It’s impossible to a have a divorce devoid of pain. Despite how bad the relationship may have been, at one point there was something worthwhile that lead to a marriage. That pain may be felt by different people at different times. The person who initiates the divorce may regret it later. A parent or sibling or close friend may take the initial news with a sense of shock, which later turns into pain. Humans exist to come together. Breaking apart, even if it’s the right thing to do, is hard.
Divorce can also bring out the best in people. I speak from experience and observation. My experience is not my own divorce, but one of a sibling who took what appeared to be an impossible situation and made not only the most of it, but more of it.
There’s never a right time to have a child, but somehow we work through it. There’s probably not a right time to have a divorce, especially when you aren’t initiating the process. In the case of my brother, he was in the midst of leaving a stable paycheck to start his own business. In some ways the stress and strain of that experience was a distraction, but to watch the divorce pile on top was excruciating.
What did he do? He powered through and consistently opted for the high road with his now ex. His two kids were at stake. Always the most capable of the brothers in terms of MacGyver-like survival skills, he focused them in new directions. Beyond his work, he was now running a household 3-4 days per week. Whether it was school work, cooking, cleaning or sports activities, he stepped up his game and figured it out. Those of us around him were inspired. Always a great dad, his divorce catapulted him into legend status.
An unhealthy aspect of my brother’s life prior to divorce was a complete focus on work, wife and kids. He constantly sought to make each party happy, to the exclusion of his own happiness. One of the consequences of this approach to life was that old friendships were on life support.
Old Friends by a Texas singer-songwriter named Guy Clark, is one of my favorite songs. The lyrics in the chorus are simple and moving…
Old Friends they shine like diamonds
Old Friends you can always call
Old Friends Lord you can’t buy ’em
You know it’s Old Friends after all
Well guess what? When the sky started to fall, those diamonds started to shine. Everyone was there for him. As the years have progressed since the darkest days, those old friendships have become even more profound. The emotional trauma of the divorce no doubt contributed, but even more so his appreciation for those connections was revived.
A FUTURE REIMAGINED
It doesn’t require a crystal ball to see where your life is headed after two kids and ten years of marriage. Of course things will happen and paths will alter, but more or less you can imagine a path that has a likelihood of coming to fruition.
My brother didn’t choose the hard right turn that was his divorce. Caught off guard, his partner chose it for him. Fortunately, a new path emerged and he bravely plowed forward. Out of necessity, the relationship with his two daughters deepened. The new path eventually involved a woman who happened to be a food blogger and lighting rod of positivity. It also included her two incredible kids And it was good. And he got better.
I’ve always, and will always, love my brother. It’s odd though, I like him now even better than I did before. Divorce wasn’t the end of him. Divorce was a moment he embraced as an opportunity to grow. Divorce brought out the best in him, his friends, and his family.
For anyone trapped in the fog of divorce, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you can hang on and push through, there’s a good chance that a huge burst of sunlight is waiting on the other side.