A picture tells a thousand words, or so the saying goes. A picture can capture happiness and joy, sadness, grief, and frustration. But a picture can never tell you the whole story, it can only tell you what was happening at the precise moment the shutter was released.
A few weeks ago, I was at a small and intimate gathering of fellow bloggers to celebrate the launch of our very own Tammy’s redesigned personal blog. There were several EVMB contributors and other area bloggers in attendance. Another EVMB contributor, Bre was on hand taking photographs. As is the case in our modern world, several of the photos were making the rounds on social media.
One of the photos stood out to me. A woman laughing. Happiness and joy depicted. What the photo doesn’t show is the last year of this woman’s life. It doesn’t show a woman who is going through a painful divorce and has spent much of the last year on an emotional rollercoaster ride full of pain, tears, laughter and joy. Apart from her father’s death, this is the most painful life event she has experienced. It is very much like a death, and there is a grieving process.
She now has an understanding that divorce is much like becoming a parent. Remember when you were childless and you thought you had an idea of what parenthood was about? Then you gave birth and you looked at the face of the tiny baby you grew in your belly; you soon realized you knew absolutely nothing about being a parent! Divorce is the same; unless it has happened to you, you have no idea what it’s like.
She knows that being married and building a life and a family can be hard, but dismantling a family is even harder. The woman in the picture is a woman who is trying her best to keep her daughter’s childhood a childhood amongst this chaotic, life changing event. She is someone who has given everything she is to everyone else for so long, she must now gather up the pieces and find herself again amid the wreckage, but she is ready and hopeful for what the future holds.
Along the way, many friends have jumped ship. Whatever their reasons, she understands, but the pain is still the same. Divorce, like new motherhood, can feel isolating and lonely. The day after the photo was taken, she discovered two friends had betrayed her, using her divorce to spread malicious gossip. Bye, Felicia.
She is a private person, so few even knew what was happening in her life. There are friends who have been by her side, some in person with bottles of wine in hand, and some on the other end of a phone. Every one of them with a shoulder to cry on, helping her forget the sadness, and helping her return to the laughter. For this, she is forever grateful, and forever loyal.
She knows life is full of ups and downs, and that one event doesn’t define a person. She has experienced a lot in her life, and she is looking forward to what comes next. Life is a multi-layered experience full of obstacles, joys and heartaches. In the moment this photo was taken, she was happy, laughing, and in a supportive environment. Maybe a picture does tell a thousand words. I should know, because she is me.
So as we start 2017, I will also be starting a new chapter in my life. To those of you who are also starting a new chapter in the new year, cheers to you! It’s going to be a good year!