“During a night of some early Christmas shopping and last-minute Thanksgiving errands, I was sitting in the Target parking lot texting with a friend, when a minivan pulled up next to me. A mom and her daughter just sat and seemed to be waiting for someone. Not a moment later a man pulled up in a car and all three exited their respective vehicles. The only thing I can gather is that these were separated or divorced parents and the dad was taking his daughter for Thanksgiving. The girl had a backpack with her, her long blonde hair flowing over the top of it, her converses awkwardly tied. She hugged her mom tight. She then got in the car with her dad, and they drove off. The mom watched as they drove away and then walked back to her car. It was then, seated in the comfort of her car, that she began to sob. Her head in her hands, becoming soaked with tears. She fumbled around her purse for a tissue and dotted under her eyes. She sat for a moment attempting to collect herself and once she had settled a bit, she drove off.
I sat there in my car and thought about what I had just witnessed. How would I feel if I had to share my son Theo? If I lost out on holidays with him? If the person I had once loved and I had a child with became a stranger? What if Theo were to favor the other parent over me? What would that do to my psyche as a mother, as a woman?
While I have suffered as a young widow and I know grief all too well, I can only imagine that divorce is a different kind of grief. And I am not one to compare. We all have trauma and all have imperfect lives where things don’t go as we foresaw them going. Sometimes life takes a hard left turn when you should’ve been going right. The happy family you thought you had is now destroyed. The life you had mapped out in your head no longer exists and you wonder if anything will ever make sense again. What do you do now that the happy little picture in your head has been ripped to pieces?
The first step is to get in your car and let it out. Put your music on and drive. The car is one of the absolute best therapy rooms I’ve ever had. So, seeing that mother cry in her car… I felt that. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve cried in my car this past year. How often the tears have flowed with Theo not even knowing. How often I have slammed my fists on the steering wheel. My hands throbbing from the pain. My face red with anger. Losing your spouse is not something you can keep compartmentalized in a neat little box. No grief or trauma can be boxed up and put away. It just unboxes itself in the most random of moments. When you least expect it. And sometimes it happens exactly when you expect it to. But, you dab your eyes with a tissue, or the sleeve of a friend’s t-shirt and stand back up. Head held high because you fought, and you fight every day to be here and be present for you and your child.
Life is unfair. Hearts break. Minds get warped. You start to think because of your trauma you aren’t worthy of anything good. But you are. Remember that. You take a look at your battered body, your aching heart, and your heavy soul and think, ‘what can I do with this? Who will love me like this?’ Good can and will come into your life and sometimes when you least expect it. Please don’t push it away. Don’t be afraid of it. Wrap your arms around it and claim it. You’ve been waiting for this moment. So believe it and feel it. You are worthy of it. Worthy of love. Worthy of support. Worthy of loving yourself. You are a beautiful tapestry who deserves all the good this world has to offer. Never. Ever. Forget that.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brianna Simpson of Fredericksburg, Virginia. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read Brianna’s powerful backstory of losing her husband:
‘What does DTF mean? You swipe which way? Woah, you just sent me a pic of your privates.’ Dating life as a widow is terrifying.’: Young widow recalls first heartbreak post-loss of husband, ‘It stings like hell’
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