When It’s Over

Yesterday our divorce went to the Orange County court. A judge was sitting in a courtroom and going through all the cases that would have been handled in person by lawyers– were it not this unusual pandemic year. I imagined the judge in a dimly lit, drafty room, sitting and reading the facts on each page– faceless couples requesting the judge to declare their marriage was over.

The night before, I had a hard time getting to sleep. Memories of the night of our rehearsal dinner, our ‘Wedding Eve,’ on Friday August 4th, 1978 kept floating up. I could see us sitting around the table, candlelight and the feeling of being twenty-three and full of hopes and dreams for the marriage journey ahead. Some of those dreams were realized in our forty years; some were not.

Yesterday I felt like moping, half-concentrating on the work I had to do, half-focused on the judge in that courtroom. It seemed like more should be happening– that it should be more a recognized life event. When someone dies, it’s hopefully with loved ones around witnessing the end of a valued life. But when the final breath of a marriage is taken, no one is there. I chose to be by myself; there are family and friends who would’ve been with me if I’d asked.

I took the afternoon off to recognize what was happening in my life. Like always, I spent time writing out my feelings. I started with a sheet of paper and on one side I wrote “Gains” and the other “Losses.” Years ago I read that with any loss, there are both gains and losses–even if at first it may seem that there’s only loss. While you mourn the loss of someone who was precious, you may gain time and energy with reduced caregiving or the effort required to maintain that relationship.

I filled each side of the page, thinking of the small and large gains and losses. I considered my list as I watched the sun go down over a lake at a park I’d never visited. It felt right to be in a new place while I let go of the familiar and anticipated my next chapter.

Later, I took the page and cut the losses into pieces. I burned them– watching the fire overtake the things I’d written, and praying as the smoke was rising that I would let go of lingering anger, sadness, and regret.

Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust.

Photo by Adisak u0e23u0e31u0e01u0e43u0e19u0e2bu0e25u0e27u0e07u0e15u0e25u0e2du0e14u0e01u0e32u0e25 on Pexels.com

I watched the fire reduce the paper down to ashes, and then the fire was gone. I had unwittingly made it into my marriage burial service. While I know that one act does not take all that has come before away, just as burying a family member doesn’t stop the memories, doesn’t finish the grief–it is an act that becomes a milestone for moving forward.

Yesterday was commemorated, in my own private service, as the day when our marriage was over. Today, when my mind went back to the courtroom, I remembered that I’d moved forward through that ceremony; I needed to let go.

Some of you will identify with the ending of a marriage. But for those of you who can’t identify with that, I hope there will be some parallels with other areas that need closure in your life. May you find a way to count your gains, your losses, and move forward to what is ahead.

Blessings to you all.

23 thoughts on “When It’s Over

  1. My heart aches for the very difficult time you have had lately. You wrote about it very politely and in a way that will especially help others in a similar situation. As time moves forward, may this truly be the start of a very special chapter in your life. I believe that it will. May the pandemic be brought under control very soon so that you can return to your dance classes. love and prayers, Old Sis

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    • Hey Harriet,
      Thanks so much for reading and responding. I appreciate all the support you’ve given me through my difficult time. I’ve always been able to count on my Big Sister and that’s been true through all this. I do pray for a better chapter ahead. You’re right, that being able to dance will help me to rejoice again. Thanks for your prayers now and in the future days– for that special chapter.
      Love you,
      Connie

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    • Hey Wendy,
      Thanks so much. Yes, it does feel like I can let go and look forward. I hope in the next year that part of the chapter reads with a time in Skye!
      Hope you’re doing well and are looking forward to returning to lovely Scotland after we get beyond this pandemic.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are supposed to go back in May (rescheduled from this past May). The cynic in me isn’t holding out much hope, though. I know we will make it back eventually, but perhaps not until there is a vaccine. Right now Americans are allowed into the UK, but they have to quarantine for two weeks when they get there. A lot could change over the next six months, though.

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      • Yes, it is a time of waiting. I think there will have to be widespread vaccination—around the world before we’ll be comfortable with international travel. I wish you in the best in getting back to Scotland as soon as it’s safe! Take care and have a nice Thanksgiving, Wendy!
        Connie

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry…this is not the way that we envisage our lives when we get married. It is never supposed to end this way. But it often does. I admire the fact that you are working through it in your own way, I hope you feel happy again soon. You deserve it. 🙂

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    • Hey Zelmare,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your kind and generous response.
      Yes, there are many who share this experience of marriage not working out the way we intended. I do look forward to greater happiness in my next chapter.
      Wishing you happiness and peace on this Thanksgiving week.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely ritual to commemorate the very real ramifications of the ending of something so significant. I also found the hearing dissolving my first marriage to be incredibly anti climatic and I wish I’d done something like you did to work though the ambivalent emotions I had. It took me years to find a balance and see the good things. Love and hugs to you. ❤️

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    • Hey Abigail,
      Thanks for reading and sharing with me your experience of the end–coming at a different time and in a more typical courtroom setting. I know that the process isn’t ‘one and done’–that I’ll need to return to my list of gains/losses in the future. But it does feel like it was the right way for me to process that day.
      Thanks for the love and hugs. I’ve felt your support throughout this difficult path. I do see a new path that will lead to a better life.
      Wishing you the best, Abigail, especially this Thanksgiving week with your family.
      Blessings to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Even with Life events adjusting to the times the use of a Ben Franklin is the tool to evaluate the time and effort which made those events valued or worthy. You have dealt with your “event” in a deep and centered manner which is to be commended. If I were to speculate, you have engaged the same tool with all your encounters. This is another offering that you have shared in a very positive tone and you will be able to move on. I will cherish your dealing with the day in ending things at a place not visited prior. The fact that one would use a site unknown to close the book on a past to only look at the future as the next unvisited site. Blessing to you in this week of Thanksgiving, Love, as a companion to with you always.

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    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments. Yes, for me to think about the event, write my responses down, then either walk or be present in nature–tends to be my pattern. I do feel it helps me to process, to avoid a pile up of unexamined emotions, and then to anticipate the future–knowing that God is already in the future.
      I wish you all blessings this week of Thanksgiving. I do appreciate your faithful support–one of the things I’m thankful for!
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Connie I wish you a wonderful adventure ahead. When one door closes another one’s opens! With your faith and compassion for others God is working through you to help others in so many ways! You have a bright future ahead ! Your god given talent for writing will get you through! Please keep sharing!

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    • Hey LaVerne,
      What a blessing you’ve been to me–through this past year of difficulty and since I was a girl. I do believe that a new door is opening and I will continue to write my way through that invitation to a new place. Thank you for encouraging my writing. I remember how supportive you were of my Book Launch and that still means so much to me.
      You are a blessing, Laverne to me and to all those who know you. I count you as one of the people I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving Week.
      Blessings to you and Jimmy and your family.
      Love,
      Connie

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    • Hey Bill,
      Thanks so much for your kind and generous comments.
      I do feel a brighter future awaits. My support system–including you, have reminded me of that during this past year. Thanks so much for helping me on this path.
      I look forward to returning to Writers’ group and being back with my good friends. I’ve missed you all so much.
      Best to you and your family this Thanksgiving week.
      Connie

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  6. Hi Connie. I think?, I enjoyed your Post. I certainly can relate to your feelings of animosity and the thousands, if not millions of thoughts going through your mind as you sit waiting for your case to be called…all by yourself. I was lucky I guess, that my two previous marriages didn’t produce any children, as much as I was looking forward to having two or three. My first wife getting pregnant twice and losing them before she had a nervous breakdown and moved out. I was very upset for the longest time but I somehow managed to give her a call from time to time, which only restored my angry convictions. Months later while visiting my Mother, she mentioned she was still in touch with my first wife and she asked my mom to let me know that she wanted me to ask her to come back. Mom was terribly upset with me when I replied, “I didn’t ask her to leave and I would not ask her to come back.” Pride can sometimes be a terrible obstacle to overcome, but I persevered and removed her from my mind, which I convinced myself that everything works out for the better although I still never had kids after invitro twice with my third wife. Some things just aren’t meant to be. Thank You Connie for your story. You are always in my prayers and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! Your friend forever. Mike

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    • Hey Mike,
      What a kind and tender response. I didn’t know you’d been through all that. You would have been a loving and fun Daddy, Mike. I’m sorry you didn’t realize your dream of having children. You’re right that “some things just aren’t meant to be.” We don’t understand the “Why?” but life takes turns that none of us control. I wish you the very best, and hope that before too long you’ll return to Jonesboro and we can all have that in-person reunion, share memories, have bear hugs, and enjoy that we’ve been friends while near and far away.
      Blessings to you and I pray for your life as well.
      Love, Connie

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  7. The new chapter will be greater than your old chapter. All things I believe happens for a reason. What God has for you is for you only, GREATER is coming. Happy Thanksgiving to you my former parent of one of my favorite kindergarten kid.(Ross)

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    • Hey Pam,
      Thanks so much for your good wishes. Your words will remain with me as ones to carry going forward. I know God has a plan for my life and has always taken me to a new and better place with every trial.
      Ross will be glad to hear that I’ve heard from you. He’s doing well and we hope you’re doing the same. Best to you, Pam and your family. Hope the Holiday season is great.
      Connie

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