Divorce has the illusion of being an easy solution for struggling relationships. It appears to be as simple as changing out the curtains in the living room when chevron is no longer trending. There is a dark side of divorce that isn’t displayed in sitcoms and headlines, and it involves a great deal of heartache.
I experienced divorce as a ten-year-old child. The fighting and discord had already taken an immeasurable toll by the time my parents moved toward divorce. There were legitimate reasons the union between them could not/would not work. They didn’t just fall out of love, they had fallen into dangerous patterns that threatened our safety.
Even when things are not ideal, divorce rattles foundations. There is a ripping apart that cannot be healed by time alone. The ripping carries an indescribable reverberation.
Already altered by the experience in my family of origin, I entered my own marriage more guarded than I knew. There is a near audible sound to divorce that fails to escape the one trapped in its grip. I navigated each day looking for ways to avoid a reiteration of that sound, which meant I was not fully present. Self-preserving prevented full engagement.
When I opened the door that afternoon and a perfect stranger held out legal documents, the sound of ripping took my breath away. I fell to the ground, buried my face in the carpet, and cried like I’d never cried before. My own divorce caused me to grieve deeply for what I knew was in store for my children, and for the little girl I protected within my soul.
Sharing children is just plain hard. On weekends when they were not with me, I struggled to get off the couch. I questioned my purpose and worth every time things didn’t go according to plan. I labored over how to behave when the children spoke of a new woman in the picture. I agonized over how to carry myself at award ceremonies, birthday parties, games, graduations, and future weddings.
No one talks about the “how to engage” struggle, how to pay for college on one income, or the pressure to stretch a few dollars over the course of a month. These are only a few of the stops along the difficult journey known as the dark side of divorce.
The ripping of my heart and soul felt unending. The sound was both inarticulate and so very specific. It haunted me during waking and sleeping hours. If that’s how I felt, I couldn’t imagine how my children were navigating the pain of loss. They continue to face endless days of feeling torn between two families—it’s just what happens.
Children are the innocent casualties of adult decisions. That was certainly the case in my childhood experience and it’s absolutely the case for my older children.
As I read headlines about what’s happening at our borders, I can’t help but hear a familiar sound of ripping. I’ve read arguments stating parents shouldn’t bring their children when seeking refuge. Putting any sort of reasoning or argument aside, I cannot escape the look of terror on the face of a child.
There is a depth of fear and sorrow a child separated from their parent-no matter the circumstance-experiences. Today I grieve for the pain an unexpected collapse ushers into a child’s heart.
Our decisions have an immeasurable impact. Let’s be as thoughtful as we are intentional when making them.
#momentoftruthmonday #divorce #ripping #innocentcasualties #lifelessons