Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Dance

Right after the holidays, I was having some bad days, more specifically, some bad nights. For me, the grief of my divorce hits me after my kids are in bed, when the house is quiet and I have time to think. The mornings are hard too, right when I wake up and I remember that this is my life, and I am really getting divorced, and it wasn't all a bad dream. Sam and I have been separated for over five months so I am used to being alone. I think I have come to terms with my current situation. What is hard for me, is how to deal with the past.

Divorce is hard on so many levels. I could never possibly explain to someone who has not been through it, all the ways it hurts. And it hurts in a different way than it would hurt if your spouse died. I mentioned in my earlier post about my divorce that I don't know what to do with my memories. I got married at 21 and have been married my entire adult life. Every memory I have from adulthood includes Sam. We went through law school together, worked in Washington D.C. together. We got our first jobs, bought our first home and took vacations and trips together. We had four kids together. We experienced all of the excitement and hard times that goes along with that, together.

And I don't know what to do with those memories now that our marriage is over. It makes me feel like a part of me is gone. I am crying even as I type this because no one else will ever really know me the way Sam did. He has seen me at my very best and my very worst. He knows me so intimately and knows all the funny stories of my past. He was the witness to my life, so to speak. I worry that whoever I end up in the future, will only be getting a part of me..the current me. My history will be boxed up in photo albums and old blog posts. My future husband will never know the whole me.

I talked to my counselor about these feelings and for the first time since I started seeing her, she really didn't have any answers for me. She simply said, "that is one more thing to mourn."

But tonight, as I was doing dishes and listening to my ipod, Garth Brook's "The Dance" came on. As I was listening to the words, it made me realize that I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end with Sam. I'm grateful for the 13 amazing years we spent together. I'm happy that I was able to have a best friend and lover in my life and even though the time has come that we have to go our separate ways, I am grateful we had "the dance." I don't regret marrying Sam. We had something special. And it's okay to be sad that it's over.

As for the memories, I don't know. Hopefully, with time, I will make sense of all of it. That part of my life still made me who I am today. So even if the past is tainted a bit by my present situation, it isn't gone.

"Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance. Video here:


shelby said...

Brooke, this brought many tears, and touched me so much. More prayers and love coming your way. I cant say I know how you feel...but I got married at 21 as well and I can understand what you mean when what you have experienced has been with Sam. You are such an amazing person, and I hope that you continue to find peace throughout all your going through!

Liz said...

I get what you are saying. It truly must be painful to deal with the memories. I kind of had that with the guy I had dated all through college, who I obviously didn't marry. I felt that no one would know the college "me" because so many memories involved him. I'm so sorry. Luckily, a lot of those memories involve your sweet kids as well, so let them live on. Love you!

Toria said...

Love that song. Your post made me teary! I'm so sorry for what you're going through and wish I knew the right things to say. I'm still baffled as to why such a good thing had to end?
You're in my prayers!
I'm sure your new husband will know and love all of you too- including your past 12 years. It's all part of YOU. Maybe he'll be able to relate by having similar experiences. Sure, you packed a whole lot into the last 12 years but you've got a whole lot of life left to live in the next 60!!!
You amaze me- keep blogging and writing. I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for you- unfortunately not a lot of singles on my radar over here. :)

Ashley said...

Your first divorce post didn't make me cry, but this one did.

I don't know what you "do" with the memories, but I am just grateful that you have such good ones. That's not nothing.

An organization book I read said everyone should have a big bin labeled "sentimental-land" for those objects that serve no purpose but you just can't get rid of them because they mean something to you (baby clothes, trophies, etc.) I guess I imagine you storing your memories in a "sentimental-land" in your heart.

I think one day you may realize you were very wrong when you typed "my future husband will never know the whole me."

That song is great.

Jill T said...

I've always loved that song too. You have such a beautiful way with words, with expressing yourself, and getting your thoughts into the hearts of others. Your future husband my not totally get the last 13 years, but in a way, he'll get the whole you, because those 13 years have shaped you into the incredible person you are now. He'll love you just the way you are, including your memories of your past.

Em said...

This is very beautiful. I agree with Ashley one hundred percent. Leave it to a sister to have such perfect advice.

I am happy you are able to wisely see the metaphor between your life with Sam and Garth's song, and not have regret about the person you became with him.

One day you will find a person who will not only want to unearth those memories from your "past life" with you--because they make you uniquely you--but take joy in making new memories with the new, whole you. A new dance, a different song.

Heidi said...

Brooke, you need to write! I swear if I do not someday own a book of some sort written by you, my life will not be complete. Like others, this post made me want to cry, but it was beautiful at the same time. I am amazed by your wonderful attitude and lack of bitterness. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do the same, even though I know it is the right way to be. You are amazing!

Linda said...

A few days ago when I was trying to tell your dad how you were feeling, I couldn't find the words. You and the commentors have explained it beautifully. I'm with Ashley and the others, you will look back on this post (save it!) and remember where you were (are now) and smile because it will all make sense. Glad you happened to listen to Garth's song. Perfect.

Elizabeth said...

That song is a elegant metaphor for what has happened with Sam and I hope by writing it down it helps you process it a bit more.

I think Ashley's comment is so accurate... your future will be enriched by all the lessons you and Sam learnt and all the times that have come before.

I am sorry that you have hard times (especially at night - you telling us that made me emotional). I just hope you know what a legend you are everyday :-)

Love you and sending you some soothing thoughts.

Ashley H. said...

From everything I have read on your blog, I have no doubt you will get through this just fine! Best of luck!

Jill said...

Beautifully written Brooke! I can totally understand what you're saying here and would feel the same way.

melissa walker said...

You have been in my thoughts constantly. It just seems surreal because I am so far away, but also thinking all the time that we were there in the temple at the exact same time being sealed as well. I hope you know how many people are pulling for you and sending many, many good vibes (and prayers) your way!

Natasha said...

I think even that you mention your "future husband" is so positive! When my husband left me with 2 very young children 8 years ago I swore I'd never even date again, the whole process seemed to painful to even think about. But I did!

I worked for our church (I am Episcopalian) at the time and I remember oour priest telling me an unexpected divorce (literally, I didn't see it coming) was WORSE than a death. It's viewed different socially, the grief process for a divorce is different, and I couldn't put him in a box and be done with him becausewe had two children together and I knew he'd be a part of my life forever because of that.

I hope you don't mind my two cents. I found you through Jill's blog. Prayers for you!

Laura B. said...

Brooke, this post made me cry! I think that you are so brave for recognizing and addressing those feelings. Too often it's easier to push them away and not deal with it.
I think Ash is a wise soul who summed it up perfectly!

Laura B. said...

P.S. is it too soon to nominate you for the Mormon Bachelorette??? :)

D-dawg said...

Well, I'm crying again over you Brooke. I liked what Ashley said- maybe someday you will realize your future husband really does know all of you. I think the life you had with Sam was beautiful and I think it's amazing that you can look back without regret and just be glad for what it was. You seem so strong to me. I hope you will find peace and figure out what to "do" with those memories soon.

The Mostess said...

Here go the waterworks again...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. While not the same, I dated a guy for 3 years seriously in college. I spent the holidays with his family, went on vacation with his family, planned my wedding...and then it became clear--slowly and painfully--that it wasn't going to work for various reasons. I slowly had to untangle myself from him, from his family, from our friends, from our life that we had planned. It was brutal, and I spent many nights crying about it, frustrated that he couldn't or wouldn't make the changes that would allow us to move forward. It took that last entire year to finally pull the plug.

Fast forward to now. I've been with Lancer for 10 great years, and those feeling are so distant, it seems like another life--because it was. But I have a new life, and a great one at that. In the thick of it, though, you couldn't convince me that better things were on the horizon. It just takes time.

I like the old saying about time being the greatest healer, because it's true. It will get better, you will move on, you will have a great life. Your future husband will definitely know and 'get' the whole you.

Love you to you.

Linde said...

I can't even pretend to know what you're dealing with, but I think I understand what you mean when you say, you've experienced your whole adult life together and there are parts no one else will ever know....I have found this to be true in the reverse...getting married 20 years into my adult life. Since marrying Jason there are things that come up, or someone will ask me something about Jason from his past and I feel like I should know the answer (after all I am his wife), but those things happened in his 20's and part of his 30's before I met him. It makes me feel like I have I should know, but I don't. And there are things I have done/experienced that he doesn't know. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this!!

1LDSmom said...

Dear Brooke,

Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. My heart aches for you because I know all to well the deep pain you are feeling. I distinctly remember when I took down our "families are forever" sign after my divorce... I cried uncontrolably.

I remember they where talking about the pain of death in my new ward's Sunday School' They were talking about how the Plan of Salvation was such a blessing when we lose a loved one. The comfort of that knowledge was mentioned.

Somehow the words jumped out of my mouth before I could stop them. I said...and that is what makes divorce even more painful. I reminded them that things like "families can be forever" offer no or very little comfort at the loss of a spouse to divorce. The room was quiet. I then said we don't think twice about surrounding someone who has lost a loved one to death, we bring in meals, etc....but I think it is those who lose them to divorce that may need that circle of love and support even more.

I love you, Brooke. You have a VERY special place in my heart. I know you will make it through this. I also know it won't be easy.

I am here any time you want to talk. I mean that. And can I PLEASE take you to lunch this week?

Lots of Love,

Lauri said...

I don't know what else to say.. other than, you are loved by so many! I dearly love you! I admire you! You are an inspriation to me.. seriously, you are! Stay strong my friend!!

Adair said...

Hi Brooke,
I'm Lizzy's sister and I think I mentioned to you at Katie's shower that I was an avid reader of your blog. I know I don't know you well, but I have thought about you so often. And this blog of yours testifies of the kind of strong and faithful person you are. I wish you and your very very cute kids lots and lots of happy new memories.

Love, Adair

Christie said...

My heart just aches for you right now. xox

Molly said...

This definitely made me cry. Let the good memories always be good memories even though you have to move on.

And ditto to what Ashley said: 'I think one day you may realize you were very wrong when you typed "my future husband will never know the whole me."'

SewSara said...

This got me all choked up, too.
I'd never really thought about the words to that song in regards to a divorce, but it does make perfect sense. My heart is just broken for you. I have found myself wondering how you're doing so I"m glad to hear updates. hang in there!

Jack's Mama said...

Reader here :) I don't really have the right words to say except I believe you will continue to grow strength and independence which is very admirable.
AND you have not aged a day!

Kimmie said...

i totally agree with ashley.


and "your future husband" will totally see that and love you for YOU! yes, it may be a different, changed version of YOU by the time that comes, but it will be a better, smarter, more compassionate, and amazing YOU!

you never cease to amaze me my friend!

Habs said...

Brooke, I've been a silent reader of your blog these past few weeks and I so desperately wish I could help soothe your soul.

I became someone's "future wife" after a divorce. My husband's life experiences and memories don't always include me. However, I have his present and his future. I also have the gift of two beautiful step-children who fill my life with extreme joy. I love my husband and know his past is part of who he is today.

I'm so sorry for your loss and I feel so sorry for Sam. You and your children are in my prayers.

k8shoe said...

First time to your blog so I thought I'd scroll down a little. This made me cry. Very real and tender. Better things are yet to come for you. Keep your heart and mind hopeful and open. Love ya! Have a great birthday!!!