20 October 2017

Devastation, disbelief and despair!

They say going through a separation is one of the hardest things you can go through, and whoever said that was not wrong. No one can ever quite prepare you for the roller-coaster of emotions you experience during a time like this, and that in itself is utterly draining. Throw the care and well being of two children in to the mix, and I am exhausted.

Sometimes I feel like I want to throw in the proverbial towel and hibernate, shying away from all the formalities that go hand in hand with the breakdown of a marriage. Other times I want to wave a magic wand and put my life back to exactly how it ‘once’ was, however this is an ideal based on a false sense of reality, a reality that simply did not exist. My life will never be the same again, and acceptance is a vital step in the healing process.

Navigating life as a newly single mum is terrifying. The burden of responsibility that lies largely on my shoulders weighs heavy and sees me question myself as a Mother, an employee, a friend and a human being. Feelings of self-doubt swamp my mind and make me question the very foundations of who I am. My Dad once told me there would be many dark moments along the way, and unfortunately, he was not wrong.

Sometimes the feeling of being alone is unnerving and that realisation can rear its head even when surrounded by a room full of people. I feel it most when I go to bed, the void of someone’s warmth next to you as you drift to sleep. But is it more than I felt towards the end of my relationship? Sadly, I think not. I may be alone now, but that is marginally better than being in a lonely relationship.

Raising two small children, running a household and holding down two jobs doesn’t come without its challenges. I have cried more tears than I ever thought possible, and largely on a daily basis. I grieved for the relationship with my husband that once was. I grieved for the 2.4 family unit I so desperately craved for my children. I grieved for the life we could have had. I grieved. Change is hard to accept, in whatever form that may be, but what is true, is that we must go through the stages of loss in order to come out the other side.

It is however, the internal battles that have proven most difficult to combat. One of the saddest side effects to have come from my separation. All my insecurities, some of which unbeknown to me, have made strong efforts to step up to the table in full armoured force, tantalising my thoughts with self-loathe. Those little buggers can be hard to appease, but appease you must, as they are largely irrational thoughts born from an experience not a reality.

The one thing that has taken me by surprise, and is most definitely the silver lining to my cloud, is my inner strength. A strength I never knew I had. A strength that comes right from the core of you, patiently waiting to serve you in your hour of need. Not that I considered myself a weak person, but certainly someone who is vulnerable to their own emotions. So, what has given life to this strength? Well, I can categorically say that it is my role as a Mother, my maternal instinct to protect my children from anything and everything. They are the reason I get up every day, put my make-up on and face the world with a positive mindset. It is because of them I find reason to smile every day and open my eyes to the simple pleasures in life that can so easily be overlooked.

Throughout all the challenges that emotional turmoil can bring, one piece of advice that stands at the forefront of my mind is to take each day as it comes. Live in the moment and try not to think too far in to the future. This advice is worth more than gold dust. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my thoughts I breathe and bring myself back to the moment, grounding myself amongst the chaos. Now I’m not saying I manage to do this all the time, but largely this has been my survival mantra. Some days are better than others, and some are not so good and that’s ok. It’s ok to feel all the emotions as long as you keep them in check and do not give way to the negative ones, fuelling your thought process further.

This chapter of my life has undoubtedly changed me forever. For the good I hope. I have learnt a lot about people and a lot about myself. I have learnt that friends will come and go, but the true ones will be there to keep on giving even when you have little to give back. Lean on these people, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The true ones will be there for you whenever and wherever you need them to be, but you need to let them in. It has made me reflect on myself and the sort of friend I have been, and more importantly, the sort of friend I want to be going forward, and that can only be a positive.

I have learnt that you need to be kind to yourself, after all you can’t pour from an empty cup. Do everything and anything you can to nurture your mental and physical wellbeing. For me, exercise and healthy living have played a huge part. I have learnt that making time for myself as a person is important, despite having this new found downtime inflicted upon me. Rather than wallow in the absence of my children, I am trying to utilise this time to recharge and focus on things that make me happy, things I wouldn’t normally do with them. I am building up a list of things I’d like to do, places I would like to go and reconnecting with relationships.

But most importantly, I have learnt that there is a life after love. A life full of beauty if only you can open your eyes to it. I am learning to feel the fear and ride the crest of the wave, for there may just be something beautiful over the horizon. Sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.

“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” – Ernest Hemmingway.

Written by Lucy Smithson @lovelucylu 



  1. Wow! So eloquent. Lucy you are an inspiration. So strong & incredibly brave. The world needs more people like you. Florence & Henry are very lucky xxx

  2. It does get better, I promise! I am a long way out the other side and actually remarried - something when you are in the pit of doom you can never ever imagine EVER again. Living one day at a time is a good idea, learning a new skill also good, but what saved me was finding other people going through this because it makes you feel less alone. Good luck! xx

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