Today is a bittersweet day for me. One year ago today, I got the news that would end up changing my world forever. I’ll never forget that conversation, sitting in my garage with my beautiful 13-year-old daughter, and hearing those fateful words come out of her mouth as tears spilled from her gorgeous brown eyes. It was those words that confirmed suspicions I’d been having for weeks, and those words that made me realize that I had to leave.
I remember going into the house after comforting and reassuring her that everything was going to be ok, and fighting to my very core to pretend that everything was fine. That night after everyone else went to bed, I began my journey to my new life. I searched for jobs, started putting out feelers for a place to live, and lawyers that specialized in divorce for military couples as I made the decision to leave my husband of nearly 15 years. The next night after the kids went to bed and I had a plan for myself, I told my husband the news.
The next few days I struggled so much. I knew I had to leave; I couldn’t stay and keep hurting myself by trying to pick the pieces of something broken up over and over again. And my marriage was definitely broken. I won’t go into the details here, because those who need to know the details already do, but leaving was a necessary evil. And even though I knew that, I beat myself up over the possible outcomes of the situation, and how it might affect my precious children. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make it on my own, and scared of being alone for the first time in 15 years. But I knew I had to be strong for the kids’ sake, and that was what kept me getting up each day to try to make a new life for all of us.
Looking back now, I can’t pretend this past year has been easy. In fact, it’s been one of the hardest of my life. Uprooting my children to move them back to Missouri and away from their dad, and having to start my life over at 34 years old was absolutely terrifying. I put on a brave face and marched into this battle with my head high, determined to set the example for my kids I felt they needed. I’ve stumbled a few times, for sure, but when I look at where I started and where I am now, I am really proud of myself. There’s definitely been days I wanted to curl up in my bed and not come out for days, but thankfully I have amazing family and friends who wouldn’t let me do that. They pushed and encouraged me to be strong and find the joy I deserve, and I literally thank God every day for all of those people.
Life is not perfect, but it’s really good. I have an amazing job, incredible family and friends who are here for and with me, my own place to live, a beautiful new car, and I am beyond grateful for those blessings in my life. The kids have adjusted to their lives here, and are all flourishing at their new schools and with their new friends. Even now, there are moments when a memory comes flooding back that makes me mourn my old life, but the mourning process is a lot shorter these days. The memories don’t cripple me like they used to.
One of my favorite bands came out with a new song recently that really speaks to me:
There is definitely a story written in my scars. But those scars have made me who I am today, and today I am stronger, wiser, and braver than I was a year ago. So for that, I’m grateful.