Packing to Find Your Freedom in Divorce? Read This First

My life would be a lot different if I'd read this post before I separated from my husband.   Some people say they have 'no regrets' about their lives.  Who are those people?  Sure, back when I loved my husband, I had no regrets, either.  I felt that whatever I'd gone through to get to where I was in life, well that was okay by me because while life wasn't perfect, I was where I wanted to be.

That was before 2002, which was the year that I woke up, realized that I no longer loved him, and was able to look back at my life with him for what it was: sadness, confusion, frustration, anguish, missed opportunities and forfeited joy.  I realized that I deserved to be happy.

It took a long time to leave, however.  I wanted to get my ducks in a row.  For a year I exercised, ate healthier, got physically fitter and mentally and emotionally stronger, and was ready to leave.  That's when life got in the way: my mother suffered a heart attack.  My father, who had Alzheimer's, was left alone in the house with my disabled brother whose alcoholism was running rampant.  I had to move dad to the care facility to be with mom.  My dealings with my alcoholic and disabled brother led me down a path through the court system, while the state insisted I empty out and sell our parents home from under my brother, giving the state all the money to fund mom and dad's care.  The caseworker threatened, on a regular basis, to throw my parents out of the care center if I didn't complete all of this immediately.  She made threats and when I went over her head she phoned at 7 AM one day and promised to make my life a living hell if ever I contacted her Supervisor again.  I continued to try to sell my parents house to the caretaker and his friend who were now living in it in exchange for clearing it out while my brother also lived on the property, but in the meantime all of mom and dad's possessions of any real monetary or, much worse, sentimental, value disappeared.  I had to make the caretaker, a former good friend, leave, and he became very angry with me for 'not trying hard enough' to help him buy the property.  I was then diagnosed with breast cancer.  After getting through that I was diagnosed with a very large tumor in my uterus, which my doctor suspected was cancer.  It took two months after the surgery to get the test results: negative.  I finally breathed a sigh of relief when the house sold and my parents were no longer in danger of being put out on the street from their care center, and my brother left town.  And then a strange thing began to happen: I lived out in the country and while some of my pets began to disappear from the property, others were dying in my arms.      

By now it was 2006 and I was 49.  I left my unsupportive spouse, left the only home I'd known for 20 years, and left my only source of income (we made our living through the business that we started together 21 years ago).   I stepped out the door very tired and alone, but with a heart brimming with hope and plans for a future that I was going to build for myself.  I picked up the little black kitten who had been thrown out of a car on a rainy night, in front of our home, and who had been my only buddy through the breast cancer, and together we walked away.  

Unfortunately, I had no clue that the springlike breeze of freedom that washed over me on that day would become a storm that would spill into my life for what would prove to be, so far at this writing, over seven years of seriously time-consuming challenges and debilitating stress.

According to the Holmes and Rahi Stress Scale, separation and divorce are numbers 3 and 2, respectively, on the list of top stressors in adult life. And divorce leads to many of the other things further down on the list. 


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