. You speak. You move. You exist. Your actions are automatic, reacting to the people around you without thinking, without feeling. I’ve got to snap out of this, pops into your head a hundred times a day. I’ve got to get a grip; you tell yourself more times than you can count. For the sake of the kids… runs through your head in a never-ending loop.
You re-live all the telltale signs that your marriage was over. You chastise yourself for being a fool. You should have put two and two together. This should have happened sooner. You knew that you were unhappy. You knew that you deserved better. You knew he would never change. You knew you wanted more. And yet, here you are, the shock has set in, and you feel like it has taken up permanent residence.
You torture yourself with memories of how your relationship was in the beginning. He thought you were beautiful. He told you he loved you. His thoughtful gestures, the way he made you laugh. You liked his smile. You loved the way it felt when he held you in his arms. You couldn’t wait to see him again, jumping for the phone every time it rang, wanting it to be him.
You recognize the events that signaled the changes to come. The first time you looked forward to girls’ night out with your friends. The freedom you felt when he announced he would be taking a weeklong trip. You re-live the gradual slide from being eager to hear about the events of his day, to quietly nodding, not paying attention to a word he said.
You recoil as you think about the night it all fell apart. What were we arguing about anyway? What happened that made him so angry? You question yourself. What did he say that made you feel so hurt? You try to remember. What was the final straw? What was the line that had been crossed? You ask yourself for the thousandth time. Where did the words come from that ended it all?
So, what, if you lost it? No permanent harm has come to anyone you care about because you panicked. No damage was done because you mentally checked out for a bit. Any woman in your shoes would have lost it. I know. I lost it too.
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About the Book
A Woman's Guide to Surviving Divorce is a refreshing and down to earth take on Divorce. It is a fictional portrayal of the very real grieving process a woman goes through when faced with the loss of her marriage. It validates the reader’s thoughts and emotions through the lens of a woman's experience. As she reads, she will work her way through the feelings that invariably come with Separation or Divorce. This book then offers a roadmap to guide the reader through the process of re-defining herself and her life; empowering her to make healthy choices and create a gratifying future for herself and her family.
About the Author
Allison Jeffereys is no different than any other woman who was raised to believe Marriage is a lifetime commitment. In the aftermath of her second Divorce, she began writing what was intended to be a personal exploration of her experience. As a frequent business traveler, she spoke with hundreds of women who shared not only their stories, but the wisdom they gained. What ensued was the composite story of a fictional woman experiencing Separation, Divorce, and the rebuilding process that follows.
Allison makes her home in the countryside of North East Texas, with the love of her life.