1. an umbrella. Keep it up at all times. Shit will fall on you when you aren't expecting it. Trust me on this.
2. an endless supply of friends. You will lose some. Guaranteed. And you will need a stockpile of folks who can tell you, quite earnestly, that you are not an incarnation of Satan. And who will help you through the inevitable lonely days that are to come.
3. a good therapist. Self-explanatory. Really. The biggest gift you could give yourself, bar none, post-separation.
4. forgiveness. You aren't going to get that from other people, because it's much easier to hate someone than to try to understand their choices and what lies beneath them. You will be surprised at just how much easier this is for people. So you'll need to be able to forgive yourself. Or at least give it a good try.
5. a mirror. Use it to deconstruct all the labels you and others might place on you. Homewrecker. Selfish. Slut. Quitter. Bad mother. Bad wife. The one who gave up. The reality of course is that you are none of these things. The reality is that the human heart is too complex to be shorthanded into such tiny compartments. So you will need the mirror in order to practice telling yourself over and over that you did what you had to in order to survive; that there was nothing else for you to do. You will need to look in the mirror and try to see yourself as that wildly irreducible being you know you are.
6. a notebook. this will come in handy to chart your progress or lack thereof. To make note of the passage of time when the days loom long and unforgiving. To write letters you will never send, in self-defence and self-flagellation - both of which are guaranteed to come in turns.
7. resourcefulness. The ability to pull money out of your ass is a definite bonus.
8. a stetson. Black or white, depending on who left whom and how. (Mine is black, of course - at the end of the cowboy flick, I'm the one the posse is coming for with a noose, looking for the nearest sturdy tree). People like to have a bad guy and a good guy. It helps them make sense of things, this notion that there is only the right and the wrong. In reality, of course, we need versions in many shades of grey, but this will be of no comfort to you when your hats gets handed to you, decidedly coloured.
9. a roadmap of separations gone before you. Friends, relatives, so many people have all gone through this before you, and will have landmarks to share to help guide your way. But you will likely need this map only to throw it out the window. Take the wisdom as it is intended; as shortcuts meant to prevent you from having to take the long way around. But recognize also that this journey is, and has to be, uniquely yours. Your feelings, your actions, your process will be a foreign country to others, no matter how well-travelled they are. You will need to chart your own course, decide your own speed limits, tackle your own changing terrains.
10. a sense of humour. Preferably a dark one.