At 11.25pm on Saturday 14 May 2016, it hit me. This was my life now.
For the first time in months I allowed the emotion to flow, I fell to the floor, crying. I fought and held on for so long and now it was over there was a sudden rush of relief coupled with fear. How was I going to get through this with 3 little ones and an unborn baby relying on me so heavily.
Just 12 hours earlier a team of family and friends rallied around me as we packed up the contents of a once happy family home. I was leaving. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was something that had to be done.
I was leaving our first home which we purchased 7 years earlier full of hope that we would renovate it to a dream home. We tried but life got in the way. I desperately tried for years and years to hold together a broken marriage for the sake of not only the children but also for me. I don’t like failure, I stood up in front of our family and friends and promised to love this man until death do us part and I took that seriously. I turned a blind eye to certain behaviour because the marriage and our family were far more important to me than self respect.
On that day, the dream that had turned into a nightmare was over. I felt like a failure, I’d failed at giving my children a proper family, I failed at marriage, I failed at holding it all together.
As I walked out of the house for the last time, I will never forget looking into the lounge room and seeing him, my now ex husband looking like half the man he used to be, shoulders slumped, the man that broke our marriage and family, the man who told me a month earlier via a counselor that he wanted a divorce, the man who tore our childrens lives apart. And even though I still loved him at that point, I despised his actions. For the first time in a long time, I said nothing. I didn’t beg him to reconsider, I didn’t try to explain my hurt, nothing. I just left.
So now I stood in my own home, a home I was determined to fill with happiness and laughter, there was furniture and boxes everywhere, I was laying on the tiled floor, my 3 boys sleeping in their bedrooms and 20 weeks pregnant with our 4th baby, shattered, wondering how life was going to go on, how was I going to do this. How was I going to take care of 3 boys, my unborn baby and myself. How could I do this when I couldn’t even pick myself up off the floor.
I was broken, in a foggy haze, but somehow I got up. I remember a scene in a movie, About A Boy (Hugh Grant) where the mother had depression. She was in the kitchen crying and her son is watching and he says something about her having one of her “turns” it seems so normal to him and he covers for and helps his Mum. When I first saw the movie I didn’t have kids but I remember thinking that if I was ever a Mum, I’d never let my kids see me like that. It dawned on me, towards the end of the marriage the boys had seen me like that.
Now was time to turn it all around, to show the boys that even though these bad things had happened to us, we were going to get through it and we would be happy. Now it was time to pick myself up off the floor and show them how strong their Mum is. So I did, I picked myself up, I cleaned a space so the boys could enjoy breakfast the next day and then went to bed, numb, not feeling very strong and crying the whole night.
The next morning, there were pancakes for breakfast, our family tradition was to always have pancakes on happy occasions – birthdays, 1st day of school, last day of school and today, the 1st day of the rest of our lives. I remember the pancakes were burnt but the boys didn’t notice, there was laughter and silliness as they covered pancakes in whipped cream and maple syrup. There was happiness, they were enjoying being kids again, making noise and mess. I did it, I’m not really sure how, but I did. At that moment I looked around, took a deep breath and smiled, here I was, about to start my new journey, my life was mine, to do what I wanted.
Maybe I could do this!