It’s been exactly one year since he left. We had spent the previous seven thousand six hundred days together; twenty years, although the last two felt like dog years. On the day he finally leaves, we’re both surprised at how civil we are as I drive the packed car up Route 80, his clothes, computer and boxes filling the back. We stop at a Dairy Queen and agree he’ll pay for lunch since I paid for gas, and at the time it doesn’t occur to either of us how odd that is. For two decades it was our money, our lives, our home, our family. And in less than an hour I will be driving home, alone, weeping.
I weep for the family we no longer are, the one we all tried so hard to be, and for the deep pain of what feels like a tearing apart. The most searing pain is that the one thing I promised myself since I was a teenager that I would never do is exactly what I’m doing: tearing apart my family, and scarring forever the hearts that I brought into the world.
I try to comprehend the absurd notion that as of this moment, I no longer have a four person family. Instead, I have a story: a sad, unique, yet paradoxically common story that initiates me into a whole new, alien world: the Single Moms Club.
And then… I wipe my tears away as I drive past the mountains that slowly transform into strip malls, because this is the Actual Moment when I am Starting my New Life, heading home to my Bliss: my amazing, dazzling children who, like their mother, will use the story of their divorcing parents as fodder for sympathy, attention, and as a rationalization for the bad decisions and painful experiences yet to come.
But for now, the house will be calm. No more shouting, door slamming, muffled weeping.
Finally, there will be peace.
And our home has not been peaceful for years.
Sometimes happiness is the absence of misery.
More pain will come, but for now: peace.