It is morning, another day with the realization that your life, this day, isn’t what you ever planned.

The weight of the covers protects you from the day ahead. You open your eyes, look beside you and there is emptiness, an undisturbed pillow and flat sheets are all that you see. The noise of the day calls to you but the reality of what the day holds keeps you paralyzed with fear.

Divorce is an ending. It is the ending of many things: your planned future, your relationship, your security, your confidence. But it is also a beginning. It is a chance to redefine yourself and the life you want.

To do this though you must take that brave step out of bed and up to standing. The floor may be cold, the lonely silence frightening but with each step towards your day a new life is possible.

It’s been so long since I saw the familiar face next to me in bed. Even the memory has faded. What memories still exist are ones of comfort. It felt good to have warm arms hold me upon waking and a gentle kiss on my forehead when he left for work early. But as our marriage faltered so did the warmth in his embrace and the security of his presence.

Not too long ago I awoke at 2am to every smoke alarm going off in the house. It was a loud bellowing sound. I leapt out of bed to check the house for signs of smoke or fire. I had to take charge. I had 3 kids, no longer asleep, but still needing to be protected from the unknown. There was no smoke, no fire, nothing I could figure that would be causing the panic of the alarms. My only thing to do, since all appeared safe, was to turn off the breaker that controlled the alarms until they could be dealt with in daylight.

I did it. I managed to keep everyone safe and secure. I had no one to shake awake to help me. I had no one to help me problem solve the alarms that blared incessantly for over 20 minutes. With no one by my side, I did it. I claimed my warrior status. I was powerful. I was calm. And I took charge of the situation and handled it beautifully. My kids fell back asleep and so did I. And when I woke up the next morning the first step out of bed wasn’t as hard as it was the day before.

Here’s the thing, the reality of divorce brings up so many things we never could have imagined. We are now on our own. We must become the problem solvers. We must take on more responsibility. We must take charge of all aspects of our lives. We must become the powerful person who is now in control.

Just as the smoke alarms can’t be ignored, your new reality can’t either. If you don’t pause to jump out of bed at the blaring possibility of fire, then you also don’t pause to get up each morning and face the unknown day that lies ahead.

You are a warrior and you have the power. So swing your legs out of bed, put one foot then the other on the floor, stand up with strength in your soul, and for the love of yourself don’t look back to the untouched side of your bed.