their needs, our needs

May 22, 2014

I am waking up before the sun these days. I start the Keurig and as it warms up, I stretch my nearly 40 year old back and pray prayers that are not contrived or from a place of over-emotional-mixed-up-ness. (Those are not bad prayers, I just need different ones right now.) Like the Lord’s Prayer, it is so comforting, that one. And the Serenity Prayer. OMG (like a prayer) I definitely need that one. The wisdom to know the difference.

After the coffee is ready, I come upstairs to my office, where it’s bare except for the desk and computer (a strange but good feeling comes from this emptiness), and I write. I return a few emails. I try not to get sucked in to Facebook.

The boys eventually come rushing down the hall, almost always right around 6:00. Miles says HI as he streaks past the doorway and Asher runs in, hugs me fast around my arms and rushes back out. It is a big hurry, to get to watch a show before school.

Today I returned some messages about my post, the beginning, from last week. These messages were from people struggling, trying and seeing themselves in this story. I write about personal and very difficult things publicly for this very reason, and because it helps me as well. At the same time, I’ve struggled with this topic and have asked Ryan’s permission to write about our divorce. It is not just my story to tell. He is a giving person, and agreed it was good to write about it. He knows I would never say anything bad about him specifically, just about the truth of our relationship as it was and what we’re going through now. He too sees the power of transparency, of being people who don’t hide or pretend or keep things tucked away. We see that when we do that, we get sicker. We compare and we doubt. We think we are alone. We know because we lived that for far too long.

So many people feel less alone when I tell the truth.


Sometimes my wording can be misunderstood though, and I’m sorry about that. The last post about what we’re going through was raw and terribly blunt. It was understandably painful to those that love us, those close to us that had no idea the pain we were in, or that we were so doubtful our entire marriage. I honestly did not intend to make it sound like Ryan was a terrible person to marry. Oh no, it’s not that. That’s true for some people, but that’s not our story.

We are two people who happen to be like oil and water, especially when it comes to communication. That was true from the start. I should have said that differently in the last post. What I mean is that I made it sound, possibly, like I was aware of how unhealthy our relationship was and he was not. Or, he hasn’t been able to articulate it to friends and family in the same way and so it felt like a sucker punch to some of them, to read that. I’m sorry.

Ironically, we are totally on the same page over here. We have said it all to each other, for several years–anything I could type here. This is not a surprise to us, but it is much like suddenly admitting a secret addiction. People say, I had no idea….

of course you didn’t. That’s not because we don’t love you enough to tell you. It’s because it was all too scary and we weren’t ready to speak it, this time, unfortunately, until the end. So there is a big long story that is missing for you, that we have lived and you have not and seeing it in black and white is so confusing. I’m sorry.

And yet I have to say that despite all the perspectives on our situation, we are the ones here and the ones who have been here and somehow we’re going to be okay. We are both so peaceful about this decision. It’s painful, yes, but we know with certainty we’re on the right path. That can only make sense to us. Let it make sense to us.

I have written about how well the kids are doing. They are blowing our minds. And we both have no idea if that will continue but we have every intention of serving our kids, meeting their needs of every kind as they arise, and taking it one moment at a time. That’s all we can do. It’s sad but true, we communicate much better when we don’t live together.

I don’t know how much I’ll write about this here, because I want to be careful and considerate of loved ones. This is not people pleasing, actually. To be honest, though I love to write it all out even here, I’d rather not have the stress of things being misunderstood. I want to keep Ryan from having to answer questions that wouldn’t have come up if I hadn’t written here. He is okay with all that I’ve said here, but having to defend that is exhausting, and man, we’re tired already.

That’s not to say we’re annoyed with anyone or upset. I understand completely that people care deeply and want to be sure we’re okay and want so badly to understand something that is never going to be clear to anyone but us, because we alone have lived it. We have been apart for so long, despite appearances. We didn’t admit that During, and we can’t change that now. Denial has a lot to do with that. That last post was about denial, and the truth that under all the trying and appearing to be fine, we were never fine. That’s the hard truth, that we have had time to start to come to terms with, for quite some time now.

Lastly, I want to tell you that if you’re confused about us, or someone else in your life who is making this decision, the best thing you can say is, I’m here for whatever you need, and then live that support out. Do your best to trust the two people who had to make the hardest decision of their lives, or had it made for them, one or the other. We do need you now more than ever and even if you have doubts or frustrations, unanswered questions or concerns, we really need you to strive for acceptance and surrender and hope, like we are.


Brandee May 22, 2014 at 9:13 am

After my ex-husband and I made the decision to divorce, we lived together in perfect peace for several months. In fact, my cousin (I call her my sister, most-times) decided to move to our area from L.A., and she and her daughter moved in with us while she hunted for and bought the house into which everyone moved except my ex-husband (and our son, half-time). People have never understood how my ex-husband and I can be good friends. It drives so many of them wild, and always has. I sang a solo in his wedding when he remarried. At least half of his family (my old family) wouldn’t look at or speak to me the whole evening. I guess they just couldn’t wrap their brains around the whole thing, but I did it for the boy. I wanted him to see that I supported his dad with all my heart. It’s been weird at points, even for me, but beautifully weird in a Jesus-y way. Someone saw my son’s stepmother and I together the other day and mistook us for sisters. That’s redemption. That’s God.

Don’t wait for people to understand; some of them never will. If you’re tired of sharing, don’t share, but if you have the strength to share, share. Your story is important, and the truth helps (some) others in the strangest of ways.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m all yay! divorce! Everyone who struggles should get divorced! Because that’s not it. What I am is a believer that God can redeem if we ask Him…that He will help if we ask Him…that He will make a message from a mess if we ask Him. He has been present in my divorce in ways that many people cannot understand and will not accept. But that’s okay. I know the truth.
Brandee recently posted..Culminations. Ruminations.

Kristen @ Motherese May 22, 2014 at 9:41 am

Sending you love and grace, sweet Heather. xo
Kristen @ Motherese recently posted..Mother-Writer: An Interview with Curtis Sittenfeld

Kelly V May 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

Well said.

“That’s not because we don’t love you enough to tell you. It’s because it was all too scary and we weren’t ready to speak it…” Yes, makes TOTAL sense.

I am here for you, my future 354’er!

Jan May 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I have been divorced for just over 3 years. This post and the prior post you wrote about your divorce really resonated with me. I found myself nodding silently as I read, thinking, “Yes. It was like that. It felt like that.”

Thanks for articulating so much of what this process is like. When I was in the midst of it, I was so hungry to find other people’s experiences. I needed to feel some community, some understanding in the middle of an experience that made me feel so alone, so misunderstood. Thank you for sharing yours. I know it will help others. God bless you and your family as you navigate this new chapter in your lives.

Jen @Martymom's Musings May 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm


Bless you. For sharing. For challenging us in similar situations where we may know loved ones who have a similar story.

I have to tell you, I haven’t been good support to someone with a similar story and this was eye opening for me.

“Lastly, I want to tell you that if you’re confused about us, or someone else in your life who is making this decision, the best thing you can say is, I’m here for whatever you need, and then live that support out.”

I need to live that support out with a dear friend, thank you for reminding me of that.

Jen @Martymom’s Musings recently posted..Who the Son Sets {Free}…Is Free Indeed

Amy May 30, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Heather, I always just assume that I have no idea what it’s like on the inside-side of whatever is happening. Your words, the way I hear them, are so full of grace and kindness and honesty. Thank you for sharing such a difficult story.
Amy recently posted..CAMPING!

Christine LaRocque June 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

My goodness – there is SO MUCH life wisdom in the words you have written here. Truly, this one post gave me a few aha moments of my own. I think you know I’ve always thought you to be brave a woman, but this is something more. Good for you. Sending much much Canadian love. xo

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