It was nearly noon and the sky still gray. I’d barely a hint of hunger despite my breakfast being one small pot of tea and two small cups of coffee. The stories of four women stuck in my gut.
-One a young mother of two whose husband lay hospitalized with diagnoses of Covid and chronic alcoholism.
-One on her fourth day of waiting for a judge to decide whether her life warranted a protection order her from her spouse who blackened her eye and broke more than bones.
-One whose soon to be ex flaunted a presumably new love interest the very week he’d demanded even more money if she wanted to move on with her life.
-One just a month away from her trial date, disabled and on social security, and panicked about the spreadsheet her spouse put forth as purported truth of their financial picture.
I was lawyer to none of them, but in a matter of hours either they or someone who cared about them reached out to me over text, phone, email, or a cup of java. Each faced some of their darkest hours in the final days of winter. Though I’ve not actively practiced divorce law for a good while, on this day I was in the world of dissolving marriages, mounting desperation, and disappearing dreams.
I managed (mostly) to resist telling them my stories. How I’d known some part of each of their worlds—living with an alcoholic, judicial injustice, betrayal by a beloved, the world of the overwhelming unknown. I wondered if my words of compassion were petty in the face of their pain.
As I sat in my privileged place of peace with my past being my past, I did remind them of their strength, their intelligence, their courage. My bitterest cold days being farther behind me than theirs, I longed to reassure them that one day their new life was certain to appear out of all that in the moment is dead, dirty, and rotten.
It’s a week later now. The spring equinox has passed on the calendar. Rains have gently soaked the earth for days and today the sun has come out. The first crocus is at the brink of opening, and I am reminded of the words of Dag Hammarskjold:
For all that has been, thank you. For all that is to come, yes!
My heart hopes that each of the four trust that the arrival of spring will come for them, too, in time.