Thursday, August 19, 2010
The Early Stages of Divorce
I've experienced a variety of things during the early stages of divorce. Here are a few of them:
It’s weird for other people too.
Yes, I am going through the process of divorce but so are others. My wife, son, daughter, our family and friends are dealing with our divorce. It’s interesting to see how family and friends are responding. Some have reached out to me via email. Others have picked up the phone. Some have remained silent. Family and friends subliminally pick sides. Friends that talked to me before aren't talking to me anymore. My wife’s family has not reached out to me since we made our divorce public. I'm not sure if and how my family has reached out to my wife so I can't speak to that. During the divorce process you learn who your real friends are.
(If you're a family member or friend who has not reached out and you are reading this, it's okay. I understand how weird this must be for you.)
Bad Brings Good
Prior to the divorce I had a pretty crappy, non-existent relationship with my daughter. When my daughter found out she called and comforted me. She invited me to my grandson's first birthday party. My daughter and I have been talking several times a week. I've never talked this much to my sister and brother. They've been checking in on me almost daily. My sister is flying me up to North Carolina at the end of October for a visit. I've renewed my friendship with Ray and Susan Kelley. I'm so thankful for that.
Church and Couples
So many people knew my wife and I as a couple. We don't get together with those people anymore. The weekly bible study. Going out to dinner. Being invited over to their homes. My friend Russell still invites me to the weekly bible study at his house. I'm not going. It's nothing personal. Hanging out with other married couples doesn't feel good right now.
So many people knew us as a couple at church too. I'm not going to church on Sunday. I've talked to my pastor about this. Church seems weird right now. When you're in the process of divorce where do you sit? 3 seats away from your wife? In the other section? I've been going to the Messy Church on Saturday nights and have really enjoyed it. My friends Ray and Susan Kelley are the pastors.
Act Like Nothing is Going On
This is the suggestion part of this post. When you know someone that is going through divorce, death or tragedy and you know about it, don't act like nothing is going on. Don't run into them and talk about the weather. Don't see them in church and walk past them. Don't ignore them. Don't be silent. Please reach out to them. Tell them you love them and that you are there for them. Your silence and distance hurts. Earlier this week a friend of mine found out about the divorce by reading this blog. She called me on the phone, said she was sorry and started to cry. I'll always remember that. I'm thankful for my friends Russell, Michael, Richard, Elaine, Jane, Dana, Christie, Christine and Jennifer. They tweet, chat, email or call me almost everyday to ask how I am doing. I've also been blow away by so many of my friends from Twitter. I've lost count of how many of them have reached out to me when I needed it the most. As I was going to bed the other night I checked the email on my phone and found a note from my cousin Tracy:
"Hi there, cousin! I just wanted to let you know tonight, that you've been on my heart the past couple of weeks, and I thought it was important that I share that with you. I don't know any details of your situation, but I somehow stumbled upon your blog and was brought to tears reading about some of your struggles. I know it sounds cliche and you are probably hearing the same thing from a hundred different people...but, for what it's worth, I am praying for you, Mike, and I love you dearly."
With God's help all of us we'll get through this messy thing called divorce.