Thursday, October 11, 2012

Waking Up

They say that divorce is like a death. But when your marriage dies, you don’t get sympathy cards. There are no flowers delivered to your doorstep. Nobody brings you any fucking casseroles.

People are sad for you and for your loss. But, secretly, they are also sad for themselves, because you’ve proven to them that even the most perfect-looking marriage can fail. And if that’s the case, what is the future for their own unwieldy union?

Your grief makes them uncomfortable. And they secretly worry that what you have is catching.

Unlike a human’s passing, a marriage, no matter how many years it lived, never really gets a proper burial. There is no body to view; no wake to extol what was good about the departed. There is no gathering of family and friends, no loving tribute printed in the newspaper.

Instead it’s just you, telling people – from your mother to the bank teller – that your situation is now changed.

And no matter how much grief you bear, you will never really be viewed (except maybe by your therapist) as a person in mourning.

If you are lucky, you will have dear friends and family who will embrace you, love you, and pray for you until you are through the worst of it. But most of the time you will be surrounded by people who are either indifferent, or who you are pretty sure are speculating that your relationship’s demise was, perhaps, preventable.

You will feel certain that when they say, I’m so sorry, how are you doing?, what they really mean is, Who killed it? Who did this thing? Whose bloody finger pulled the trigger?

When a marriage dies, you are not assigned the status of grieving widow. Instead you are an ex-wife, a single mother, (a cougar, some will jokingly say), a divorcee, none of which sounds as good.

And as much as you try to handle it all with grace, there will be moments when you find yourself revealing to someone you hardly know that the man you loved for more than two decades woke up one day and told you he was in love with somebody else’s wife.

You will tell them that your years of blind devotion to the idea of true, everlasting love turned out to be an epic and monumental failure. You will go on to confess that you are taking lots and lots of prescription medications and that you sleep in the fetal position.

And suddenly in the middle of it they will clap their hands and tell you they are fixing you up with their lonely bachelor next-door neighbor. It’s decided, they will say. When you are ready, of course.

When your marriage dies, whether you were the one to pull the life support plug or your partner strangled it in its sleep, you can’t go back. You can’t be who you were and you can’t not be who you are now.

You can’t keep doing what you were doing, and you can’t undo the past.

So what do you do?

You wake up, you put your feet on the floor and you tell yourself that even though this death has parted you, you are not one half of another.

You are strong enough to stand on your own and you will not come undone, at least not today.

by Allie J.
 (c) all rights reserved

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