Ten Years

To quote a Lori McKenna song: “It hurts for a reason.”

Today would have been my tenth anniversary.

Or, I suppose, is, in the same sense that Monday was still George Washington’s birthday, despite the fact that ol’ George himself left us a few years ago.

I got married 10 years ago today. The marriage endured three-quarters of that time.

Today should have been …

I don’t even know. A friend of mine celebrated her 10th anniversary last year with a trip to DC with her husband. In another world, we would have been doing something this weekend, something special. In a different world.

But not in this life.

Those who know me know at least parts of the story. For those who don’t, I respect her too much to go into it here. But we both did our fair share of contributing to the end. And in the end, I was the one who filed. I was the one who ended it. And that’s something that I have to live with.

I have to live with knowing how I hurt a newlywed bride, eager for her husband’s approval. I have to live with the pain we inflicted on each other over the next seven and a half years. Worse, I have to live with the memory of the good times in which that pain was set, with the memory of what was lost. I have to live with knowing that I gave up. I have to live with never knowing what might have been, had things been different three years ago, or eleven.

And it hurts. For a reason.

I was talking to a friend a while back who was going through a divorce, and she was talking about that. How hard it is. How much it hurts.

And I advised her, as someone who has been there, and come out the other side to the extent that you ever completely do, not to resent the pain. Embrace it. Treasure it. Value it.

Because if you can go through this without being hurt, you’ve lost something valuable of yourself. The hurt reminds us of the cost. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life. And you survive.

The hurt is the best thing to come out of it. Because as long as you remember that, as long as you can feel that, then you can hold on to the most important thing of all —

Never again. Never. Again.