Bottled up guilt flows

Down flushed cheeks, relieving heart

Of worry, regret.


Emotionally for me, it’s been a bit of a rough week.  I was trying to set intentions now for the month to come and rather than being positive, I’ve been overwhelmed with negative feelings.

The little monkey had been with her Dad this past weekend so I hadn’t seen her since the previous Wednesday. I always get antsy by Monday, missing her.  I’d arranged with my Mom for the two of them to meet me for lunch so I could see her sooner than later, but that got cut short due to a last-minute work meeting.  These things happen, and I still got to see her before I got home, so I was happy regardless.  As she has been doing lately, as soon as she sees me after a few days away, she was very clingy and didn’t want to let me go.  We had our lunch, and a few snuggles and she said to me,”Mommy, I wish you didn’t have to go back to work. I love you so much. You’re so cuddly and soft.” Sigh…Open heart, insert knife, twist.

I told her I felt the same, and wished I could go home with her, but that I had to go back to work. I also reminded her that I would be spending the entirety of the next day with her as I had taken it off for that purpose. She was excited about that and so was I. Moreover, she understood why I need to work.  My many mornings of drilling into her the reasons why we need to get our tushies in gear quickly had apparently paid off. We spent Tuesday together, running errands, playing in the park, doing crafts, all without rushing around. We talked about possibly getting a cat. I told her maybe in the not too distant future. I wasn’t lying, despite my allergy. It was wonderful.

What was NOT wonderful was returning to work on Wednesday. I was going to be at a conference Thursday and Friday and knew I had to accomplish 3 days worth of work in 1.  Doable but not advisable.  On top of that, I had a hole in my chest since I dropped Maya off with her Dad in the morning.  A hole that doesn’t often come around thankfully, but did that day.

I’m usually happy to see her go spend time with her Dad; they have a great relationship, and it allows me some time for myself.

On Wednesday though, I wasn’t happy to do it.  Instead, a hole resided where my heart was supposed to.

On Wednesday, I could only look back with regret. It was supposed to be me home with her.  I wasn’t supposed to be back at work until she started kindergarten. That was the plan…but the plan went to pot, and a lot of that was my fault.

On Wednesday, I worried that she needs more time with me, and that I won’t be able to provide that because she also needs time with her Dad.

On Wednesday, I worried that she’s lonely. That I likely won’t be giving her a sibling that she can play with every day. That a cat might have to do.

And I felt guilty for all of it.

I worked a 12-hour day, and by the time I got home, I desperately needed a release. Not soon after I walked in the door, the tears came. Slowly at first. Those first few could be attributed to the long day, but the ones that came later…those were of grief.

We often go out onto the back patio to watch the sunset, and even though I was a little late, we still stepped outside after dinner.  As we stood there watching the peach sky fade into the indigo, the tears came again, this time in a torrent. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way all of a sudden, I said to Richard. He said a few words to soothe me, but then was silent, his arms around my shoulders, allowing the sobbing to ebb on its own.

What they don’t tell you about divorce is that once it’s over and done with and you think you’re healed, something inevitably happens to remind you that it has scarred you for life.

What they also don’t tell you about divorce is that once it’s over and done with, it is entirely possible to find someone to stand behind you while those scars slowly heal, to hold you silently in the dark while the tears flow down, to be present with you for catharsis. And that presence, that touch… I am eternally grateful for.


By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


      1. This past year has done a lot to wash away the guilt – The little monkey is in Kindergarten now and soon there will be a littler monkey for you all (and me!) to love!

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