Parting Thoughts: The Divorce Diaries — Stories of Love, Loss and the Courage to Let Go

Sunset in Las Cruces, July 8, 2020

Welcome to the Divorce Diaries: It’s never easy to say goodbye, even when you have very good reason to do so. While our Case Studies are full of poignant first person accounts of the 5 Reasons to Leave — Abuse, Addiction, Adultery, Abandonment, and Angst — in this section you’ll find letters of love, wishes for the future, and thoughts on how to move on with grace. Click here to share your story with us.

About many of the pics in the Divorce Diaries: When I first separated from my husband in November 2014, I began doing the very thing I’d longed to do my entire marriage — travel. The images you see illustrating the Parting Thoughts below were snapped over the last six years as I zigzagged my way from Richmond to Napa to Marfa, TX and LA, from Paris and Geneva to Barcelona, and for a brief beautiful week to Iceland in December 2017.

World’s Largest Chili Pepper: Hope celebrating her 56th birthday, July 8, 2020

I hope these snapshots give you a glimpse into how absolutely breathtakingly beautiful this world of ours is. If you have a hankering to check it out but your partner isn’t game — as our friend and love expert Dr. Helen Fisher says, “Educated people don’t stay in marriages that don’t make them happy.”

I leave you with this parting thought, and parting shot: From my birthday celebration when I traveled to see the world’s largest chili pepper (in Las Cruces, NM) to a rose garden in Claremont last spring, or the volcanic majesty of caves near Reykjavík — here’s my wish for you: Open to the possibilities. And never, never, never be afraid to turn your wildly improbable goals into your reality! Stay well. — Love, Hope

While you have been sitting in prison, I have been living.

A letter from Brandy Reese Sloan

Ten years ago, you tried to end my life. You picked up an aluminum bat and tried to beat me to death. You killed my unborn child. You broke both of my arms, you crushed my hands, and you fractured my skull. You broke most of the bones in my face and all but three of my fingers.

You sat on my chest and strangled me again and again, then left me lying naked in a pool of my own blood. You wanted me to fear you, and I did. You wanted me to feel insignificant and small, and less than, and I did. For a very long time, I did. But I’m not insignificant, and I am not less than, and I am NOT afraid of you anymore.

The 10 years since you tried to kill me have not been easy ones. I had to go through a painful recovery and several surgeries and physical therapy. It took two years to get you before the judge to send you to prison — and I barely left the house for almost all of those two years. I hid from you, so you couldn’t find me and fulfill your promise to finish what you’d started. After your sentencing, it was another three years before I finally felt like “me” again.

With you behind bars, I could finally begin living my life. I grew stronger and stronger. I did A LOT of counseling. I worked on myself. I became an advocate for abuse victims, to try and help keep what you did to me from happening to other women. I helped get women out. I helped women put their abusers behind bars just like you.

I fell in love again — this time with someone who treated me the way I deserve to be treated. We’re married now, and my husband is a thousand times the man you are, or could ever hope to be. He would cut his own arm off before he raised a hand to hurt me.

While you have been sitting in prison, I have been living.

I’ve been living the life you tried to take from me – and I’ve been living it well. My bruises have long since faded, my broken bones have healed, and while the scars will never go away, I barely notice them now. I finally stopped having nightmares about you every night five years ago. The last shred of power you had over me is gone.

They denied your parole this year, but I know the day will come when you get out, and I’ve been preparing myself for it since the day you went in. I forgave you years ago for what you did – not for you, but for me. I couldn’t carry that anger around — I couldn’t let you live in my head like that. Hating you took too much of my precious energy.

Forgiving you released me from all of that.

My hope is that when you do get out, that you’ll go somewhere and live your life and let me go on living mine. I will never “get over” what you did to me — that trauma will be with me forever. But I learned how to live my life around the trauma, in spite of the trauma. . I learned how to use my pain and my experience to help others.

I survived you. I survived, and I thrived.

Click here to check out Brandy’s feature on “Surviving the Intimate,” on YouTube.

Ransom, by Lisette Johnson

Not every day is full of rainbows and unicorns. That could be said for any of us, but it is especially true of those of us who fight the residual emotional and physical challenges that abuse has left. Like the invisible prisons our captors held us in, it looks fromread more

Déjà Vu, by Lisette Johnson

As I sat down this morning in my sunny living room, coffee in hand, I was transported back seven years ago to my then my husband greeting me with “Good morning,” barely looking up from the newspaper he read. I vividly recall sitting quietly for a few minutes, mustering theread more

Gifts to My Future Wife, by Peter of Richmond, VA

This is the way I would like for my future partner and I to approach a loving, committed relationship. My spontaneous gifts to you: Foot massage while we are watching a movie on our comfortable couch On a day where you have been busier than I, making you dinner orread more

Prince of Darkness, by Hope Katz

February 14, 1992 — He proposed on Valentine’s Day, one year ago today. After a candlelit dinner at our favorite restaurant along the sea in South Beach, he handed me a homemade valentine. A map of our Miami apartment was tucked inside. Then, he kissed me softly on the lips beforeread more

This is how I will love you now, by Angelika Skylar

It is in the dark hours of the morning that you turn up in my dreams. I pant myself awake, knowing I will never see you again. This agonizing reality startles my spirit, steals my breath. I calm myself by reliving in my mind our last evening together … again …read more