Divorce Day

How I’m spending my first day as a divorcée, and the moment a Dutch word blew my mind.

Sally Clarke
3 min readOct 7, 2022


Onward. Me, during a hike in Azerbaijan.

In therapy in California last year, session after session, one word kept springing to my mind. Unhelpfully, it was in Dutch.


My therapist gave a look of calm bemusement. “Can you tell me what that is in English?”

I had to google translate it. The word that came up was only vaguely familiar.


He nodded sagely. “Ah. That’s what you feel like you’ve been doing? To yourself?”

I nodded and looked down, both aghast and ashamed.



To erase or obliterate. From the old French esfacier, to wipe out, destroy. Literally “to remove the face.”

Eventually, I realized the wegcijfering would never end. I could never wegcijfer myself enough to make things work. And it was slowly killing my soul. So, I left, the country and the marriage, not even 16 months after our wedding vows were exchanged.

Today, 11 months after departing California on a flight to Amsterdam, my divorce was finalized. I’ve been looking forward to this moment. Naturally, there are mixed feelings. Plenty of freedom, closure and relief. And yet also a few lingering tendrils of grief. Today, I’m holding space for them all.

Weeks ago, in a move which probably reveals a lot about my personality, I wrote a checklist of Divorce Day activities and began preparations.

  • I bought myself a gift of new perfume, and carefully gift-wrapped it to be opened tonight.
  • I wrote myself a “thank you” letter for having the courage to leave, folded it into an envelope and stowed it with the gift.
  • I wrote messages of gratitude to the four humans who most significantly and consistently bolstered my confidence and courage as I gradually came to the inevitable conclusion that I (a) was miserable and (b) needed to leave, to send out tonight.
  • I purchased pink champagne and pre-ordered myself a delivery sushi dinner.
  • I bought a new journal to jot down my intentions for this new…



Sally Clarke

Co Director of Human Leaders. Wellbeing & burnout author, expert, coach, writer & speaker. Global adventurer. she/her www.salcla.com