The end has come.
Instead of celebrating 15 years of marriage this summer, I will be starting a new life alone.
Well, not really alone.
Even those who did not understand why saw my sorrow and offered help. They didn’t even know why I’ve been sad, they just wanted to show they cared.
Most of those who have known what was going on have made great and humbling offers as well, including everything from a place to cry in the dark of night, to assistance with the kind of ventures that are exactly the reason he left.
I am a very busy person mostly because I put my community and community service above all things.
After the things that we went through, including cancer, infertility and dealing with aging and the eventual death of parents, I have found I need to do more to make the world a better place.
He has learned that this life is a gift and, only being assured of the moment, it should be appreciated and enjoyed. Although these two ideas may not be mutually exclusive, the one does not leave much time for the other.
Just like when losing a parent, a grieving person in a divorce looks back and wonders why this had to happen. Why me? Why now?
Very rarely people are graced with an answer so when they are it is important to listen.
I was in one of those states of questioning when I had the opportunity to listen.
Several months ago a neighbor was diagnosed with terminal cancer. On my way home after a 12-hour workday, I noticed she had returned from a stay at the hospital.
I remember standing at the door thinking that I needed to go upstairs to see my husband and spend time with him. I also felt urged to visit with my neighbor if only for a short time.
It was the last conversation I had with her and, after clarifying that I was not there for official Mountain Valley Hospice business, we had a little chat about the most common things.
She shared a photo album of her visit to New Orleans taking the opportunity to lament the fact that she would never again get to see the city she loved so much.
We talked about practical concerns such as care for her pet, but it was really no different than many other conversations I have had with perfectly healthy people of all ages.
Like with my marriage, I ended that conversation feeling like I should have done so much more.
In recent weeks as I was wondering if I should walk away from my life here, I was called from my office to talk to my neighbor’s family.
Her niece had been in the kitchen that day and I discovered that, after trying repeatedly to get her aunt to eat, it was only my conversation that brought relief.
The niece and her sisters were so grateful for the same moment when I questioned whether serving in my community over being a good wife was the right thing to do.
My neighbor was like a whole different person according to her niece and was requesting food before I had closed the door.
“It was like a weight lifted off her shoulders,” related a grateful niece who, with her sisters, helped confirm that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. No matter how much it hurts.
Because sometimes, often even, doing the right thing hurts.
We decided together that saying goodbye was the right thing even though it hurts, and I was blessed with personal affirmation when I needed it most.
Truly the voice of the Great Creator is all around us if we will only listen.
So yes, I have come to a painful end in my life, but it is also the opportunity for a joyful beginning.
It is an opportunity to stand on faith and exhibit it in a very concrete way.
It is an opportunity to discover who I can become and what my potential might be with no limitations.
Right now is my opportunity to do anything I want, to go anywhere I choose.
And I choose here.
Beanie Taylor is a staff reporter for The Tribune. She can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.