Divorce Mediation: Space to Recover

This week I advanced through The Gap and crossed over to the large rock that marks the pinnacle of the divorce process: Mediation. Everything in the preceding months of gathering financial papers and consulting with attorneys and financial advisors leads to that point. It was an all day affair of meeting in one room of Zoom with my attorney, my husband and his attorney in the other, and the Mediator going between the rooms to help us move toward a settlement– or a financial agreement.

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No matter how much you’ve been told what the day will be like, nothing prepares you for the grueling back-and-forth with professional people talking about the facts of your marriage. I knew that friends and family were praying that we’d arrive at the best possible outcome and be able to move forward with our lives. This assurance that they had my back in prayer was a huge comfort. At the end of the day we arrived at an settlement. I was exhausted– physically, mentally, and emotionally.

After being in my apartment all day, I needed to go for a drive in the country. I traveled familiar roads in Chatham county, crossing over Jordan Lake and going past farms and landmarks that have barely changed over time. I picked up an ice cream sundae for dinner and spent the rest of the night watching episodes of Anne with an E. Like I mentioned in last week’s post, that Netflix drama filmed on Prince Edward Island, Canada, appeals to me with the gorgeous location and the story based in the late 1800s.

For the rest of the week, I did only what I had to during the day, and at night I vegged out in front of the television–binge-watching Anne. I had no energy for calling or interacting with anyone save my son and grandson on the two days I care for him. I just felt like isolating myself. Some of the comments of Monday kept playing through my head, aspects of my marriage that I’ve grappled with many times before, back again for another round.

It was hard for me to believe that we’d finally crossed that hurdle that had been in the distance for so long. We arrived at a settlement. It’s done, I kept telling myself. I’d had to be so goal-focused for so long– cleaning out the house, gathering financial papers, putting the house on the market, finding an apartment, moving– that it was hard to believe I could relax. It occurred to me that it had a similar feeling to how it is during a family medical emergency–just taking the next step, staying strong, totally focused on the problem at hand– and then when it’s over– falling apart–because you finally can.

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I write this– not to garner more empathy, or sympathy– not to belabor the divorce process, but to be honest about how complex going through this has been. I was ignorant about how difficult it is on so many levels. When others’ have divorced, I thought of it as a rational and legal decision. But now, I have some idea about the emotional pain as well as the demands to get through the legal process.

Now that I’m one of them— a person getting divorced, I’ve had many more conversations with others going through this. I realize that in the past, I was quick to make assumptions about why people were making that choice– from my limited perspective and superficial knowledge of the couple. After what I’ve experienced, I don’t readily make such simple assumptions.

None of us know the complexity of another person’s life; We’re not in their shoes. Whatever our lot, we all need for others to hold us gently in their judgements and give us the space for the grace we need.

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I was talking with a family member about my week. I made the comment that I’d thought about people interviewed after they’d been through a traumatic event– how they’d say they needed some time away from others to rest, to recover.

“It’s like I’ve been through a trauma. I feel all I want to do is be by myself and rest,” I said.

The family member responded, “You have been through a trauma.”

Acknowledging that, allowing myself to just follow my energy about what I need right now has helped. I’m reminded that it’s part of the grief process for the mind and body to need time and space to heal.

Sitting on that big rock in that river of change, looking back at all those other rocks I’ve successfully crossed, is a reminder of how far I’ve come. I’ll need to sit here a while to gather the energy to make the final passage onto the bank of the other side– the place of New Beginnings.

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16 thoughts on “Divorce Mediation: Space to Recover

    • Hey Abigail,
      Thanks so much. It helps to hear another person who’s been through divorce say it’s a “gigantic change.” I feel that, but there aren’t many in my circle of family and friends who’ve been through it and help to verify my experience.
      I appreciate your support, Abigail. Love and hugs to you, too. Hope you and your family are doing well and having a good summer.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unless someone has been through it, it’s really hard to really empathize, much like breast cancer. You are definitely in my prayers and I’m in awe of your transparency and vulnerability and courage in sharing each part of your experiences. What a gift to others. ❤️

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      • Thanks so much, Abigail. It is like sharing the breast cancer experience. I was desperate for stories of hope for the future when I went through cancer and I feel the same way now. I have an ‘ear out’ for stories of life after divorce–even romance!
        Thanks for your prayers! I’ll pray for you and your future, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It is one of the hardest things to go through. I remember a host of mixed feelings for 2 years before our divorce finally became a fact – from sadness to anger to hate to gut wrenching pain… Give yourself the time you need. Good luck with your future. 🙂

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    • Hi Zelmare,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. Throughout this process, it has helped so much to talk to others who’ve gone before me down this path. I appreciate your blessing of me in your encouragement to give myself the time I need–something I haven’t always done in my life. Thank you for your good wishes for the future. It helps to keep going toward that future and not stay bogged down in the past and the pain from the break up of my marriage.
      I wish you the best in your life.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Marie,
      You are welcome. Sometimes I’m afraid of burdening my readers, wondering if I’ve said too much. I don’t want to ‘drag this thing out’ but I feel led to share my heart for my relief and to hopefully benefit others who feel alone while going through divorce.
      Thanks for letting me know that what I’ve shared is ‘enormously helpful.’ That means a lot to me.
      I wish you the best, Marie–wherever you are with embarking on this path. May you have the guidance and support you need along the way. If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.
      Fondly,
      Connie

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  2. Your instincts are spot on! Give yourself the grace you’d give a good friend – rest, quiet, walks, good nutrition, and soft entertainment that’s not too challenging. Then repeat every day until you feel yourself come out of it. Baby steps!

    ~MJ

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    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks so much for this validation. Yes, giving ourselves Grace as we’d offer it to a friend is a great model for self-care. I like how you refer to ‘soft entertainment that’s not too challenging.’ That’s the perfect criteria for picking what to watch or read at this time.
      Watching Anne with an E allowed me to escape in a healthy way, yet I was able to cry and release my emotions over the struggles at Green Gables. When the song, “It is Well” played during their Easter Sunday– I sobbed and it was such a healthy release. It was also ironic because a new rendering of that song on Youtube by Bethel Music is one of my favorites and went through my head while I was sitting and waiting in that Zoom Mediation on Monday.
      Thanks for reading, MJ and for your ongoing support.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Connie. This is such a change to your normal format. And, I might add, delightful. Your strength is what carried you through the process. Not only the ordeal but your account of events. At times in life, the best way to cope with life’s events is to detach yourself enough to endure, yet connected enough to provide the barrier to protect yourself. You and your candor is a support mechanism which brings out the best.
    Keep working through this and you will find the new person soon. Great post.

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    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for your ongoing faithfulness as a reader and for your supportive response.
      Yes, this is a post that had to focus on the immediate in my life—yet hopefully also spoke to others and what they’re dealing with.
      It is God within me that gives me strength. There are so many times that I’ve been overwhelmed but God has kept me putting one foot in front of the other. It is part of the redemption of this time for me to express this and meet my need for creativity, emotional release, and connection with others– those ‘people in my path.’
      Thanks for your encouragement to keep working through toward my future– my new chapter.
      Best to you, John with whatever challenges you’re facing in your life.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your honest reflections on mediation and divorce. It sounds like you are taking the time to count your losses, a crucial step not meant to be short-circuited. Some losses are harder to count because they are not just actual but represent abstract aspirations and hopes we have for ourselves. Wishing you the best as you transition to your new life.

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    • Hi Sheri,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I like what you’ve said– that “some losses are harder to count because they are not just actual but represent abstract aspirations and hopes we have for ourselves.” I think that’s especially true when you’ve been married 40 years and see yourself growing into old age as a married woman, as a steady partner into the later years. It is important to not rush through any of these stages–even though you just want it to be over. I think one of the things about this pandemic, occurring at this point in my life, is that I’ve been forced to slow down, draw in, and work through each issue– maybe an unintended blessing.
      Thanks for your good wishes for my transition.
      Best to you,
      Connie

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