I was 29 years old. It is 1996. I have broken down in front of a priest. I am taking the rite of reconciliation without the comfort and anonymity of a vestibule. The new fangled modernity of catholicism allows (encourages) the face to face airing of one's dirty laundry to people with testicles. I am beside myself with desperation. Weariness. Loneliness. I have a heartbreak that is nearly 2 years raw. I regularly believe I can no longer go on. I weep today with the memory of it. It is still palpably raw and only a heart beat away.
Ironically, my figurative marriage to the mother church was sealed by my literal marriage to XHusband. I thought both would endure infinity. I was encouraged to believe this. Indoctrinated at the baptismal font.
The old priest thought he was being helpful. "Of course you're upset. Your life is hard."
Crack. The first fault lines appeared. He had no idea. He had nothing to offer me except shallow words of empathy. I had no sins to confess. I had no time for sin. A single mother with a high needs two year old. I was exhausted. I had nowhere to turn. Mother church, why hast thou forsaken me?
Fast forward to 2001. Annulment received in 1998 like a new baptism. Phoned anulment priest (not the old one) for a letter of reference for a contract position teaching math in a catholic school. Job badly needed. Priest unwavering in refusal to give letter. I begged. He refused. Fault line cracked open wide. Over the next decade everything fell into that chasm, including parts of my soul.
"So much for my happy ending." Avril Lavigne (2004)