I cried on a lot of shoulders back when I first separated from my husband, probably too many. Most were wise enough not to give advice. A few made very appropriate comments which I took to heart. One such comment came from a friend who had been divorced years earlier. He said, “Remember–this is not about you and it’s not about the girlfriend, it’s all about him.” D had chosen to take his life in a different direction. He never discussed it with me. He never asked my opinion. He didn’t want my opinion. The adult children and the grandchildren and I had no choice in the matter. It was a “done deal” once he made up his mind.
It seems unfair, even now, that one person can make a decision that will change the lives of so many others without their permission. But I do understand better now than I did earlier why he thought he had to make such a choice. He felt as if he were drowning and he had to save himself. I don’t believe I’ll ever understand all the reasons he felt that way but I guess I don’t need to. I’ve already beaten that dog to death, no need to kick him. But I do understand well enough to let it, and him, go now.
I read a book recently by Daniel Gottlieb. I don’t remember the title of the book. Daniel was the victim of a tragic accident which left him a quadriplegic. I’m paraphrasing here, but one of his children had a melt down in the car one day and screamed at Daniel, “I hate you! I hate what you’ve done to my life!” When I read that, I realized for the first time that even though I understand it’s not about me, children and very young adults do not necessarily grasp that notion. I mention this in order to say that a couple of the grandchildren were very angry with D. So angry they would hardly speak to him. I thought they were upset because he had “hurt” me and I imagine that was a part of it. I suspect, though, that they were really unsettled because of the changes the divorce would cause in their lives. D has tried hard to remain in their lives and to make amends to them. I appreciate his desire and effort to do that. I’m hoping for healing for all of us.
As I’ve said before, the children have been balm for my soul. And it is in my nature to want to protect them. I suppose that’s why I’ve crocheted an afghan for each one of them in the past several months. I wanted to wrap them up and keep them cozy and safe. I didn’t set out with that in mind but when I read between the lines, I realize that’s what I was doing.