|Surrounding me here are some of the best women there ever could be.|
Really, these Brooklyn women should write this post. Because they (& many others) did everything and more for me. They were my life line. To this day I am blown away by the love that came my way as my divorce unfolded. Here are some ideas on what to do for someone who is going through a divorce (these all meant the world to me.)
-TAKE THEM MEALS.
My appetite was shot after my husband left. The whole thing was just a shock to my system. But my friends fed me with home cooked meals which they dropped off at my home... For months! MONTHS! I almost always had something in the fridge. And I had stacks of my friends' dishes all over my kitchen that needed to be returned. It was the kindest most generous thing anyone has ever done for me. I had never felt so loved and supported in my life & will never forget it for as long as I live. I am telling you, there is nothing that makes you feel more loved than a good meal in your tummy. I want so badly to follow their example and feed people whenever I can - especially anyone going through a challenging time.
-KEEP THEM BUSY.
Guys, for 30 days or more, I think I had "plans" of some sort EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT! That's a lot for a busy New Yorker working (very) long hours + working on starting a business. Holy crap, it was a whirlwind. But a wonderful one! I didn't even have to think about how much it would suck to be home alone, because it almost never happened for a very, very long time. And I got hooked to American Idol at my friends' home & got to eat her killer meals & desserts once a week. So on most nights, I was actually just fine crawling into my bed at night alone. I had more fullness in my life than I had ever known.
-SAY GOOD NIGHT & GOOD MORNING.
I know this may sound insignificant. But when you are so accustomed to having a companion by your side at all times and suddenly they are gone, it's sad to never say or hear those daily little loving words that you'd normally share with a spouse. One of my dearest friends lives up the street & is more like family to me. Sometimes at night she'd text to say hello. And she'd close it by saying, "Good night!" As simple as it was, it meant the world to me as I crawled into bed!! I guess some of those little gestures are so easy to take for granted, until you no longer have them.
-PLAN A SCHEDULE FOR WALKING/RUNNING, etc.
One of my dearest friends had a baby who died the week my husband left. It was a raw time for both of us as we faced that next phase of our lives. But we had the strength to meet up together walk our little hearts out in Prospect Park several times a week. It was one of the most healing things I've ever done. We had time to breathe fresh air, share experiences, cry our eyes out (and sometimes laugh 'til we cried. The automatic piano player at church comes to mind....the congregation thought my friend was playing.), reminisce about our loved ones, let someone know how we were doing, and also offer service & support to each another. The experience was beautiful. I will forever cherish those walks and I still think of them often, even now.
-SEND CARDS OR EMAILS OFTEN.
Your message to them can just be that you are thinking of them, love them, support them and have confidence in them! I got sooo many cards and gifts and little drawn pictures from my friends' children. It was the sweetest thing ever. I started to hang up all my notes on my wall in a tetris like display and it became such a bright spot in my apt. It made me happy and feel loved every time I looked at it. A collection of the sort still remains on my wall today. And even though this is a busy time for someone handling a divorce, keep the emails/notes going, when you can. Know that they may not be able to respond due to time, emotions, or lack of energy. But every word will be read and appreciated to no end.
-MAKE A QUILT.
"Mama Papa", "Papa Papa" (my maiden name is Papa :), Grandmas, and Sisters (all 4!) made a patchwork quilt for me. My parents visited me in New York shortly after the divorce and they were beaming with from ear to ear as they presented me with a wrapped bundle. I cried when I saw it. I felt extra, extra, extra loved on some nights when I felt so sad and alone and cold in my house during that first winter. I still treasure that quilt so much.
-TEA, BOOKS, MUSIC, PEDICURES, FACIALS.
One dear friend brought me her favorite tea from Paris. Other friends loaned me many inspiring, uplifting books. One gave some new music to listen to. (After a divorce, it's a wonderful time to get new music!! Music becomes such a part of your life with a spouse. It was very much a part of my life with my ex husband. And so it was very refreshing to have some new playlists playing in my home and in my car. Even now those post divorce playlists mean a lot to me because they take me back to that amazing time of my life.) One dear, dear friend called me quite often for pedicures or brunch or walks. She also took me to my first McDonald's run in Brooklyn (she was trying to get some meat on my bones, which I needed. Love her!) And another friend treated me to a 'Japanese facial' at her friend's facial studio in Brooklyn, which was one of the most lovely evenings of my life. Can you believe all these wonderful ladies?
I'd say weekends can be some of the most challenging times for a newly divorced person. Normally the end of the week means outings, dinners, & friends...and it's just different doing all that alone. Danny and I both were immensely blessed in this department. I always had dinner appointments. And the best weekend ever was a girls weekend with all my Brooklyn girlfriends. Everyone left their kids and husbands behind and we packed the Rover and went on a "road trip" to New Jersey - the closest suburb. It's always an "adventure" for us city ladies to go to the suburbs! Hahaha. We hit Dairy Queen, Target, Chili's, and a real Mall - - oh, the joy of big box America!! hahha. It really was one of the best weekends of my life. On Danny's end, there was a family in Boston who adopted him. Every night and every weekend they were calling him to come on over. Meals! Football! Cookies! Rock Band! They would just come up with any excuse to invite him over. I love them so much for doing that for him. It truly meant the world to him.
This may sound strange, but I was so thankful for some of the good, honorable men in my life during that time. They were my friends' husbands, or leaders at church, or both. Many of them were quite protective of me during that time, along with their wives. They gave me blessings, offered to help with man jobs around the house, gave me encouragement, gave me hope, told me about their guy friends they wanted to set me up with, and checked out every guy I was dating to make sure they were good guys. I was very thankful for those friends during that time. I could just see their good, wholesome Priesthood duties kicking in, and it was wonderful to still feel some of that influence even after my husband left.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, & Birthdays can all be very hard times for a person who is newly divorced. You are just flooded with memories as these dates roll around. The first time this holiday thing was an issue for me was just a couple of months after my husband left. It was Conference Weekend (the "Mormon holiday" when the Apostles and Prophets speak to the world via broadcast. It's the Mormon version of Super Bowl Sunday, but with brunch and pajamas and the most inspiring words you could imagine :). In the past, we would always make a huge brunch, host several couples/families, and lounge around and listen to all those good words. But that first time, I was doing it alone and I was so mad my husband wasn't there. But, I was still surrounded by friends. And it was wonderful to be with them. My first Thanksgiving turned out to be a DREAM. Some old Brooklynites were so incredibly gracious to invite me to join them in Westchester. I had the most lovely day full of smiles all day long & cried myself to sleep that night because I was so grateful for them and for that day and for all the goodness in my life. I will never forget their kindness. And then, Christmas....well, it was full of SO many good memories, too. My family was just extra kind to me that year - - Mama Papa, Papa Papa, Sisters, Brother, nieces and nephews...they all gave me extra love. And it meant so much. Oh, and my first birthday was heavenly. I had a big double birthday bash with a dear friend and they packed the house. It was just blissful.
I told you my friends & family were awesome. Seriously, some of the best on earth. I will be forever & ever be grateful to them.
LOVE YOU ALL,
P.S. Do any of you have any other suggestions to add here? I am sure there are many. I hope this can become an even greater list of things.