Parents splitting later in life.

I’m in the midst of cleaning the house, one of those ‘I’ll just tidy the kitchen moments’which leads to a full spring (Summer) house clean! For some unknown reason I have the sudden urge to type my thoughts, hoovering the living room and glancing at the date on the calendar I realise it’s nearly a year. I searched the internet just short of a year ago ‘Parents splitting later in life’ I didn’t find much except a couple of posts in different forums, I read and read all I could. Was it harder that my parents were divorcing and I was grown up? 31 at the time I still don’t really feel ‘grown up’, even when married and with three children of my own, being 18 only feels like yesterday. I wonder if the impact of their divorce would have been easier if my brothers and I were younger? Young enough to be hurried away if it were mentioned or protected from the hurt and anger between them both.
I’m not writing this to blame anyone, let’s be clear – I don’t believe there is fault to lay on anyone’s door, but my goodness it’s been one heck of a year. I’m pleased to say that despite everything, things are good, there are silver linings and plenty of them =)
When Mum first told us she was leaving I couldn’t believe it. Mum was the figurehead of our family, firm, fair and understanding, which of course I still think she is. We were a very close family and always have been, we holidayed together, spent Saturday evenings at Mum & Dad’s, my brothers and their families too. I like nothing more than being around my family. We had set traditions, a Center Parcs holiday every January, BBQ’s in the Summer, holly picking on Christmas Eve – Mum and I often joked how we saw each other every day, I was always round at Mum and Dad’s! We spoke at least once a day on the phone, though usually once every hour! – When she said the next sentence I felt my heart sink, Mum wasn’t just leaving Dad, she was leaving the country.
Mum lives in France now, she lives with someone else and she’s happy. I am happy she’s happy. Finally. I say finally because it took me the best part of a year to be happy for her. At first I grieved the changes that it meant, that we’d not go holly picking, we’d not have Christmas Dinner together or go to Bonfires, she’d not be there for the kids sports day or birthdays and she’d not be part of my life like she had. I felt unloved, a massive amount of rejection and abandonment, days of feeling low turned into weeks and months, eventually I went to the doctors for help and was prescribed anti depressants. I couldn’t just ‘pick myself up’, don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful family, a lovely home and amazing friends – It’s hard to explain, but the feeling was always there, like a shadow that never disappeared, after a few weeks I felt better, calmer and less emotional which wasn’t always such a good thing because I was generally numb to feelings of excitement and super happy things too, I was just pretty much medium the whole time. After 6 months things were the same and I came off them – I still had moments of anger and feelings of hurt. Dad didn’t do so well at the beginning, expected, we’ve spoke since how he’d call at mine to talk about emotional stuff, I’m a girl, and, well, we’re good at hugs and shoulders to cry on – I admit I found it difficult to see Dad hurting, knowing that Mum was the cause – Dad and I started running, something he’d been into years ago and since he’d lost a fair bit of weight from not eating much it was a welcome distraction. I thought the same too. Running was my time (and still is) time to clear my mind, when I run I feel free and happy. We’d run for miles, Dad usually dropping home a little before I did but still doing a good 7/8 miles on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I remember a run we’d been on in Silsden, uphill which we later found out was called ‘Murder Mile’ – we understand why! – I shouted to Dad as I ran ‘There better hadn’t be another bloody hill around this corner!!!’ for this run was Dad’s choice, and there was! When we finally started to run downhill I flung my arms in the air and my goodness it felt awesome – I have a quote printed by Katie Daisy ‘Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air’ that’s what we did and that wild air filled my lungs and the world was a very happy place. I’ll remember that moment forever! As a kid I’d get up early with Dad before he went to work and we’d have a coffee, I’d go along with him to watch him and his work mates play cricket (and for pie and peas afterwards) I’d take the dog for walks with him, go fishing to the reservoir on the moors and we’d watch football and cricket on the TV. We only spoke last night how one year we watched the Ashes and got ‘reet’ into it! I’m thankful that Dad and I are close again. He texts me every morning with smiley faces and emojis to represent the weather which always makes me smile. He’s been travelling to Germany & France on his motorbike, has an iPhone, knows how to email and is even on FACEBOOK! – Anyone who knows my Dad, knows that he wouldn’t EVER have done anything like that before. I am proud of him.
A light switch moment happened with Mum. One moment I was upset because she wasn’t with Dad, the next I told myself to get a grip. I mean for goodness sake, yes she’s not with Dad but people change, people grow apart and as much as I wanted Mum and Dad together forever that wasn’t going to happen, divorce happens to lots of families but she’s still my Mum. I thought about how I’d not really asked her (when we did speak) about her new life, I didn’t know about the village she lived in what she did with her time I feel quite ashamed to say that I didn’t want to know anything, all I wanted to know was that she was OK. I thought about the future, Dad is fine… he calls for his tea at mine a few times a week, we try and make something a little extravagant usually on a Sunday, always with a pudding and a DVD. But Mum? How could I let time pass for however long and not know about her life? Who her friends are and what she’s been doing. I knew at that moment that I needed to change my way of thinking. I have, it’s a permanent change because it has to be and because I want it to be… Things are the way they are and I’ve accepted that, things are different, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be worse. I miss my Mum huge amounts, and I love her even more. I’m proud that she had the guts to change her life and I’m so glad that she’s happy, I know she’d see us more if she were able and I know she didn’t reject us. We are only here once. She deserves to have the best and I can only see things getting better for us all.

I didn’t ever realise how much I’d be effected by what happened, I don’t know if I’m generally just an overly sensitive person but I do know that things are good, different and good.


Courtney – Prom Night

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