We’re moving through summer and fast approaching August 5th– the day that would have marked our forty-one years of marriage. I’d expected that David and I would grow old together as a long-married couple. We first became friends in eighth grade and maintained that friendship through college. Afterwards we dated for a year and and married– to what is now fifty years of knowing each other. But what we didn’t know, was that our marriage would not last for our lifetime.
Instead, after Mama’s birthday celebration with my extended family last Saturday, I sent an email letter on Sunday sharing with them the news of what I didn’t expect:
“It is with sadness that I’m writing you to tell you of a change in our family. Over the past years, David and I have experienced a lot of tension in our relationship. I have been hopeful that we would work through things and arrive at a better place. But I could not foresee the point where we have arrived.”
I went on to say that my husband and I have separated, that we’ve found that we can’t reconcile the problems in our marriage. I’d expected that as we entered our senior years and life settled down, as we moved into being grandparents together, and as we mellowed with wisdom and perspective, we would come together. But that has not happened.
While I’m writing about this now, I’ve been struggling with this new reality for several months. We had to give our family time before we could tell others. I’ve gone back and forth through all levels of grief in grappling with my new reality. In spite of all my efforts that have included seeking counsel from God, my pastor, and my therapist, I can’t change this situation.
I’ve always tried to be honest in my writing and I needed to share this with my readers– whether you have faithfully followed my blog or you’re just stopping in to read for the first time. It’s been difficult to do my weekly post since coming to understand at the end of April that I was losing my marriage. When I took my solo journey to the Outer Banks in May, I traveled carrying a heavy heart. That was the context for the post that referred to the prayer wall at the Charis Coffee Company, Charis Coffee Company: Places in Our Path
I was feeling very alone that morning and when I happened upon that faith-based coffee shop, I interpreted it as a bit of grace to help me that day. When I saw all the tags of prayer requests on the wall, I scribbled mine and posted it beside all the other seekers.
I have never been on a solo journey where I felt that Solo. As I scanned the waters of the bay for dolphins, and explored Ocracoke Island, and spent the morning with our group searching for wild horses, my new reality kept pushing through.
I remembered other difficult times in my life that I didn’t expect– like when I had breast cancer. How did I make it through those days?
What helped me most, was trying to stay present in each moment. If I could just deal honestly with whatever feeling came up, acknowledging it as part of my reality then letting it go, I could make it through a moment at the time. I came to realize God’s constant presence even more during those difficult days. While I didn’t understand why I had to experience cancer, I did come to see that ultimately, God could work for good in my life during that time I didn’t choose.
While I was keenly aware of what I’d lost in my life with cancer, I tried to go from that sadness to thinking about what remained. Now, with losing my marriage, I think about the good that remains: our family that we’ve created.
David and I have always worked well in raising our sons. Now they’re adults and Brooks is married to Emily, and they’ve given us our grandson, Baker. We are dealing with this change in our family in our various ways, but we’re all together in knowing that we will continue in our love as a family. David and I share the joy of our precious little Baker, marveling at the changes that occur daily with his active curiosity, the world opening up to him.
We will grieve what we’ve lost but continue in the love that remains. We appreciate the support we’ve received from our family and friends, and I am thankful for the support I receive from my readers.
Links to referenced Outer Banks Solo Journey May 2019: