Where do I begin? It’s Day One and I’m so lost. Better yet, how do I begin again? For 20 years I was Andrea Reak, a wife and a mother of three. I took pride in caring for my family and my home; they were my everything.
And that’s where I went terribly wrong.
You see, somewhere in the 20 years of being a married homemaker (or domestic goddess as my Mom would say) I lost sight of myself. I lost my inner compass and began to live solely for those who were in my charge. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it made me a really excellent mother and friend and I thought it made me a really great wife too. My home was beautiful, our meals were healthy and homemade, and there was always laughter, family, and friends…. and usually some shenanigans too. It was a charmed life and I was happy.
And that’s where it went terribly wrong.
In the past 12 months, my husband divorced me, my beloved dog developed diabetes then died, and my sweet oldest son has been battling depression, suicidal ideations and sobriety. Oh, and there was this thing called COVID.
Day One, Step One
So how do I begin again? STEP 1, day one: a new name. I was so hurt and angry and heartbroken about the divorce that I could not consider keeping my married name, even though it’s the name that my three children bear. And yet returning to my maiden name after 20 years didn’t feel quite right either, even though I have nothing but love for my family of origin. So then what?
At the time of my name quest, I was re-reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s the classic hero’s journey, where, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the answer lies within the hero all along. And there it was. My name. It was with me all along. My parents named me Andrea Blythe, which means Strong Spirit. That’s the first step: I will change my name from Andrea Blythe Reak to simply Andrea Blythe.
I’d like to thank my parents for giving me such a beautifully powerful name. Generations ago Blythe was a last name in our family and it was given to my mother as her first name, then passed on to me and my daughter as our middle names. And now, it’s making a full-circle trip back to its original position of a last name.
And this is the first small step that I have made in the returning of knowing who I am. What will your first step be? When the post-divorce journey feels overwhelming (and it will at times), remember to just take that first small step. Everyday is a day one. Everyday we have a chance to take one small step towards the life of our dreams. Cheers to Day one!
So I dedicate this post and this blog to my parents. They have loved me fiercely through all the good and all the grief. And they named me well. I love you both.
MUSICAL NOTE: If you’re wondering where to begin again, I recommend that you give a listen to Looking for Space by John Denver. His voice and lyrics never fail to lift my spirits, or allow the tears to flow. Both are necessary parts. What will the first step of your Day One be?“And I’m looking for space, and to find out who I am. And I’m looking to know and understand. It’s a sweet, sweet dream. Sometimes I’m almost there. Sometimes I fly like an eagle, and sometimes I’m deep in despair” -John Denver