Monday, October 29, 2012

Children of Divorce

No couple brings children into the world thinking, "I hope my child grows up to be healthy and happy, gets a college education,  and will have to deal with the divorce of their parents!"

Tomorrow my youngest, Ada, will be 8.

She was 5 when we broke the news to her about the divorce.

I haven't written about that yet, because it's too painful to revisit.  I could safely say it was the worst day of my life.

I grew 4 lives inside of my body, never intending to inflict the most incredible heartbreak a child can imagine, next to the news of a parent's death.

When I was about 4 or 5, my mother called me to her and said, tearfully, "I need to tell you something...  Your daddy's brother, Glenn, died today."

I heard, "Your daddy died today."

Until I die, I will never forget the devastation and wrenching that my heart experienced in the next few minutes.  I remember crying like I never had before, from the very pit of my soul.  It was a Sunday.

My mother was thinking, Why is she crying this much about her uncle?  She only ever saw him one or two times...

Then, as I started to calm down, I said with a shaky voice, "I'll have to tell all my friends at church today that my daddy's dead."

Aaaaand mom cleared things up for me real quick.

When I realized my dad was NOT dead, the pain was immediately lifted.  I can't imagine what that pain would have been like if it had stayed, if my father was, in fact, dead.

This might sound crazy, but I grew up in those moments of accidental, yet, absolute heartache.  An emotion that ravaging is also transcending.  Never again will you see the world as you once did.  Never again will you be the same person you were before that news.

Granted, my dad was not dead, so the journey of grief that many of you have travelled, I have not and do not pretend to understand even a teeny tiny bit.

I tell this story to convey what my kids maybe felt on that day when Matt and I said, "We are getting a divorce."

You know the saying, "The 3 hardest things in life are moving, death, and divorce"?

Ponder that as you like.

My sweet Ada asked several times if her daddy and I would ever get married again.  Each time I answered with a gentle yet clear, "No."

She cried each time.

I don't know what the journey of grief is like for my children of divorce.  My parents are still together.  As are Matt's.  It's very strange to put my kids through something that I don't understand at all myself. I can't make myself feel better by thinking, I know what this is like.  They are going to be fine.

A thought that gives me comfort is remembering the time I asked my sister's daughter how she felt about her parent's divorce.  She replied, "I hate it... but it's better than having them live together and fight all the time."

Matt and I didn't really 'fight' all that much.  Our way of being miserable was that loud quiet, those heavy passive-agressive sighs, and living desperate individual hells that we either repressed OR took out on the kids.

Ada will be 8 in the morning.  She's not little anymore.  But I could have said that about her a while ago.

Happy Birthday, sweetie.  I hope you are happy here in California close to your daddy.










3 comments:

  1. I urge you to read this book, heartbreaking as it is, it is amazingly helpful. I read it to help me understand what my husband's kids were/are going through. In fact, I think it's time I re-read it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Legacy-Divorce-Landmark-Study/dp/0786886161

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  2. "Never again will you see the world as you once did.  Never again will you be the same person you were before that news."
    That is SO,SOOO true.
    But children of divorce, if given love and time with each parent, usually adjust fairly well after a while. Especially after they, themselves fall in love for the first time or have their heart broken. And though no one wants them to experience that, it's life and happens. And they will gain a better understanding of their parents.

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