Divorce–an amputation?

A beautiful day at the park.

“A divorce is like an amputation:  you survive it, but there’s less of you.”–Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors.  She’s an intelligent and imaginative writer.  There are very few books I will read more than once but I read her The Handmaid’s Tale every few years.  If you are female and you’ve never read this one, you should get a copy.  I recently stumbled upon this quote about divorce by Ms. Atwood.  It’s been rolling around in my brain for days.

I remember thinking when I first saw it, “Oh, Margaret Atwood has been divorced.”  Of course I don’t actually know that.  But then of course I do know that.  How?  Only a person who’s lived through a divorce could have expressed it so perfectly.  I’ve been muddling along for four years now feeling as if some vital part of me is missing.  People who have lost a limb say that sometimes they still have feeling in the missing appendage.  I think it’s called phantom pain, itch, etc.  It reminds me of the times that I thought D was lying next to me in bed but it was only a pillow or a blanket.  Initially I would think, in the dark, that I really saw him there.  I would see his profile or his beard.  I would reach out to touch him.  Nothing. Phantom images.  I think there’s a biological reason for an amputee to “feel” physical sensations.  I suppose there must be some mental/psychological explanation for phantom images.

I’m noticing today that the more distant my separation from D becomes the less likely I am to compare it to an amputation.  I think I’ve said before that I like to look for the humor in every situation.  So I’m thinking that maybe I just lost about 200 pounds of excess weight.  Or maybe I had a headache for a very long time and didn’t know how to act once I got rid of it.  Maybe my toes stopped hurting once I had no one to step on them.  Maybe I feel more attractive than I have for years now that I’m not waiting for someone else to pay me a compliment.  (He was never going to.)  Maybe I really do have a brain.  Maybe I can actually count money.  Maybe I don’t miss his passive/aggressive attitude.

Maybe I will make a list of all the pluses (funny or not) and continue this rant another day.


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