When a house and a family are torn in two, what does it take to pick up the pieces and start all over again? Where there is a home, there is hope…

My family home, like my family, has been torn to pieces. I wasn’t prepared for divorce. I never dreamed it would happen to me.

The day my family was broken up was a day full of pain, anger and anxiety

My heart was beating fast. I could hardly breathe. My lungs felt clogged up, my palms were sweating. Even though it was icy outside, my body was burning up inside.

The magistrate had just announced that I was divorced and just like that, an 11-year marriage had come to an end. Instead of feeling relieved that it was finally over, I felt lost and sad. I dropped onto the bench as if I was about to faint.

Now I must find the strength to build a new home and start a new family. The person who was not only my husband, but my best friend, will no longer be around. I am not only a single woman, but a single mom too.

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How will my life be now that I no longer have a husband, and my son no longer has an ever-present father?

I had no answers. I felt empty, heartbroken, and angry that my fairy-tale life had ended.

I stopped eating. I lost weight and found myself shopping for clothes in the children’s section. I would sometimes go to work without combing my hair or ironing my clothes. I didn’t care who was watching or whispering about me. I was a glorified mess. But I needed to wake up and take care of myself, for the sake of my son.

I had lost my life partner and my friend. We had shared a home, hobbies, friends and family. Now I was sitting in our dining room, packing boxes and getting ready to leave. I had to separate the boxes into three categories. My stuff, my son’s stuff and ‘his’ stuff.

The divorce was now real. I was already referring to my husband as “he, him, his and ex”. I spoke to my son and referred to him as ‘your father’.

Packing those boxes was hard. I wanted to scream and cry at the same time. I found a photo album with pictures of us on our first holiday as a couple. I began removing his pictures and throwing them into a plastic bag. I don’t know where they will end up.

Should I give everything that belongs to him back to him? I sat in silent pain and deleted pictures from my phone because It was painful to look at us as a happy couple.

I felt like everything I had and loved had been taken away from me. But I realised, too, that my life was not over. My marriage had ended, but I was still breathing. My son needed his mother to be strong. I packed up the boxes and headed out of the door of our old apartment.

I whispered to myself: “You can do this.”

Me and my son, just the two of us. While I was driving, my son asked me where we were going. “Home,” I said, and I watched him smile for the first time in a long time. That was when I knew we were going to be okay.

I chose to buy a home that reminded me of my childhood home, where happy memories where shared. A pretty orangey flowered garden. A spacious kitchen. I love to bake, so most of my free time will be spent here. The backyard has a swimming pool. My son’s face lit up when he saw it. He loves swimming.

The house has high pressed ceilings, and there are chandeliers in every room. The old-style wooden floors creak as we walk. There is a fresh smell of sunlight in the dining room. I picture us sitting at the table, eating my delicious home-baked banana bread.

I can breathe again. My heart is at ease…

My son holds my hand, and we walk through the house. It’s just the two of us now. We’re picking up the pieces. We’re starting all over again. We’re home.

Article by Dorothy Diaz.