07/14/2014 03:00 pm ET Updated Sep 13, 2014

Divorcing: Devastating, but Not Terminal

Lilly Roadstones via Getty Images

One day, you are sailing along doing ordinary things in ordinary ways. Then, suddenly, everything changes.

Perhaps your spouse walks in the door and announces s/he's in love with someone else and moving out. Or you go to couples therapy only to hear your spouse tell the therapist the marriage is over and s/he wants out. Or, realizing your spouse won't take responsibility for his/her abusive ways, you courageously make plans to end a toxic marriage.

Or you are diagnosed with cancer.

All are traumatic. I've been thinking about the similarities a lot lately because, like removing my wedding ring years ago, soon chemo will be removing my hair -- announcing my new status to the world via baldness, scarves and perhaps a wig. Traumatic, but fortunately not terminal.

And it's struck me that when going through divorce, I felt my life was ending and I couldn't imagine a bright future... even though I was youngish and healthy. Fast forward to today, and having faced several weeks wondering if "this is it," I want to tell you that while divorce is devastating, it is not terminal. That's something I wish I'd understood when I was going through it. It might have made the transition easier.

I've also learned your kids really do model what you do, so be careful. While my daughters were growing up, whenever divorce/post divorce turmoil overwhelmed me, I'd go outside and garden, whacking down dead limbs, digging, transplanting and working until I was bone tired. Guess what my daughters have been doing lately? They bought organic fruit and veggie plants, seeds, soil and mulch and they've been weeding, whacking and planting all in a way to calm their fears, keep me healthy and work out their anxiety. It's amazing to see a healthy coping tool come full circle. Perhaps it's what's meant by karma?

So, the next time you are overwhelmed by divorcing, repeat after me: "Yes, this is traumatic. Horrible. But it isn't terminal. It's actually a bump on the road of life that just might give me a second chance at a whole new dream."

And pinch yourself because you are still here. If that doesn't work... garden.

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