A strange title for this post, since no ACOD ever feels thankful that their parents have divorced. In the past two and half years since my parents ended their marriage, I have felt nothing but anger and sadness. I haven't allowed myself to focus on the good, as the demise of my family consumed every single thought. But in the past year, I've been working on getting back my own life and focusing on the things I have, not what I've lost. It's not been easy and I've been clear about the fact that it's a daily struggle for me. Every day I wake up and have to force myself to be happy. I have to force myself not to focus on my parents' divorce. And the holidays make that even more difficult.
So I wanted to make a list of what I'm thankful for. Yes, it sounds cliche. But I think it will be therapeutic for me and will help me see all that I have to live for. My parents' divorce does NOT have to define who I am -- I am so much more than an ACOD.
I'm thankful I'm alive to see another day.
I'm thankful for an amazing husband who helps support me and who has been kind to my family during difficult times.
I'm thankful for my siblings, who never fail to show me love and support, despite the fact that they're hurting too.
I'm thankful that, even though my parents are no longer together, they're still here and there's still hope for me to rebuild our relationship.
I'm thankful for friends who are like second family -- who never judge and who are there to listen with at a moment's notice.
I'm thankful for second chances and for God's grace and mercy. Without those, I'm not sure I'd still be standing today.
Find what makes you happy and focus on it. Focus on the people who have been there for you and whom you can lean on for support. Hold onto feelings of joy and happiness -- it's so easy to lose those in the midst of a traumatic situation like a parents' divorce, but those feelings are what makes us human. They show us that life is worth living. So hold onto them and don't let them go.
I know the holidays are tough and believe me, I'm struggling with them too. My holidays have drastically changed since my parents' divorce and unfortunately, there are not a lot of resources out there to help ACODs. So feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need someone to talk to. It can be a lonely road, but trust me, you're not the only one out there.