From Trauma to Transformation

ID-100194153.VladoAfter a loss there is a period of grief and then, as described by experts, “acceptance” of the loss and moving on. In regards to the ending of a long marriage, I do not think that it is that simple as I believe the supposed ‘grief’ period is just the first stage of several difficult stages on a journey to a completely different life. These are the stages I went through:


Caught up in the sudden and distressing way that it happened, for a long time I was caught in a single moment in time of “when my husband left me”. My whole life was defined by that moment in time. In my life before that moment I had security and trust, and I felt happy. In my life ahead I saw chaos and trauma, and I felt fear. It was too painful to think about my losses, about my life that I had lost, so I didn’t. I could not face my scary future, about my life alone, so I didn’t. My life became the suffering of that single moment in time. So horrific were the effects on me that day, that I had flashbacks to that moment, little triggers that took me back there. In those flashbacks, once again I would hear the horrific words, and I would feel the distress and the pain of abandonment, betrayal and lost love. I was the victim of that moment in time – the moment when my husband left me.

I moved on


I became the survivor of “the ending of my marriage”.
I coped. I tolerated the grief process and I mourned the loss of my marriage. I accepted that it had happened. I survived every hour of every day. I watched the sunrise. I went for daily walks. I paid gratitude for everything good in my life. I learned to live alone.
I was no longer caught in that moment in time.
I became the survivor of that event – the event of the ending of my marriage.

I moved on.


I discovered the truth. I discovered me. I realized this was “my new beginnings”.
I learned how to be grateful for me, myself, and I.
I looked back and saw that that day had been the beginning of a journey, a journey of discovery to the new me. I began to realize that the ending of my marriage gave me the opportunity to reform myself and to do the things in life that I had always wanted to do.
I began to make choices – my choices – of how I wanted to live.
I began to live by my truth, and I realized that my truth had begun the day my husband left me, when my marriage ended.

I moved on.


My life began to be what I made it on this day in the present, at this moment in time.
I found joy in the moments of today, with no sadness of the past, with no fear for the future.
I began to look forward to the times ahead. I began to dream again. I gave myself permission to envision my future as productive, meaningful and filled with joy.
I began to look back with happiness and pride in my achievements in my long marriage.
I stopped being trapped within that moment in time when my husband left me.
I stopped defining myself by the end of my marriage, or by my marital status.
I stopped thinking that I began anew that day as I began to realize that I had been me all of my life, and I had been discovering me all of my life. I resolved to continue to transform myself into who I want to become, this day, every day.

I look forward with eagerness to transforming myself into an admirable person and making my life a wonderful life.





Springtime after divorce


When I started this blog I named it Almost Spring. I felt by my marriage ending, I was falling into the despair of winter. I pushed myself to focus towards spring, towards hope and a rebirth of me. After a while, I reached a state of forgiveness and was ready to let go of myself as half a couple. I fully embraced my individuality and felt that spring had arrived. Little did I know I had simply reached the end of autumn, my grieving over the decay and death of my marriage.

I have had for a long time an image in my head of the circle of life. The spring of youth, the summer of middle age and raising children, the harvesting period of autumn when one enjoys the fruits of summer, and the winter of old age.

In reality, life is not one circle from birth to death. There are transitions of letting go of old ways (autumn), reflecting on them (winter), before regrouping (spring) and celebrating (summer). For example, when our eldest son left home, I initially mourned having the six of us together before readjusting and embracing his life as an adult. I thought of my life as a tree. His leaves were lost in autumn; but in spring his own branch emerged. As a family, we had grown. And so to, with all the other milestones of my life, I went through the gentle rhythmical pattern of autumn, winter, spring and the joyous celebration of summer.

However, this particular autumn (divorce), not only had I felt I had been denied my expected bountiful harvest; not only had all my leaves withered, dropped off and decayed; but someone had cut down my whole tree.

It was with that realisation winter set in.

Winter became for me a period of deep reflection. I cocooned myself and examined my inner most thoughts, values, beliefs, attitudes, needs and responsibilities.  The storm of winter raged around me while I remained protected by my shell of hibernation. This ended abruptly with an epiphany, and a strong desire to move away from my old life completely. Now out of my protective shell, I began burning the remnants of my old life, and felt the intense pain of the loss of my old self in the burning process. It was not a transition I was now experiencing, it was a complete transformation.

Today I see green shoots emerging all around me. Spring has finally arrived and I realise:

1. Although my tree was cut down, I still have my roots (close family, friends, my inner soul) and those roots have received nourishment by the reaffirming of my values and beliefs.

2. My tree trunk is in intact, sustained by strengths of my education, talents and experience. Those have survived the cutting down (by my husband) and the burning (by myself) of my marriage and previous life. .

3. New greenery is emerging in the branches of my life (health, career, relationships, community).

4. The fire was a necessity because I am Australian. Many Australian trees are not only resistant to fire, they require fire to survive into the next generation. Some of those trees become giants-

” Giant eucalypts ….. [have] a particular dependence on fire for regeneration.”
“While fire may kill the trees, their seeds are protected in aerial capsules, which are then released on to the scorched earth. The fire not only clears away potential seed predators and any forest canopy which may block sunlight; it also releases nutrients in the soil which encourages seed growth.”

6. It was my marriage tree or branch that decayed and died, not my tree of life. Whilst I may have missed the expected harvesting of the fruit from my silver years, I managed to rescue some of its seeds. My dilemma for a while became whether to savour them (by nurturing me) or plant them. I now do not see a simple re-growing or nurturing of my old tree or even a growing of a new tree. What I now see is the emergence of a whole forest.


Image  courtesy[digitalart]

1.D.Y.P.Tng, G.J.Williamson, G.J.Jordan, D.M.J.S.Bowman. Giant eucalypts – globally unique fire-adapted rain-forest trees? New Phytologist, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04359.x

2.Science News Nov1, 2012. with reference attributed to #1

To Lose and Discover Self After divorce


In my last post I described that after the ending of my marriage, went through a grief process of mourning the loss of ‘us’; and then after a while I went through a second traumatic grief period upon my realisation that by my marriage ending, I had also lost myself.

This second grief was not all that simple. I discovered that there are three parts of me. One was lost forever. One was found. One was still within me waiting to be transformed.

The me who was lost and gone forever was the me who I had been for nearly forty years – a life-partner and wife. In that regard, it had been a double whammy in that my marriage had ended at a time my younger two children were spreading their wings. So, as well as losing myself as a wife, my role of mother was in flux and although not lost it would certainly be different than what it had been.

The me who was found had been hidden underneath my drive of caring for my husband and children throughout my marriage. After my marriage ended, I found again my quiet methodical self. There was much joy in discovering I could now go about my daily life in the manner of my choosing. I also celebrated reclaiming some of my hidden talents that came with introversion. I now tended to and nurtured my own passions enthusiastically in a quiet and calm manner which is how I am and continue to strive to be.

At the same, however, I had definitely lost my purpose in life as a wife and mother and with it a huge part of myself. Even in rediscovering the hidden part of me I continued to mourn my loss of identity, and my loss of sense of purpose.

Then I realised there was a third part of me, that part of me that had been there as a child and young adult, that part which had been sacrificed in marriage and motherhood.

It was my dreams.

Life is full of compromises, the ‘this is not exactly what I would have chosen for me, but I love my husband and I can make this work for him and us and I believe we can be happy’. OR, ‘if we had no children or if I was single, we could do things differently, but as a family this is the best world for us and the best way to bring our children up to provide for them a happy, secure and stable childhood’.


So I shut the door on what could have been and looked only to what was and I strove always to do the very best in my life in my role as wife and mother.

With that wife door shut firmly and suddenly in my face then locked behind me, unable to be opened ever again, I began to now look longingly as those other doors and wonder why I had ever let them close. The giving up of the manner of lifestyle I would have preferred, the place where I would really have liked to live, my own career, the people I would have liked to have spent more time with and associate with, the person I had previously aspired to be.

I mourned those lost dreams, those lost choices, those lost parts of me.

Then one day I woke up and realised, they are not lost at all. They have simply been sleeping.

It is up to me now to find the key to unlock them.


Image # 1 people courtesy [jscreationzs]
Image # 2 doors courtesy [nattavut]


      The fire within me



Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled,
made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing?
dipped into oblivion?

 If not, you will never really change.

The phoenix renews her youth
only when she is burnt, burnt alive, burnt down
to hot and flocculent ash.
Then the small stirring of a new small bub in the nest
with strands of down like floating ash
shows that she is renewing her youth like the eagle,
immortal bird.

D H Lawence

Image courtesy [Photographic]