A milestone on my journey appeared today. Unexpectedly.
On the phone with Caroline, while discussing finances, I blurted out I thought we should formalize our separation. I then repeated what I’ve said, since our split up got real.
“I’m completely committed to doing this with the same love and compassion with which we did everything in our lives as a couple. We don’t need third parties. I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize our family.”
Caroline quickly replied she feels exactly the same.
At a cocktail party, last Friday night, I talked with a friend who went through a miserable divorce. She stated, in no uncertain terms, that I was at war and to think otherwise was a tragic mistake.
Her anger freaked me out.
Caroline and I were married 28 years. We have three wonderful, strong daughters. We have brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. They all are our family.
On the call I became emotional. I had to disconnect, pull myself together and call back. We were discussing our joint assets, expenses, our lives together, our futures apart.
Caroline started talking about the never-ending expenses we incur, how tired she is.
I interrupted her and gently said, “it feels like every time we talk, you only tell me about expenses and how tired you are.
“I cannot express the depth of shame I feel. I know things are tight. I know you’re working so hard you’re always tired. The fact that I don’t have a job and can’t help ease the burden fills me with more guilt than I have the capacity to communicate.”
And then I said something I didn’t realize until that moment. “It wouldn’t be that bad if you ever told me what brings you joy, but you never do.”
I missed hearing about Caroline’s day. Comparing notes. Insignificant conversations I thought would never end.
For the first time since our split last April, I acknowledged the emptiness that came with losing my best friend. I think letting go of resentment enabled me to better understand the scope of change my life’s undergone.
The rest of the conversation went well.
Caroline told me she will do whatever she can to help me rebuild my relationship with our daughters. I responded, expressing my gratitude. I think this one is on me. I need to demonstrate to my daughters who I now am. How different that person is than he who they remember.
Is reconciliation possible?
Anything and everything is possible. Is it likely? It seems further away than ever but I won’t rule it out. I’m no longer in the ruling out business. I’m too busy focused on the moment.
Stay in touch. Connect.
PS On the subject of road trips, which is kinda metaphorically, what I’m writing about, this scene makes me laugh every time I watch it.