Tin Man & Heartache

tim-gouw-133424While catching the commuter train this morning, Miranda Lambert’s melodic voice filled my ear buds and unexpectedly brought me to tears.

I quickly swatted the tears away, but it got me thinking —

Lately, my life has resembled a country song.

My ex split when our son was three. He was barely there for our son those first few months, as he tried to figure himself out, hold on to his job, his affair partner, and grapple with his addictions.

In hindsight, he wasn’t around much before either, you know, because he was busy “working late.”

There I was, with a full-time job, health crisis of my own, and a little boy who wanted to know when Daddy was coming home, why Daddy left, why Daddy didn’t pick him up from school anymore, why, why, why.

Family flew into town to help me those first few weeks and it was still hard. I was in shock, stopped eating, and operated on auto-pilot at work and with friends.

My son did not adjust well, often clinging to my legs while I tried to make dinner, he was wetting the bed again, having nightmares, trying to nurse, he didn’t want to let me out of his grasp.

In a nutshell, it was regression and he also started showing signs of anxiety.

I gave our family dog to my best friend. That broke my heart too. 

For so long, I separated the heartache I experienced during the aftermath of my ex leaving from everything else I had to contend with in my life. I pressed “pause” on the heartache and trudged ahead.

I had no idea how long it would take to get through my divorce and custody battle. More than two years went by, and we still weren’t divorced, nor did we have a court-approved visitation schedule. 

I had my son full-time and we had a makeshift schedule where his Dad would come over to take him to school, and pick him up from school on other days for dinner visits, which eventually morphed into every other weekend sleepovers, always requiring 50+ emails back-and-forth to coordinate. Exhausting to say the least, but at least he was involved in his son’s life again. 

During that time, I refinanced the house so we didn’t have to move and spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours preparing for our  custody trial. 

I took and failed a credentialing test I really needed for work (fail!), I spent a lot of time and stress trying to get into a different career field, thinking I would need the extra income, but it was not meant to be (fail!).

I underwent radiosurgery at a hospital out-of-state, a week before my son started elementary school and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t have made it through that without the love and support of my family and loving boyfriend.

As you can see, life just never stopped hurling challenges our way. Not for a second.

No wonder I pushed down the heartache. But this morning, listening to that song, it came back to me and I remembered just how raw and devastating it all was — the heartache of being left.

It reminded me that it’s ok to reflect on how hard a period of your life was, and how much you went through, because you did it. You made it to the other side. I did that.

Here’s to reflection and the growth that comes from it. Thanks, Miranda.

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