It was two years ago today that I woke up to an email from Voldemort saying that he was moving out the next day. There was a confusing reference to telling the kids of his departure and a promise to pay a certain amount of support, based on what a lawyer he had seen had advised was the law.
I replied with an insistence that we talk to the kids together that evening. After dinner, he called all three into the living room (but not me). I went in anyway. He just dropped his bomb on them; when kid #3 asked if this was like a divorce and started crying, he got up and walked away. I hugged her and comforted her.
It was exactly like the rest of our marriage and his parenting.
He spent that night carrying belongings out to his car while kid #3 watched. He left early the next morning, before any of the kids were awake, without saying good-bye.
I can still remember the tension and anxiety. I can remember losing a lot of weight because I couldn’t eat. Food had no taste. I couldn’t sleep. He had been behaving erratically and I was worried he would commit suicide.
It took a solid month before I was able to sleep for more than two hours at a time. And closer to three months before I could eat regularly.
The kids actually adjusted fairly quickly. Life after Voldemort moved out wasn’t much different from life with Voldemort at home. Before they had only seen him for 20 minutes a day, at the dinner table. Even then, he didn’t engage with them; they had to try to break his ice. It must have been exhausting.
Kids #2 and #3 haven’t seen him in two years. Kid #1 has seen his father a handful of times. None of them particularly miss him. All three feel abandoned, angry, and rejected.
It didn’t have to be this way.
In some ways, it feels like a lifetime has passed. But today, it feels like the blink of an eye. I can’t believe it’s been two years. And it’s gotten better.
I’m still worried and anxious, but I’m not debilitated by those feelings. I’m still the responsible adult in our relationship, dealing with the bills for our former home and its sale, but I set aside time to focus on that crap and then I leave it alone.
I eat health-supporting foods (and sometimes even treats!) and I taste what I’m eating.
I sleep just fine.
I think this is what “letting go” and “moving on” look like for me. It’s one foot in front of the other, minute by minute at first, then realizing two years have gone by and look how far I’ve walked.