Six and a half years ago, I began the divorce proceedings and process. I didn't initiate it, but it wasn't unexpected nor unwelcome.
The legal proceedings were painless. The process, however, was not.
Early in the process, my father, also a divorcee, told me that for him every day after his divorce was like a funeral. So each day I bury some part of my past, present, and worst of all my imagined future.
In the early days of the process I was wracked with tremendous pain and loss. These days, the funerals are bearable; routine in fact.
Now, it is as though a frail and venerable aunt has passed. Yes, its over, but the time had come. There is a sadness in the finality, but a joy in the release from frail and confining constraints.
The one aspect of divorce that I still mourn is not having my children at my home each and every day. update: A few weeks ago I had coffee with my now 18 year old daughter. For the past 3 or 4 years she's been living with her mom. During our coffee, we talked through a lot of things. Deep revelations and dreams. At one point she said something like “I don't have these kind of conversations with mom.” Immediately, my heart swelled. I had a real and deep connection with my daughter; the one who had chose to live with her mom full-time. My eyes welled with tears. They have been a part of my life since I was 20. I've been playing the role of parent since my junior year in college.
As I help my son take his steps towards becoming a freshman in college, I'm curious. update: My son graduates from college this year. It sounds like he'll spend a year working, then look to voluntary service and perhaps grad school. He went from a student that failed to turn in homework, to one that took Organic Chemistry II as an elective, and earned the second highest grade. What will his path be? In three years will he be a father?
And what of my daughters? They are now in junior high, but if I close my eyes for a moment, they too will be off to college. update: My oldest daugher is gearing up for college; looking towards Spanish and ASL. My youngest daughter has been active in marching band. She decided the winter of 8th grade to learn French Horn and Mellophone. Two years later, she was lead of her section in the 200+ person marching band.
Time moves ever faster. Anyone getting older realizes this. Compound this with the cruel institution of divorce and I get half of that time.
I see my children every other week. update: I wish even this were true. I see them perhaps an hour every other week. There is a pressure to cram two weeks of living into each week. But I am well aware that if I want to do something right, I must slow down and do it.
I am fortunate. I am remarried to a wonderful woman. update: She's a successful small business owner, growing the Soapy Gnome into a treasured business of downtown Goshen Indiana. She is a creative whirlwind, and wants nothing more than to be a mother.
To this day, when my children are with me for the week, we manage to have 6 out of seven evening meals together. This is in spite of complex schedules, driving arrangements, professional career, and opening a business.
These meals sometimes remind me of the funeral reception for aged relatives that have passed. Families gathered together, one more time. Brought together by the memory of someone once (and still) important to them.
There is always laughter at these meals. And life goes on, not in spite of the loss, but because of the impact of the deceased.
I continue to dig through the mental shoe box of pictures that my future self was planning on taking. Those photos are fading, yet it still fills me with sadness.
However, today I don't know what those future pictures will be. I'm excited to find out, but I'm going to slow down and let them develop.