Saying Goodbye after Divorce

The burial site for my divorce funeral

Journal Entry – June 2013 – My three decades’ long marriage officially ended today. I am struck by the harsh reality that though a painful death has taken place, there is no funeral service where I can attend.

Where can I mourn and say, goodbye?

Journal Entry/July 2014 – Today, I will honour the Sacrament of Marriage in a way which befits the solemn commitment I made more than 30 years ago.  I need to do this for closure and complete healing.

Divorce is a Death.
It too needs a place
to say, Goodbye.

The day has begun with the threat of rain.  I have arrived at the hillside where we first met more than 30 years ago.  Like a widow in mourning, I conceal my face under the large black umbrella. My heart trembles.

The grey sky growls above me.

“Father, I need your strength to complete this.”

He whispers, “You can do this, Louise.  I am right here.”

Filled with fresh courage, I climb the steep path.

The “divorce casket” in my napsack presses hard against my back.

I stop to catch my breath.  My gaze falls upon a familiar scene. That was where he first clasped my hand.

“Thank you, Father, for holding onto my hand and never letting go.” 

I prayerfully select a spot in a wooded area.

Nearby, stands a strong sturdy rock.

Setting aside the trowel, I decide to dig with my fingers.

The rich damp earth clings beneath my nails.

Yes, I need to do this.
I need to fully experience this moment.

I hear the roots tear at each tug.

I am soothed by the scent of the forest floor.

My once trembling hands are now calm.

I stop and reflect on the healthy root structure deep in the soil.

“Thank you, Father, for revealing the heart of the matter.”

In honour of this revelation, I decide to dig a shallow resting place.

And reverentially bury the “casket” which contains copies of both our Marriage Certificate and Divorce Decree and other personal items I can no longer keep.

I gently scoop up handfuls of loose soil and slowly cover the box.  Leaves, twigs and a small rock are layered on top of the newly packed earth.

A moment of silence.

A prayer of gratitude for life lessons learned.

And a final goodbye.

Closure.

I rise to my feet.  Grasping my napsack, I marvel at how light it now sits on my shoulders.

“Thank you for lifting this burden from me.”

I stand at the crest of the hill and gaze at the pastoral scene below.

Gentle pastures beckon to me.

I will dream again.

And, I will hope again.

A moment’s hesitation and a question . . .

Do I walk back the same way I came? The answer comes quickly. With a lightness in my step, I grasp my Father’s Hand and choose a new path home.


Louise works as a professional counsellor in her native Canada. Through her private practice, in online forums, and through public speaking and writing, her work is about helping others find hope and healing in their lives. When her first three-decades’-long marriage ended in divorce because of ongoing sexual betrayal, Louise knew in her heart that she was to use this painful experience for the good of others. Many of her clients are women who have experienced the trauma of sexual betrayal. They know Louise “gets” their pain; this helps them not feel so alone in their journey of healing. Louise is finally happily married to a man who loves and respects her for being herself.