- Nostalgia for the life we thought we had.
- Horror and disbelief that our former partner is a child molester.
- Our children's pain.
- Disbelief at the duplicity of our former spouse.
The challenge of the first year is survival; the second year demands that we find a way to go on. I think I cried buckets of tears during the first year and know that neighbors must have wondered about the wails frequently coming from my apartment. Surviving the grief, trauma, fear, shame and humiliation that the raid and arrest triggered has been and continues to be priority one. The practical ramifications of the arrest of the primary breadwinner of the family created immediate needs that threatened my survival and demanded attention during the first year. But the second year demands that I find a way to go on--that I do more than survive, that I find a way to thrive. I never anticipated this ending to our "love story." I thought that I would eventually be alone because of the probability that I would outlive him but I did not imagine this kind of ending. So I have to reimagine life as a single woman and find a way to create a different future for myself.
The first year is like a devastating earthquake; the second year resembles a massive sinkhole.
So the uncertainty of life in year two is real; the grief is different, the losses seem more profound. The work of recovery seems to be more about assessment of the damage and figuring out how to rebuild a shattered life on more solid ground. It involves reframing and reimagining life and self. A favorite artist/poet says it best:
"the power lie in the seeing.
until she could see herself
with her own eyes,
she could not regain her power."
terri st. cloud