This is the second post in a three part series I am doing about Divorce. (Because I love talking about divorce!) I actually do in a weird way. I think it is because for so long, I couldn't talk about what was going on my life and I am an open book. I love that I can now discuss some of this stuff.
First, several people commented on my last divorce post and said that they hoped they had not said any of the wrong things to me and offended me. No way! I rarely get offended and I should have mentioned that when something is said in love, even if it is the wrong thing, it is okay. I was so grateful to anyone who did say something to me. I remember when I sent my cousin Liz an email telling her I was getting divorced. A few minutes later she was knocking on my door. She said "When you get an email like that, you don't respond, you come over." It meant a lot to me. Obviously, I haven't forgotten it.
Divorce is not something I knew much about when I got divorced. I knew divorced people, but I never was close to anyone going through a divorce. So my own was really my first taste of it. I was overwhelmed with the thoughtful things people did and continue to do for me. This is personal but when I got separated, I asked my dad to give me a Priesthood blessing. He blessed me that others would step up and help me in various ways and help shoulder some of the burden of my divorce. I have seen that come to pass over and over again.
One of the things that helped me the very most was when people brought dinner in. Food is love. Having a warm meal that someone else made just feels great. When you hear that someone is going through a separation or divorce, you don't usually think of bringing dinner. That usually comes to mind if someone is having a baby or surgery. But when your heart is broken or you are going through something emotionally draining, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking for your family. In the first little while after my separation, I spent a lot of time just sitting on the couch thinking. It is a grieving process and I will forever be thankful for those friends who dropped off dinner during that time.
Along those same lines, I have a lady in my neighborhood named Linda who just happened to stop in and bring me flowers two years ago a few days after things started to fall apart with Sam. She had no idea what I was going through but just felt like bringing me flowers from her yard. She happens to be divorced and remarried. I ended up confiding in her that night. Since then, she and her amazing husband have been two of the most supportive, awesome people in my life. They bring me flowers almost every week from their yard and are like second grandparents to my kids. Steve was at my house today helping me with my sprinklers. That's how they roll. The give me hope that things will work out. They have both been through divorces and came out happy on the other side. I feel so lucky to know them.
Along with that, I was also grateful for my mother who came and took my kids away almost daily for a couple hours here or there. It gave me time to think, go to the temple or sleep. Often times, all I wanted to do was get in my bed and hide. She gave me the time to do that and it was really therapeutic for me. Other friends took my kids as well and it was a total gift.
My mom still drops off groceries to me and she does it for another friend of mine as well who recently got divorced. I don't know anyone who doesn't have a change of lifestyle when they divorce. Money is always going to be tighter. And while I am very lucky that Sam is generous and I don't have to work, I do have to be really careful with my money. Getting a bag of staples like flour, sugar, milk, choc chips, cereal is awesome and just one less thing I have to buy for my family. (This is not a veiled attempt to get you all to drop off groceries to my house--haha--just trying to give you ideas for others!)
The photo at the top of the post is of me and my siblings, spouses and parents. That was taken the other night when we all went to dinner. (Props to my dad for choosing to stand in front of that garage..it almost makes the photo look professional!) I think it is so important to have family support in a divorce. I knew that my family believed in me and would always be in my corner. So if someone in your own family is going through a divorce, please reach out to them and be kind and loving. I had a little bit of a hard time that night because I drove to dinner alone and left alone while all of my siblings came and went with their spouses. Stuff like that is hard. It will probably be hard for a long time. I may have even cried a bit on the way home. But my family never made me feel weird during dinner that I was alone. I am very lucky to have them.
I mentioned in my last post that it doesn't help to say "What can I do?" because people will answer "Nothing." It is hard to ask for help. It is easier if someone just jumps in and does something. My neighbor Doug informed me he was going to be taking care of my yard for the summer. He mows, he weeds, he trims, he cuts down trees. The guy walks on water in my book. One night, I was talking to my kids about service and helping others and Luke brought up how Doug takes care of us by doing our yard. I was so grateful that my kids have him as an example of Christlike service. Doug is a bishop in a singles' ward and works full time. The dude is busy. But he does this for me out of the goodness of his heart. It probably means more to me than anything else and I love that he jumped in and did it on his own.
Finally, I think one of the best things you can do is call your friend who is going through a divorce and ask how they are doing or write a note. I have friends who listened to me on a daily basis for months as I sorted through the emotions of my divorce. They convinced me that I was wonderful, beautiful, talented and that my divorce had nothing to do with me. I will be forever grateful to those friends who made me believe in myself. I also had many guy friends who did this for me or friends' husbands and sometimes it meant even more coming from a man. I especially needed those calls at night after the kids were in bed because that is when the house was quiet and I would get lonely.
Any other good ideas on what to do for someone going through a divorce?