Divorce for "unchastity", or so they claim...

by Rebekah
(Michigan)

When I was young I used to tell people that I was glad my parents weren't together. When probed further I could only fall back to the fact that I had hardly remembered them together and that they seemed so different from one another. I would then try to highlight their vast differences.

I felt like an outcast in my small catholic school. I'm sure I wasn't the only kid with divorced parents, but for some reason I felt rather alienated because of it. I wasn't invited to the kid's parties whose dad's were deacons, or so it seemed. Instead I was banished to the one or two kids who would drift in an out over the eight year span, and also had divorced parents. We always seemed to be "in some kind of trouble". I did make some lasting connections, however, so no regret for that.

When I strained hard enough, I could visit various swirling memories of my dad, asleep in my mother's (now) solitary bedroom, I was met with his sleepy smile, a Christmas morning scene. Bittersweet: this vision always preceded my old brother and my mom, huddled in front of the heat vent on the dining room floor, sobbing together. My dad might have been there to break the news of their divorce, but all I can see when I look back is the three of us- without my dad, a new reality we would now face, sobbing in unison. I was so little! As if only a mirror of my mother's tears. It was later that I realized the pain I felt was the brokenness of a family being torn apart forever, no turning back. The fight on landing steps, the Babs Bunny doll I was clutching laying in my bed, thought to be sleeping. The slamming doors and screams. Though this fight was a single event, it plays over and over again in my mind. I stopped trying to piece all of the memories together, but to me I think this one in particular meant that even though my parents may have tried to work it out one more time, it was indeed over again, again for good.

Then came the slew of girlfriends. All the women that meant more to my father than I ever could. That's how it felt. I still have a complex for the ways that I felt, the guilt, the shame of not having handled it all better. Everything became so exaggerated in my mind. Then came the obsessive thoughts and behaviors I still experience this very day. I would try to pass the time laying awake at night, unable to sleep. The anxious patterns I still cannot escape and the countless insecurities.

Later my father remarried, a woman with two daughters. They tried hard to incorporate us all together into a lovely and happy blended family. This never happened.

No one ever told me why my parents divorced. Until my aunt did when I was seventeen. Apparently it was an affair, which explained the briefly abusive girlfriend, the first one.
I dropped out of high school that year.

This is a never ending story- it plays over again and again. My mother wasn't innocent either, at least that what my dad reminds me of every time I try to talk to him about what ensued all those years ago. I've gone through hating him and pushing him away, as well as periods of trying to repair our "lost" relationship and emotional bond. The former in my teens and the latter in my twenties. It's still a struggle.

My mother remarried too, this was only about a year ago. I feel comfort to know that she will be cared for as she gets older, whether or not the relationship is valid.

No one is perfect. I can only hope to remember that when I look at my own husband now, and hope I can escape the predisposition to follow in my parents footsteps. I don't think my husband understands, but he tries. Like another woman wrote in her story, I'll never get over it. But by God's grace I can hope to take away what I hope not to do in my own marriage and family.

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