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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Kahler

Halfway There: The Path through Grief and Healing


Divorce isn’t a once and done event. Grief doesn’t just go away. Both are a long and grueling process of moving on and letting go, bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day. Just when you think it’s over; it’s not. You find yourself in a place you never wanted to be and are forced to deal with the aftermath. I find myself there today. I’m immersed in emotions I don’t want to feel. I’m in a place so familiar, yet so different.

I returned to our “family vacation home” on Lake Huron yesterday because my daughter is working here for the summer. Once my “happy place,” I now find it is bittersweet. I am reminded of happy times, which makes me smile and fills me with sadness all at the same time.

My daughter is here in the evenings, but wants little to do with me. She is on the brink of adulthood and is embracing her independence like there is no tomorrow. I get it. She is ready to go out into the world and live her own life. It doesn’t make things any easier though.

My ex-husband and I chatted a bit before he headed home yesterday. We still get along, but things are so different now. We talk about our lives as if we are old friends, not a once-married couple who spent 34 years together.

Life has changed so much in the past year. I have a new career as a teacher at a public school. I just bought a condo that is all my own. I have worked so hard to get my life in a good place, physically, mentally and emotionally. Yet some days, I feel so empty.

I sat on a bench alone gazing out at Lake Huron today. Being here has always filled me with peace. Only this time, it filled me with loneliness too. I know I am not alone. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I have been dating and have even met some guys who I enjoy talking to and spending time with. Yet, I haven’t found the type of relationship I seek — or maybe I’m not really ready to create one.

So here I am. Surrounded by beauty and serenity. Filled with heartache and uncertainty. Learning to let go and move on, both from my former husband and from my almost-grown daughter, who I love with all my heart. Both of them were my whole life. I find myself a bit lost at times. Overall, I do pretty well most of the time, and some days I am even thriving.

Life is a mix of beauty and pain, happy and sad, good and bad. I know I am blessed. I look around at all that I have, and I am filled with gratitude. What I don’t know is where I fit into this crazy world and the lives of others. Someday, I will find my place. For now, I’m halfway there.

July 5, 2023

Photo by Deanna Kahler

Copyright 2023, all rights reserved

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