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Thursday, September 03, 2009

A brave, new me

Just two days before what would have been my 11-year wedding anniversary, my life is barely recognizable to the life I had five months ago. I'm in graduate school. I live in San Francisco half of the week. I live with my kids on the Peninsula half of the week. I'm getting divorced.

While the decision is mutual and we are amicable, a transition of this magnitude has altered every part of my life, of his life, of our kids' lives. It has changed who I am, who I thought I was, the woman and mother I want to be. It is also shaping me and will affect the person and partner I hope to become at some point down the road.

It is now my future and his future. There still is a version of our relationship, of our future as it pertains to our kids and to the house we each live in part of the week. But the future that was pronounced with the words “as long as we both shall live,” and sealed with a kiss in that country church filled with 97 family members and friends nearly 11 years ago, has been permanently altered. For better or for worse, I cannot say. For richer or for poorer and for sickness and in health, those are things that will now be determined separately.

Wondering about the future is a luxury I have not allowed myself during many of the last six years because of our son's heart defect. I’ve lived in the moment surrounded by ambiguity and uncertainty. Thinking of what is to come is too painful. The reality is too painful. My son's single ventricle heart too primitive to allow him to reach adulthood. His condition to too rare, too serious. How much time we have before a heart transplant is unknown. The knowledge of what is to come lingers in my daily thoughts the way that the name of someone I have forgotten can linger on the tip of my tongue.

But now I am forced to think of the future. That unknown world. I need to think of where I will live. Of how I will support myself. Of how I will be a single parent. I need to think about health insurance and car insurance and homeowners insurance. I need to think of bank statements and credit cards and my Toyota’s registration. I need to remember which day of the week is garbage day. And I wonder how we will manage our son's next surgery together and separately.

I remember reading somewhere after my son was born that couples that have kids with massive health problems have a higher chance of divorce compared to the general population. I never believed that. I never believed that could be us. But here we were. Another statistic. Another couple letting their legal union disappear as chalk drawings do in the rain.


  1. I received this quote this morning and it reminded me of you:
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. The only thing I can say is, "Wow." I wish you the best in your new journey. You have it in you to, and I'm glad you now give yourself the opportunity to achieve all that you've dreamed of becoming.

  3. I wish you strength on the journey, and peace along the way. Not to mention a little sanity in graduate school. Be gentle with yourself: the transition is tough (or so it seemed, as I watched my parents navigate these shoals). Here's hoping your new normal is Good.

  4. I was wondering if something big was happening when there weren't any updates for awhile. I only check once a month, but even so, having followed your and your family's progress for years now, I feel compelled to offer the support of a stranger many states away...for what it's worth, I admire you greatly for your honesty and courage and wish you strength and patience and humor as you deal with this huge change.

  5. Anonymous1:22 PM

    I am so sorry you're going through this. I've stumbled upon your blog a while back and have been reading it ever since. This year has been tremendously difficult for me as I've endured a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Life as I know it has changed. Believe it or not, your little Riley has been an inspiration to me as I know how strong he's been fighting his heart condition. I just wanted you to know that no matter what comes your way, you'll come out victorious in the end. I wish you and your family all the best. And remember that the best way out is through.

  6. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Please continue. You are writing what so many of us think. It's good to see it all out in words. Please continue.