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I never imagined that I would be in this position right now. In my hand, I am holding five pieces of paper full of legal words and only one sign has caught my eye – divorce. I will be divorcing my husband of 20 years, and you know what, it pains me even after everything I’ve been through with him. These five pieces of paper hold what is to happen to my future. A tear fell which rolled on my cheek. I had to wipe it. There is no turning back now. I will be single again, after 20 years, as if it was so easy.

My husband and I have five children. Mirah is nineteen, about to finish her college degree and a soccer varsity player. Maia is sixteen and a Junior (she skipped a grade, brilliant young lady). Michelle is in the sixth grade, artistic and a great cartoonist. Mitch is exceptional – he has ADHD but is high-functioning. My baby Mimi is still in Playschool. All our children are gifted and precious. Any woman would want to save the marriage for the sake of love and family.

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I came from a broken home, and I promised myself that I will do anything in my power to keep my family whole. But what if I have to break that promise so that I can save myself? Will it be selfish of me to prioritize myself instead of keeping the family intact? I closed my eyes, and I felt my hands shaking. The five pieces of paper still clutched in my hand. Should I do this or do I walk away and accept that I am forever bound to him? I took a deep breath and sat down on the bench behind me.

Is it worth it to save this marriage or do I have to wake up and smell the garbage – as my grandmother would say? I look at the five pieces of paper in my hand. If I decide to give this to the clerk, then, my divorce will be final. I remember my children, and I also think of myself. Can I sacrifice more of myself just so my kids can say that they are not from a broken family? Why does it have to be so complicated?

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Suddenly, my phone alerted, and there she was my grandmother. She sent me a text message. Her text made me reassess the situation I was facing at the moment. “You can’t give love to your children if there is nothing left in you. I don’t want you to die of heartache, sacrificing yourself in a respect-less and loveless marriage. Starting right now, it must be YOU first. That doesn’t make you a bad mother. Actually, it makes you a better person if you do that.”

She’s right. I can’t live my life with him anymore. I have to live my life for me. And so, after a few seconds of a deep breath, I stood up and fixed myself. “Hi. Can you point me to the clerk?” I asked the person in front of me. She said, “I’m the clerk. How can I help you?” I smiled at her and then, looked at those five pieces of paper in my hand.

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