It's hard to walk away from the promise of a relationship, one she counted on, hoped through and finally gave up on. All of the "should have beens" and "what ifs" were pouring from her, today, in a tsunami of broken promises.
But no one should live in an abusive relationship. You won't find me writing a lot of absolutes like that, but I can't see any way around that one.
Here's what I wrote to her this morning:
I know how hard you worked to get to this goal, and how sad and scary it is.You did what needed to be done. Now you know the dominoes have all been placed and soon they will begin to fall and you feel like you will just be helplessly watching them drop, one by one.
In reality, you're not "just helplessly watching." Instead, I believe the fear and sadness are exactly what you're walking away from. And, whenever we walk away from something, we are also walking towards something.
When my daughter left for college, she was so sure of herself, so confident, so ready... until the minute before we were actually about to drive away and leave her there. Suddenly, my incredibly confident and dynamic daughter started vomiting, which was followed by tears of embarrassment and finally complete, exposed fear and grief. Her true feelings were finally out. She was scared to death!
Of course this shouldn't have been surprising. She was barely seventeen. But she has always been very independent, and I just took her self-assurance in stride as part of who she was.
In the minutes after she started crying, I held her as I had when she was very small. She said, "I don't have any friends here. I'm going to be all alone."
My reply might sound kind of hoaky in the light of a new day, but she has remembered it and brought it up more than once. I said, "Sweetheart, you have friends right yere. You just haven't met them yet."
Corny? Yes. But also exactly what she needed to hear.
So that's what I want to say to you. You are not just walking away from something, you are walking into your new peaceful life, and heading towards relationships that you haven't even imagined yet.
I don't know, yet, how my friend will react to my note, but I hope she will find some comfort there, and carry that into the days ahead. There is still the court proceedings ahead, and there will be custody issues and more hassles even after the moment when she is officially divorced. But in time, I'm hoping she will look to the horizon and walk towards what's waiting there for her, and will never look back.