I made it through the 4th with out biting anyone's head off, eating a tub of ice cream, screaming curse words, mentally tearing apart The Ex Hubby, or drinking myself to sleep (which I would not have really done anyways because Agent M was home and I don't have alcohol anywhere near me or the house when he is here).
It would have been our 8 year anniversary. Instead, it was the 1 year anniversary of when he filed the papers for our divorce, without my knowing. I was less than one month out of my shoulder surgery and in the process of moving down the street from one apartment complex to another, to an apartment that was twice the size for the same price. It was a whirlwind of a new year already, and I had no clue what else was coming my way.
I didn't know that in the coming weeks, Agent M and I would come home from running errands after school, and there would be a stack of papers sitting on our doorstep. I didn't know that it would hit me so hard that I gasped for air once I realized what the papers were, and I would continue to gasp like a fish as I told Agent M to unlock the door for us, and to go inside while I called Nana. He played upstairs in his room as I choked back unexpected sobs and begged my mum to come over. She only lived a mile away, not more than a 5 minute drive even if you get stuck each of the three stop lights between us, but I still swear if felt like she was there in 45 seconds. (Further proof that nothing will stop a mother when her daughter's barely healed heart is shattering all over again, and that nothing will stop a Nana when her grandson needs to be distracted from how sad the world can be at times.)
Even though it has been about 2 years since I left our home together, and more years than that that we did not considered ourselves a couple, this year hit a nerve. The Swede and I had been having a tough couple of days, and when I asked him, "Are we ok?", reading his typed reply of "Yes, we are ok.", just wasn't the same as getting a reassuring hug or kiss on the forehead. Valentine's candy and decor have been spring up at the store I work at, a reminder that I will be at school on V-Day evening, not having a night of movies and cuddling with The Swede (or even a night of Monopoly and cartoons with Agent M). Work had been busier than usual already that week, plus everyone was edgy after hearing about a former co-worker who took is own life at the start of the week, leaving behind a daughter and wife. I didn't know the man other than by name and a couple hello's, but it still had an impact on me. It made me think more than usual about where I am at, and where I want to be. I've been in that sad, lonely, dark place. Where you don't see things working out for the better. At that time, I was a stay-at-home mum, and had the house, the husband, the two cars, two cats, and happy kid. Now, I work as many hours as they'll give me to have the money to keep the car, have an apartment (not complaining, it's pretty nice) and my ex-husband would be perfectly happy to label me as The Bad Guy and never have anything to do with me again. But thankfully, the kid is still pretty happy. If I can lose so much and still keep my head up as I struggle each month, why couldn't he find his way out of that dark place? Those thoughts swirls in my head and jumbled with the what-ifs of "What If - I had stayed longer?" and "What If - I end up old and alone with no one to hold me on cold nights?" and on and on. I listened to love songs on the way home from work and wondered if anyone would ever fall in love with me again, and if I could ever let myself fall in love with someone again.
I was a pity party waiting to happen, really.
But, I made it though. When Agent M went to bed that night, I got a little teary for a moment...then went back to looking up costs of textbooks for this coming semester of class and watched an episode of NCIS before I fell asleep. It was a rough day, but I have had worse. A friend made me smile when I turned to him with pleas of "When I am old and alone, come take me to a movie once a month! Don't let me be a hermit old lady with a walker and no one to check in on me from time to time!". Agent M gave me big hugs that day, and I really do like our apartment, in some ways more than the house. And, lucky gal that I am, a couple days later I was sitting in a KFC with a friend who is another single mom who is juggling work and school to make a better life for her and her sons. She was treating me to lunch because she had gotten approved for a student loan and wanted to celebrate. As we joked about living it up on cheap chicken meals and talked about the men in our lives, I realized that those rough days make all the other days just that much more wonderful.