Flying On Your Own Again

I’ve been taking in the warm spring mornings, sitting on my patio and watching new life emerge around me. A tiny little cottage in my backyard holds a new family of birds. I watch the parents flit back and forth tirelessly feeding the little mouths that peep loudly, hoping that the next juicy bug will be theirs. The little cottage is getting full and soon it will be time. Time for them to start new lives and fly on their own.

My friend called me the other day. Her husband had died suddenly 18 months ago and she needed a sounding board as she tried to make a big decision. I was happy to listen, make suggestions, but mostly to encourage and validate her.

Like a baby bird, my friend bravely perches on the fringes of her life every single day. Hesitant to jump off the brim and plunge into her future – a future without him – peering into the unknown with reluctance, never quite sure which direction to take in another fork in the road.

She has lost her soulmate, her BFF, the father of her baby, the one she was holding on to through this crazy life. She’s grieving, remembering, and moving forward all at the same time.

Divorce can feel like a death. So many similarities in some ways, many differences in others. Both are grieving loss and unfinished dreams. Both are facing change – destruction of the familiar, the loss of “self” in the role of partner, confronting regrets. Everything for my friend has changed, all without warning.

A single income without the second as back-up. Cutting the lawn without the other to trim the weeds or fix the broken mower. Changing a light fixture, fixing a broken step, moving a piece of furniture – it’s all alone without someone to help. I recall needing to borrow everyone else’s husband to do the little things for me post-divorce. I felt like a burden, yet I couldn’t afford to hire anyone. There is a sense of helplessness.

Or, like in this case, having to make a bigger decision like selling the cottage – the other home that you built together – and needing a friend to talk you through it. This week, she’ll be packing up the happy memories without anyone to reminisce with. She’ll sort through the yard sale finds and the cutlery looking back as she prepares for her next chapter. She’ll say her goodbyes to the neighbours and perhaps stare out the window at the fire pit where endless moments, toasted marshmallows, and hours of laughter happened.

Today, she is boldly taking another step, as she sits on the brim of her own little cottage, and like the baby birds, she will take the leap and fly off into the great unknown. Life can be like that. It takes us to the crossroads where we must make the big decisions that bring about change, causing us to look in the deepest crevices of our soul to find inner strength. “Face the fear then do it anyways” – my inner voice says.

I’m proud of her as she takes steps every single day to embrace the new. Someday I am sure she will shed nervousness for curiosity, fear for excitement, and she will soon discover that she can face anything she sets her mind to as she soars into her new, beautiful life.

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