Relief: Thoughts on Five Years of Life

My ex-husband is getting re-married this Saturday.  When I heard the news, I had the weirdest feeling—no, I can’t say it was a feeling—it was more of a “non-feeling.”

I sat there and asked myself, “Shouldn’t you feel SOMETHING?” The closest answer I got came in just one word: relief.

I have been divorced now for five years, and what amazing years they have been. I am me again. I am whole. I am reconstructed.  In the words of Alice, I have found my “muchness.”

Four months ago I discovered that I am BRCA2+. What this means is that I have a genetic mutation that predisposes me to an incredibly high chance of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer at some point in my life. As a result, in order to avoid eventually getting cancer, I’ve undergone one major surgery, and have another one scheduled for December.

When I heard the test results, that horrible news, I had but one thought: “Thank goodness I got divorced; thank goodness I’ve had the chance to live again.”

Over the past five years, I have had the most wonderful adventures that any woman could hope for. I’ve spent lazy summer days with my kids by the pool, I have danced until the sun came up (literally, one night in New York City), have been fortunate enough to surround myself with amazing friends, and I’ve traveled to some fascinating places.  No, these are not events that one has to be divorced in order to enjoy, but in my case it was.

I was married to someone that was my polar opposite. While I wanted to be on the dance floor, he wanted to be in the darkened corner of the bar. While I wanted to explore and go new places and see new horizons, he was content to plod along day in and day out on the same path as the day before. While I wanted to be with people and mingle and chat and talk, he was happier staring into the screen of the computer, alone.  It’s true—opposites attract, but the fact is that they don’t necessarily last.

Please don’t think that this little blurb is me advocating for divorce; no one could have told me the day I walked down the aisle that my life would be where it is today…but that’s okay. This journey has been so incredible that I wouldn’t sacrifice even a second of it.

Sure, being on my own hasn’t been perfect and blissful by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve had some crazy dating experiences, and I’ve certainly had my heart broken more than once over the course of the past five years. I’ve been broke. I’ve been angry. I’ve been lonely.  But I’ve done all of those things as ME. Nothing can replace that; there is no better feeling in the universe.

When I think about “life,” I think about the past five years. I think about my wonderful children who are growing up so fast it seems they change with each passing millisecond. I think about laughing so hard with my friends that tears streak down my cheeks. I think about a cross-country drive with my sister, the beach in Santa Monica, vacations with my family, learning to love myself, challenges, desires and obstacles. I think about surgeries, diagnoses, and decisions. I think about life. My life. Imperfect, joyful, ugly at times, and so, so beautiful. It’s all mine.

So, I can wish my ex-husband the best in his newest marriage endeavor. I sent him light and love and let him go a long, long time ago. And I can understand my “non-feeling.”  Feelings are found in living and in discovery and curiosity, the key fundamentals of happiness, not in stagnation and fear.

While life has been really difficult for me with all of the medical commotion in the last 4 months (and it promises to stay that way for a very long time), the fact remains that whatever the Fates have decided for me, I am so grateful for the past five years and for everyone that has taken part in them with me. I know that “non-feeling” is not an emotion that I want anywhere near my life.

There is a quote that I think sums all of my musings up perfectly. It’s from a poem called “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver.  Her last lines question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  I ponder this question every single day.  It is what guided my decision to leave a loveless marriage, and it will continue to shape my every action and remind me that the time to live is the most exquisite moment of all—the one I’m in right now.


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Mommy, Writer, Teacher, BRCA2+ Previvor, Sports Fan, Logophile, Bibliophile, Hedonist, Perpetual Bon Vivant mixed with the Occasional Curmudgeon. you can find me on Twitter @CharIsAWriter and here at

5 thoughts on “Relief: Thoughts on Five Years of Life”

  1. Now this shit right here. I sat at the table of your persona and feasted on your emotions Char…. The dynamics, the motionless emotions in the beginning, but most of all the TRUTH. I loved every bit of this, it has the nutrients that anyone participating in the arts can use. Let your story pan out and write itself, there is definitely an audience that is chimed in.

  2. Well, you certainly do have a precious life. This the second place I have come across Mary Oliver-I used many of her quotes on a Pinterest project I was doing. I will have take more of an interest in her. Your previous commentator is right I believe; let your story pan out but it won’t write itself. I like what I have read of your work thus far though it hasn’t been much. Best wishes on the things you will be going through. KB

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