The Ice Storm of ’98 was a catalyst for change in my life. It brought to a head the dissatisfaction I’d felt in my marriage, which I’d roiled against for years.

Having avoided grabbing ahold of a choice to make my own, finally I saw the lay of the land from a new angle. It turned out that the angle was from the ground, where the trees, which had been weighed down by hundreds of pounds of ice, had knocked out electricity, water, heat, phone lines and suddenly my passivity.

I had to take action for our safety and well-being by moving to my parents’ house, where there were woodstoves. Then I got the water drained from the hot water radiators at our cold house, saving them from breaking, which stoked my fire.

Temporarily out of work as a teacher, I was a full-time mom, a hand-washing laundry mat, keeper of the wood fire, prep cook for my parents and early-to-bedder since batteries, candles and camp stove fuel were at a premium. For a couple of days my parents rented a generator, but the noise was too much and all were relieved when peace returned.

Many driveways, pathways and roads were impassable, but when the trees and limbs stopped falling we ventured out. My dad and I went for a walk on an old wood road in the snowy January woods, where huge trees were downed. With my 10-month-old on my back, we hoisted ourselves over branches crossing the path, throwing smaller ones out of our way. Many days into the siege, I drove to the Civic Center to shower, since even with out-of-state power companies assisting, it was 12 days before our power, phone and water were restored. Twelve days with few distractions gave me time to talk to friends and family about my tipping point.

A month later I drove in town to file for divorce. The physical action of walking into the courthouse made me feel the needle was moving forward. The magnitude of the storm had built a new lens through which I saw my decision more clearly to take responsibility for myself, my baby and home.

Five months later I was divorced, a single parent with very supportive parents and friends who eased the way. With help, I’d finally cleared my path.