Getting a divorce after 18 years of marriage and having two kids is not an easy thing to do.
And it hurts. A lot. For everyone involved.
For that reason, it was extremely important for us to try everything we could to repair our marriage. I’m proud of the fact that we tried to find the answers, for years. It was no easy decision to end it and wasn’t taken lightly by either of us. But once the decision was finally made, a new set of problems arose.
Up to that moment, my entire adult life was spent building a life with someone. Everything I did revolved around “us”. Where should we live, what house should we buy, what school is best for our kids, where do we want to go on vacation….my view was always about us, not me.
All of a sudden I had to change my thinking and direction. Even during the months we were separated but living on the farm, we made sure to allow the other one to go about their personal business. For the first time in 20 years, I had freedom to spend my own time any way I wanted.
We shared custody of the boys, and when it wasn’t my turn to be with them, I went looking for a place to live and spent time with friends. It felt odd to be out looking for a home for just my sons and me. But it was also fun.
It was exciting, mostly because I got to make all of the decisions. And it was a bit scary because, well all of the wrong decisions would be mine as well.
I met a friend through the grade school my boys were going to. It was a tiny little elementary school so it was easy to find and make friends there. But this one was different. He was a single dad raising his daughter and he was usually the only father at any of the school meetings. He was also a saddle maker looking for some help.
I told him I had done some leatherwork back when I was younger and asked if I could give it a go. He was happy to show me how to do a few of the small pieces he needed and I was happy to be doing something new and earning a little money too.
In January of 1999 I found a little two-bedroom one-bath house in town and began dividing our belongings. I like this chair, you take that one; the silverware was from your family, you take that; we have two of these, let’s split them up…and on and on.
Neither of us wanted the big sofa we had moved from home to home. I had it recovered somewhere in the ‘80s when pink and grey were in and it was so outdated and old at that point. It was in a small back room of the house and had taken about an hour to finagle it into that room.
Getting it out the same door was going to be equally as taxing.
So we decided to take a chainsaw to it. We cut it up and threw the pieces out a window. I can tell you it was so satisfying cutting that old sofa up. If felt symbolic of the end of our marriage.
There were just pieces of it now, discarded.
A few friends helped me move into my new place and it was fun setting up that little house. I had no idea how I would afford living in my new place; the rent was half my income.
And I had no idea that year would end up being the hardest time of my life.
…to be continued.