One weekend, my son was walking across the living room when he tripped and broke his hand.
I took him to the emergency room, where I suddenly felt totally overwhelmed.
It was all just too much.
I felt like it had been one thing after another through my divorce and now… my poor son was hurt.
What was even worse, is that I felt myself spiral into shame when the thought, Oh no, now I’m going to have more work to do, popped into my head. My guilt, for even thinking such a thought, was unbearable.
I was spinning with the idea that yet another thing had just been “thrown” at me by the universe.
I wanted my husband to help but I knew, that I probably would not be able to get from him what I wanted.
I missed having someone who could run to the store while I did laundry.
I missed having someone to help with the homework while I cooked dinner.
I missed having someone to hold my hand, soothe me, when I worried about our children.
But my life had changed: It was now… all up to me.
I called my husband from the emergency room and told him what had happened and expressed my feelings and needs.
I was right… he couldn’t help.
He was working until 10pm and I would have to deal with this on my own.
I hung up feeling frustrated.
That evening, when I was finally calm again and lying in bed alone, I thought about my husband and all of the years we had spent together.
My husband had been out of town constantly for work.
His job took him away from our family for a couple of months at a time.
What had I done then… to make it through?
I had no one to help me during that time period so… why could I handle things then… but not now?
I realized that I was feeling overwhelmed because I “believed” that I had been left with all of the responsibilities… I “believed” that my husband was no longer part of my “team.”
When we had been together, I had picked up the slack when I needed to, and I knew that he would pick up the slack when he needed to.
How would we be a team now?
I thought about teams. When a team wasn’t working they restructured and restructuring for me would be; changing my attitude.
It was hard to know that he was in town today and unavailable for me and for our son, and would not be available to me as he had been before.
But I knew for now, that I would have to temporarily be my own team in this situation.
Sometimes my husband would have to work and do other things and like in the past, when he was out of town, I would have to depend on myself.
He wasn’t saying no forever… he was just saying no for today.
He was at work.
Our son was not seriously injured.
I had already handled things at the hospital.
It was time for me to accept the situation and move on with my day.
Later that week, our son needed to see the orthopedic to get his splint removed and his hand casted. When I called my husband for help, he was there for me. He took our son to the doctor’s office, fed him, and played with him until I came home from work and I was grateful for his help.
By changing my attitude, and accepting the restructuring of my family team, I had let go of being overwhelmed and found a way to handled my day-to-day responsibilities with calm resolve.
“Dear God, when I find myself in a trying situation, help me to walk through it with calm resolve and see solutions instead of problems.”
You’re postings are always so timely! I woke too early this morning realizing it’s 8 weeks today since I moved from our home, physically separated from my ex, and 6 1/2 weeks since he left town. When I’ve had issues (minor really) to handle since he’s left, I found myself dwelling, brooding and worrying about how to handle things. Turned out I could do it, and wasted a lot of time in angst.
And, actually, I’ve been able to do this throughout our marriage, but I had the feeling of support or presence that you mentioned also. So much has happened in 8 weeks in how I see things and I’ve improved, but “overwhelming” is a feeling that I suspect will be present for awhile. You’re comment about attitude and accepting this change makes it so clear as I let go of the past. Thank you,
Oh good I’m glad! 🙂 Patricia I had so many people step forward and help out with my children after my husband and I split up… it was just amazing…. You will find your “new” extended family and they will mean the WORLD to you… and I learned that I really liked being on my own and making all of my own decisions :)))))
Your post meant a lot to me because I too felt terribly alone when things happened after separation and I had to deal with them on my own. Yet during our marriage it was me who had to deal with things time and time again when he was away or unavailable, which was often. It was simply the thought that if something ‘really bad’ happened he would be there and now he isn’t, rather than the smaller issues that I was constantly confronted with. Now I am more accepting of doing it on my own.
Oh I totally understand, Elizabeth. My husband was a touring musician and so I went through the same thing and the same feelings you have mentioned. One day my friend said, “But you are already doing everything on your own and he isn’t around to help, so now that you are separated nothing really has changed.” (big eye opener) It took me awhile to be “accepting” though of doing it on my own and not resentful. Now today I am just so thankful that I was the one to raise our children… And that what I value in life is being present… that’s what stopped the resentment. Knowing that I was doing exactly what I wanted to do regardless of his presence: that I was being the one to take care of things… being the one to be there for others when something really bad happened and that being that person is part of my moral compass… not his… and that is why we fundamentally didn’t work in the long run! I had picked a person I was madly in love with but not a person who shared my life values. I missed him so much in the beginning but now with time… I see we were not on the same path and never would be… I hope you are doing well… and moving forward. I’m always here for you!. D.
Thus was especially moving. Being there for others, wanting others to be be there for us – it really does help to think about teams!
Cliche but true: It takes a village! 😉 D.