Surviving heartache

February is not always a month of love.

When assignments for February were revealed, I was surprised seeing “surviving divorce” as one of the feature story topics. Isn’t this usually a month of love, chocolates, and roses? 

However, I do know Valentine’s Day is tough for people going through divorce or widowhood, and I experienced the emotional roller coaster of sadness and heartache when my first marriage ended in divorce after 12 years and I had two young daughters, ages 4 and 7. My second marriage abruptly ended when my husband died from pneumonia before our 25th wedding anniversary, when our youngest daughter was preparing for college finals. 

Maybe I’ve watched too many Hallmark movies, but I really wanted my happily-ever-after to last decades longer. In reality, Forrest Gump was so right in describing the simile of life: “My momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”

It helped to know I was not alone when I went through a 16-week GriefShare group in Leesburg after the death of my husband. There are many places to find help.

It’s really OK and normal to feel anxious about the future. It can take time to heal and re-energize. 

I’ve found being good to yourself emotionally and physically is key to feeling better overall. Over the past three years, I’ve taken more time to relax, eat well, and be involved in exercises that I enjoy. It’s also been a joy to explore new interests, share special outings with friends, and savor special moments with my family. 

Take it from someone who knows: You can survive divorce and/or widowhood, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover a new you—a person who is strong, resilient, and doing OK. 

About the Author

Originally from Anderson, Ind., Theresa worked for The Herald-Bulletin for many years. After experiencing a winter with 53 inches of snow, her late husband asked her to get a job in Florida, and they headed south. Well known in the area, Theresa worked with The Daily Sun and The Daily Commercial prior to joining Akers. “I finally have my dream job. I’ve wanted to work for a magazine since I was a teenager, and I’m very excited to be here,” Theresa says. “There is such positive energy at Akers that it’s infectious.” Theresa has three grown daughters—Julia lives in San Francisco, Emily is in Austin, Tex., and Maria is at the University of Central Florida.