My sister finalized her divorce last week.
It is a bittersweet time because, obviously, no one wants a marriage to fail, especially when there are children are involved. But, when two adults realize they don’t bring out the best in each other anymore, you just have to be supportive, if they have done everything in their power to become better and stronger, in their choice to separate. At least, that’s my opinion.
Maybe because this whole thing hits too close to home.
Barely two years ago, this could have been us. Wendy and Scott.
We had fallen out of respect for each other and lacked any real good communication. Two major failures in the world of love and marriage.
We spent a long hard several months apart. Perhaps a needed break and a chance to grow and reevaluate. We tried counseling and separation and, in the end, absence made the heart grow fonder — and much more respectful and gracious and understanding, too.
We still to this day have to conscientiously make sure that we are being good to each other, ourselves and our relationship — if any of those three things fail (and honestly, it’s usually being good to ourselves), the whole thing can crumble. We know this too, too well.
Divorce is a scary word.
Yet, it’s amazing how many couples — those married a couple months and those married 50 years — have admitted to me how close they themselves were to that ugly word.
I don’t think any less or any differently of them, just like I will never judge my sister or former brother-in-law for their decisions and their journey. But we were judged.
I lost friends, the closest and dearest of friends, because of their judgement on us, and on me. I faced rumors, ridicule. And very little support. Friends who didn’t leave just didn’t exactly hang around to support and rather, chose to hang out on the sidelines. Like, “I’m here but not really.”
I’m not on my sister’s sideline. I’m with her. Whatever our differences in parenting or style or personality or anything else, she’s had my back and I will have hers.
Last week, my family was gathered and we all poured some champagne and cheered to the end of one chapter in my sister’s book. And over the edge of my glass, I spotted Scott and gave him a nod. I looked at the kids we were raising and the family who supported our little world and I knew the right turns in our journey had been made. Every twist is for a reason. Every fork in that road matters.
We’re back on the same team and we’re stronger than ever, but it’s important to every now and then acknowledge that this could have been us.
It’s a bittersweet reality that one day will be shared with our children and maybe even our grandchildren. And often, as a reminder between the two of us. It’s the thing that haunts us in quiet moments now and then and the thing we manage to forget, just for a moment, when it’s been a good day and it all came easy.
It’s that thing that circles us in peaceful reminders like a ring, a vow, a story.