• Cate

The Beginning of the End

It’s been a long three and a half years. I’ve come so, so far. This healing journey has been brutal. It has been raw. It has been painful. But it was necessary to feel all of this to heal.

The holidays are always a hard time of year for me. I’ve lost so much of my family. But this loss is not all bad. I have cut out the people in my life who hurt me and would continue to hurt me and my children.

There are many people I have lost, but they are not all lost forever. I’m already adding people to my circle. I am not lonely anymore. I’ve gotten through the loneliness.

I began the new year with a new job. A full time job has filled my time up so completely, it has been difficult to find time to create new jewelry pieces. It has been difficult to find time to blog. But I will find time again soon.

The beginning of the year also marked my first divorce hearing. He didn’t show up. The judge set a date six weeks from that hearing and said if he didn’t show up, that would be it. The divorce would default. This was not the news I wanted. I was hoping to make a clean break. I was hoping that he could have a fair shot to speak for his daughter. I was hoping to have it over as soon as possible.

I was overcome with sadness at the idea of another six weeks in limbo. As usual with me, I didn’t let it consume me for long. After about a day, I decided to get back to work. There were a lot of loose ends to tie up.

About this time, my son’s struggle at school came to a breaking point. It was becoming clear that something had to change. He was afraid to go to school. I was hearing from the school every single week, sometimes several times a week.

I intend to write a separate post about what it takes to maintain special education for those with trauma, but I will say this: schools are untrained in helping trauma survivors feel safe. What my son went through was not okay.

My youngest daughter started full time preschool. She loves it. She loves to have something to fill her days up. She loves to talk about her friends. She loves her teachers. It was just what she needed. She is thriving and absolutely loves it.

My oldest daughter is thriving socially. She has many friends. She enjoys being herself in all things. Her authenticity is attractive to others. She is coming into her own. She went to her first protest, a protest for Amir Locke. She was very responsible.

The girls were giving me an easy time and it was a lucky thing. My boy was crumbling. I did everything I could to support him, but an incident occurred and he was nearly severely injured. I pulled him out of school. I am in the middle of redefining what his educational experience will be like. It is a lot of work.

Many loose ends have been tied up now. At the beginning of February, my oldest daughter and I started taking a pottery class. At two and a half hours a session on Monday evenings, it was probably the last thing I needed at this particular point. But it’s fun. My daughter and I get to spend time together and that has done a lot for our relationship.

I went back to dance too. February was the Cha Cha - my favorite. The world champion of the Cha Cha was visiting the first week, so the classes had become very difficult. It was a lot of fun to learn such challenging steps. Dance is something I will continue to do.

I started to feel that my job was not what I’d hoped it would be. I applied for something better. I was contacted the day after my application. I interviewed a week later. It went very well and I have high hopes that I will be in a much better position very soon.

I found a new school for both the older kids. That was a difficult find and we’re not quite sure if we’ll get in yet. But it comes highly recommended. We find out soon whether they’ll be in or on the waiting list.

I had a truly awful meeting with the school. No parent likes IEP meetings. The school gangs up on you and you have no support. I had changed the tone of mine, but it caused several of the attendees to become quite hostile.

I felt traumatized by that meeting. So much so, that the divorce hearing two days later felt small in comparison. I had prepared for it. I turned in all of my paperwork. I showed up. He didn’t.

The judge had a lot of bad news. He hadn’t claimed his daughter, he was not on the birth certificate. There would be no child support or sharing of expenses without his approval. The divorce had to be completed without her in it.

And so it was. The divorce is final and I am free. I am truly free. It has been nearly 2 weeks now and I’m still getting used to it, but it’s over.

I still have to officially change my name so I can apply for financing and buy a house. I have to wait for the divorce decree to do that. But I have a mortgage broker. I have a plan. I’m still living in the same house as my EX-husband, but he’s sleeping on the couch and staying out of my way.

The pieces are moving, but I still feel stuck. I know that I have accomplished so much. I have healed so much. I have built strong boundaries that can’t be crossed. But I have also lost a lot of the armor that I was carrying.

I’d been trying to protect myself from getting hurt so fiercely, that I was keeping myself from experiencing new things fully. I was essentially hurting myself. I feel lighter now. I am free in so many ways now.

There is still a lot to do and I am equal to the tasks at hand, but freedom is mine and the end is in sight. This is certainly cause for celebration! My friends and I have been toasting the occasion!

I have more time on my hands now. I am starting to explore what I can do for myself. I have done everything with the kids at the forefront of my mind. I have always considered first how it all would affect them. But it’s time now that I think for myself. If the result is not good for me, then it will inevitably fall flat for the kids.

So this next stage of the journey should be very interesting. It is time for me to figure out who I want to be when this is all over. I have no one’s terms to satisfy but my own. That is a very different place for me to be in. It will be interesting to experience the unfolding of all of this. Now is the time to start packing!

There’s still a lot of hard things left to do, but this is a very positive place to be. I have to stop and give myself credit for all I’ve accomplished. I hope you will all celebrate this turn of events with me. Thank you for keeping up with the journey!

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