I felt a little embarrassed when the movers asked where the box with the wedding dress should be placed. And then even more embarrassed when my landlord went to replace the carpet in the basement before I had fully moved out and had to move a small pile of belongings from the basement to the main floor – glaringly included in the mix of a handful of things was my giant and heavy leather wedding album. (Do I say former wedding album?) I had not packed it. It remained in the pile of items that I did not know what to do with.
All this time later and I am still unsure about what to do with the physical mementos let alone the memories.
When you move, similar to when you divorce, there are plenty of references to starting the new chapter or moving to the next phase of life. I have even written in our blog about trying to shift the lens to a clean start. But what do you do with the chapters leading up to now? What does it mean for your history, your memories, and your stories now that you are divorced? A creeping shame sneaks in and shadows your happy marital memories. It feels wrong to recall the good times and yet even more unsettling to only remember the bad.
I always feel a sudden and slight stillness in a conversation when I reminisce about something that happened when I was married and I make reference to my former spouse. Like last week when I was at the gorgeous wedding of our law clerk, Abbey, my daughter asked me if weddings make me sad. She wondered if it reminded me of my wedding day. I felt weird, almost like a hypocrite, as I described that my wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life. It was. The fact that my marriage did not last does not take away the sheer bliss I felt the day I was married.
One of the pieces of this divorced life that I have not yet, but hope to master is acceptance – acceptance for my past and my future. To outgrow the shame filled thoughts that seep in when I want to tell a story about fly fishing with my ex-husband. I want to not worry when telling my story that the listener will think I am still hurt or “not over” my former spouse. I want to own my story and my history in such a way that the discomfort is removed for me and those who want to hear about my past. My hope is that in doing so I can honor all of the chapters that have lead to the bright white page that lies before me.