How Great Thou Part

I am at a loss for words.

I am not sure whether to say I am exhausted, nostalgic, somewhat sad or relieved.

What I can say with certainty is I am at peace.

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The kind of serenity which comes with finally accomplishing what I set out to do some five years ago.

First though, let me place you in my world these past twenty-four hours.

With great gratitude at the last minute, a late night settlement was signed. What a huge relief – a court trial would be avoided.

Yet, this morning we still needed to appear to submit the settlement agreement.

How do I explain this?

It was awkward meets unnatural meets stranger meets familiar meets unfamiliar. 

The long-ago love of a naive nineteen-year-old girl was replaced by the aging heart of a wiser woman.

One who could not bring herself to make eye-contact with a man who once permanently stole her gaze.

Instead, I fixed my eyes downward.

Somehow believing averted eyes led to protected pain.

I am an avoider.

A lot of women would have looked their husband straight in the face. They would have stared down the demons.

Not me.

I wanted it over.

In fact, I have wanted it over for five years.

When I did eventually lift my gaze there was no one before me I recognized.

Instead, a man replaced a memory I once knew.

There was no anger at that moment.

There was no love at that moment. 

There was nothing left to be said and nothing left unsaid. 

There was nothing incomplete. 

I am left wondering what my husband witnessed.

The romantic vision of our first meeting or the crumpled picture of our last?

I am reminded of his perpetual words – ‘you’re never going to win Colleen.’

I did not win.

Not yesterday or today.

No one won.

And rather talk of winning I would rather speak of what my children lost.

But these are just reflections.

Lessons learned.

When I first began writing this column I wrote one entitled Men Who Are Champions of Women. 


It recounted the day I spoke to my very best guy friend from high school telling him of my impending divorce. Within days I found him on my doorstep. He had selflessly without request made the trip from Connecticut to take me out to lunch. I was scared and uncertain and yet, he assured me not to be.

He told me this was my graduation.

The next great phase of my life.

And just as we innocently, apprehensively, and resistantly left behind the ones we loved in high school for new adventures…

I would be doing so again.

I respected him.

And I absorbed his words.

I just wasn’t ready to fully believe them.

But with the love, loyalty, and valor of a truly great friend he was correct.

No, it wasn’t the giddiness of our final high school goodbyes or the ceremonial decorum of our college graduation. No tassels swiped from left to right nor caps engulfed the air. No parents smiled proudly nor cameras clicked with last-minute documentation.

There was no major ceremony.

No formal procession.

Just a formal proceeding.

And the visceral feeling that amidst the unfortunate goodbyes there was an infinitely exciting world to be found…

Once the cap and gown hit the floor.

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