Stage 3: Anger
When my husband and I decided to make our marriage work long distance for 2 years, the rational and logical side of my brain realized that it was the best possible solution for both of us. In fact, a big part of me respects him more for not just tagging along with me and instead deciding to do what he feels he needs to in order to be complete whilst letting me do the same. However, the non-rational side of me felt flashes of anger that our family would be separated as a result, with me and one dog (my St Bernard Great Dane mix, Mozart) on one side of the ocean and him staying behind on the other side with our two Yorkies. This stage quickly gave way to the next one…
Stage 4: Denial
The stage of denial dragged on for months, even as I made the necessary preparations to move both myself and Mozart across to Germany. As close friends would break down into tears I would sometimes cry empathetically as I often do, but my own emotions remained strangely evasive as I went about my daily life.
Stage 5: Fear
In the final week before I departed, as the empty rooms in my house and the administrative emails from colleagues in Germany started filtering through the fog, I was gripped by sheer terror. Sleep eluded me. Little things like considering how I would move my two heavy suitcases through the airport and into a taxi by myself filled me with panic. I was a wreck. And then, all too quickly, the day before my flight arrived…
Stage 6: Grief
I still cry daily, and I can honestly say that this is by far the most emotional and most difficult decision I have ever made. Nothing could have prepared me for the intense sorrow I experienced saying goodbye to my dogs and especially to my husband. Even though I don’t feel that I made a mistake in coming here, I long to hold and kiss my husband or snuggle up to my dogs on the couch. There is a part of me missing and it hurts like hell. But I also know what is just over the horizon, and I look forward to my experience coming full circle back to Stage 1: Hope. Because isn’t that what all this is for?
I know that one day I will wake up and I will make it through the whole day without a single tear. I won’t feel anxiety trying to navigate a new city, or grocery store. I’ll recognize the words being spoken to me and respond without hesitation. I’ll feel more at home. And I will feel hopeful. Hope in the security of the love my husband and I share, knowing that we will be reunited and build a bond stronger than before, hope for a better, happier and safer future, and hope that we can build the life we both want and dream of in this beautiful country.
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner