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I Thought I Died

I’ve never been a person who minded change too much.  Moving to new places, finding new hobbies, changing the furniture around and painting the walls a new color have never been a problem.  Even looking for a new Church in those times when we moved wasn’t a bother to me, I like meeting people.  New scenery is always welcome and new places to explore is a favorite of mine.


I’ve found some changes I don’t like. In fact, these are changes I hate. That’s a strong word, I know. But I do hate some changes. When a change entails people leaving your life, I hate that. I guess if these people were people I didn’t like or people who were mean to me, that wouldn’t be so bad. The changes I’ve experienced in the last 4 years though – have been about people I love, leaving.

Yes, I’m talking about the “D” word. Divorce.  One of our children has been divorced twice. I got to know one of the spouses well. I loved that person. Deeply.  And I had just started to know the other and loved that person.

Most of us can love so very easily.  Especially women, we ladies have that ability most of the time.  I mean really LOVE. Head over heels, concerned about their life, wanting to spend time with them – loved them.   So when those loved ones leave, its devastating.   That probably sounds selfish, what about my child who was also bereft?  I know my child was heartsick.

I had to act strong for my child.  Inside I felt like I was dying. So much so, that I commented to my husband, “I feel like I may actually die from this.”  I felt physical symptoms of depression and trauma.  My chest felt heavy and I had trouble breathing. I cried every day. My head hurt constantly. It felt as if someone had died. Someone had died. The person who was born when two became one. And I grieved over this just like someone I loved had died.

I didn’t once think, “What will people say?”  I didn’t care.  I only knew that life was changed and I hated it. My grandchildren felt it too. Though they are young and resilient, I saw them acting out in ways they didn’t even understand. My child suffered – I suffered along, mostly silent, with my child.

I had to really get serious with God asking Him to help me because I really did not want to die.  I wanted to know why I was feeling like this. It wasn’t my marriage in shambles but I saw how my child was being affected. My grown child cried on my shoulder. My child worried and stressed and doubted God and nearly became sick.  I did become sick. My other children didn’t understand. They probably thought I was overly emotional. Maybe I was but I was the only way I knew to be.

I realized that divorce is a hateful thing and God is truthful when He says, “”I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty.

Divorce does violence to families.  It did violence to me and mine and I can attest to that.  I felt ravaged, beat up, wounded by divorce. I cried out to God all day and through the night. I cried out for Him to save the marriage, then when it was obvious it would not be saved, I cried out to Him to help my child and grandchildren through this. I prayed for the ex-spouse, too.  I cried out to Him to help me, to help us all. I felt like our family was out of control. I was so deeply bereft that I could only cry out for help. Over time, He did help me. He taught me about Himself, about people.  He showed me how desperately we all need Him. He comforted me. He showed me that we were not out of control, that He was in control, even in the middle of this horrible mess.

Then the second divorce happened.

I hadn’t known this second spouse as long. This time I was sad, heavy feeling. I didn’t want to go down that road again and I didn’t.  I miss this person and I miss what our family could have been. Its only because I wasn’t as invested in this person as I was the first that it didn’t devastate me.  But my heart toward my child broke again and I was spending time day and night praying, trying to understand.

I don’t understand. And I may never.

But there is one constant in my life. God is with me. He is near by and helping me and even if my child doesn’t know it yet, He is helping all of us. He has answered every cry I have made with His presence, with strength and with relief. He has changed me and how I see people. He has made me more forgiving, more aware of my own sin, more grateful.

I understand a little more now what it means to have God with you through trials. Looking back on the past 4 years I really thought I died, but I didn’t.  He didn’t take away the divorce but He got down into our messy lives with us and kept us all from drowning.



  1. Sharon

    Oh Sylvia. What a huge thing to share, may God use it and bless it to others. I know how my heart ached when my daughter’s boyfriend split up with her. I lay with her and held her in my arms as she cried herself to sleep night after night. God helped us through, her especially and has recently brought a lovely God fearing young man into her life. It has made her a stronger person and brought her into a better place spiritually. This must go so much deeper and I do hope that as time goes on you each, and especially your child will be able to see that it has indeed all worked together for good. Hugs. Sharon xx

    • Sylvia

      Thank you so much, Sharon.

  2. Linda

    Sylvia, Thank you! It felt like you wrote this for me. I feel so torn.
    My son and his wife are separated. They have a 15 mo. old son.
    He is my only grandchild. Before he was born, my son and daughter-in-law lived with us for over a year. I grew to love her too.
    Now my family seems ripped apart. It does break my heart.
    I do pray for them to get back together, but I feel like there has been a death,
    and I am grieving.

    • Sylvia

      I’m praying for you tonight. I wish I could give you a hug and just sit and listen to your story. We do have a lot in common, and I know the Lord will be with you just like He is with me. hold on to Him. <3

  3. granolabrooklyn

    Thank you for sharing this. This was so beautifully written and heartfelt. Very moving. While I haven’t experienced this, I know many who have. I’m sure you have spoken right into someone’s life by sharing your story. May God help you all continue to heal.

    • Sylvia

      Thank you and thanks for coming by and commenting.

  4. Carmela Webb

    Your words are powerful, true, authentic, honest. You are not alone.

  5. Helena

    I am so thankful to read this blog. I wish that people understood more how divorce ruptures the wider family circle and not just the spouses concerned and their children, if they have any. When one of my brothers divorced from his wife, I felt truly bereft. I had lost someone whom I genuinely regarded as a sister. It is a sorrow I will carry always, but offering it up to God in prayer is the only thing we can do.

    • Sylvia

      Thank you for your comments, Helena. Mitzi, a reader here, wrote to me and reminded me that one reason I felt so bereft was that my child’s spouse became my child as well. Its true. With no disrespect meant to those who have lost a child to death, it was a feeling of loss like no other.