This weekend marks the 7-year anniversary of when my husband left. It took him one short afternoon to remove the furniture from our spare bedroom, move into to a one-bedroom apartment across town, and dismantle our marriage of 26 years. Seven years later the pain has receded to the point where I can write my memories on this blog without being haunted.
I recently read that this is the time of year when a large number of spouses decide to leave: Just after Christmas and New Year's. My husband had rented his apartment in early December, but he didn't want to spoil my holidays so he waited to leave until early January. Since he had barely talked or looked at me for several months, I don't think that the timing really made any difference. My holidays were spoiled already.
When talking to a neighbor who had just recently split up with her cheating partner, I not only saw the pain and grief etched on her face, I knew exactly what she was going through. Still in shock at catching him with his new girlfriend, she could barely face taking the Christmas decorations down alone. I am going over tomorrow to help her.
My, how things have changed. Seven years ago I hated to be alone. Now I relish having time to myself, and I slightly resent having to give up my precious Sunday afternoon. But I know how horrendous my neighbor is feeling. More than anything she needs someone to talk to about the situation and to help her stave off the loneliness, if even for a few hours.
During my divorce I benefited from the kind gestures of so many good friends, some of whom I'll never be able to pay back for their kindness. So I decided that when the opportunity presented itself, I would pay it forward.
Tomorrow is such a day.