Compassionate Divorce. These are two words I do not expect to see together as I scroll the Internet late at night at the beginning of my separation journey.
My daughters are both asleep. Finally. One is in her bedroom, and one is crashed on the couch with a “sore stomach” leaving me sitting in a chair in the dark, scrolling through my phone.
There are many nights when one or the other cries them selves to sleep. Tonight it is both at once, and the grief and guilt I feel as I listen to their ragged breathing is almost too heavy to bear.
Instinctively I seek solace in the Internet by entering random words. Divorce. Help. Separation. Kids. Anxiety. My shoulders are tense as I keep an ear out for one of the kids calling out in need.
I search for answers. Answers to how to help my daughters. Answers to how to deal with the intense shame I feel at being unable to prevent our life from unraveling. The pickings are few as I read angry post after angry post. The frustration, confusion and grief are recognizable, but they do not offer a way out of my pain. I search for anything that feels supportive, helpful or offers a glimmer of hope, but come up short.
On a whim I enter the words ‘Compassion’ and ‘Divorce’. I sink into the first article that comes up describing this reasonable, kind and considerate approach. The practical advice on how to be empathetic to your former partner, how to practice non-reactivity, and above all how to keep your kids’ need for a positive relationship with both parents as a guiding beacon, are concepts I grasp like a lifeline.
I eventually make it through the divorce, as do my kids. I read every book I can get my hands on. I have support from family and friends, I find a great counselor. Even still, it is hard, lonely work, and if you are going through a divorce, you know just how difficult it is to make good legal and personal decisions when you can barely decide what to make for supper.
The Healthy Separation/Divorce Network was set up in Winnipeg to respond to these needs. It is designed to help people create their own support system with a variety of services, professionals and businesses committed to helping people experience more family friendly transitions. Checklists, book recommendations, daily quotes and articles of inspiration will also help make heart-wrenching decisions easier.
The Inspire section will share stories of healing, vulnerability and strength so that with time, community and connection you will know in your heart:
* It is possible to get through this.
* You are not alone.
* Your kids will be okay.
* Your feelings are normal (fear, shame, anger, remorse, guilt, frustration, despair, sadness, exhilaration, freedom, happiness, grief, loss, annoyance, pain) All normal.
* There is hope.
I personally invite you to browse the site. I hope you find something or someone to lighten your heavy load. And if you don’t, please let us know and we will try our best to include it.
I hope you find what you need.
Linda Drosdowech, HSDN Board Member