Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adjusting to a New Life

I had a really vivid dream last night: I had returned to the home I grew up in (in which my dad and brother now live). I was walking through the various rooms and noticing that all of my mom's stuff was cleared out. It was as if she had never lived there at all. In the dream I was crying and running from room to room, trying to find SOME evidence that she had ever lived there at all. It was as if she had vanished out of thin air, leaving nothing behind.

I don't think this is too far off from reality. Last time I was at my house (it's been months), some of my mom's stuff was in boxes. But not all of it. At that time, my parents were still operating under the guise that they were separated but still trying to work things out (I wish I hadn't believed them). My mom had moved out to an apartment nearby, but it was temporary. At least it was supposed to be. Now I realize that the separation was the beginning of the end for them.

There will come a day soon (and it may be happening right now), when my mom's things wil have vanished from our home. The life I lived for 24 years will no longer exist in that house. Evidence that my parents were married once and really did care about each other will also have vanished. My dad will sell my childhood home and it will be gone forever.

It kills me to think about it. I did have happy memories, despite what's going on with my parents now. And even though my parents are moving forward with the divorce, selling the house only emphasizes the finality of it all. I can't ever get my old life back.

Many people don't seem to understand the struggle I face in trying to adjust to a new life. Quite frankly, they have too high of expectations for me. They expect me to snap my fingers and jump into the new role as a daughter of divorced parents. They expect me to begin talking about my parents as individuals and not as a unit almost immediately. They use language like, "Your dad's house" and "Your dad is planning this, etc", acting as if my mom was never part of the picture. There is no opportunity for me to grieve or adjust. I think that's very unfair. This is all still so new. I need time to move past it.

How have other ACOD's adjusted to their new life? Have others expected you to adjust almost immediately? If so, how did you handle it? Leave a comment here or email me at to share your story.


c said...

It *is unfair for people to expect you to just snap to it. Your entire world is being redefined; that's going to take time and grief. I'm so glad to see you working through the process instead of trying to pretend like it's not an issue.

Vanessa said...

Hi Michelle, I just found your blog today after starting my own on the same topic. My parents separated 5.5 years ago, 2 weeks after I gave birth to their first grandchild. Their divorce was finalized in early 2009 right as I was about to have my second child, and my dad remarried soon after. I look forward to reading more of your posts. It's definitely an alienating experience, and even just relating to one other person's story helps somehow. So thanks. :)

MVroom said...

Thanks for sharing, Vanessa! I'm glad this blog could be of some help for you. I will definitely check out your blog. It feels good to know we're not alone!


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