I’ve not been 100% honest and forthcoming in my blogging for the past several months. I’ve said a few times that there are things happening that I wasn’t ready to share and I’m going to remedy that in this post. This morning Eric and I finalized our divorce. It is crazy for me to say or even think the word divorce after we have been married for so long. We’ve been together since we were 18 so more than half our lives. We were married when I was 20 and two days after Eric had turned 21. I always felt that we would stay married for the rest of our lives without a doubt. Whatever we had to do, we would do it – being married forever was the “win”. Saying that, things were not always easy and we had our issues just like all couples do. And then cancer came. I really can’t explain how hard this was to someone who has not been through it, it is beyond what I could imagine. And as I have said so many times, it changes you. Priorities change. Life becomes something different because as a person your ingrained fundamental beliefs, the ones you hold on an unconscious level, are proven wrong. I think that’s one of the things that makes finishing treatment so hard, and it’s something that I’ve been working on with my therapist – you have to process that. Life truly is a gift. And we realized that it was a gift we could give each other. Eric and I were not happy. We had been fighting that for the “win” of staying married forever. And one day we realized, what if that isn’t the win? What if giving each other the space, time and opportunity to figure out what will really make us happy is the “win”? After all the crap we have been through, neither of us think we should spend our time not being the person we want to be. So we decided we needed to be the best divorced people ever. We worked through all the paperwork ourselves, we didn’t need lawyers or mediators. This morning the judge actually took time to commend us on our teamwork in our filing, he said it was clear that our children were our priority and that us remaining friends would help them in more ways than we knew. And we are friends. We both still love each other and genuinely want the other person to be happy. There is no choosing sides, there is no pressure on anyone to like one of us more than the other. We still live in the same house, we still do things with the kids together, and we still talk and watch TV like any friends would do. We have the luxury of taking time to think and plan. If people want to go out with us, there is no weirdness or animosity involved. We are adults, we are friends, and we have loved each other and been best friends for over 20 years. We have two amazing children who we will continue to parent together for the rest of their lives.
The second part of this whole equation is figuring out what will make us happy. It seems strange to really think about what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Everyone says you can do whatever you want, but when you’re almost 40 and have a life, kids, and responsibilities, that isn’t usually 100% true. I want to do something in the medical field and was looking into EMT since I could do that with relatively little schooling and I think I would dig it. However, EMTs make a shockingly small amount which isn’t great. I would really love to be a nurse but I didn’t think I could afford to go to school for that long. My parents have been very generous in offering to help make that an option. I can’t even explain how much that means to me. My parents are planning a move so I will be moving out of state to complete school. The kids and I will live with my folks while I am in school and then plan to move close to wherever Eric settles when I am done. This gives me time to focus on school and him time to travel and decide where he truly wants to be. He will remain in the kids lives and will see them often while I’m in school. Last week I registered for college and I am studying every day for the assessment test I have to take before I can get started. Quadratic equations and factoring polynomials are super fun, let me tell you. But it feels good to start. To do something to work towards a future rather than thinking about cancer all the time. Eric is working towards his future too which is a good thing.
This morning we took Fletch to school, got divorced and went and had breakfast. I assure you, we are okay. Contrary to popular experience, neither of us believe this has to be a bad thing. And we are both going to be happy. We are going to win.