Dear Rebecca, she wrote ... and it was immediately obvious that she didn't know me. My husband left me last month ... And I could feel her suffering.
What followed was an email from a woman pouring out her heartache to a complete stranger, giving into the cathartic release that only journaling can bring. She walked me through their entire history and my teeth gritted for her. She has so many unanswered questions, and there is nothing worse than someone else's ending happening before your own ... and that's what happened. He turned left and instead of taking her with him, he left her to fall off of the cliff.
And that's where she still is.
Grasping at anything - anyone - to help her ... including me.
Tell me how to make it stop hurting, she begged. Tell me when it stops hurting.
I texted BFF Suzy.
What do I tell her?
I texted my mom.
Why does she think I can help her?
I texted The Boyfriend.
What do I do?
Here's the thing: throughout this past year, I've gotten loads of advice.
But what do you really tell someone at the height of their hurt? What do you really tell a woman who is searching for the light? What do you tell a woman that can't get out of bed, that's so lost in the every day changes of her life that she can't even focus enough to get her bills paid?
I imagine her life to be like a loose fire hose. Spewing and spraying and no one can get it under control. The easiest way to stop the upheaval is to shut off the water - the smartest way to tame the beast is to cut the flow. The only problem with the beast is that she's still madly in love with it.
I thought about it all week. I wanted to get it right, you know? I wanted it to be gentle. I wanted it to be meaningful. I wanted it to be small things she could do right then. And I wanted her to know that in telling me, she passed off some of her grief. She was carrying a heavy, sorrowful load, and she felt so very alone.
Here's what I told her, and maybe, if you're carrying your own load? Maybe this might help -
1) Find an anthem. Does it seem silly? Of course. But it makes a difference. My mom's anthem was Believe by Cher. Not kidding. She would blast that song on repeat every. single. morning. Mine was Stuttering by FeFe Dobson. I'm not sure what it is, but music heals.
And I'm pretty sure any tiny little bit of healing is a step in the right direction.
2) I told her that the mountain is big. That the change, the new - all of it - is almost too much to handle. So I told her to make her day as routine as possible. I told her to cling to the same every day because the tornado around her will suck her in if she gave up.
And I told her not to give up.
3) I told her it gets better, which sounds so trite and so simple, but it was the biggest truth I could speak. Every single day, it gets better. I told her the sun will shine, she will learn to slow her breaths, to fill her lungs, and she will slow her chase. And I told her to live for the days where she could walk through the charred remains of her marriage and know that she loved hard.
And I promised her that she will love hard again.
4) I told her that she was worth it. That she was a heart warrior and she deserves laughter, and goodness, and coffee on the patio on Sunday mornings, and a lifetime with a person that will unequivocally choose her every single day. And that's probably the hardest thing she will have to deal with - he didn't pick her.
And I told her someone will choose her again. And they won't be the stopping kind.
5) I told her to wear her yes on her lips. I told her to say yes every single chance she got. Yes to adventure. Yes to first dates and second dates and blind dates and nights out with her tribe. I told her to say yes to her bucket list - yes to herself ... yes to finally knowing herself again on her own. I told her to say yes to celebrating the small victories, the solo dances in the kitchen, and those sunny spring afternoons when it's just finally warm enough to drive with the windows down.
And I told her to never stop saying yes to herself.
Holy shit, divorce is tough.
But women are tougher.
(And I told her that, too.)
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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