How painful was your break-up? Devastation, depression and recovery


Have you gone through losing a loved one? Loss comes many ways, and yes, sometimes it does kill us.

It's really not fair to compare the unfortunate and devastating effects of losing someone you love to death, to someone you lose through life. However, unless you've been through the surprise of losing someone after a 20 year relationship, you really can't judge.  Here are stories of two women, and a great man who went through a living hell.  One of them didn't survive to tell their story.  The names have been changed to protect privacy.

Stella:  Stella was married for 21 years when she found out her husband was cheating on her.  Unlike many women who feel guilt and blame themselves, or who ignored red flags, all this came as a total surprise.  She was barely 40 years old, attractive and an attentive and loving mother and wife.  Her husband continued to deny the affair, and eventually just walked out one day without any explanation.  This made it virtually impossible for Stella to have any type of conversation with him or to consider couple's counseling.  Once he was gone, he told her to keep the house, paid alimony and child support regularly, and saw his daughters frequently.  However, he severed all communication with Stella.  She could not ask why, could not understand what happened, could not even yell at him.  He was gone out of her life.  She fell into a depression, was put on medication, went to counseling, and obsessed day and night about what happened.  Her teen daughters saw her slowly deteriorate.  She ate less and less every day, and after two years still could not overcome the sudden virtual disappearance of her husband.  The divorce was quick, clean, and permanent.  The person she snuggled up to for 21 years left, and left no open door, or pathway for reconciliation.  Stella's daughter's were too young to know what to do.  Each night they came home to find their mother more and more stoned on anti-depressants and sedatives.  One warm Sunday morning Stella did not get up.  Her daughters found her curled up in bed, cold, gone.  Stella never recovered.

Bernie:  Bernie came to see me because his wife had left and moved out of state.  He was 28 years old.  Bernie was a handsome, professional  young man, with two little girls.  His wife was apparently depressed because he was not giving her enough attention.  So she moved far away and took his two little angels with her.  Bernie was extremely depressed.  He not only lost his wife, but he had to drive 8 hours to see his daughters.  Their 6 year marriage was over, and his apartment felt like a morgue.  Where once there had been nights of passion, love, and the sound of silly little girls laughing and playing, there now was nothing.  Coming home was like walking into a dungeon.  He decided to fight in the courts for custody of his daughters, and spent his time working like a maniac to have something on which to focus.  He sometimes felt it was a never ending struggle, and many nights cried himself to sleep.  Litigation can take years, and yes, it took Bernie close to two years to prove his wife was not being an adequate parent, and was using parental alienation to sever his relationship with the girls.  She also frequently posted pictures of her "party" times at clubs on social media.  He slowly built a case against her, and although he stumbled in court, and had over half a dozen hearings over a two year period, he eventually won custody.  In the process, he found a beautiful young woman who joined him in his battle for his kids.  He eventually married her after getting custody of his girls.  It was an uphill battle, but Bernie never stopped trying, and life blessed him dearly.

Geneva:  Geneva's husband had been having an affair for over a year.  She kept hoping and begging him to end it.  Once she found out, there was no peace in her home or her heart.  One day he just packed up and left.  Within a year Geneva was divorced and living in an apartment with her three children, working full-time, commuting 70 miles one-way, and terrified of her future. She came to me terrified beyond what anyone other than someone who has been through that could understand. After 20 years with the same man, 17 years married, and having never been on her own, she did not think she could support a household let alone reinvent herself as an individual not part of a couple. This transition was forced on her.  A part of my heart knew that she had never been “happy” with her husband. They were incompatible and they both knew that from an early start. However, she had been content, and she did love him. They had a family, three children who needed them, needed a home, and stability. She was in it for the long hull come what may. She never expected his frequent escapades would eventually lead to a full blown affair with an exotic bombshell of a woman 10 years Geneva’s junior! 

When talking to Geneva during this time, I asked how she felt, how she was feeling.  This was her answer:  “How cliché! That was my second thought.  My first thought?  “I’ll kill the bitch!” Days of fantasizing the many ways I would get back at them have faded into sleepless nights full of tears.  My stomach aches constantly, I have developed migraines, and the only way I can sleep is with strong sedatives my mother drops by to put in my tea.  I thought it was her great tea at first.  I later found out she has been slipping me Elavil and Xanax.  God Bless her soul.  I have been sleeping.  But I’m not recovering.” 

Geneva complained that she thought she would die from the pain in her heart   I then shared with her what I heard a famous radio psychologist say.  She said:  “Sometimes you have to let people go.  You don’t have to stop loving them, just know that you can’t be together.  Pray for them, and let them go.”  Geneva almost gave up, but then Divinity made a sacred visit and stepped in to remind her of her previous dream.  Prayer and meditation settled her heart and mind. She lost weight, started exercising more, and bought tighter jeans!  She didn’t know it at the time, but this was a divinely crafted blessed stage of her life which she now treasures deeply. She was 34 years old and was about to rediscover herself.  Geneva crafted a whole new persona for herself.  She let her heart free, and she grew professionally, and spiritually.  Her children grew up healthy and happy, and a few years later she remarried a wonderful man.  Life granted her what she had always wanted.**

Loss is always hard.  No one knows what it's like until you have lived through it.  Whatever you do, seek help.  Talk to a friend or a professional.  Blog, journal, yell, but get it out.  Losing a loved one to life is not like losing one to death.  But it can be just as devastating.

**Excerpt from my book:  A Girl's Guide to Greatness: Mystical Paths for Magical women (available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com)