If you are reading this letter, most likely you are contemplating a divorce. I can understand how scary this feels and have been in your shoes. My life was forever changed in September 2008. At the time, I was married with 2 beautiful daughters and preparing for my youngest daughterâs Christening when my mom told me she was feeling very sick and a recent ultrasound confirmed she had a large mass in her abdomen. As I looked at her, I could see the fear welling up in her eyes. It was at that moment I knew what she was thinking and I was thinking it too. A few weeks later, that fear was confirmed with her ovarian cancer diagnosis at age 58.
My mom fought cancer courageously with such grace and dignity for 5 years. In May of 2013, I held her hand as she left this world and all the pain and suffering cancer had evoked. Iâll always remember the peaceful veil that warmed her face in that moment she passed away. This image will forever comfort me and for that I am so appreciative.
The grief I felt that day was so intense. I remember thinking it would be with me forever. At the time of my momâs passing, I had 3 young girls to take care of and I could not let this huge loss be my breaking point. My girls needed me. I had to be brave. I had to be courageous despite feeling like I was crumbling into a pile of sand. The journey was rocky but moment by moment life went on.
For years, my marriage had been contentious. In January 2014 and after 10 years being married, I realized that all that we invested was no longer enough. Our paths were no longer intertwined; our lives were not supporting the authentic people we were destined to become. This moment in time was extremely scary. I adored my children, and could not fathom spending any time apart from them as I knew a divorce would inevitably create. I had to make a decision. Do I stay to keep the family intact or do I leave, allowing myself to experience vulnerabilities far greater than I dreamed possible? I had to muster courage in the face of fear and reach deep inside my core in search of the answer. I had to stand tall when I felt knocked over and do what I felt was best for our family. It was then that I thought of my mom. You see, she had no choice. Her time was up. Her life story was not one she had the ability to change in the end. Mine was different though. I still had a lifetime ahead of me and I wanted to live it to the fullest. A new chapter of my life was on the horizon and although I knew the road ahead was not an easy one for me, I was thankful I had a road to travel.
Little did I know that these 2 events were life-defining moments. They opened a door that let in some light to reveal who I was. At 40, I thought I knew that answer but in fact I was just learning who I truly was deep down inside. I know now that sometimes it is the worst, most challenging, and often most hurtful experiences of our lives that are the ones that give the most shape and definition to who we become.
That was certainly the case for me. Part of the self-discovery process of my divorce involved me asking some tough questions such as, âWho have I been? What I have I contributed to this because of my own limitations and vulnerabilities? In what ways have I settled to live a life that is less than true and whole?
This soul searching was an opportunity for me to become a better, stronger, more aware and authentic version of myself. It was a choice and a door to a brighter future. It was a door I wanted to open. This took a strong faith and belief in myself. Thankfully I sought out a divorce coach to help me navigate the emotional ups and downs and keep me rational as I was confronted with difficult, life-altering decisions that impacted my children and my future. She was the person who was willing to hold the torch and lead me down this thorny path and inspire me to keep going despite any obstacles in my way. She was my companion willing to guide me through it all. She helped me move ahead with a sense of purpose and a clear vision. I was able to streamline my divorce process and make decisions with a rational mindset that lead to a beautiful new life post-divorce. Today I have a new perspective on life and what I learned was that life is too short to remain stuck. Life is experiential and full of difficult decisions. Every day holds new opportunities to learn and grow. By taking life in your own hands and trusting all youâve learned and your inner wisdom, you are empowered to make daily choices that can lead to a brighter future.
Today I am so grateful to now be that guiding light for others as they navigate the bumpy roads that transitions can evoke. I offer free consults and can be reached at the contact info below with any questions.
Kristin Swarcheck, M.Ed., CPC