Monday, June 25, 2012

Hope after Divorce

Hope is around us and within us.  Always stirring and sometimes ignored.  Sometimes, when I get to the other side of an obstacle once thought insurmountable, I look back to discover what brought me to the other side.  It’s always the same thing—hope.

It was a day like today—sunny, warm and breezy—that I walked out of the court house no longer married.  During the brief hearing, the judge asked me to confirm that I wanted to keep my married name, Speranza.  I responded, “Yes.”

At that moment, I thought I was keeping my married name because I wanted things to be as simple as possible for my daughters.  Maybe I wanted things to be as simple as possible for myself?  I mean, what kind of paperwork was involved with going back to my maiden name?

Although brief, my divorce hearing was tense, sorrowful, and sickening.

What was I doing?  Was this really me standing here confirming the beginning of a new life in which I had no idea how to navigate?

Confirmations of child support, number of days with children, and financial awards.  Confirmations that I made a mistake, could not figure it out, and basically failed. 

I felt small.  He in his business suit, accessorized by an expensive lawyer and tears, me in my in inexpensive black slacks and a barely-crisp white blouse left in my wardrobe from the days before babies, when I worked.  I looked down; my black shoes could have used some polish.  His were shiny.  He cried and I didn’t.  I looked like a heartless, money-hungry conniver but knew I was just a lost middle-aged mom who didn’t know what she was doing or going to do.

When it was all said and done, I walked out of the court house, alone, onto the busy sidewalk and expected tears.  Instead I felt a swift breeze hit my face, looked up toward the sun and smiled. 

My last name was still Speranza.

Speranza, literally translated from Italian, means hope.

Some days, I do not know what I am doing.  Things my ex-husband used to take care of still baffle me.  But I try.  I have to.  Someone has to take care of the grown-up things—things other than caring for the girls, cleaning, and grocery shopping.  Those were the things I was good at before my divorce.

Today, I’m good at more.  I pay bills (sometimes on time), I have a degree, and I write.  I do figure out the grown-up stuff, even when I’m scared to death.  And I’m still a good mom.  Maybe better.

I remember one night this past April, because it was National Poetry Month, I wanted to read some poetry to the girls at bedtime.  I stumbled upon Emily Dickinson’s poem, Hope Is the Thing with Feathers:

Hope is the thing with feathers. . .

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

I read it aloud to the girls, twice, and cried. 

It was a soft cry, not one of those sobbing, guttural displays. 

I think the girls understood. . .something.

I understood.  We have hope.










Linking up with Flicker of Inspiration Linkup #56  

photo credit: kira.belle via photo pin cc

70 comments:

  1. This was beautiful for so many reasons!
    I love that your last name means "hope". I love your descriptions of everything, you made it all seem very real to me.
    I hate the way divorce makes people feel, and my heart broke for you when I read "Confirmations that I made a mistake, could not figure it out, and basically failed."

    You have done a great job with this post, and with navigating your way through life to where you are now!
    Thanks for sharing something so personal.

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    1. Thank you, Dawn. I also hate the way divorce makes people feel. I noticed it tends to be isolating, which is weird being that the divorce rate is so high. I appreciate you commenting, so much.

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  2. What a beautifully written post. My friend is going through a divorce and my heart aches for him. Literally. This post inspired hope in me that he WILL be okay and life DOES go on.

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    1. My thoughts are with your friend. It is a heartache situation and it's so good that you are there for him.

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  3. This is so good...it reminded me of many feelings I had with my own divorce so many years ago. I always think it's something you can't really explain the feeling of unless you've been through it but you nailed it with this post. Hope is absolutely beautiful, we don't always even realize it's there but it does keep us going and help us keep growing so much of the time. I liked your name before but now I really love it - it suits you :)

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    1. Thanks, Mommy Padawan! Thanks a million times over for your encouraging comments. And I'm sorry you shared this experience, but relieved you relate--it's always good to know someone who "knows".

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  4. Wonderful. Love that poem. I'd love to get into the heads of your ex's lawyers. What's going through their heads to justify the imbalance? Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. The imbalance to so many things...mind boggling. Thanks for your comments.

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  5. Beautiful post. I'm here from yeahwrite.

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    1. Thanks, Travis. Carving out time to read and comment tonight and tomorrow and looking forward to visiting your space.

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  6. Wow, I enjoyed this post so much. I'm so glad you started a new life with new hope and I hope the sun always smiles down on you! :)

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    1. Your comments are always so full of hope. It comes naturally for you and I am grateful you share it.

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  7. You have a great attitude. I like that you carry hope and not bitterness. Beautifully written post.

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    1. Thanks, Kenja. The bitterness does come, but for some reason, doesn't sit long. It's that feathered friend, the one who is always with us, shooing bitterness away. :)

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  8. Absolutely beautiful. My parents divorced when I was 4 years old and a valuable lesson my mom taught me on this subject is that the greatest thing you can give your children is happy parents. Good for you for making a hard choice for the right reasons.

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    1. This is a great message that your mom has given you and a great example. Thank you for sharing it.

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  9. Ah, what a tough moment. Glad you kept your last name.

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  10. Hope is a lovely thing and so is this post. And good on you for reading Emily Dickenson to your kids!

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    1. They weren't really excited for me to read it...I read it anyway. They liked it. Thank you.

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  11. very very nice, sperkowitz speranza.

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    1. Thank you, Erica. So sweet to see you here. Sweet, indeed. <3

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  12. Oh Kimberly that was beautiful. I remember walking out of the courtroom. The situation was totally different but I still felt the same. I felt shame and pain and anger and confusion and regret and worry, but I also felt HUGE relief. Such a weight lifted from my shoulders.

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    1. Shame is the nasty one, isn't it? Baffling, too, considering so many people divorce. Why not embrace it? I mean, it's actually normal. And I do not think I mean embrace it as an everyday occurrence, but embrace it as we do other rights of passage, does that make sense? Instead of hiding in "shame"?

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  13. I haven't been divorced, but I still feel small most days. I understand this so well. I love Emily Dickinson and that poem fits this post so well.

    Hugs to you, sweets.
    be kind to yourself.
    you are anything but small---look at you, doing it ALL. and here's the secret: none of us knows what we are doing!!!

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    1. Love the hugs, they make me feel big and strong. :) And please tell me there is someone who knows what the hell is going on? :) :)

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  14. yes. hold on to this hope. people often perceive hope as something trite and naive. i feel it is opposite. it is bloody. it fights hard. fits in spaces until it can bloom. hope is not for the faint of heart. no. it is for the people brave enough to believe.

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    1. Your words are like a power punch to the gut. I love it and you.

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  15. I was divorced 5 years before I changed my name back to its original incarnation. It took me that long to, I think, admit defeat. And we didn't fight over money, or kids. We didn't fight at all. I felt a lot of guilt for a long time. I understand holding on to your name for your girls. When I lived in Costa Rica, (with my ex), the town next to us where we shopped for groceries was called, Esperanza, which as you probably know means hope in Spanish. Nice post, Sperk.

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    1. I actually contemplate changing it sometimes. Simply pick one I like or one that seems fitting. What if we could change our name every three years to suit our new growth, our new versions of ourselves. Wouldn't that be interesting?

      I found out Esperanza was the Spanish "hope" when we lived in California. Everyone called me Kimberly Esperanza because it was more familiar. Even the phone company had us listed as "Esperanza". Maybe I should have foregone the bill paying?

      Thanks for your comments and sharing parts of your story.

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  16. This really touched me. Something in the way that you put it all out there, the facts and the emotions mixed without bitterness really did allow the hope to shine through. I love that your name literally means hope --though this piece makes me think you would be able to hang onto hope even if your name was something as simple as Smith.

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  17. This is so beautiful! Just from your picture I always envision you as a smart, strong woman, and this story proves me right!

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    1. Really? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  18. Just beautiful, like all of your writing. The divorce part especially got to me as I have a good girlfriend going through one. I will share this with her.

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    1. Thanks, Ashley. I am glad you are going to share it with your friend, I really am. I am glad she has you right now. <3

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  19. This is a very moving piece. Even when things are hard and confusing and seem to be in the shitter, it's reassuring to remember that hope springs eternal. With every ending is a new beginning and hopefully something better lies in wait in the future. Thank you for sharing. Your words were beautiful.

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    1. I love that phrase, "hope springs eternal" and think of it often. And I love that you used the word "shitter" because things actually feel that way sometimes. Thanks for your comments. :)

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  20. Your writing is well done. The poem is beautiful. "It asked a crumb of me." What a powerful line. Good for you finding your way!

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  21. I absolutely love that you realized the real reason you kept the name was that you wanted to keep your hope, literally as well as figuratively. I do think it's kind of cool that you didn't cry. I don't think there is any right response to divorce, and it seems like you were just being strong in that moment, like your hope carries you even when you haven't got anything else.

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    1. "I don't think there is any right response to divorce..." Very true to many things and a good thing to remember when dealing with ourselves and others. Thank you, jesterqueen. :)

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  22. Once again your honest writing has blown me away. And while your last name means hope, I love how your blog title conveys your spunk, drive, and optimism. And it is all yours, uniquely. Ellen

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    1. "...spunk, drive, and optimism." I like that and will keep it close. Thank you.

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  23. OH, HAVE I BEEN THERE! Yet, I had no financial support. He made sure I got absolutely nothing. I got out with the shirt on my back and my kid on my hip. But, I will tell you...it does get better. You find your stride and you figure things out on your own. When I'd be home alone and having trouble, just wishing there was a man around the house, I would chant to myself: "Where there's a will, there's a way" or "I am woman, here me roar!". Sounds stupid, but it got me through!

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    1. Oh yes, I am wise
      But it's wisdom born in pain...

      I used to sing along to that song when I was a little girl. How apt it would be, I never knew. ;)

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  24. Hope is a very good thing. Hang in there. I know you can. Powerful post.

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    1. Hi Pippi! Thank you, so much, for your encouragement.

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  25. The details in your writing are so vivid - the shoes, the stream of sunlight. You convey so much emotion and action in well-chosen words. I love that your name means hope and that you are passing that on to your kids. Excellent post.

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  26. Hope. It is such a beautiful, amazing, powerful thing. I didn't know that Speranza means hope. What a fitting name - I don't know you well, but I just feel like it fits you somehow. You seem to radiate hope to me. Great piece.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. To remain hopeful, it helps to have the support of others...something you always freely give. My gratitude to you.

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  27. Beautiful post! Those girls are blessed to have you. :)

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  28. The last name is perfect! Another post takes me right in that moment with you. Great job!

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  29. OK, here is why I love this post. First, it was difficult for me to read, because I was once on the other side of that courtroom and it made me confront those feelings. Second, it has so many layers. The name you kept; hope. The softness of hope like feathers floating all around you. The soft cry, not because of sadness, but because of hope.

    Really well done, without being too sentimental. You took a tough situation, brought us through it and in the end gave us hope.

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    1. Thanks, Bill. I am sorry you had feelings to confront and, yet, grateful for you sharing.

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  30. So raw, and real, and honest. This is just gorgeous and heartbreaking all at once. Beautifully done, you.

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  31. After having read so much of your work, it's fascinating to learn the meaning of your last name. How apropos.

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  32. what you were doing, in that divorce, was opening the door to the chapter where you learn how to write your own script, a process that is exhilarating & terrifying & yes, full of hope. you gave your daughters the lesson that a woman is always allowed to have her own life. brava, speranza.

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  33. Erin sent me over via Twitter and wow...this just sums it up perfectly. Just the other day when I fixed the cabinets that were falling off that I had stared at for the past year I was thinking...I can do this AGAIN (yes..number 3 for me). And, you know what...I am doing this again and I am better this time for it.

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  34. Hope makes all the difference, it is the reminder that a brighter day exists. If you didn't have concerns or hard feelings about your divorce I would wonder.

    You did a very nice job of telling your story here.

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  35. Oh, Sperk, I am moved once again by how cleanly, neatly, and deeply you cut through it all to the heart of the matter. This moved me from the details about your shoes to the poem at the end. Then, of course, the brave soul that is revealed here felt like it was looking right into mine. Awe. Some. Really. Erin

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  36. Wow, I could really picture myself in your (non-polished) shoes. Marriage is so, so hard. Thank you for sharing your story. You're amazing.

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  37. To add to my comment. And to be clear... the hope, the writing, you...are beautiful.

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  38. Painfully moving. I can't say anymore right now because I'll dissolve into a blubbering mess. What a beautiful, eloquent piece. Thanks for helping bolster my own hope and delivering those reassuring words I need to remember...everything will be alright.

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