Our separation lasted eleven months before our divorce. At times the pain hit me so hard that I thought I wouldn't survive. Once I recall stumbling down the hall to the bedroom, gripping the walls, unable to stand the knive-edged pain in my body. I had no place to go. My grief was all encompassing.
Great gulping sobs heaved from my throat. I wailed. I moaned. I keened from pain so elemental that I curled into a fetal position wishing myself away from the horror of losing my husband, my best friend, and the man who had filled my thoughts for 32 years.
My new SPCA doggie didn't know what to do during those moments. Dealing with his own loss (he'd been abandoned at eight) he would circle around me, tail between his legs. I was inconsolable. And so alone. And the person I needed the most - my husband, my friend - was not available.
During the worst times I would call a man (an old college friend) who had just been divorced. He would reassure me in a calm voice, telling me I wasn't crazy and that he'd felt the same way. He would let me talk until my tears were spent and I had no more words left. After ten, fifteen minutes I would feel sane again. Then I would ask him how he was doing. He had just found a girlfriend and was recovering slowly from his own loss. He had small children, so he had to deal with his ex on a daily basis. Two years after she'd left him he was still grappling with his own raw-edged feelings. This man, my lifelong friend, was my salvation during these dark hours. Another couple, with whom I remained close, would have me over frequently for dinner or ask me to spend the weekend with them.
If I can give you any advice at all, I suggest that you choose your listeners wisely. Choose the ones who can help you during the most trying times and who have no need to stir up more drama. And remember to be kind to yourself. This is no time to beat yourself up about mistakes and what-could-have-beens.
If you're going through this horrendous period right now, take these words to heart: The white hot pain will subside. Allow yourself to grieve and (now I am sounding like an old cliche) just give it time.