Fireworks
I bought a can opener. 
One of the first things I needed after my ex-spouse moved out of the
house was a can opener.  He had taken the
electric one.  I bought one for cheap – the
handheld kind.  When I used it for the
first time, I started crying.  In that
small, tiny moment, I felt self-sufficient. 
I felt that I could take care of myself. 
Fireworks erupted inside my mind. 
I felt independent.

I have found there is a fine line between independence and
loneliness.  As a divorced person, I may
celebrate that I can have pink polka dot pillows on my bed now, or that I can
eat cereal for dinner on occasion.  But I
may feel lonely when I am the only person available to squish a spider or to
run errands to buy a hose, light bulbs and furnace filters.

Independence
brought on by divorce is simultaneously thrilling and saddening.  It is empowering and scary.  In most marriages, spouses adapt to certain
roles, one spouse may be responsible for managing the household finances, the
other spouse may be responsible for mowing the lawn.  Upon divorce, each spouse becomes responsible
for all tasks.  Even those they have not
done in decades.

Along with the emotional grief of divorce, suddenly a person
is tasked with learning new skills and likely having their household to-do list
double.  Someone not accustomed to
balancing a budget is now responsible for making sure ten bills are paid timely
each month.  Or the spouse who suddenly
has to launder the clothes and ends up with a white dress shirt now turned pink.

These little aggravations have the capacity to build up into
an overwhelming chaos.  It is precisely
these small things that add up and make divorce so hard.  Unfortunately, this is not one of those areas
I can wisely tell you to take it in small steps and ease your way into it.  After all, the garbage needs to get to the
curb and the groceries need to get to the cupboards.

But I can tell you that it gradually gets easier.  I can suggest that as you stretch into new
routines, you pause and take pride in accomplishing new things and mastering
more responsibility.  You, and only you,
are responsible for your new life.  You
are more than capable.  You are
independent.

Angela Dunne

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