The First Christmas After a Seperation
Separation from a long term relationship or marriage sucks at any time of the year but Christmas stings like a mother trucker!
The first Christmas after my separation was a month after I had left our family home and was the most painful experience of my life to date and it was 14 years ago!
I had to leave our family home as ‘it was my choice to leave’ (sounds so simple when written down doesn’t it?). We had decided on sharing our 3 kids aged 8 down to 1 half the week each and I naively thought that we would just carry on with our lives, new living arrangements but free of a loveless marriage, a marriage full of resentment and insecurity (mine not his) and freedom to live the life I wanted. (You can read more in my previous blog ‘Why did I Leave my Kids?’)
But then the first came Christmas followed pretty swiftly by a year of firsts.
When you are separated at this time of the year the pain can be all consuming. A celebration of family, happiness, contentment became a lonely, cold and guilt laden couple of days sent to punish me.
I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to deal with all the new painful feelings and surely I deserved these feelings because I ‘choose’ to do it. I asked for this.
So Christmas Eve I went out with friends planning to get so drunk that it would block out the sound of the all the enforced ‘happy’ everywhere I went.
Christmas day came and me and him had arranged to do a traditional family Christmas together with the kids, in what was our family home except that now, I was the guest. My kids welcomed me into their home. I had to dig deep and put a smile on my face for the sake of my kids, but inside I was dying of what could have been, what should have been, I felt so confused by how I felt, was it sadness or regret?
I sat amongst all my ‘stuff’ and watched my old life play out as it always had, except I was no longer part of it, an outsider looking in on my family, it looked beautiful, how could I have left?
This was the day that he told me he had met someone else.
So strange because you’d assume that as you were the one to call time, you wouldn’t feel a thing, that you shouldn’t feel a thing, but holy shiz, I felt all of things.
That I had failed
That I left too flippantly
That I’d ruined all our lives
That my children would grow to blame me
I found my way through that Christmas, mainly watching back to back Sex and The City and drinking red wine when alone and indulging in my kids when they were around.
The following year, it felt like bullet after bullet, New Year, Valentines, both of our sons birthdays, Easter, Summer Holidays, our wedding Anniversary, Halloween, Firework Night, our daughters birthday, my birthday, his birthday and there I was, back around to Christmas, feeling stronger, a little less alone and a survivor of the year of firsts.
If you are separated and facing your first Christmas alone, then I want to extend a hug to you, I want to tell you it’s OK to feel whatever you are feeling, that you are not alone, that there are women all around you who are or have experienced this process.
My advice is;
Whatever you’re feeling, allow it, accept it and then fuck it off! (oh and drink wine, lots of wine). This too really will pass even if you’re feeling that it couldn’t feel any other way, my darling you will.
If you feel you’d like a little more support here are a few contact numbers for you;
Samaritans 116 123
Domestic Violence Hotline: 0808 2000 247
Mind 0300 123 3393
You are not alone