…I sat on a barstool—natural Montana mountain sunshine lighting the otherwise darkened restaurant midday. I was surrounded by my newest sisterhood—women I’d met at a writing retreat. They were the first people to meet me as a divorced woman—two weeks into this new life when I flew west for the retreat.
We were in that place in between. We’d left the hallowed ground of the retreat center where the magic of words had cast its spell and the real world where work and bills and families would snap us back to reality.
I didn’t know yet the word for what where I was: liminal space. The time between something ending and when something new begins.
In these last moments together sitting with women I hadn’t sat near during our class time, nuggets of wisdom bubbled to the surface. They too had experienced divorce. One said, “Don’t make any changes to your home for a while. You’ll feel the urge to, but resist it. Sit in the newly emptied space for a while. What you are drawn to now may easily change.
I heard this advice as the divorced version of “Don’t make any major decisions for a year” that grieving spouses receive. In broader terms, this woman was really telling me to sit in the discomfort of all that had been and the unknown of what was to come. My head heard practical advice. My heart would soon feel the weight of all that would mean.
The other woman who was older and had raised her daughters as a single woman dropped sparkly words of hope: she had remarried after her children were grown. It would seem impossible to me now, she suggested, but such a life could be mine again one day. Don’t be discouraged and don’t lose hope. I’ve had an uneasy relationship with hope—I’ve often felt like it was too close to wishful thinking. I tucked all of those words in the carry on back to Missouri, and they have guided me for the past few years.
As you read essays and see the photos I share from my garden, kitchen, and life in general, I hope to emulate that barstool conversation and impart my own wisdom for you, dear readers. I want to pass along insights I’ve picked up along the way as I’ve moved from grief-stricken and newly single to whole, healthy, and happy.
Six years later and increment-by-aching-increment, I have changed the look of my home by moving out objects that no longer reflect who I am or how I live. I’ve found joy in rearranging the furniture I have and adding pieces here and there that better reflect the life I have now and who I am becoming as a mother and a writer.
The inner work required to grow and heal is hard. Period. But it’s among the most important things I have done for myself and my family…