Some of you have been a little confused about my last posting: on the one hand, the subject of marriage received the reverence it deserved (even if the delivery seemed a little condescending and a touch sanctimonious) but on the flip-side, I appeared to be quite flippant about my own marital situation, which I hasten to add is nothing like as turbulent as I’ve previously intimated 😉
Ok, let me clarify … there is nothing remotely funny about divorce. It isn’t amusing for the parties concerned, and as a mutual friend caught in the middle of an ongoing divorce between two of our closest friends, there are no attributes about the process of divorce or of human behaviours that I can honestly recommend to anyone. Not even to my worst enemy.
This Christmas, the children of the parties concerned will open their presents by the tree with one of their parents absent. They will eat their celebratory lunch at the dining table that would have been set for one more person. And as is the tradition, they will go on separate walks with each parent on Boxing Day. They will do well to take advantage of this period of grace because in the new year, they will begin a life apart – alternating between each parent every other week. The irony of this sorry existence is that both parents will need to talk to each other more often than of late, to coordinate schedules for dropping off and pickup up children from school and various other activities.
And that’s just the superficial damage that we as outsiders are unfortunate enough to witness. We may never know the full extent of emotional pain of either party or the anguish and insecurity felt by the kids as they are carried along by the due process of law and other formalities … hell, they might as well be treated like chattels in a property transaction. An anonymous 10-year old boy once described his feelings of abandonment and isolation following his parents’ divorce like this: It made me feel like my arms and legs aren’t attached … which I suppose is paraphrasing Margaret Atwood’s famous quote – divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but there’s less of you. So cruel, yet undeniably true.
If you find some quiet time as you wade through the shopping crowds this year, do give some thought to these two girls. I wonder if the clever elves in Santa’s grotto have found a way of boxing up courage and understanding …