I've written this post a hundred times in my dreams and today it is my reality.
On this day, a year ago, I held the phone close to my ear and begged with the man on the other end to help me understand the lies and the secrecy that I had found out had been happening for months. And the phrase that pierced my soul was the answer I received.
"I don't care about you anymore."
I went numb. I tried so hard to protect my heart from shattering. I didn't yell or scream but tears fell down my cheeks as I looked in the rear view mirror at the two perfect children who were giggling with each other, completely unaware that their lives were about to change forever.
"You don't cook enough. The house is almost never clean. I can't do this anymore. I want to separate."
I barely remember these words. I fought my insecurities. I tried to doubt them. I tried to remember that I am still worthy of love and acceptance.
But I couldn't do it.
Instead I believed him. And in doing so, I blamed myself for ruining my children's lives. I couldn't see a good life for them with divorced parents. My parents weren't divorced and I had never really seen good examples of divorce situations. My kids were going to be ruined. I was so worried that because I hadn't been good enough, my children's lives were ruined.
I went to my best friend's house and melted in her arms. I could hardly spit the words out. Because it certainly isn't easy to say, "My husband just left me.". I felt ashamed and scared and so incredibly defeated. I didn't know how to react. I didn't know what to say or do.
We ended up at the temple that night. I received a blessing from my best friend's husband. We talked until midnight. And then I drove to my parents where my kids had fallen asleep and I laid awake on the couch, crying and pleading with God to turn back time.
I didn't sleep well for days. I cried late at night as I wondered what was going to happen.
As much as I tried to keep it from happening, my children have each had their hearts shattered this year too. It happened at different times, in different ways, but it did happen.
There were so many nights of comforting my sensitive five year old as she pleaded with me to bring him back home. There were nights where she yelled at me and blamed me. There were nights where my four year old would tell me he didn't love me and that all he wanted was his dad. He would scream that he no longer wanted to live with me.
Each kid has been angry. Each kid has needed me to hold them all night long. Each kid has learned at their very young ages that sometimes life just sucks and it isn't always fair.
I put on a brave face in public but every day, I would come home, fall onto my bed, and literally shake with fear. I felt anything but brave.
I know without a doubt how I got through this year, even though I often throw my hands up toward the sky and ask Him, "Really?! Now this?!"
Today as we spoke about faith in Relief Society, I was reminded of how my faith has changed so much in the past few years. God has placed building blocks that have prepared me to get stronger with each trial that I face. I learned through infertility that sometimes even when we desire something really good, like more children, Heavenly Father doesn't always give it to us. I learned to have faith in Him and His plan for me.
Divorce has been the same way. My faith in God's plan for me has been something I've had to rely on because most of the time, I have no clue what my next step is supposed to be.
Without faith in God, I would have completely broken a year ago. Without faith in God, I know things would've been much worse.
I couldn't have made it through this year without my friends. I don't care if that is super cliche to say, IT IS THE TRUTH!
With divorce comes a lot of speculation from the peanut gallery. I've heard a lot of advice this year that I just couldn't apply to myself. I've heard opinions from all different sides about whether this was right or whether we are just a couple of really stupid people. The thing is, no one knows but us. And even moreso, no one knows but me. I have prayed so many times this year for things to be different. I have prayed about whether divorce was of the devil. And without a doubt, I can sit here and tell you that it isn't. As much as I believe in marriage and as strongly as I am devoted to the covenants I've made in the temple, Heavenly Father has helped me to face my fears and sign divorce papers, completely separating me from someone I loved so much. This isn't some on a whim decision that was made without faith. It took more faith for me to sign those papers than anything in my life ever has.
I've done a lot of things alone this year. I've made a lot of grown up decisions and nurtured my children as their hearts broke and learned how to live on my own. It has been a scary year. I have had to face a lot of fears this year.
But I have become stronger this year.
A huge part of me is still in disbelief that it has been a year. I'm still full of anger and I don't always deal with divorce in the right way.
But each day, I get up and I try. I try to be brave. I try to help others. I try to be a good mom. I try not to judge. And I figure for now, that is good enough.
And someday, I won't be so full of grief for the life I used to live and the life I live now.
Today we are one year stronger. We know we can do hard things.