• mistyws

    My ex husband and I separated at the end of 2010..even when it’s the right thing for both of you (and even when you are both amicable) other people react as if its their lives you are wrecking. Some people are wonderful about it..and some are just rude and or love to imagine a “reason” or think they need to choose a ‘side’…Even someone not in the public eye, faces scrutiny and gossip..and its a hard time for all. My thoughts are with you.

  • tonya

    My heart has been so heavy for all of you, strangers, but……not. I find myself wanting to say to my real life peeps, “Isn’t it so sad that Heather and Jon are separated?” but then I remember that in my little corner of the world they’d have no idea what I was talking about. Anyway, I know you aren’t the praying type, but I am, and so many are being said for all of you. And amongst those prayers is one that you and Jon keep doing things as you are. If your marriage is not able to be saved, at least you are acting as adults should act. I’ve witnessed first-hand what divorcing parents who hate each other do to children, and it’s sickening. Props to both of you for putting those beautiful girls first. As they should be.

  • Teresa W

    Wow, when I read that your separation made the news, I was shocked. Having been separated myself, I know it is hard enough without it being on the NEWS. Like many others, I have thought of you often and am glad that you are in the light right now. I love reading your blog and appreciate the fact that you are honest with your readers. And you are honest in a way that even if I don’t agree with you, I can respect your opinion. Please know that this Midwestern retired teacher feels for you and your family. However, things turn out, I will be rooting for you! BTW, walking is cool too. Not quite as much fun as running, but when we get the message from our knees that we shouldn’t run, we should listen. Walking gives you a chance to scope things out and lets you think.

  • SweetPhyl

    Geesh, I don’t know what to say…I’ve been reading your blog since your pregnancy with Leta and your earlier post regarding your separation really hit me hard. This cyber community is full of “friends” who occupy our thoughts daily and, hell, you know all this crap. Just please know that I am wishing you and Jon good spaces and I would hug you if I could. I know it will get better for you. Let go, Let God, Breathe and be kind to yourself.

  • JenSBrooks

    My former husband of 15 years and the Father of my 8 and 10 year old children chose to violently end his life 5 months ago (on my 40th Birthday).

    How many times have I wondered, if he could see them now, if he would make the same choice…

    How many times have I listened to my daughter cry and say she would give up all of her Christmas presents just to see her Daddy one more time…

    How many times will I silently observe while my son sits in his room and listens to Eleanor Rigby and Viva La Vida (Coldplay) while claiming he has “put what happened behind him”…

    How long will I grieve for the young man I fell in love with and who turns out was lost not only to me but to himself, as well…

    Divorce sucks! Yes it does.

    And the fact that you are willing to go through with, and have your children deal with, this painful life event should show people HOW BAD IT REALLY IS.

    Divorce is not something women with children take lightly. It means they have tried everything else they could think of first. It means they have hidden their unhappiness from their friends and family and, in some cases, the public eye.

    You worry about being judged, ruining your children’s lives, how you will survive financially and second guess yourself all the time.

    You are a great mother and your kids will get through this – just as you will.

    I signed up for Dooce today just to tell you that I truly believe my children’s father regrets what he did and can’t take it back. He gave up.

    You won’t give up ever will you?

  • AlliD

    My heart breaks for you. May you realize how truly strong you are. Those little girls need their momma to be the best that you can be. I wish you peace & brighter days.

  • JenHalo

    Instead of something witty, I will share my story.

    My husband and I split in January 2004, but it was vicious. A lot of words that we didn’t mean, actions that were just not who we were.

    We stayed apart for just over a year, in different states.

    It was kind of like a light bulb going off. I woke up one morning, and instinctively rolled over to tell him about a dream, but the spot was empty. In that moment, I knew I didn’t want anymore mornings like that. My life is better with him in it.

    So, I called, we talked and cautiously made plans for my return (there were many talks before this one). I got back to him in April 2005, and we have been better and stronger since then.

    It isn’t all wine and roses, there are still rough patches. Personally, I don’t think that so called “perfect” relationships are normal.

    Stay strong Heather. I really hope you guys can work it out.

  • seven2seven8

    As a family-law attorney, I’m very happy to read that you’re both working together as a team, and I hope with everything I have that this time apart gives you both the space, tools, and ability to come back together. If such a resolution is not in the cards, I have great faith that you’ll both make it work in a way that is respectful and deserving of what you had and what your children deserve. Wishing you all the best as you work through this difficult time.

  • Mom Gone Mad

    Heather, you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You will get through this and I’m confident you will emerge even stronger. Even though it may seem like things will never be ok again, they will. I’ve been through what you’re going through and it’s one of the hardest things an adult can go through. Just take it one moment at a time. And, keep lots of your favorite foods around -the separation diet is a killer. I credit twinkies and Luna bars for keeping me from wasting away.
    Good luck – we are all pulling for you and your family.

  • shelliack

    I have to google “dooce” to get to your blog. I know I could add it to my favorites & it would be right there, but I kind of love typing dooce… So when I googled & up popped news reports about your separation– UGH! Really?!! I’m still coming out to people about having left my daughter’s father and every time they want salacious stories and juicy details and are convinced that there was some crazy, illegal stuff that must have been going down for me to leave and then I have to reassure them that we are all JUST FUCKING FINE, thank you. I am so sorry your life is being used by other people to sell ads. You, (and maybe Jon) alone, should hold that exclusive right. I think you once monetized the haters, can you come up with a clever way to deal with/make $$ from the gossip mongers? That would be awesome… I look forward to your journey, as you tell it. Sending virtual hugs!

  • pxlchk1

    When I decided that my ex-husband and I should divorce, you would have thought that I would be elated.

    I spent days…weeks…MONTHS sobbing. Crying as hard as I would as if a close family member had died. Because a family member had died. My family as I knew and planned had ceased to exist. Everything I thought my future would be was gone.

    It is legitimate and appropriate to mourn this, you know? Of course it hurts. It sucks. It shouldn’t have to.

    But I will tell you, I promise, I swear to God, that one day you will look back and think that this was the hardest decision with the greatest payoff. I am happier now than I have ever been. My kids are happy. There is more room for happiness without the enclosure of a less-than-optimal relationship. I went through a very long living hell to get to the wonderful life I have now.

    I just could not imagine a day when I wouldn’t cry anymore. I mean, UGLY CRY. Full on Sicilian widow cry. It was exhausting.

    But it lets up little by little, then one day you realize it’s been a week, a month, a year. You’ll be peaceful.

    Stay strong. Keep moving.


  • hands that heal

    Reading about your current struggle is both helping me and allowing me to crumble at the same time. As my marriage has been slowly falling apart while I watch my husband be steamrolled once again by his depression and anxiety, I’ve isolated and insulated myself against the experience of happiness and joy in other people’s seemingly wonderful, perfect, and yes- enviable- lives. I’ve stayed away from your blog because as you say those well wishing, happy holiday, happy me, happy us, happy family feelings surround me and make me feel broken when I look only from the outside in. As my husband and I work out the details of our separation and try to put our two young children first, I compartmentalize the task oriented routine of being their mother and wait. I wait for the space apart from fetching sippy cups, snacks, shoes and backpacks. I wait for the space where my own nine year old who survived her parents divorce punches me in the gut and I cry and cry and cry for her.

    Something dies in this process- your fantasy as a child of divorce– the legacy you refused to pass on to your children the day you made your wedding vows. The day you gave birth to the most beautiful creatures on earth, the day you looked at your partner and knew they were the one you were meant to be with no matter what. The fantasy that I knew would heal the little girl in me is dying.

    So after many weeks of staying away, I don’t know what made me stop by on Wednesday. It was a punch in the face and hug all at once.

    I am so, so very sorry for your pain and I hope you can feel the collective of hands holding yours. I will be pulling for you, Heather. Your blog has seen me through some tough times before and I think now will be no exception. Dig your heels in and hold on, just hold on. We are all doing it with you now.

  • kayakgrrl

    Oh, wow. I’m glad that… you are managing. And that the girls are as loved as they are. Take care…

  • 911 Doc

    I can hardly imagine the hell you are in right now, with nearly every aspect of your private life visible for much of the world to see, comment about, critique, and judge (without knowing any of the relevant details, of course). Given that, when I saw this quote on pinterest, I thought it might bear sharing and repeating for those difficult public moments:

    “While you were busy judging others, you left your closet open and your skeletons fell out.”

    I am one of your silent readers, one who looks forward to your humorous stories and poignant moments, and loves seeing the joy on your two daughters’ faces when you share their pics with us. Thanks so much for all you do to brighten our days, and I hope in some small measure you feel the community here giving back to you a little strength and a whole lotta support.

    Know we’re out here rootin’ for the 4 of you (especially in those moments you feel most alone).

  • Janice

    Sweetie, the hand is there as long as you need it….

    Your welcome

  • Amy J.

    I am VERY relieved to see those words from you. I’ve worried myself sick the past week over your post.

    In todays world Heather…where journalists blog the day before they kill themselves…no words about such things can go unnoticed…or not taken VERY seriously.

    I wish you well and pray for you both.

    And, of course, those sweet girls.

    P.S. Isn’t Leta’s birthday coming up..I always remember because it’s two days for my oldest’s…who is (freak the fuck out) turning 10!!!!!!!!!! Double digits. Whoa.

  • Daddy Scratches

    If I had something better to offer than “Hang in there,” I’d offer it. But that’s all I’ve got. So hang in there.

  • Lo The Phoenix

    You’ve been on our minds. Much love and strength and peace to you and your family.

  • Angeerah

    Keep on keeping on. I am also one of those who cannot stand to be in that dark place and I understand that struggle of crawling out. Again, sending good vibes, healing, peace, and nice glass of wine your way (although I’ll have a nice microbrew if that’s okay with you.)

  • NCMelissaB

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have helped make it possible for me to begin to confront the paralyzing anxiety that has gripped me for my whole adult life. I hope you continue to feel supported in every way. (Also, that Air Supply song has been stuck in my head for two days but I’m okay with that.) I hope your weekend goes well!

  • megrit411

    For every mean-spirited gossip hound out there there are five members in your community who genuinely care about you even though we’ve never met you. Let the haters hate, try to ignore them and know you’re in our positive thoughts!

  • jbruntlett

    Giving that hand of yours a big squeeze. And a hug for the fighting and clawing toward the light.

  • suebob

    I want to give you some relationship advice.

    Hahaha, no I don’t. It just made me laugh to say it, considering all my success at creating and sustaining meaningful partnerships.

  • PrettyGirlMyers

    Even though you’re a stranger (as am I, to you), I’ve thought of you often over the past few days. Please know that I’m sending you love and light from the east coast.

  • eleanorstrousers

    I can’t even imagine that level of attention to a personal family issue. All I’ve got is, that sucks. It just sucks, plain and simple. But, I think you’ve got brass ovaries for owning it and soldiering through. Carry on, gutsy.

  • Bibes

    There are hands here to hold in MN.

    p.s. There’s hope…thank God. I’m glad you’ve found it. Keep a hold of it.

  • Issa

    People will talk. That’s what they do. No matter who you are Heather, people still love to talk. Your life just you know ends up in the NY times. Ahem.

    Sometimes I think they want to discuss other peoples separations/divorces to death just to try and figure out what we did wrong. So they can save themselves from that. If only it were that easy. Hell if I could pinpoint where mine went wrong and explain it to people as a warning? Well I’d be rich. I’m not. Heh.

    I have been where you are though and I hope you and Jon find your way. If you can’t, well I hope you guys can keep things as good for the kids as possible. I believe both of you will do that.

    Just know, a random stranger is thinking good thoughts your way.

  • hsquared

    “Don’t let the bastards get you down…”
    Thank you once again for sharing your path with us. You have helped me feel not so alone in my struggle with depression and anxiety and I’m forever grateful to you for that.
    Sending you all light and love during your struggle. I hope things turn out best for all of you. Much love!

  • TessAnn

    I imagine that it *would* be strange to have such personal details on the news. But, I personally, want to say ‘Thank You’ for your openness and honesty. Not because we are in any way entitled to you or your life and feelings…but because it brings voice to the difficulty of navigating life with depression. And even more importantly, that it can be navigated successfully, even if it sucks in a big way sometimes. What you’re going through is difficult and painful and sucky. And you’re brave enough to share it.

    You’re not a stranger. I’ve read you for years. Your experiences have touched me and made me think. I’ve rooted for you, disagreed with you, cheered for you and have always been inspired by your strength. Thank you for all of that.

    I wish that I could come cook for you and your family. I’m like the old Grandmother amongst my friends. Something wrong? Had a bad day? Here…a good meal will make everything better. Heh.

    I ramble. All that to say…Thank you and my thoughts are with you. I’m cheering you on from out here in the frozen MW. Be well and take care of yourself.

  • francabollo

    This is what “normal” life looks like … all the good, the bad and the ugly rolled up into one very complex, imperfect ball. Thank you for your honesty. I hate that you’re living through this right now but your words help so many of your readers … I hope knowing this offers some solace.

    Wishing you grace.

  • jolene278

    Sorry to hear that some folks are being cruel. It sounds like the situation is hard enough as it is.

    Sending you all strength and peace, however the future unfolds.

  • Becky Cochrane

    I wish everything good for you, Jon, your daughters, and your dogs.

  • Amanda Patchin

    Love and strength to you all.

  • MelissaJ

    you have lots of hands holding you.

    at no time did i doubt your capability in caring/doing the right thing for those sweet little girls; anyone that doubted don’t know you, don’t care to know you, want to see the bad in you.

    i think you and Jon work so well together…you made the most beautiful children ever…and most of all, in all years of writing, pictures, chaos…truly love shone through. granted, we can’t know your entire lives and what is going on…but we can see/read/feel love.

    my fervent prayer this is really a trial separation that expires and is not renewed…that you realize how very good you are together as a family…and the world is a better place because the Armstrongs have survived.

    You both have lived/struggled through so much…oh…oh…oh…you know what is best for the four (or six) of you…but fight for your family…ALL of your family.

  • MsMegan

    How am I? I little down today, but it will pass. You understand, I know.

    I don’t feel like you’re a stranger at all; I’ve been reading you since just before Leta was born. Of course, I am a complete stranger to you. But my hand is open, as are my heart and ears if you ever feel alone or doubt that anyone really cares.

    I wish you and yours much love, and I hope you both find yourselves in a better place at the other end of this, no matter what that entails.

  • susie

    Wishing you and Jon and your girls peace and happiness. Wherever your separation leads, I’m sure it will be where you all need to be. And congratulations for being grownups for your children. You should be very proud of yourselves for that.

  • pehuff

    I teared up reading this and wish I could hold your hand. **Reaching through my screen right now.**

    Keep fighting the good fight out of the darkness. I wish more people were as level-headed to face their problems head-on and admit when they need help. So many people see “therapy” as a stigma and that needs to change.

  • Gina47

    I didn’t comment on your first post. It touched me so closely and I simply didn’t know what to say. As I read, I felt this feeling of dread and I kept thinking, hoping, praying, this would end with some light anecdote. And instead it ended exactly where it was headed. And I cried.

    I read daily and have watched your struggle with mental illness as it mirrors my own. I’ve prayed and hoped each time things looked up, and was saddened each time your illness seemed to get the upper hand. But I never thought for a second that it would get to this: with Jon in one house, and you in another.

    This internet world where we feel we know each other based on words on a page brings us together in a way that allows us to draw comfort from one another and I hope for your sake, and for Jon’s, that you are able to actually draw that comfort.

    But from the bottom of my heart, I beg of you, do not forget how much you love Jon. Remember every detail of him, and remind him if you can, to remember how much he loves you. Do not let him forget! The longer it goes, the easier it is to let that passion slip away.

    I did it, I fought, I won. Sort of. I’m still ill, but we’re getting through. And I would not let him forget. It helped.

    I wish you and your family well.

  • cyndy

    The hand is always here for you. Hang in there and I hope for the very best for you and Jon and your family.

  • MM3

    Blogging does create an inexplicable sense of community. In all senses of the word; the ones that care and are concerned and a sprinkling of weirdos. Just like all communities. I told my husband about your post in the context of something like, “you know, my blogger friend. Because we both have blogs (mine is tiny for my family), naturally, we are in the same circle of friends”. Only half joking.

    At the end of the day you are one human being doing the best you can with what you have. And many of us can relate to those human terms. In a heartfelt, non-creepy way.

    One foot in front of the other.

  • loisopal

    You’ve shared so much through so many periods in your life, thank you for sharing this part too. thank you for struggling through all this just like the rest of us do in our relationships, but being willing to talk about it. I feel like reading through the struggles of you and others who have commented here in the past week have helped me a lot, too. And I hope that this light you’re feeling means that you’ll stay with us through this, continue to write about Marlo and Tyrant and vaginas and dog vomit. You’re important to us, so keep writing, and keep feeling that light, sister. You got this.

  • rebeccadutton

    You are doing great! Keep going, and thank you for sharing yourself. You are so brave.

  • kristanhoffman

    If we’re holding hands, it’s only because you offered yours 11 years ago and never let go. No need to thank us.

  • ltlepaw

    Oh for Christ sake, can’t they find something better to talk about!

    I very rarely comment, and have only sometimes posted in the community, but I’d like to offer you this.

    I grew up w/ a father and a step-mother telling me I would be a worthless peice of shit and a whore just like my mother and my sister. From the age of 13 until 18 I heard it daily. No, I wasn’t sexually abused, but mental abuse is just as hard. I have the background that serial killers and career criminals come from, and although it took years, I’m proud to say that I have hope. I have hope that the pain of people’s past (or even their present) can be driven into the most beautiful future.

    I didn’t then, and contemplated suicide more times than I can care to relate. But I now have a son who’s giggle lights up my world, and I know I was able to get through that past to make his world more beautiful.

    You’ll get through this. It may not seem like it now, and you may not even know why. Someday you’ll get the understanding that only reflections can give.

    I wish you all well, and the strength to fight.

  • cassidy.stockton

    You have been there sharing your experiences and hurts with us to help us know we’re not alone. I wish I could reach out and hug you right now. You’re not alone. Keep your chin up and don’t let the bastards get you down (those newscasters and whatnot).

  • Lovebuzz38

    Hang in there Heather. You’ll be okay.

  • hybridshadow

    Heather, I am so happy to read this post. When I read your last one I was concerned. I knew that you wouldn’t go down without a fight in which you knocked out some teeth, pulled out hair, fattened a lip and blackened an eye, but I still didn’t know how powerful the sadness was.

    I’m glad that you and Jon are able to give your girls special time together. I wish there didn’t have to be tears and I wish that none of this had to happen, but I understand that everything doesn’t go as we wish it would. I hope with each day the light gets brighter and brighter and you find more and more hands to hold. I’ve got two here in Indiana for you.

    Keep your head up, Heather. We like to see your pretty face.

  • Jessica W.

    Jeebus… I’ve been reading you every day for so long (since Leta was about 4 months old) that I tend to forget that you’re this “big name”… I still see you as my little secret. It didn’t even occur to me that the media, of all things, would pick up on this. That is just terrible. Please don’t give them, or the haters, another thought. You’ve got enough to worry about without their bullshit.

    Both your posts and Jon’s posts on this have made me tear up; it breaks my heart that you guys are going through this, and I can only hope that everything works out for the best. You’ve got hands to hold here in Canada, too.

  • cablearms

    you will not remember it, but you helped me immensely when i was having a rough time with my miscarriage in 2010. i want to be of comfort to you as you were to me. i am so, so sorry for what you are going through.

    hold on, we’re right here for you. xoxo

  • Lucky13

    Just wanted to let you know that you have hands to hold in Ohio too for as long as you need. You’re amazingly courageous, beautiful, and you kick ass!