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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dear Woman In The SUV That I Almost Hit

Thank you for seeing me.

I was backing out, and a bare second before we would have impacted, you hit your brakes and prevented a catastrophe. I gave you a sheepish wave – it was all my fault, really – and you gave me an annoyed look but didn't get crazy about it. You just went on your way.

And again, thanks. That could have ended so differently, so badly, if you hadn't been paying attention when I clearly wasn't.

But you see, it's my birthday, and it's a big one. And my family is far away, and I'm so broke the kids and I can't even go to McDonald's, and when my ex brought the kids back last night, he didn't even wish me Happy Birthday. He didn't really even speak to me at all, really.

And I was more than a little sad because maybe if he hadn't left, maybe I'd be surrounded by friends and neighbors and family on this big birthday, and he would be ribbing me about the fact that I'm four months older than him, and it would be a warm and happy day, instead of another reminder that my life got pulled out from under me and despite all the great and good things in my life (and there are many), it's still hard to believe this is my life now.

Then my daughter let me know on the drive home that Daddy's getting married in just a few short months, shortly after the ink is dry on the final divorce decree. This wasn't a surprise.

But it was a surprise that on top of the birthday, it felt like a boulder hitting me in the stomach. And this is a stomach that hasn't felt great since Friday, mind you, when my daughter went to her first Broadway show with Daddy and his soon-to-be-wife. Her first Broadway show, and it wasn't me that got to take her.

Me, the one with the Theatre degree. 

The one who once dreamed of Broadway for herself. He and I met in college, you know. He used to come to my shows, even though he never cared much for live theatre. He came to see me. Back then, he'd do anything to see me, and I'd sacrifice all those dreams to be the person he needed me to be, and to stay at his side.

But that was a long time ago, back when I was young, and in love. And today, I'm clearly not either of those things anymore. And I feel like I will never be either of those things again.

All of this was playing in my mind as I backed out of my parking space, and I didn't see you. And I'm sorry. I'm wallowing today in a pit of misery so deep, it feels like I'm drowning and I'll never find air or light again.

So I hit my brakes, and I waved at you, and as you pulled away, I took a deep breath and pulled myself together. I reminded myself that today is in reality, just another day. That I've felt more pain than this and survived it. That this sudden surge of misery is not going to define me, or the life I've rebuilt from the rubble.

Tomorrow, I'll be one day older, and a little wiser.

And I promise, I'll remember how important it is to look back, before you turn in the direction you really need to go.


Ellie DeLano spent four years as the Divorce Blogger for Woman's Day Magazine, chronicling her transition to single parenting and mid-life dating after decades of marriage with poignancy and humor. What she learned from her readers and her own experience was invaluable, and she shares it here with a straightforward guide to the things you really need to help you move forward after your divorce.
Available at Amazon for Kindle - and Smashwords for all e-reading device.


  1. Happy birthday Ellie.... the big one!.. You have come really far.. and I am wishing you adventures, wonderful family time, and happiness more days than not over the next year!

  2. I hope you have a good birthday.

    It makes me sad to read you don't have the money to take yourself and the kids to even McDonalds. I hope it will become more clear that you need to make changes that will be hard in the short term (being rid of an unaffordable house and going somewhere affordable so you and the kids can have a better life financially, for example). I recall in another post how you said the kids did not want to move, but you are the adult and the decision maker in the family and you need to make those tough decisions that will ultimately benefit you all.

    In the meantime, make yourself a simple dinner so you don't have to work hard on your birthday and maybe see if the local library has a movie for loan that you'd all like to see? And again, best wishes for a happy birthday and a wonderful upcoming year.