I recently read that there are counselors who support people through divorce. I feel this is much-needed. I also read someone write that ‘I had a happy divorce’. For a moment when I read that I felt inadequate. As I did not have a happy divorce. I wanted to respond with anger to that Facebook comment. But I held myself and allowed myself to feel my anger and inadequacy and see what came up that would be a more compassionate way of responding.
I realized the only compassionate way would be to expose my inadequacies and anger by owning them and admitting them. I got divorced after being with a man for 15 years. He was my boyfriend and then my husband. He was a friend, a buddy in many ways. Our marriage was sometimes happy and sometimes really tough. I don’t want to go into the details of describing my marriage. But what I want to say is that despite the violence, despite the anger, despite the need to leave, my divorce was not a happy divorce.
I did not want a divorce, I wanted to make my marriage last, I tried to make it work. I wanted to stay together for me, for my husband , for my children, for our respective families, for our huge circle of warm and loving friends, for our grandchildren and their children and their friends and families.
So with so many dreams and hopes riding on our marriage, it was certainly not a happy divorce. It was sad. The saddest event of my life. An event that left me shaken and broken and devastated beyond measure. The grieving of that sadness has been a long drawn arduous process. Add to that the responsibility of being a single mother to two growing children and support them in processing their emotions to accept their new realities is the hardest of all. Add to that the re-marriage of ex-husband before I had moved on internally.
The icing on the bitter cake is that one cannot grieve openly as people tell you, ‘Who asked you get a divorce?’ So one has to be brave, smile, fit in, and carry all the shame and guilt and disappointment alone inside one’s own broken heart. And also take on the responsibility of one’s own actions and consequences and perceived failure to make it work in a world that judges divorce very harshly. Add to that one’s own self-judgment.
To try to find self-love and self-worth when life as we knew it or believed it to be falls apart is the hardest for any one. Death and divorce are two most life altering events in any one’s life. Divorce is not happy even if the marriage was an unhappy one. Divorce is sad for multiple reasons, and gets even more intense when there are children involved. Does that mean I made a mistake by divorcing? No, I am not saying that. I am saying no one wants to divorce. It is always the last resort when all else fails.
Divorce is sad, deeply sad, it is heart crunching, guts gnawing grief and sadness, add to it the loneliness of losing support of family and security of many things material and non-material. Add to that the feeling of isolation in a society where everything revolves around coupling and marriage. I can vouch for people who get divorced that they do not ever recover from sadness, they simply are forced to go within and make peace with sadness that will never leave. Divorce compels some people to seek deeper peace and unshakable self-love that is not dependent on something as frivolous as happiness. I, for one have seen deeply that there is no such thing as lasting happiness. Divorce has compelled me to seek acceptance of life when it falls apart. It has compelled me to be prepared for rejection, for abandonment, for love not working out always fruitfully, for not ever finding another partner.
Divorce is death and death is not happy, it is real and hides in it the true meaning of life which is essentially fully empty. Divorce has compelled me to stop running after happiness and find grace in whatever life brings me.
Divorce is the greatest spiritual teacher you will ever meet and I hope you do not meet that teacher and if you do please bow with humble surrender with the true reverence it deserves!
Divorce is not happy!