I told myself, enough wallowing. Do what you have always done. Set it down in writing and move on.
It had to do with the divorce—which wasn’t yet a divorce. A divorce in the making. He no longer loved me—maybe never had. I might have said the same. Still, the dismantling of a family is heartbreaking at the least. Two children—small children—one not yet two, the other not four. How to tell them? How to explain this massive upheaval in their lives? The move from a house to an apartment in another state, miles away from all they’d known as home.
Despite the loving help of their grandparents and aunt and uncle, despite the cousins now within an easy walk. There was and would be trauma. What to do with the pain? With the need to hold up my head while holding their hands? How to settle into to life as a single parent? From what font to gather the energy, the strength to move? Simply to move?
Which is when I did what I have always done in times of joy, in times of sorrow, when change is imminent, during fear and worry. I sat with paper and pen at the white table in the small apartment while the children slept in their shared room. The toys and books lined up against the wall. It was there, at that table that the words spilled out—the fears, the sadness, the small sparks of happiness, the sudden sense of freedom, the power bubbling through. The Gloria Gaynor song repeating in my mind—’At first I was afraid, I was petrified,’
And there it was: resilience. Night after night I wrote. Page after page until I had a collection of words that I thought might be of value to others in a similar situation. I called the daily paper—part of a national chain. The managing editor agreed to meet with me.
A weekly column with my photograph and the heading The Single Parent was born. The column ran for a decade towards the end of which I married the wonderful man who helped me rear the two children—parents themselves now with nearly adult children of their own.
In addition to the encouragement of a loving husband, children and grandchildren, I credit writing for getting me through time and again—in sickness and in health.