Removing your own internal organs

When you go through a divorce with children the cliche phrase “It feels like my heart is being ripped out”, becomes more than just a dramatic statement. It is about the only way to accurately describe the manifestation of the pain you emotionally feel…but for me – I physically felt it. My heart physically hurt…my whole body hurt.

I even starved myself for awhile and I found out somewhere along the way that it wasn’t just because I was not hungry – but it dawned on me that I actually “liked” the pain of being hungry all the time because it kind of masked the pain in my heart!

In my case it was all so shocking. I had just had our daughter when I found out about the affair my husband had been having for a year and maybe more. Though we had not had the most stellar of marriages, I honestly did not see that coming. He was traveling excessively, I was a pregnant stay at home mom – and these situations can cause some stress on any marriage. We were finally having a baby together for heaven’s sake! For some odd reason I thought we were on the same team!

So when I found out about it and the way I found out about it (phone records and hotel receipts) I was in shock. I even fought to somehow overcome it and keep the marriage together, but he didn’t want that. He had already moved on.

It was completely bizarre to me. After all the professions of his love to me – I was the golden girl that got away. His childhood dream girl that he finally got to be with. The one he had been waiting, hoping and dreaming of his whole life. No…I really didn’t think he would so easily jump on board another train at such a critical time. Blah Blah Blah…

The shock and pain of a marriage dying and crumbling was bad enough…but there were children involved.

So to say my heart felt like it was being ripped out is kind of an understatement. More accurately – it felt like I was being asked to remove my own major internal organs. Reading over all the legal documentation and trying to work out visitation schedules – this is specifically where it felt like I was reading instructions from some foreign piece of paper and trying to slit open my body and figure out which organ is the right one to take out.

First of all – I never wanted the divorce and secondly – now I am being asked – “So which major holidays would you like to willingly give up your child for?” WHAT?!?! And the questions are asked with such coldness and ease – as if this were just the most normal question in the world. While my spouse is across the table acting like this IS the most normal thing in the world. OMG! My heart is racing, I feel like passing out…where is the door, some help…something!”

It felt like I was in some science fiction movie where nothing was making sense. I am being asked to decide or do something that I really shouldn’t be asked to EVER do! And everyone is just staring with normal expressions on their face handing me the pen, asking me to sign so nonchanlantly. I want to scream “I am being asked to sign something that says I willingly agree to NOT be with my lovies on certain days!! What kind of mom does that make me?!?!?! What kind of person does that make me?”

Can you just imagine someone handing you a knife and spinning a wheel with different internal organs to see which one it lands on and then ask you to go ahead and cut yourself open and hand that one over.

Maybe I am being ridiculous, but you moms and dads of the world out there try waking up to an empty house on Easter morning and see if I am really ridiculous. It is just not normal. It feels completely foreign. I am lost. Despite the joy that I am supposed to feel on this day, I feel like I am missing all the best parts of me.

And if any of you want to throw at me – “Just focus on what Easter is really about – Jesus”…Well I would ask you to think before you talk, because the irony of your statement reaches hypocrisy at an alarming rate. Because this holiday is so important to me and because I do love God and Jesus and all that – it makes it even a bit harder because that is also part of what I want to share with my girls who are not waking up in their beds this morning with their sweet little faces and voices and snuggles.

And yes – then there is the “pagan” rituals – like Easter egg hunts and little girls in beautiful spring dresses and bonnets. And though I took my little one to an egg hunt yesterday – I am still hearing the sounds of laughter and joy from other kids right outside my window – the neighbor kids that my girls should be right there mixed in with. It is kind of sad when a childrens laughter is actually a source of sadness.

Despite how much I have worked on buliding “me” back up and working towards restoration…this is the part that will probably never be OK. Not being with my children during important holidays that mean so much to me will probably never be “comfortable”.

I think I have talked a big talk and made it sound like it does get better in time. Maybe it does…I guess even people who have had internal organs actually removed can survive sometimes depending on the criticalness of the organ itself. But that person is never really the same. They are always missing that part of themselves.

I guess if anyone out there that is still married – if you have ever considered divorce as a simple option – or even a not so simple option – I would just encourage you to think about it. Are you ready to do a self inflicted surgery on yourself?

Happy Easter.

10 thoughts on “Removing your own internal organs

  1. You’re so right. This will never be natural or Ok. Having your children all the time is, and acknowledging the missing them is the best thing you can do to combat the pain. sometimes an ex spouse will even use this situation to manipulate pain in your life because they have no other means. What’s important is that you honestly sacrifice for the girls, and trust that they will grow to see what’s happening. You can eventually be honest with them about how you feel and that will help them to decide what kind of ladies they will be. They will learn how to sacrifice for what’s important, and be sensitive enough not to manipulate people or hurt people for selfish causes. I know that’s a painful prognosis, but you are so strong, and giving just that much more to these girls will fill any whole anyone could ever try to cut. It just makes room for more light and more love. Stay strong, and know that daddy is probably not going to share in your joy and strength. Who cares. The girls will share in it no matter what he tries.

  2. Well…I don’t know all about what you said. I can only hope things will just turn out alright by trying to do the right thing. Little girls need their daddies. I am so thrilled and thankful both dads want to still be part of their lives. I am also thankful that I have them MOST of the time. 90% of their time is with me. That is part of the reason I end up without them on holidays sometimes because those make the best “chunks” of visitation days. I can at least say it has gotten a bit easier…but it will never be ok. Divorce sucks. It has always sucked and always will suck. That will never change.

  3. If any of you reading this blog are even remotely considering divorce, stop. Kids are devastated by divorce. It does lasting damage. Parents eventually remarry. The kids will do their best to break you up because there is no natural affection between the kids and the step parents. Living alone is also damaging to the kids. It is better to get help and resolve your problems.

    Avoid marriage counselors like the plague. This is because they have a horrendous 75% failure rate. Marriage coaches on the other hand have a 75% success rate. This is because we do it differently and better. We don’t talk about feelings, but help couples actually resolve their problems and teach the couple actual conflict resolution skills.

    Best wishes
    John Wilder

    • The big lie and the thing that sucks the most is that it seems like I keep hearing “Kids are resiliant…blah, blah, blah”. I am so tired of hearing that. They ARE…however let’s not overuse this line to justify selfish destructive choices in life that are usually completely unfounded. Marriage is hard. It takes a lot of work. But the energy spent reparing what is broke I think would so much more prodcutive than giving up and living with the broken, shattered and missing pieces forever.

      People only hear and see what they want. When people are headed for collision course for total destruction it takes a true miracle to push them off course. Part of the reason I am so vulnerable and transparent in this blog is because I want people to consider the TRUE reality of how divorce sucks on SO many levels instead of listening to misguided friends or lawyers that make things seem like divorce is a decent or “sensible” option. It’s ludicrous and sad.

  4. Lee, your blog is beautifully written and I can feel your anguish. I have nothing more to add … other than I don’t think your feelings should be taken lightly by anyone because your children are the biggest parts of you …

    Big big hugs and love,

    • Thanks Rachel. As I re-read this I spotted many grammar errors with tenses and plurals, etc. I was thinking about fixing them and am just too exhausted. It will jsut have to do – but it does capture my true emotions.

      I have my little on back and spent a wonderful afternoon with her, but my big girl is still gone one more week. I should clean house, I should do lots of things, but I think I am just heading to bed sooner than later and calling it a day. One more broken and lonely holiday almost over.

      At least my kids are still alive. I always think…it could be worse. I simply cannot imagine how any parent endures the loss of a child. Holidays and special events must be complete torture.

  5. I have to comment on your recent blog. I too am battling the self-imposed divorce decree and struggled even more this Easter, but in reverse. I made the conscious decision to take a trip without my kids. I believe that this is the first non-business trip I have taken that I haven’t had at least one child in tow. I had mixed feelings about it, but was slightly looking forward to leaving my hectic life behind for 2 days.

    Those were the longest 2 days of my life. I adore the person I was with and should have cherished the moments. Instead I felt guilty for leaving my children and guiltier for not cherishing the time away.

    Only a true parent can understand this emptiness…

    I know you hate to hear how resilient children are, but it is true. This resilience only fades when they too become parents.

  6. Hey Shon – glad you commented. It is so important for me to hear the other side of the story. I try to think about how he feels – but I am still to raw and pissed to really achieve – or sustain it.

    I am all for taking some time for yourself. I have a kidless vacation planned soon and I am looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I am learning how to take time to build my strength up – renew and refresh. But that is on my terms. I am control of it. I am making a concious choice to take about 4 days for me. I will miss my kids like crazy and feel guilt for them not being there, but I also have some great plans for me and my girls this year too and that helps.

    So the activities I will focus on without the kids will be the kinds of things that remind me of who I am. Do things I really enjoy. Some of that will include taking one whole day to just relax – something impossible to do with a 2 and 8 year old. I think it is important to do this now and then and is something I never did before until it was forced upon me – so ironically, in some ways I had to learn the hard way that taking some time for me now then is actually healthy. I hope you were actually able to enjoy some of your time and didn’t spend it all on guilt and beating yourself up.

    But when I DON’T have control of the situation and I have no choice in the matter – I feel like a victim. I have pity parties. I miss my kids even more. I have to remind myself how important it is to let them have their lives and to share them. It is just hard because this wasn’t my choice…I think – so why would you get ANY holidays? But then I have to remind myself – this is not all about ME…it is about the girls…and they need their daddy too.

    I guess I struggle over the whole holiday thing even more because he was the kind of person that felt like all the holiday rituals were pagan monstronsities. It is so stupid to see him now condoning all the stuff he fought against like Christmas trees, santa, Easter eggs, etc.

    So I have this general principle thing going on too.

    We all have to move on. I have come a long way. I will only move forward. One day I can let a lot of this go.

    Thanks again for commenting. I appreciate your honesty and bravery to speak up on the other side of things.

  7. Hi Lee: I am not as eloquent as you with my words, so it left them open to misinterpretation. What I meant is that I know exactly how you feel. My ex left us, and I am picking up the pieces. As my sons enter and exit their teens, it seems to be getting worse. So I convinced myself to take the advice of a friend and spend some “me” time. I tried, this past weekend, and I realized that it isn’t about me, it is still about them. I know they probably did not miss me nearly as much as I missed them, if at all. They are teenage boys you know. However, deep inside they are, and will always be, my babies…

    • Sorry – didn’t mean to imply anything. Thanks for clarifying.

      Our babies will always be our babies. That’s just how it is, I think. I’m sorry to hear your struggles and hope for healing and peace for you.

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