The romance concierge
carefully arranged the large heart of rose petals on the linen covered table
for two. The night before the young couple spoke their solemn vows on the beach
and danced under the stars and moon of Mexico.
It was an elegant resort
with uniformed staff and marble columns at every turn. For a week I spent
afternoons poolside. I watched couples take turns putting suntan lotion on the
shoulders and backs of one another. At sunset, the view of the ocean filled
with couples sauntering in the sand, hand in hand.
I remember my honeymoon in Mexico.
I remember a husband who was my perfect travel companion. I remember and sigh.
This trip was not the same.
I was no longer a part of a couple. This was one of those countless occasions
people once experienced as a married person and then re-experience through a
new lens when unmarried.
One might think that the
luxury of catching a plane for the beach on a day while a late March snow falls
on my hometown would be enough to make my spirit soar with appreciation and anticipation.
But I know how quickly my thoughts can rob me of even the most wonderful
moments in life.
Too often in the past I was
in beautiful places with beautiful people and I managed to make myself
perfectly miserable. The time at the dance I sat grimly in the corner because I
didn’t have a partner. The time I brooded silently at the party rather than
risk a conversation with a stranger. Too many wasted moments for any lifetime.
Comparison is so alluring.
Pondering the past comes perpetually. Wishing for a different future seems
impossible to avoid.
This trip was an opportunity
to set aside my most closely held beliefs about how things “should” be. This
time was a test of my intentions. To be appreciative. To relax. To be a good
friend. Luckily for me, I wasn’t doing it alone. Three dear friends of thirty
years reminded me of the power of letting others in as you learn a different
way to experience something you had only known as a married person.
My friends were fun, funny,
and more. Their tiny kind acts delighted me. Their relentless generosity awed
me. Their ceaseless support made everything feel easy. Their casual
acknowledgments were golden.
Despite knowing these women
since our now grown children were babies, I learned things about them I never
knew. I had so much fun working out I lost body fat despite days of
indulgences. I laughed so hard I could barely breathe.
When going through divorce,
there is a never ending parade of experiences that look different than they did
when we were married. For some of those we will be grateful. For others we will
grieve. Either way, as you go through divorce, everything is easier with a
little help from your friends.
Are you willing to let a friend support you during
this time of your life?