I don’t know if I want to be a dad. 

Sitting there, celebrating Valentine’s Day as newly expectant parents, I heard these words. And it was the day we started to go around and around. We grew different and distant. Me scared of him leaving. Him scared of where our life was going.

We went around.

Over and over again.

He stayed. I pretended. For the next four years.

We found steady ground. That constantly looped about the ever-looming issues. Ones we dared not touch for fear of knocking us off the balance we found. Rather than tackling, we brushed off. Rather than working through, we idled. Rather than exposing, we covered up.

Too afraid to acknowledge our weaknesses, our failures, our feelings, our hopes, our mistakes, our disappointments, we chose to skim the surface. Terrified of being alone. Panicked love wasn’t enough. Fearful of life without.

We went around.

I can’t do this anymore. 

Sitting there, wrapping Christmas presents for our sons, I heard these words. And it was the day I started to go through.

No longer could I pretend. No longer could I skirt around. No longer could I force perfection. No longer could I hold all the pain, all the hurt, all the fears I had inside.

I knew that the only way to get through my separation and my divorce was by going through. The dam broke and I went under. I cracked. I shattered. I discovered the way to heal is by holding hands with my story. Accepting. Owning. Embracing.

I stopped running away.

And started crawling forward.

Time and time again, I was hit. Making me want to hide away. Pleading with God to take it all from me. I cannot do this anymore. I wanted to bury myself under. Go to sleep until I woke anew.

I go through.

Packing and dividing up all our belongings. Sell our home to moving into my home. Finding a lawyer. Filing for divorce. Taking the process step by step. Forcing myself to walk in with my head held high. Even though my heart was screaming RUN! Get away from here. There is only pain here. Acute pain. Sitting across from him scheduling out our children’s days. Sleeping alone longing for arms to protect me. Weekends ordering myself to be in the silence. Even though the loneliness choked me. Signing my name on the black line. From Mrs. to Ms. Sharing my sons with another woman. Even though I wanted to be selfish and keep them for myself. Hearing the news of a new life made. Of an engagement, house, marriage, and baby. And my heart wept. Emotions overwhelmed. Even though I didn’t know exactly what was making me cry and hurt. Facing the past. Head on. Exposing all the lies, all the betrayals, all the anger, all the grief. Knowing I cannot change what has happened. Even though I wish I could. Accepting what is. Embracing my journey. Moving forward towards peace and healing.

I go through.

And everything in between.

Yes, there were moments and days I did hide away. And still do. I didn’t want to feel, to confront, to work it out. I sat in it all. Letting myself find the courage inside of me to face what I needed to do. And sometimes I blatantly refused. I went out and had one too many cocktails. I purchased new shoes and earrings. I flirted with an attractive man on the dating app. Yet, every time, I woke up and went through. Hard conversation with my in-laws, friends, and family. Venting the anger that was building up inside. Releasing the tears from the jealousy, insecurities, and hurt I felt. When I spoke harshly or made a mistake, I picked up the phone and I apologized.

I go through.

When depression and anxiety hit. I don’t ignore. Brush it off. Say I am OK. I look that ugly dark beast straight in the eye and prove him wrong. Every damn time. Even though therapy is the last thing I want to do on my lunch break, I show up. When the words are vulnerable, raw, and extremely personal, I write. When anxiety whispers in my ear, no one likes you. You are worthless and a nuisance. I reach out anyway.

It is far from perfect.

In fact, it is complicated, exhausting, dirty, uncomfortable.

Never easy or pain-free.

Downright messy and unsightly. Blood shed with tear-stained cheeks. Scars covering my heart and soul. Not all forgiveness and love but mixed with resentment, anger,  and disdain.

Scary.

Heartbreaking.

Twirling around showing all bright, light, playful colors is so much more appealing.

Yet, I go through.

Because in the end, owning my story, embracing my past, walking forward is the most beautiful, courageous, brave, healing, and loving thing I can do.

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Katie Wiegel

A momma of 2 young boys whose days are filled with wrestling, running, and noise. A Nebraska native with a love of coffee, the Lord, a good romance novel, movies, and dessert. Just trying to figure out motherhood and life while battling and conquering depression with anxiety and navigating separation, divorce, and co-parenting. Read more about my journey in life at www.lovelyinthedark.com