My final decision to leave my husband and children would tumble me down into a vast unknown—deep into a rabbit hole that rivaled Alice’s, thus untethered.

To this day, The Leaving Event is both real and surreal. Yes, it happened, I left my children. The surreal side is that I cannot comprehend how a mother could leave her children—how could I have done such a thing?

Now that I’m finally gaining insight into the answers to some of those questions, I’m learning to stop punishing myself for believing for so long I was a bad person.

One question I never asked myself, but probably should have, is what the other side of leaving might have looked like. At some level, I knew what I was leaving behind: the worst, and the best, aspects of our marriage and our children; but I didn’t have a clue about what awaited. I never considered that I’d be left without any afterward plan. As it turned out, I escaped the confines of an unhappy marriage and ended up, for a very long time, in bondage to guilt.

With or without a plan, though, the punishing consequences that followed could not be evaded. I now realize there is no preparation for such an event—no “how-to” book in the library or a bookstore that tells you how to leave your husband and young children.

What exists for me today:

  • Still, on the rare occasions that I hear about a mother abandoning her children, judgment rushes in. How could a mother do that?
  • Our society has come to accept the many freedom steps taken by women in the ‘70s, ’80, and ‘90s. However a woman leaving her children is rarely understood or forgiven.

. . . there is no sin but a mistake, and no punishment but an inevitable consequence. . . the Law of cause and effect must be eternally operative –Ernest Holmes

Stay tuned. Next episode:  “Denial”

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