The therapy check-in went, well, like this: He hasn't asked how I'm doing because he doesn't want to imply more than he feels. He put up the Halloween decorations outside and did some laundry and took out the recycling just to be nice. Nothing more. It's what I assumed and I wasn't suprised but I still couldn't stop myself from crying. I didn't want to admit it, but a teeny little spot tucked way deep down had hoped all those little gestures meant more. It wouldn't have been unheard of: After all, that's what happened in the "Modern Love" column.
Instead, our meeting with the therapist covered setting boundaries, and why we're good candidates for mediation or collaborative divorce. He advised me to start considering the separation as more than a trial and something longer term. He asked my husband to avoid doing things that "smack of family," regardless of how well-intentioned. If after the holidays, we're in the same place, he said we may want to begin to start the process, though he was also careful to say that making the separation legal doesn't necessarily mean divorce is inevitable. I can't think of it any other way.
Somehow I got home. (It's a good thing the other drivers on the road were safe last night because I sure as hell wasn't). I pulled it together so my daughter could have her stories and songs for bedtime. Then I went downstairs, braced myself on the counter and sobbed out loud. I put away the picture on the mantel of us at my brother-in-law's rehearsal dinner 11 years ago. And I took down the family shot of us outside the church where we got married and baptized our baby. The wedding pictures are still on the wall. They're next. Just not yet.