Divorce means no more little notes next to your coffee cup in the morning, no more shared pride over your children’s accomplishments, no more family gatherings in your own house. It means only one extended family instead of two, and trying to be two parents at once to your kids.
Divorce hurts. It hurts for me, for my kids, for my parents, for my grandparents. It hurts for my ex, for his parents, for his grandparents. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.
Divorce hurts. It hurts when I see people who got married after me celebrating their anniversaries, and I remember the anniversaries that I celebrated so happily — three months, six months, nine months, a year… Four years… Five years. “If we’ve made it this far, we’ll make it all the way,” someone said. But we didn’t. And it hurts.
Divorce hurts. It hurts when I come home from an event to an empty house, late at night. It hurts when my in-laws start treating me like a total stranger, and I have to remember that they are no longer Mom and Dad. It hurts when my children begin to realize that their homelife is different from other people’s, and they ask, “Why aren’t you married, Mommy?” It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.
Someone told my father last year, when I was in the midst of going through it, that it’s like tearing out a piece of yourself. Someone else said that unless you’ve gone through it yourself, or someone very close to you has, you can’t really understand what it’s like. Like the woman who said to me, on a street corner in Jerusalem, “I hope you know that it’s not any better on the other side of the fence.” I wanted to say, Do you think I chose this for myself? Do you think I stood under the wedding canopy seven years ago and said, “I want to get divorced”? Don’t you think I did everything I could to prevent this from happening, to keep my marriage together, to keep my life together?
One of my friends whom I haven’t spoken to in a long time called me up the other day, and I had to tell her I was divorced. She gave a little gasp. “I’m so sorry to hear that.” Then she said, “But they say that sometimes you should say mazal tov when you hear someone is divorced.” No, I wanted to say. No, your first reaction was the right one. I don’t want any mazal tovs. What mazal, good fortune, is there in being alone, in steering the ship of my house by myself, in having lost my goal in life? Because being divorced means losing one of the most precious parts of myself. What is my goal now, now that I am no longer a proud wife and mother, a woman who is working hard to take care of her family? Who am I if I am just me, a single mother with two kids to raise all by myself, day after day? Where am I going? What am I doing? You can’t talk that way, a wise woman told me. You still have a task to accomplish, and your kids still need you. But it’s so hard to remember that right now, when I feel so alone, so lonely, so lost and confused. There are so many unanswered questions, and so few answers. So many things just don’t make sense.
Maybe one day I’ll gain some clarity, and I’ll feel better about my place in the world again. But in the meantime, it hurts. It hurts. It really hurts.
To read more, look for Healing from the Break in your local Jewish bookstore, or order online at http://www.menuchapublishers.com/healing-from-the-break.html.