Divorce Memoirs: Over It | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

April 10, 2012

Divorce Memoirs: Over It

::Over it::


I answer the phone, expecting to hear my friend's voice on the other line.  The early October air has just a hint of chill to it, the leaves only just starting to change.  Homecoming Dance is a few weeks away, and we have just spoken about going together as friends. I assume he has forgotten some detail and needed to call back. 

Sophomore year started just over a month ago, and my sisters and I find ourselves still wading the waters of life as divorced kids.  Our inaugural summer without my dad felt long and empty. I welcomed the first day of school with immense enthusiasm, simply for the change of scenery. School meant friends, school meant not being here.  Where our life as a family used to be.  

"Hello, Stephanie?"

The thud reverberates through my chest as I feel my heart stop at the familiar deep voice.  A voice that had comforted me all the times I fell off my bike, who used to wish me sweet dreams before bed each night.  A voice that had told me, not yet a year ago, that he was leaving.  This voice belongs to my father.

I have been avoiding his calls as of late. An internal struggle begins each time the phone rings, wondering if it is him.  I do not know how to have a relationship with him in this new life.  How do I exist as his daughter, how do I let him be my dad?  How do I address the dark feelings I have about his leaving, about the subsequent divorce? How do I pick up the phone, and converse as though my life has not been torn apart? How do I chat as though my heart hasn't been broken?

Today, he has found me.  Today I let myself answer.

"Hi, Dad."

My heart skitters erratically, and a dew forms on my face. Nervous. I feel nervous.  Nervous because I haven't returned his calls, and I know he will be upset.  Nervous because I can't resolve the feeling of loving him while simultaneously hating him.

I am glad I finally caught you.  I have been wanting to talk to you, but you won’t return my calls."



All my life, I have worked toward never letting him down.  My achievements were never fulfilled until I had his pride, his stamp of approval.  I hate disappointing him. Even now. Even though he has disappointed me.


My eyes squeeze shut and I wish to be anywhere but here in this conversation.  I find myself back to being five years old, playing in the yard with my dad. His protective arms playfully picking me up, our laughter echoing as we run across the green grass.  He was so big, so strong, so infallible.  I clothe myself in the blanket of this memory.

When I call, Stephanie, I expect to hear back from you. It is common courtesy."

I feel my defenses buckle.  Something in the back of my mind reminds me I have done nothing wrong here.  He left, I tell myself.  You do not owe him anything.

"What is it that you wanted, Dad?" I ask.

"Well, I wanted to set up a time for you and your sisters to come have dinner with Gail and I. When are you free?”  He inquires.

Weary.  I feel weary from fighting this war. The war between my world and his. To my father, both of his worlds co-exist seemlessly, his old life and new life.  In my world, I am fighting everything to keep my head above water.  In my world, I am fighting to bring him back.  In my world, I am still adjusting to my new life.

And I don't yet like it.

Dinner. Can I handle dinner?  Can I handle my world colliding?  Can I handle embracing that which has been thrust upon me? No.  Net yet.  So I am honest with him.

"Dad, I don't think I am ready to have dinner with you...and her." It pains me to give him an answer he does not want to hear.

"What? Why not?" He is incredulous.



Why can't I bring myself to have dinner with my dad in his new life?  Why can't I accept what is?  Because.  Because I am hurt.  Because I am broken.  Because I had no choice in this new life.  Because all bets were off when you walked out the door.  Because I don't understand how you can be my dad and leave.

Because you chose her

And not me.

Tears sting at my eyes, the sadness in my heart overflowing. My cries are silent as I process pain, grief, loss.  I hate you. I love you. I miss you. I want everything to go back to the way it was. A small sob escapes my throat.

"Are you crying?"

I cannot contain my sobs now, and the tears audibly fall down my cheeks.  He is silent, and I wonder if my emotion has broken through, giving him a window into my heart.  Maybe now he will understand, maybe now we can process.  Maybe now he will say he is sorry, and it was all a mistake.

He sighs.

"Stephanie, you should be over this by now."

Over this.  Over this? The world moves in slow motion. I hear the words he has said, but do not understand them. I should be angry, furious that he is making himself out to be the victim here.  That I have somehow wronged him. How can he possibly insist that I make myself okay with all that has happened? To pretend the we can all surface, unscathed?

But in this moment, I do not feel anger.  The heaviness in my chest is not burning, but dull. Guilt. I feel guilt. Guilt that I have avoided him. Guilt that I did not return his calls. Guilt that I am not giving him the answers he wants.  Guilt that I am not yet, as he says, over it.

The conversation unravels then and ends quickly, to be revisited at a later date.  Because I have no response. Because I am not over it.  I cannot give him the answer he wants to hear. Our worlds cannot yet co-exist.  I hang up the phone, wipe my face.  My lips are numb from crying, my body numb from emotion.

I never considered in a million years that I would ever have to get over my father leaving.

And as I assess the pain weighing down my heart in this moment, I wonder how I will ever be over it.

To take all the scattered pieces and make myself whole again.

So I sit, contemplating being over it, while guilt subconsciously creeps into my soul and I grab at the puzzle pieces of my life that won't fit back together.


  1. so poingant... i never went through parental divorce, but you caputre your feelings so truthfully.

  2. this brought back so many feelings. I absolutely love love love my step-mother, it pains me to even call her "step"mother but there was a time that I didn't want to know her, see her, hear her or even know she existed. I hold a lot in still about my parents split, one day I'll get it all out.

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