Sunday 26th June 2022

Women of Courage Series. #16. Sarah. 92/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #16. Sarah. 92/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Sarah, who is 42,  and I go way back. To blogging days but also via photography. We’d already been to a blogging function in the city and Sarah offered to help me with my then new Camera. I spent an afternoon at her place with her then pre-schooler learning about how to use the various focus points and I still use that help today. I am so glad we did meet and even though we are no longer in Sydney, we connect on-line from time to time. Thank you Sarah for your willingness to share here today!



What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

The breakdown of my marriage was a slow and sad journey. Looking back I am grateful that neither of us broke it dramatically but with reflection, sometimes I think the gradual descent into unloving each other did more damage to us in the long run. Our differences, which had pulled us together when we were younger and in the trenches of parenting small children, were the same differences that were causing us such frustration in our personal relationship. By the time my husband was finally able to agree that our marriage was no longer something worth fighting for, the relief was immense for me. I could direct my attention towards something active, a collaborative separation rather than pushing emotional energy into a relationship that had lost its heart. At the time I thought that was the bravest I had ever been, but the courage I had to conjure up at the time of the separation was nothing in comparison to the courage I have needed in the eighteen months since. Navigating a huge life change is complicated, deeply traumatic and takes resilience and bravery and the support of everyone around you.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I was changed in every way by the ending of my marriage. The positives have been amazing, I have learnt that I can do everything I need to do, on my own, and that the support of people around me is a gift and should never be taken for granted. But the negatives have weighed heavily on me. I have two incredible daughters who have had their perfect childhoods turned upside down and there are days where the responsibility for that causes me almost physical pain. I have learnt that when bad things happen, the world doesn’t stop turning around you and that a positive attitude can lift you and those around you out of a trough of despair. I laugh more now, I am more present and I am a better mother, friend and ex-wife. I have learnt to let go of the small things and focus on the bigger picture and I am more positive and less pessimistic which has been a really fun and rewarding change.


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I cannot express strongly enough that I believe courage is something that is compounded by sharing with others, like happiness, courage grows in the presence of people. I found it really hard to express how I was feeling after we agreed the separation. People were shocked that I was relieved, but I had to remember this was often the first time they had heard about the finality of our decision where we had been living the reality for years by this stage. For a while I retreated into my own headspace and found it easier to not talk about what I was going through but this was isolating and left me feeling lonely and misunderstood.

So I started opening up to the people around me and found that sharing my experience made it more real and people responded to my openness with their own stories. Hearing about how other people have dealt with tough situations made me feel stronger and better equipped to cope with the difficulties I was dealing with. I also felt better able to help other people around me and this has planted a seed in me.

Navigating the breakdown of a family unit and a separation is incredibly difficult even when we were doing it amicably under the same roof. There are so many ways of approaching the legalities of a separation and if I was finding it difficult, I knew that there would be so many people out there who felt completely out of their depth trying to work out how to proceed. I am hoping that in some capacity I might be able to help other people facing the same difficulties, maybe by volunteering, possibly by writing, definitely by talking to people.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I genuinely feel that I could face most things now. My vision and perspective has changed during this process and instead of being a confirmed pessimist, I see the future as containing possibilities that are beyond my comprehension. Being courageous for me looks a lot like not worrying about things I cannot control and the best bit about this is having heaps more emotional time to do things I love like hang out with my children, spend time with friends, read books and plan adventures!


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Don’t be afraid to share your story. I know it can be hard to be honest about how you are feeling, but I have found that being as authentic as I can be about my situation has genuinely helped others going through similar experiences. The other really important lesson I have learned about courage is that asking for help is one of the bravest things someone can do. Fear of rejection or facing our own insignificance can hold us back from being honest about what our needs are but once I started to admit how hard I was finding things, people seemed eager to help. I learnt that even the smallest gesture carries great weight when you are struggling and through my own experience of receiving help and compassion, I am in turn more compassionate and empathetic and less judgmental!


Thank you so much Sarah for your frankness and lessons learned. I am sure that by sharing your story, others may take courage and comfort too.



Joining  with Sue and Leanne each Wednesday  here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.



  1. Oh thanks for sharing Denyse and Sarah. I’m glad that something that could have been such a bad experience was a positive one. And it’s a reminder that sometimes making the tough decisions can be worth it in the end!

  2. “Fear of rejection or facing our own insignificance”

    And I think this is where sharing your story through blogging really helps. You never know when someone will read it and it’ll be the exact thing they need.

    • I like that you are finding this here in some of the posts that have been shared.

      It is a lovely world of connections, this one based on blogging.

      Thank you Vanessa for that observation.

      Denyse x

  3. A close friend has just come out the other side of a destructive and drawn-out breakdown and is now able to say something similar. She only said the other day that she had no idea how many people were there prepared to offer support & how she never would have sought such support in the past. Thanks for sharing your story – these experiences need to be shared. #MLSTL

    • It does make us feel less alone when we read or hear about others.

      Thank you Jo for sharing that too.

      Connections are so important.

      Denyse x

  4. Thanks Denyse and Sarah, a very difficult time that you managed to navigate with good results. I agree sharing is very useful and can have many unknown benefits.

  5. Another great person to meet via your series Denyse. Sarah you seem to have navigated a very difficult journey with a great deal of grace. So many families are torn apart by divorce, for you to have come out the other side with a measure of calm and acceptance is definitely a wonderful achievement and one your girls will thank you for down the track.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Thank you Leanne.

      Oh how I love to read the word ‘grace’. It is a beautiful one and such a kind word for all people who have to manage in difficult situations and do it as well as they can.

      Denyse x

  6. Thank you Denyse and Sarah for sharing your story and I’ve been there and done that. It isn’t pleasant is it? However, when you come through the other side you have changed and are stronger. Have a beautiful week and thank you for sharing at #MLSTL. xx

  7. When I got divorced, I really learned the meaning of the phrase, “It takes a village.” My Village came out in full force. Friends that helped me get through the very difficult and acrimonious divorce. Friends who fixed my roof when it leaked or helped me shovel after a blizzard. Even one friend who taught my son to drive because it made me too nervous. The hardest part when we’re in that position is to ask in the first place.

    • I am pleased that your ‘village’ did rally under the awful circumstances. I am sorry that your divorce was such a challenge. Not many are handled well.

      Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story too.

      Denyse x

  8. Thanks for sharing your journey so far, Sarah! I can relate to that need to be authentic and also the pwoer of being positive when bad things are happening.

    Wishing you an your family all the very best for the future!

    SSG xxx

  9. Making tough decisions and ending something that isn’t working to move on and essentially jump off the cliff just hoping that the parachute opens is a really hard thing to do. I’m glad you managed to stay positive and that ‘the village’ rallied around you. I hope your new life continues to be fulfilling and that you are much loved.#MLSTL and Shared on SM

  10. “Don’t be afraid to share your story.” Gosh, it truly does foster connection and compassion doesn’t it? Sharing the worst of times for us can bring out the best in others supporting us. Yep, supportive villages are nurtured by sharing, connection and compassion. Much love and good wishes to you Sarah! Xx