A time for grief

Where I write just enough to encourage you to follow my email newsletter.

People often ask me how I am doing since the separation and the answer is “still grieving.” I have not lost a beloved to physical death but I lost my family in the shape I have known and built it all my adult life. I heard Tara Brach read from John O’Donohu’s poem “For Grief” in a 2010 meditation about healing trauma. I was struck by this passage:

“And when the work of grief is done the wound of loss will heal , and you will have learned to wean your eyes from that gap in the air and be able to enter the hearth in your soul where your loved one has awaited your return all the time.”

My eyes are still fixed on the gap in the air where my intact family used to be and I am not yet able to enter the hearth in my soul where the new expression of my family is awaiting my return. 

Since I last wrote on this blog, my life has been upended by grief: mine and the children’s. I struggle to write about this jagged and unpredictable journey. We all know that separated parents should not disparage each other in front of their children. We look at statistics and studies on conflict and divorce and we tsk tsk at parents who are not able to put their children’s well-being ahead of their own. Can’t they just wait until the kids are out of earshot before letting it all hang out? Here is one of the first lessons I learned after I separated : Everyone, even those who communicate only by email and exchange kids in neutral parking lots, even those who are taking their spouse to court over custody matters, even those who just called their spouse an effing a-hole in front of the kids, knows that. That’s the easy part. What is not so easy is hiding the abject, gut-wrenching pain of the separation and its trauma.

I realized through this journey that witnessing my pain made people angry at Paul and his girlfriend. I can tell a story with words about my separation that gives a fair shake to both of us. But no one who has come close to me and my grief in the last year has indeed believed that shake to be fair. It is not in the words that I say or write but in the pain that oozes and radiates from every pore in my body. People reflexively understand the relationship of grief to love. That we have just as little power over the pain of losing love as we do over the delight of finding it. But more importantly, that we grieve in the measure that we loved. It matters very little what story we tell in words about the end of a marriage. Our pain and our struggle often tell a different story.  I am always questioning if sharing my pain is tantamount to shit-talking my ex-spouse. Maybe it is. And maybe you will stop reading here. If you don’t, I will assume that you made a choice to step into my world and share my journey.

This invitation to walk with me comes with a request. As my children grow older and my life story becomes more delicate, I am no longer comfortable throwing my personal reflections into the great expanse of the Internet through a public blog. The struggle to share intimate and authentic reflections in the open has curtailed my writing in the last few years. It’s one thing to write about potty training and sleepless nights and it’s a different one to write about marital breakdown, school problems, mental wellbeing, divorce, and recovery. As my children get bigger so do the family issues I grapple with.

I am still an open book. This is the only way I know how to write. But at this point in my life — and the life of the Internet to be honest — I want to inject an element of intentionality in my readership. I want to know that my writing goes to the people who really want to read it. Last weekend, I created an email newsletter as a new home for my blog posts. I will still publish snippets on this page but then invite you to keep reading in the newsletter. Registration is free (for now) until I capture my friends, family and long time readers. Then I will change it into a paid newsletter for a nominal amount meant to foster meaningful engagement. This is important to me and I know that my writing is worth $5.

If you want to subscribe to my newsletter and read the second half of this blog post on the grief of separation, please subscribe here and watch your Inboxes. Here is the link to subscribe: https://vroniquebergeron.substack.com/p/coming-soon

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