Pour Your Heart Out: The Worst and Best Day of My Life

Funny how the worst day in your life, can end up being the best.

It was 2005. I can’t remember the exact date anymore. End of October, beginning of November. It was around that time because one of my best friends had just separated from her husband and I was in full swing support mode. I had no idea just how connected this friend and I would become.

My husband had been away with a friend in Germany and had just returned home. Prior to leaving on his trip, we had been house hunting for a larger home outside of the city, and in my mind, planning for baby number three as my baby was now 2.5 years old.

“I want to take a break from house hunting”, was what he said when he arrived home.

“Sure.” I thought nothing more of the conversation.

A couple of days later: “I also want a divorce.”

You know when people are in serious car accidents, they often have no memory of the event. They may have a recollection of hours before, or maybe only a few days before (depending on the level of the trauma), but they don’t remember the accident or the days and sometimes months following. Perhaps it’s due to a combination of the injuries, and I think the body’s kind way of saying “Don’t worry, you don’t have to house these memories. I’ll hide them. Unfortunately you have to live them though.”

Needless to say, I can’t quite remember when my first clear memory is.

Minutes turned into days, then weeks, then months.

I’m not even sure when or how I told people, but slowly I did. It was a long, drawn out, painful separation. I know I told some people early on, but many I just avoided and waited until I felt strong to have the conversation.

I did keep a journal, but even that does not record what it was like. There really are no words.

Dark. Scary. Desperate. Lonely. Shellshocked.

Funny, I was shellshocked.

But there were many, many red flags. Many times my husband of 11 years had proclaimed his unhappiness. I had sat in an ER room when I miscarried, by myself, while he went out to the car to check for messages and then “fell asleep”.  I had found his phone bill which had that same number over and over again, showing it had been called at all hours, for extended periods of time, while I struggled with the death of my father, a colicky baby, and a 2 year old. I had spent hours alone on weekends, birthdays, Mother’s Day. I had endured hearing many times “I love you. You are the best person. I’m just not in love with you.” And I had often heard, “I’m just not attracted to you.”

I think someone should have handed me the book “He’s Just Not That Into You”, and hit me over the head with it. Many times.

So began my journey of first and foremost, pulling my head out of the sand.

I went to a counsellor.

Lovely woman.

When Rob and I bought a house together 3 years later, guess who our new neighbour was (and is)?

My counsellor.

Yup.

Anyhow, she was amazing. Helped me start to rebuild, starting with my self esteem and sense of worth. It was so hard. First, getting out of denial. Then having to deal with the fact that HE left ME, when really, I should have seen the red flags so much earlier. Why had I been willing to stay became the question.

I beat myself up over that question for months. Maybe years? Why was I so pathetic that I could be in an unhappy marriage and a) not admit it  and b) not do something about it?

After much soul searching, I began to see there wasn’t one reason, but so many. Fear of being alone. Low self esteem. Fear of tearing up my children’s life. The strong desire to be married. Fear of being financially on my own. Innocence. Naivety. Hope. Faith.

Whatever my reasons, the most important thing I learned was it was OK. It was what it was. Let it go.

I felt like everyone judged me and they all thought I was a fool. And, I guess I was. But I reminded myself that many who were doing the judging were also fooling themselves in some area of their lives. (Funny how when you divorce everybody you meet begins to share with you their own marital woes).

The only way to deal with the pain, is through the pain.

So, that is where I went.

As much as you have the best supports around you, which I did, you have to make this journey on your own.

I remember literal sleepless nights.

I remember sobbing in the shower.

I remember eating endless boxes of Frootloops for dinner.

I remember staring at the walls in my office as I struggled to figure out how I would stay afloat (financially, physically and emotionally) and keep the kids in their completely normal routine.

I remember bursting into tears when a client joked that I had taken off my wedding ring because I must be going through a divorce. The joke really was on him, I guess. He felt so bad. It was so unprofessional of me to burst into tears, but completely human of me.

I also remember amazing conversations with my lifesavers at the time: my Mom, my one best friend in Montreal, and my other best friend who also was going through a divorce.

There was some light, on some days, in this dark tunnel.

I started to exercise more. Running, biking, going to the gym. I grew my circle of girlfriends. Got to know my neighbours. I deepened my faith and called on my Heavenly Father more fervently. I read. I played with my kids. I hung new pictures. I ate copious amounts of Thai and Sushi. I played all the music I wanted to hear. I bought and wore jeans. I rediscovered my style. I started traditions. I bought a camera. I traveled.

I started to create that garden that I talked about here.

Then, I started dating.

But that’s a whole other story.

Needless to say, I had no idea what was in store for me. I had no idea that that one painful, fall day, would eventually be a day I now look back on as one of the best days that ever happened to me.

Have you had a bad day that turned out to be life changing for you?

Sidenote: I mean no disrespect to my children’s  father. I have long since gotten over my pain and anger and am at complete peace and acceptance with him. I am also at complete acceptance and peace with me. Forgiveness is a beautiful gift – to give yourself. We have both moved on and both know we made mistakes. Our only focus now is on our kids. 


Comments

Pour Your Heart Out: The Worst and Best Day of My Life — 59 Comments

    • Thanks Ashley. There are so many people who travel down the same road. It’s nice to meet people who have been there – because you honestly feel like you are the only one.

  1. My Dear Leah,

    That was the most beautiful thing I ever ever heard you say or write.
    I choose to write back publically sicne yours was public too:)
    Sharing your full self..and as you said pouring your heart out.
    As one who knows you very very very well (and still has many parts to discover)……I beleive this post for you is lifechanfing. Especially the sidenote part. Maybe others don’t see it that way but I do.
    You have to remember part of me is with you where you are now…and part of me was with you were when I first met you. and part of me was with you along your journey. many parts
    For me to read this-was actually shocking-and wonderful..amd scary too and equally beautiful.
    I love that blogs can have that affect.

    I am so deeply happy for you that you are in the place you are right now. Words cannot express how I loved reading your blog today and getting to undertstand that part of you.
    With love forever and a day,
    Tarina

  2. What an open and honest post!!
    I love the side-note, too – I’m glad that you not only made peace with your ex but with yourself!!!
    So glad that the worst turned into the best!

  3. Oh Leah…
    I am so glad I read this, now I know you much better and have such an impression about you and your amazing strength!! Bless your heart. I am so sorry you had to endure a loveless marriage and yet- I am SO glad you are out of it now.
    You truly deserved better.

  4. Thank you for sharing this honest post about your divorce. I can’t remember exactly what happened in the days, weeks, months after my husband and I made the decision to divorce – but it was a very dark time. The darkness comes and goes, but I’m so glad that you have found peace with yourself. That is so important.

    • I agree, the darkness comes and goes. There are still times, even when I am peace with everything, that I feel the darkness coming on. Mainly when I feel I am missing out on time with my kids because we now lead the life where they have two homes. I am learning to just remind myself that there is always light again beyond the darkness. Thanks for your comment! I wish you light:)

  5. Wow, what a story! I feel like many people can benefit from reading this. Obviously I know a bit about your history but it was eye-opening to read the whole account here. I’ve had a few terrible moments that led me to utter happiness.

  6. I wonder if we would recognize utter happiness if it were not for the terrible moments? Does tasting sour make something taste sweeter later on?

  7. Wow. This has really hit a core nerve with me. I’ve gone through many of these sames ups and downs, seen many of these same red flags, but am still in my marriage. And I THINK and hope we have worked through and past many of our issues, but as I read this, I wonder if one day those hateful comments will arise again. However, I think my husband and I are still in love with each other, we just have issues. Big issues. And a communication problem. Which we need to figure out.
    Back to your question though, this is like the day that my first love ended it with me and told me he was dating someone else. I thought my life was over. But looking back on it, he did me the biggest favor I can ever imagine. And now I am happy that he dumped me!

    • I think it just takes two people who are willing to both give 100%. They need to be willing to say they both want it, they both are willing to sacrifice, they put their love and marriage first. But, it can’t be one person doing it all and trying to compensate for the other. Marriage is tough, people go through rough patches, people give up too easily. What is right for one, is not the answer for another. I wish you all the best at figuring out everything – communicating is key!

  8. I know there is that old cliche about “Everything happens for a reason” and I honestly believe it does but at first we cannot see why these kinds of things happen. We are in too much shock and pain.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your story. I am sure it will help someone reading.

    • Thanks, Elaine. Everything does happen for a reason. Sometimes, we may never find out the reason but maybe it permitted us to avoid something that would not have been good for us.

  9. First, let me congratulate you on forgiveness. You are so strong, even when you were weak. I am beside myself and so incredibly inspired by your testimony. Thank you SO much for pouring your heart out. Second, you are allowed to be shellshocked, your world was flipped upside down at the time. But you made it. so awesome.

    • Thanks for your beautiful comment Nellie! Sometimes being strong just means putting one foot in front of the other – so that is what I did. And the forgiveness, it freed me. It truly did.

  10. Leah, this is touching and I’m so happy for your current situation. You were right to not worry about judgmental people. It amazes me how ppl don’t recognize their owns flaws whilie pinpointing sensitive occurrences in other people’s lives. I’m glad you sought out a counselor and you moved on in the most perfect way. My short time here has been a blessing, trust me! I love it here and hearing about the fabulous, realistic non fluff, blended marriage.

    • I’m not sure which is worse, being judged or judging. Counselling was so helpful to me – friends and family are great, but it is so helpful to have the objective perspective too. I love having you visit here and your kind comments, and I love being inspired by your amazing blog!

  11. Leah, this post has been opened on my screen for hours. I read it early this morning, went running, and had to come back to it since obviously, it would stir me, given where I am in my life right now. As with you my friend, the first months after my split were a blur. I cried in the shower too and ate way too much pizza. I felt judged, I felt unsure, I felt a lot of things and didn’t feel a lot of things because at times, being numb helped me get through the year. And in a few weeks, it will be a year, a year that had to happen but a year that I am also very glad is behind me. Your words always give me hope for the beautiful life that lies ahead of me, and the strength I see in you is the strength I hope to always be able to cull for myself. xo

    • Keep going Ilene, there are great things ahead of you. Pizza is good. Feeling numb – I remember that too. I felt like everything I did for a while was “fake”. You are strong and you are becoming stronger. xo

  12. I can relate to everything you wrote! I was 8 months pregnant with my second child when my (then) husband finally admitted to an affair. It led to the worst year of my life, yet had that never happened, I wouldn’t be the person I am now, and I wouldn’t be married to my amazing current husband. I could have lived my whole life with a person who didn’t truly admire or appreciate me. I’m so glad you (and I) both came out of that darkness to find happiness. 🙂

  13. I was in a similar boat with my first ex (yes, it took two before I hit “three’s a charm”)… First ex had all the signs, only I was too ignorant and believing in love and that love can see you through anything. Later, on the Internet, I did searches about cheating spouses and read all the signs that had been in my face. And realized I was at fault for not admitting them to myself sooner. It’s a heck of a learning experience. But I have to say… I’m glad he ended the marriage, because it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

    • I’m so glad you have found your happiness!Yes, there are many signs that we choose to ignore, but sometimes I think we simply trust with all our hearts and never think it could happen to us. We see what we need to see until we are ready to see differently.

  14. Leah – I’m left speechless by your post, your words, emotions, honesty and capacity to love and forgive. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to have gone through that but there are many parts of this post that resonate. I’m glad that you are able to look back on this with such perspective and I’m glad that you are in a better place now.

    • Thank you Christine. I think so many people go through so many things and later can look back with a new perspective. And, I am in a much better place now and am very grateful for that!

  15. I cannot imagine what that stage of life must have been like, but as your post concludes, I can hear through your words that life is now so much better and brighter for you. I suppose when we are going through challeging times, we can’t see the light, but it sounds like you had faith and hope to carry you through. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • It is so hard to see that light in dark times – you do just have to have faith that it is there -just around the corner. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Leah, what an amazing post! It must have been so hard to deal with all of that. I know I have said this before, but I am completely in awe of you and your strength! I am sure you will help many people with this post!

    • Thanks Michelle, you really are too kind:)) I do hope that anyone out there going through a tough time in their marriage knows that they are not alone and we have the power to heal – whether we stay with our partners or not.

  17. Yes, yes I have in a very similar fashion. What felt like the end was really just the beginning! And for me it was peanut m&m’s. I’ve never lost so much weight as I did in those first few weeks where all I could stomach was a few handfuls of peanut m&m’s each day!

  18. Yes, the “divorce diet” gets you the “divorce skinny”. At first I ate nothing, then moved to fruit loops (which I can’t even look at now!!). I eventually graduated to sushi and Thai on the nights when I had no kids and drowned my sorrows with my friend. Then I met my hubby, and put some “happy fat” back on!

  19. I think so many people stay where they are because they don’t know how to make the first move to change for the better. You’re living the only life that you know and while it may not be perfect, it’s ALL you know. Kudos to you for pulling thru and making your NEW life you deserve!

  20. Leah, I’m glad that you’re able to see that what seemed to be the worst thing to happen to you, turned out to be just the road you needed to go down. And look at you now. 🙂

  21. Wow! This is my first time at your site and all I can say is WOW! I hopped over from Work In Sweats Mama and so glad I did. I give you so much credit for writing this and going though so much ugliness…and coming out so much better on the other side! Everything happens for a reason…but you’ve obviously got that one figured out…

    • Thanks for stopping by Allie. Yes, everything happens for a reason. Sometimes though we never really figure out the reason, I’m just blessed that I got to see my reason to soon!

  22. Wow! How very intense and awesome of you to so eloquently write something so personal. I am in awe of your strength, and you have it! Thanks so much for sharing, and always know that sometimes we have to endure the pain to understand what happiness is. It all happens for a reason. 🙂

  23. I say wow, too! Visiting from Sharefest (my link has the #giggles in it if you need a chuckle today). Your story was beautifully written. What beautiful honesty. I’m glad you realized you are more than okay and things turned around for you.

  24. I am inspired by your bravery to share what was such a difficult time in your life. I think it is obvious that you have emerged as a stronger person. So glad I discovered your blog!
    Stopping by from the SITS Sharefest.

  25. I have had many of those life moments that came right up to me and sucker punched me square in the jaw. I found a great therapist too who helped me through a big part of it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Maybe… Hi from #SitsSharefest

  26. I remember days like this one and others that cut to the core and shut you down for a while. But, with the help of a great therapist and/or a loving support system in friends and family, you emerge not just surviving, but thriving. Thank you for sharing this very raw part of your life. I’m glad you are in a better marriage now but I’m sorry it had to come in a package of hurt, anger, and shock. I read something once that said something like, the kinder people are, the more hurt they’ve been through. These intense challenges bring us the gifts of compassion, empathy, kindness, wisdom, and an increased capacity for love–not just for ourselves, but for others as well.

  27. There is a time to write posts. Your time for this one was now. I am sure it was a long time coming. Today was the right day to write it. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing with your readers that bad days can be good days too. Love BBB xxx

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