I just read a post on a blog I follow, elroyjones. At the end of this brief but insightful post, which was on the subject of Vanessa Williams and her Penthouse scandal, the author stated “The world could use a little more honesty and a lot less shame.” In honor of this sentiment, I would like to briefly discuss my D-I-V-O-R-C-E. (That was sung in Tammy Wynette’s voice by the way).
I come from a long line of un-divorced people, including my parents, who this coming December will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I have no idea how this could be happening, because they are not elderly. I associate golden anniversaries with elderly, grey-haired, feeble, bespectacled people who sit in recliners all day lamenting such things as gout, hip replacements, and pacemakers. Knock on wood, but they are a far cry from most of that, except for maybe the grey hair and spectacles. But I also have those. Wait a second, am I old too?
But I digress. So this year, my parents will celebrate their 50th, and meanwhile, it turns out that my ex-husband is getting married this weekend. My apologies to anyone who knows him and/or me, and doesn’t yet know this fact, but it’s a small, personal affair, apparently akin to an elopement but with children involved, or something like that. The purpose of this blog post however, is not to discuss him or the wedding, or his new wife. Actually, it’s all about ME! Because that wise blogger elroyjones says the world needs a lot more honesty and a little less shame, and I couldn’t agree more.
When I got married, it truly did not occur to me that I would ever become a divorced person. Divorce was not a part of my life’s rubric. Isn’t that silly considering the statistics? But my ex-husband’s beloved mom and dad were NOT divorced and my own beloved mom and dad were NOT divorced, and neither were any of our beloved grandparents. Naturally, being the naïve, headstrong, inexperienced youngster I was, I firmly stood by the belief that, as stated in our vows, I would be married for “time and all eternity” come hell or high-water. “Time and all-eternity” turned out to be somewhere between 13 and 18 years depending on how you calculate it. But truthfully, for better or worse we ARE in some way together for time and all eternity, because together we populated the earth with three of the most magnificent creatures known to humankind. Thus we are linked and our genetics will roll along together forever.
My mother used to say “guard your relationship every day“, which annoyed the hell out of me. I mean what could this happily married woman on the cusp of celebrating her 50th anniversary POSSIBLY have had to teach a young upstart like me? Apparently a lot of things.
I am stubborn (Don’t tell my boyfriend that, he doesn’t know yet!), and I desperately clung to my “What are you talking about, nothing can break US apart!” stance until it was too late and it was already broken. I finally awoke to this fact when someone said to me “Chris, sometimes there’s just too much water under the bridge and there’s no going back.”. I don’t know who said that, but if it happened to be you, and you are reading this now, please accept my sincerest gratitude. It still rings in my tenacious, optimistic ears and signaled a turning point in my life. I had a firm grip on the idea of our marriage even as the water was rising and I was drowning. And as the water rose, we became divorced, even though on a piece of paper somewhere it said we were still married.
I told a couple of people my ex was getting married and they said things like “Ohhhh wow, how do you feeeeellll?”. To answer that, I feel very certain that his happiness or lack thereof will have a direct and profound impact on my children and of course on me, and I hope and I pray for his happiness and success. I pray for him and his beloved to thrive in their marriage. I sincerely hope that this thriving will involve and envelop our children completely.
The little coals of shame about the divorce that still burn in my psyche were stoked a bit by the news of this impending wedding, but they glow very faintly these days. The desire to flee the country to a tropical island has been strong, but truthfully at this point I think that feeling is more about my real need to take a tropical vacation.
In the spirit of my dear mother’s advice to “guard my relationship every day”, I would like to offer a sincere and heartfelt wedding gift to my soon-to-be-married-ex-husband and father of my three children. My offering to him is to guard my relationship with myself and my higher power daily, and to continually renew my efforts to be a happy, shameless, and honest person for the sake of the beautiful children we created together. I will not drown in that high-water again, and I will continually thank God for my resurrection.