This is it. The last day we share a home, a closet, a bathroom and utility bills. My husband and I try to look busy as the movers load the last of his things. The men remove the protective padding from the door frames and close up the back of the truck. Jeff (husband) rushes off to follow Two Men and a Truck to his next home. No time for a closure hug or a final look around at the space he once filled. He’s gone and I remain. The emptiness in the house permeates me and settles black and hollow in my chest.
I promise this won’t be a completely sappy, tear-jerking post on the sadness of divorce.
What to Do When an Empty House Scares You
The truth is I do not linger in the empty house. I pick up my gym bag and head to my favorite hip-hop cardio class. The scene from the house lies just below the surface of my happy/cool/together facade as I ascend the stairs to the studio. Two friends ask how I am doing and the waterworks and emotions sneak past my seriously wimpy and somewhat inept guard. I quickly recover by focusing on the Beyonce song that’s playing. I do not want to ugly cry all over the hardwood floor, that would be dangerous. Once the class starts and I move, sweat and get lost in the beat, I feel myself being happy.
After class: for once in my life, I am not eager to go home to an empty house. My friend, Amanda, graciously offers to have lunch with me after class even though I know her schedule is booked to the hilt. We have a good venting/sharing session over grocery-store salads and free cups of water. The light lunch and conversation fill me up.
I return home and check in on Facebook. I shoot a quick note to my friend, Kimber, telling her about my empty, sinking, weird day. She replies with, Remember emptiness is space. Space allows for creativity to fill it.
Space Beats the Heck Out of Emptiness
I begin to apply pop psychology to my notion of what emptiness is. I reframe it as free space. I alchemize it in order to see it as healthy and even beneficial. Instead of seeing what’s missing I see what’s present. Loneliness, unfulfilled plans and an ache from loss become solitude, space to create and a reason to look inward. Now the loss feels more like a gain.:) What am I going to do with all this wide open space? Whatever the hell I want!! First and foremost, I have children to care for but my love life is entering a fallow season which could be just what the doctor ordered for my hollowed out center. I can write, read, pay attention to my friends, take classes, watch long-ass documentaries and chick flicks, explore career paths, belly dance, be of service to the universe or do absolutely nothing at all. Instead of wallowing in emptiness I can revel in space to live.
Later in the day I walk through the house noticing where the new empty spaces are; the spot in the basement where the couch used to be, the compressed carpet where the feet of the cedar chest used to rest, the visible white walls of the closet where Jeff’s clothes used to hang, the extra room on the shelf in the shower. All these spaces look odd but feel natural and comfortable. I spin around in the now spacious living room. My mind feels uncluttered in the rooms with less. I start to envision new ways of decorating the house (something my full brain has been unable to do for a long time). I have the urge to be thoughtful. I text Jeff to see how he is doing. I invite people I treasure over for dinner.
I told you I wouldn’t take you down the rabbit hole of divorce darkness. The message I want to get across is to look at feelings of emptiness as spaces to fill with joy, love, creativity or belly dancing.;)
What do you do when feeling empty? Is there a void in your life that could be seen as an opportunity?
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