January 22, 2011
I was divorced a while back and now I’m the office manager of a family law firm that deals mostly with divorce, custody; etc. Interesting!
So when my wife Jennifer mentioned The Huffington Post blog today, she piqued my curiosity and some memories of my own divorce.
The Huffington Post has a divorce section: www.huffingtonpost.com/divorce No matter what you may think of Ms. Huffington’s politics, you may find her blog interesting if you’re in / thinking of / recently out of a divorce.
I can understand why people get so emotional about these things. One of the worst days in my life was when my soon- to- be Ex took the children off to Minnesota (as we had planned) and I was left alone in Texas. When we said goodbye, I stood in the now empty echoing and no-longer-ours house and implored them, “Please don’t go!” I cried. They went.
My Ex and I had just grown apart. The stress of her needing a heart transplant and of having two handicapped children was tremendous and I in particular had a hard time dealing with it. Furthermore I had just started on a new career (professor of history) and was in grad school doing great – and it took a lot of my attention and time leaving less than my children needed.
Then with a lot of misery on my part–and with a sudden jolt — I realized that I could choose either my children or my career. I chose the children and gave up my new career with a forthright letter to my favorite history prof.
I’ve always been a private person in my way, in many aspects that really matter to me. I had not really discussed the emotional impact of all this – career, children, political differences — with my wife – therapists, yes but at first that didn’t work either. This was a really hard decision and I could have used my wife’s help more than I could ask for. I knew the history work I was doing would be a boon to mankind but it had to go. I dropped my history writing project but not before writing out my conclusions and sending them where I thought they should go. This small part I am proud of.
I finally found a suitable therapist in Texas: “Mr. Bill.” I let myself enjoy life a but more — well maybe more than a bit – and came to understand more the arc of my life from southern white boy (born in Connecticut!) to labor organizer to family man and computer consultant and historian to divorce and fatherhood. I could not let my children go. When my job in Houston finished, as I knew it would, I had an epiphany: “If I’m doing the right thing staying in Texas, why do I feel so miserable?” Every day I cried and screamed and bemoaned my fate. These outpourings of emotions would not do – though for a while I had to do them. I did learn to “deal with” in other ways – therapy, taking more responsibility for the kids, meditation.
So I had my epiphanies. I packed up a rental truck in the warm rainy and green Houston spring (it was 70 degrees and January) and drove to Minnesota to be near my kids (it was so cold the diesel fuel froze in the tank). I got there just before my Ex’s heart transplant, which was a great success.
Don’t get me wrong. Things were still rough, especially on the children, and it took me years to figure out and get a grip on my anger and my hostility, but I finally did and I finally accepted that I had made the right, the necessary, choice.
So, if you’re going through something similar, know you are not alone. A divorce even when it is for the best is usually a great loss of pride, family, familiarity. Some may breeze through a divorce but I didn’t. You probably would not either. It took years to get back close again to my children – after an estrangement totally my own fault. I grew up in the process – finally reaching adulthood as a fifty-something male.
Which brings us back to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/divorce Try an article or two. Makes ya think. Especially the part about building and using a network of friends and professionals (investment advisors, therapists, mentors, fellow workers,) according to your needs.
And, don’t forget to cultivate, smell, and pick the roses along the way.
Moore Family Law