From someone’s who been to hell and back.
I remember it well: the gnawing, gut-wrenching pain. The waking up every night at the same time — 2:43 a.m. for me — because apparently the universe likes to remind you of your hauntingly empty bed. The bursting into the most ugly of ugly tears in the fast food drive-thru due to an ill-timed realisation that it is, indeed, over.
And yes, I’d like the seasoned curly fries with that, thank you kindly.
For those of us who’ve been through the pain of an unexpected separation or divorce, there are certain aspects of the process by which you can practically set your watch. And one of them is this:
More people than you can possibly imagine will offer up the most trite of expressions and seemingly hollow words of encouragement.
Here’s something you may not want to hear, but you need to hear: You need to hear these trite expressions and seemingly hollow words of encouragement. And you need to believe them, too.
Well, some of them.
I was the girl who rolled my eyes as they were offered up, only to sink down and resume the familiar fetal position on the kitchen floor next to the dishwasher. I was the so-called bitter chick who glared and balked at the mere suggestion of a “better” tomorrow. I was the inconsolable, jilted ex who lost 30 pounds (13.5 kilograms) in 30 days because I did nothing during that first month except take care of my children and cry.
But guess where I am now? It's six years later and I am married again with a brand new surprise baby. I am older and wiser, I am less trusting and naïve but still fundamentally me, I am healthy and strong and hopeful yet again for my happy ending.
So yeah, most of these sayings indeed held true.
I’m not such a Pollyanna that I believe that every single one of these expressions holds true for every single one of us. Quite the contrary, in fact. Since my own divorce, the crazy has sometimes reached fever pitch.
But overall, these eight trite expressions do have merit.
1. “It can only get better.”
Ah yes, this one. It’s a hum-dinger, because there are times when it actually does get worse. Especially at the beginning. But you know what? In reality, it eventually is the worst it will be. And then it gets better. Presumably, at least. Sharing children with a contentious ex is a special kind of hell that invites the ex into your life over and over again, so beware of this one in those cases (because I’m guessing, personally at least, it might only get better for me when my youngest is 18. But hey, there’s always that.)
2. “Time heals all wounds.”
I will never forget my immediate reaction to this one, uttered by an older (and wiser) friend: I scoffed. Audibly. “This is the kind of pain you don’t ever get over,” I said to her. But just like a mum can “forget” the depth of pain involved in childbirth, so an ex won’t always feel the stabbing, searing pain of the knife of betrayal. It becomes more of a dull ache, a latent throb that needs an occasional massage. But the pain of the ripping flesh of your heart being torn from stem to stern? Not even a conscious memory, given a healthy dose of time.