July burn: distracted by real life.

July 19, 2010

And it’s not always pleasant…

Some people I care about are in pain. A Marriage is blowing up –quietly on the outside; loudly within I’m sure. There are children, who make these things complicated, torturous and toxic. For them. And for their parents. It’s bad.

Without great sin involved, taking sides is ridiculous. He’s not a villain and she’s not a witch. Shit happens.

Alone now, my own children sleeping, I sit here in front of my computer, doing what I always do when my mind is feverish: I write. But unlike conjuring a tag line or pithy words about a current event, for this I got nothing.

And so I said to the man whose wife is leaving and taking the children with her: In one year things will be fantastic, you just can’t see it now. Let her go…for now. Let her have the little ones…for now. Things are too toxic. The damages are severe and accruing. Rightly or wrongly, she is the nurturer. In one year things will be fantastic. Compared to now.

Is this advice? If so, is it good advice? As we get older they say we get wiser. I wonder, then, why so much shit happens when we get older. I have an idea. The expectations of youth ferment into resentments. We expect our marriages and our families and our jobs to always be right by us. When they are not, we are left impotent and seething. It is almost worse not having a villain. We look inward. Maybe we learn from it. But more likely we burn. Bad things can happen. We make poor decisions. Alcohol and people are waiting to intoxicate us.

Getting over loss is brutal. I’m not referring to death. Not here. In a way, unless unforeseen, death is a mercy. Unlike an estranged spouse, or former job, it is not still there, residing with another.

And so I said to the man who just lost his job and has no idea what’s next: In one year things will be fantastic, you just can’t see it now.

Alone now, in front of my computer, I pray that they do see it even if I know that they can’t or won’t. I also pray that I see it should something like that ever happen to me.

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7 Responses to “July burn: distracted by real life.”

  1. tim said

    Wow. Excellent.

  2. tracy said

    “The expectations of youth ferment into resentments. We expect our marriages and our families and our jobs to always be right by us… Maybe we learn from it.”

    It’s amazing to me how we manage to keep and carry these youthful expectations out into the world — despite decades to observe and learn from our parents. Life does not always do right by us. It’s the great cosmic “surprise!” that, for something out there, never seems to get old.

    That things will be better in a year, or at least “not like this,” is an important thing to remember, though a hard thing to gracefully express. We have no choice — especially people with children– but to put our heads down and plow forward. It’s still OK to cry, though.

  3. Mike Coffin said

    Here’s what I know. You can’t predict the future-however if they split up, Christmas will henceforth be misery. Somebody once said that getting divorced was like having your wallet removed through your penis. That’s about right.

    The only advice I can offer is this. Put the kids first. In every decision. The only way to counter this pain is by finding purpose in life. And right now, your buddy’s purpose is to be SuperDad. Stay connected to the kids even if the sight of your ex makes your blood boil and your sphincter pucker. They need both Mom and Dad. Never talk bad about Mom to your kids. If there’s any way in hell to reconcile, do it.

    And this is very important. Both parents need to have the talk with the kids together. Make sure they know that 1) Mommy and Daddy still love you, 2) Even if we don’t always live in the same house, we’ll still be together and 3) This is not your fault. Nothing you did, said, thought or dreamed caused this to happen.

    Best of luck to your friend. No getting around it, divorce sucks.

    • SRP said

      “Putting the kids first” seems to be the one saving grace during matters like these…even if that notion is already compromised in the event of splitting parents.

  4. jim schmidt said

    Life moves on, it always does. It may be better, it may in fact be worse, but it will be different than now. Marriage is at best a 50/50 proposition, so your friend should feel no shame in divorce. The key to to keep the kids front and center, they’re the ones who had no choice in any of it–the marriage, the procreation, the divorce. They shouldn’t suffer any more than they have to. This is the stuff of real life–the sediment under the surface soil–and it will no doubt reveal the character of the folks involved. Not too long ago, I lost a friend to suicide who went through a divorce and lost his job. No one had a clue how bad off he felt. I also had someone close to me shot by her estranged husband who then turned the gun on himself. Give your friend all the support he needs, but remind him it’s not really about him–it’s about the kids he decided to bring into the world.

  5. tjay said

    3) This is not your fault. Nothing you did, said, thought or dreamed caused this to happen.

    You’ll have to keep saying this. They’ll ask it over and over again at different ages and stages. Listen to them for the nuances that are different about the question each time. You’ll notice the question is not really about you. They’re asking you how they should grow; why they should risk love in a world that is so unstable? This is your new job. To live and love honestly. To pay careful attention to your life and to the many facets of love that you do not control. You’ll need to pay attention without judgment and without rigid expectations so that you are prepared to answer this question each time. It will come up when you’ve made other plans. Guess what? If you listen, your answers will come from different stages too — you’ll grow up with them. Love is amazing. It’s just not what you think. You’ll see. It’s not gone. It just has to get bigger.

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