The grieving process

Thursday morning I was a bit of a mess, a long sleepless night which followed a particularly difficult Wednesday evening with my ex-wife. Wednesday evening is the the night I get to spend a bit of time with my children so this tough time was unfortunate as it ruined the evening a bit.

I got upset, very upset, and was trying to work out different arrangements for me to see the children which would keep me happy and them happy. My son and I are close, but I sometimes don’t feel that same way about my daughter and I. I’ve known T for 3 years I guess and while he cuddles me sometimes there’s nowhere for K to go, so she goes over to mummy. When K needs a ‘duddle’ she goes to mummy, rarely to me.

I get out books and invite them both to sit on my lap on the floor. T leaps on one knee while K refuses to do so. But when T’s in bed she’ll hop on and ask me to read. Often choosing the book herself. What The Lady Bird Heard and a terrifying story involving Fireman Sam and a birthday cake which almost sets a house on fire are her current favourites.

So I was thinking. Things have got to change. I used to be with the children 24/7 but now I’m with them one day at a weekend and for one hour on a Wednesday night. Something’s gotta change. It has to. But how. How how how? I was thinking, thinking, desperately thinking and then my head exploded.

Not literally, my head didn’t actually explode, but everything, all this unexpected emotion suddenly came on top of me, flooding me and taking over. I cried, I wailed and howled. It was not pretty. I was tired as I’dΒ  not been asleep all night, but this wasn’t tiredness or exhaustion.

It was grief.

If you’ve ever suffereΒ  grief, by losing someone close to you, I don’t know if I can say ‘it was like that’ because everyone’s experiences and stories are different. So I can’t compare. But I know that was what I was going through.


Grieving a lost life, a lost job as a SAHD, a lost marriage and a lost relationship. At times my ex-wife and I just can’t talk to each other. How did it all come to this?

I was grieving as I’d realised that all that was before was dead and gone. And I hadn’t buried it. I hadn’t heard the eulogy, and we didn’t have sandwiches at the wake afterwards. There were no flowers and no-one was going down the pub afterwards for a drink and a talk about the good times and the good memories.

I let it hit me. I let it wash over me. I let the flood sweep me away for about twenty minutes and then it was done. I sat there and realised that that, feeling like this, was allowed, it was valid, and that this is a process I have to go through and maybe should’ve gone through already. Not feeling like this before now has stopped me a bit from moving on. I was clinging to something that was gone. Forever.

So, I pulled myself up, blew my nose, wiped my eyes and got the mop out to clear the puddles of tears from the kitchen floor. I told myself life is going to be different. I told myself and reassured myself that I can adapt to this. I can accept these changes and move forward. I can do things better, be a better parent and a better man. Now the flood has gone. Now I’ve grieved.

So, RIP my old life. It was a good one and I have lots of great memories. But I can’t think about this for too long right now as I’m in the delivery suite and my new life has just been born. And it looks great.

We all cope in different ways I guess and I’ve just realised I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. So what, life’s not perfect right now, is it ever? But one thing I know is that I’m going to try my best to enjoy it.

So, if I ever tweet anything negative or which smacks of abject misery then you have my permission to punch me VERY HARD in the face. I may blog about things occasionally, but only when I need to. And because it helps.

So, onwards and upwards eh? Here’s to Life v2.0.

Thanks for reading.


44 responses to “The grieving process

  1. I felt like that when my decree absolute came through. The divorce was my choice, my instigation etc, and I know it hurt my then husband a lot, for the very reasons you outline above. Even though it was my choice (albeit not formed by my actions) I still grieved my marriage, the family unit, the “what might have beens” that would never be. I guess the difference was they had been gone a long time already for me. I already had been a single parent for a long time before we separated. But things do settle down. I have been guilty of not being able to talk to ex-h, or screaming “P*ss off out of my house”, but for the most part now we rub along as parents to our children. Hope this gives you hope, and welcome to your new life πŸ™‚

    • Many thanks for sharing and for reading. The “what might have beens” are also the things I think on, and sometimes the “what could bes” scare the crap out of me but we’ll do what’s best. And if there are tough times and tough conversations then we’ll just have to accept them and deal with them and not try to beat each other up or score points against each other.

  2. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to go from being a SAHD to this. It’s going to be tough, there’s no pretending otherwise. My parents had the most acrimonious divorce in history (when I was 5) that fucked me up well into adulthood, and they both behaved liked dicks, but that said I know how hurt and gutted my dad was that my mum and stepdad made it impossible for me and my sister to have a proper relationship with him. Wasn’t great for me either tbh. I really hope you and your ex-wife manage to sort something out that, while it’s never going to be perfect, is a decent compromise for all and allows your relationship with your daughter to develop and flourish. I’ve always wanted a ‘proper’ dad but over the years I’ve just had to accept that’s not going to happen for me. Big virtual hugs atcha.

    • Thanks for reading and for sharing your experience. My ex-wife and I know what needs to be done and how we should be but sometimes that in itself is tough. But neither of us are insensitive to the others feelings and while our family isn’t that way I wanted it to be, hoped it would be, or expected it to be, it is something and the children are the most important things in all this. πŸ™‚

  3. How about a hug just now? Could you come to an arrangement where you look after the kids in the day time? That way you’re still v much a part of their lives and whilst it’ll never be 24/7 it’s still a lot. Hope it gets easier, it sounds v difficult time for you both. xx

  4. I did a blub. *You* made me do a blub! Keep writing, and keep it honest and raw. Because out in the Twittersphere are people who know a little of what you talk of. It helps them. You help them. And one day, out of the blue they will be there to make you laugh/get you pissed/clean the kitchen* (*delete as appropriate). Onwards and upwards v2 xxx

  5. Bogus. I don’t have anything by way of actual insight, advice or help but I’m sorry you’re feeling low and feel sure that you’ll work it out *firm handshake*

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve recently split up with my husband and Divorce proceeding are about to start. It makes me feel very sad and hurt that my boys have gone from seeing their dad every day, he was a very much hands on dad, to one that now only sees them One weekend a fortnight. There was an arrangement for him to have them on a Wednesday for a couple of hours, but that was something he stopped doing. but reading your blog gave me a little insight to maybe how is feeling. onwards and upwards. Life v2.0 seems like a great start πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for reading and for commenting. I’ve found that time with my children now is, obviously enjoyable, but tough. It’s different. It’s in my old house which is no longer my home so I can’t do as I used to, and the goodbyes are always tough. Plus my ex seems to think they ‘play up’ at mealtimes when I’m there so I tend to go away until they’re done. Sadly.
      I hope things work out for you. I know they will for me and I just hope that you can see that they will for you all as well.

  7. You know I just read a book that talked about what a stupid idea Creative Problem solving is. If you’re solving a problem you’re not really ever being creative. You’re looking back and trying to fix something broken. The true changes happen when we look forward. When we apply that creativity to where we imagine ourselves being and we take steps on how to get there. It sounds like you have just had that moment and seen that. So now what you need to do is think of some goals. Write them down. Any time you see something as an “away from” goal (I will not etc..) ignore it. Write “I will goals”. Make sure they aren’t problem solving goals but genuinely express what *you* want to do and where you want to be. It’s a fun exercise to go through and I think you might be in just the right place to do it. Good luck πŸ˜‰

  8. Firstly, you can grieve for this for a long time. I will never tell you to get over it because you are experiencing massive tumult and one does not just adjust and move on. Thanks God you are dealing with it as those who don’t end up very messed up. Now I don’t know your wife but this arrangement seems ridiculous. Why cannot you see the kids more? You and your kids don’t have to be punished for the breakup of the marriage. That seems very wrong to me and I think you need to get a good lawyer or mediator to work out custody because I think you’re getting taken. In the meantime, yes, you must adjust but you also must howl. Please do so anytime.

    • Thanks for commenting. The children are at preschool/playgroup for the days during the week and, of course, my ex wife wants to spend time with them too. Time when it’s just her and them, and that comes in the evenings and at weekends. Of course I can’t expect to be around at these times and so it’s fair, although a bit weighted unevenly at times.
      I know things will change. I know that, at some point, my son can come over for sleepovers and, when she’s older, my daughter too but that can’t happen right now as my flat is not big enough. But I know this will change.
      Things are still raw and, perhaps, she needs them to be around her to brighten her day as they do mine, allow her have some quality time with them, and to give them the good times too. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled. 3 years, 24/7 with my son and 18 months 24/7 with my daughter has been the most wonderful, most magical time. Perhaps its time for her to enjoy something like that her way.
      I don’t know, we don’t really talk at the moment. But, one day.
      Thanks for your support pardner. Yeeha!

  9. Oh my Darlin… Sending you a HUGE hug. I can not imagine being away from my kids nor could imagine keeping them away from ” Him in doors” if we split. Children shouldn’t be punished for their parents break up… When “Him in doors” & I got together, he had 2 girls from. Previous marriage, I used to make him go & take them out in the week even though we had them weekends… I NEVER saw my dad until I was 13, I went to find him, not my mums fault, but his… We don’t have a relationship because he didn’t try, he wasnt like you… You ar a lovely dad with a Huge heart… I hope you can change things & see them more… Lots of love.. Xxxx

    • Thanks. Certainly my uncle, who had 3 children by a previous marriage before he met my aunt and they had my cousin, was a man who saw his son’s regularly and did things with them. He didn’t disappear, he did all he could for them, and was someone who had a massive heart. If I’m an even ounce like him I’ll be doing okay. My feeling is as long as my children are happy then I will be, and their mummy is a great person, so I know they will be. I’ll just see them when I can, when that’s appropriate, and make sure, always, that they know I love them.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting. πŸ™‚

  10. None of us truly ever realise just how strong we can be until we actually have to be. Grief may linger a while but to look and move forward takes great strength and bravery. You are both – and to be able to share it with us, your readers – you have my admiration. Keep smiling, the littlies always inspire us to be better. *hugs*

    • Truly wise words. If I feel like arseballs I can come back to this, all the lovely comments, and gain some strength. So thanks for reading and for commenting. It’s truly appreciated.

    • No court orders in place but I do know that my wife would feel uncomfortable with that. So I’m hunting for a new job, so any suggestions welcome.
      Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

  11. It’s nearly 4 years since I split up with my children’s father. And in those 4 years I’ve fought very hard to protect my children from the ugly bits of divorce. And so did he (mostly, once he’d stopped having a stezzy fit). We have shared care. We started at 50/50, then 4/3, and now 5/2, his choice as his mum.can no.longer look after the kids a much because of her health.

    BUT, divorced as we are, the kids still see us as their parents, he calls round to see them, our rings if he’s missing them. They ring him, or me depending where they are. We shared our first birthday party this year for archie, it’s tiny footsteps to including you and their mum in their life. It changes and develops, but importantly it’s fluid, and one day when the penny finally drops that they love you BECAUSE YOU ARE DADDY you will feel better x

    • Thank you. I want the concept of Daddy to remain while things change, as this will never change for me. May not be possible but we’ll see how we go.
      Thanks for your story and thanks for reading.

  12. Aww chuck, this is all good. It sounds like you are going through a good and healthy process, even tho lord knows it’s a tough one. You’ll get there. And although it’s hard to believe at times, it does get easier. It does get to be fun again. Keep your kids in the forefront of everything you do and all your decisions and you WILL be ok. X

  13. Wow this is very powerful stuff. I have only recently come across you and your blog but I love the way you are open and raw about your feelings. I have witnessed and supported friends through this process and they have all likened it to grief, the only way they could describe it. I am guessing that it will get easier to bear, you will slowly become accustomed to your new life and I certainly hope it’s a great one!

  14. Very touching and ‘real’ blog.
    I grieve for the son I won’t have and the man he won’t be. It’s normal and cleansing.
    But I also celebrate the wonderful person I have who inspires and drives me on with his incredible spirit (having learned to walk last year as a 5yo he now does sponsored walks with the other kids using a support frame).
    What I’m trying to say is that, like you i feel it’s valid to grieve for what wasn’t, isn’t and won’t be. But it is also essential to celebrate what is and what still can be.
    Also, don’t worry about being a ‘skilled’ writer. I started blogging years ago purely as a way to vent. I still only blog what’s on my mind and don’t try for ratings or points or numbers of views. If what you write is from the heart, and this post is, people will read and some will comment. And if they don’t, it’s cathartic, so you can’t lose. πŸ™‚

    • Exactly how I feel about blogging. Write what you can. It’s easier that way.
      And yes, I think I now know hot to celebrate what still can be. By getting through this.
      Thanks for commenting and for reading. Your son sounds fantastic, determined, and sounds like he has more fight in him than his age would give him credit for. A great story, and thanks for sharing that.

  15. Your current situation sounds pretty awful, but v2.0 can only get better. I’m sure you’re right to be grieving for all you have lost & that’s far better than keeping it all in. It sounds like you are all missing the nice bits of your old life & you will all need time to adjust. The only thing I can suggest for making your time with your children special, is to make it quality (not quantity). It may mean doing things differently & being up for trying out different ways of being together, but you’ll find what works for you all in your own way!

    Hold your head high. While I’m sure you will all go through rocky patches, you need to be proud of what you’ve achieved so far (2 beautiful little people by the sounds of it!). You have nothing to be ashamed of & only things to look forward to. Sometimes life just doesnt work out the way we thought it would, but hey-you gave it a good shot! Time on your own means you get to think about you for a change & really question yourself about what you want.

    Best of luck with the new chapter in your life.
    Ps-you sound like an awesome dad to me!

  16. Cannot imagine how hard youre situation is. Going from full time dad to now. You sound like youre doing really well at trying to keep positive, alot of people could learn from you. I don’t know you’re situation but such a shame you can’t continue being a sahd for the daytime at least if your children are still of pre school age but I’m sure thats something thats been discussed already. Take care

  17. One more thought here Sir. You’re right, you will feel much better when you have a job. As they say “When I got busy, I got better”. SO…get busy xx

  18. I’m a bit late reading this post, but I just wanted to say how sorry I was to read your story. I think you should be proud of how far you have come and not be ashamed of showing your emotions. We are all only human after all. Stay strong and remember those children need you and want you no matter what. I wish you all the best for forging ahead

  19. What a fantastic honest post and so beautifully written. Sorry – only just found your blog via the Britmums good reads which I happened to share with you today. I shall add you to my regular reading list

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