On the Death of a Marriage


Ash Heart

The death of a marriage is a slow, bumpy ride down a dark, lonely road in the middle of hell, full of unexpected twists and turns, sudden detours, unforeseen potholes, rickety old bridges, extreme weather conditions, and all sorts of other things beyond our control. No guideposts or streetlamps light the way. Accidents happen. Roadkill happens. Innocent people get hurt. Sometimes, we take the high road, other times, we go low. Either way, every day, we try to move forward, forward, forward.

Don’t look back.

It is a minefield, full of hidden explosives, ready to blow at the slightest provocation.

A wasteland: barren, uninhabitable, grey.

(I’ve done my best to navigate)


The death of a marriage is a festering wound; raw, puss-filled and infected, nerves dangerously exposed.

It is a phantom limb, severed flesh remembered on a cellular level, a painful ghost of what used to be.

A charley horse: uncontrollable, intense, spastic.

A broken heart fighting to survive.

(I’ve done all I can to heal)


Nobody gets through completely unscathed; the death of a marriage changes us.

But while it is the end of a story, to be certain, it is not the end of the whole story.

It is, in fact, the germination stage of another.

(I’ve planted so many seeds).


It’s over.

We bury the dead, because ritual matters and, honestly, decaying matter just stinks. We gather with loved ones to reminisce and remember, and we mourn, we grieve. We may even scream at the heavenly stars over the injustice of it all until our vocal chords give out…

But then, one day, it hurts a little less. No tears fall, and we laugh—we actually laugh out loud—at something funny a friend says. Finally, some pressure gets released, a small pebble tumbles out of the pile we’ve been carrying on our backs and, miraculously, a massive weight is lifted.

Bit by bit, stone by stone, we can breathe again.

(I can breathe again).


It isn’t easy to let go.

We often hold on hardest to the things or people we most need to set free, forgetting that we can’t be open to receive what we truly need if our hands are clenched in fists of fear, desperately clinging to something we don’t. No, letting go is not easy, but it is often necessary. Even when it’s scary. Probably most especially then.

The death of a marriage has altered my vision of the future.

The life I move toward isn’t the one I’d imagined, but it’s the one I have been called to.

I must answer.