6 Dec

In my memory there is a line.

When my mother was alive.

When my mother was dead.

Two people lived there for a moment-two people entered that hospital room, two little girls. One left. The other curled up on that hospital bed, curled against the cooling body of her mother, and never left.

I have spent years putting that little girl properly to bed, while knitting this one back to something resembling a whole person. I have begged, wheedled, cajoled, screamed and wept at the fates, wanting to turn the clock back, build my family once more into the unit it was, 4 people who loved each other, 4 people matched against the world. A family. I wanted my family back.

Tomorrow we face our daughters, and explain that soon, Daddy will have his own house and not see them every day. I want to believe that we can do this with little pain for them-that neither will have that terrible rift seethe through their bodies, that neither will spend their nights crying in pain because their world is not the world they deserve or even want. I want to believe we can get this right.

But then I imagine Vivian’s face when the reality sinks in that her father won’t be home any more, or Rosalyn’s as she computes that the her parents are no longer a unit, and wonders if that means we could stop loving her just as easily.

I see their tears, and can hardly hold mine in, even now. In that moment, I will be inflicting a most horrid pain upon my daughters, the one I swore I’d protect them from, and yet still was helpless to prevent it. In that I am a failure. I could not protect them from this.

Tell me they’ll be ok. Tell me I’m not breaking their little hearts-tell me they won’t hurt forever.

Tell me this won’t hurt them as much as the thought is killing me.

16 Responses to “Telling”

  1. Green December 6, 2009 at 12:33 am #

    They will be okay. Present a united front, reassure they’ll still get to do whatever special Daddy things they’ve always done with him, and whatever hasn’t been good in the house (yelling, being angry, tired, etc.) as a result of the animosity the two of you have had is NOT their fault, and will stop.

  2. bad mummy December 6, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    They’ll be fine. They will have lots of questions. If you don’t have the answer right away, tell them you’ll get back to them. Better to wait and formulate an answer than risk saying the wrong thing.

    Maybe point out that the love you have for a child – born of your body – is different from the love you have for a partner.

    They’ll soon learn that there are advantages to the 2-home deal. THe Mook crawls into my bed almost every morning and there’s always room for her.

  3. misspuddingfood December 6, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    If you guys are better off, they will be, too. It’ll be like pulling a band-aid off, but ultimately, if you guys are healthier, and respectful to each other, I think it will fine.

  4. flutter December 6, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    they will be great. They will be better than fine, because they have you.

  5. Hannah December 6, 2009 at 6:46 am #

    They will be fine. I promise. Michael and I survived four divorces between us, and I swear to you, your kids would rather have two loving parents in separate houses than two together who are miserable and unhappy.

    Yes, they will cry. Yes, they will ask questions that will crack your heart to answer them. But they will be okay.

    Thinking of you today.

    • thordora December 7, 2009 at 8:14 am #

      You know Hannah, I would have never known you had been though divorce. So there’s hope. 🙂

  6. jennyspeaks December 6, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    Speaking as a daughter that watched her mother undergo a brutal divorce, I can safely say that divorce is like a sledgehammer that hits you on the head. Hard. It doesn’t make you enraged, but just dazed and confused. You float around for the longest time, wondering what the hell just happened.

    My parents split when I was a kid and I couldn’t understand many things. They chose to cover it up, and it was only much later when I learnt the details by myself. That was a bad phase in my life.

    But now, I’m proud of mother more than anything else. It takes courage and dignity to continue to raise children even after so many bombshells. She may not have been the perfect mother but she tried. She really tried.

    So don’t despair. All you gotta do is try, and love them with all your heart. 🙂 stay strong, for the girls.

  7. elorajade December 6, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    My parents split when I was 4 and got a divorce when I was 7.

    I remember the animosity, the fighting, the hatred. I remember thinking I was the cause and wishing I was dead.

    You’ll do it different. You already have. That will shape things differently, that will let them know that while the two of you aren’t “in love” anymore, you can still love one another as friends and as their parents.

  8. jeanette December 6, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    Oh baby, my heart aches for you. I know where you are. Exactly where you are. And it is so fucking hard.

    But here’s what I think. You gotta love them. You and your (ex)husband. Focus on love now like you never have before. Let them know that because your love for their father has changed, you won’t be married anymore – but that you will love him always and forever (if this is true, which I gather it is). And that you love them always and forever, and that they are the most important things, and always will be. I think my daughters, as young as they were, grasped the idea that our love changed, not ended, and drew comfort from that.

    If you keep them, and your combined love for them as primary focus through this, they’ll be okay. And that is not an easy order at times, because divorce – in my experience – can be home to all sorts of emotions and events that lead directly down the road to negative emotions that don’t have much to do with love. It’s easy to fall into wallowing, or pain, or anger or bitterness or ‘what ifs’. So very easy. But just come back to the love.

    I’m rambling, and this is all personal experience and may not resonate at all because this is so different for everyone. Just know my heart is with you.

  9. Cheeky Monkey December 6, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Thinking of you today, woman. Peace amidst the thunder. For all of you.

  10. slouchy December 6, 2009 at 3:43 pm #

    they will be more than fine. they will be better for not living in a house where there are strained and chilly relations.


  11. Titanium December 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    They will be okay- as long as they have you. And as long as they get to build a relationship with their dad on their terms. As long as he doesn’t yank them out of your home every other week, for a week, without mercy or compassion- and wound their souls by speaking ill of you.

    They will be as fine as you are. Kids are frightfully resilient- they refuse to be unhappy. They return to their set point and find goodness wherever it lives.

    They will cry, they will be angry, they will grieve. Help them find a new normal and make clear that is exactly what it is. Acknowledge their grief, their pain, their love for their dad, their conflict. They will heal and they will be stronger for it. Better prepared, in fact, for all that life relentlessly brings for each one of us: sunlight and shadows in equal measure.

    My thoughts are with you and the girls.

  12. Marcy December 6, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    You continue in my prayers. And them, and him, too.

  13. Velma December 6, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    I think they will take their cues from you and their dad, and hard as this is you will all be better down the line. I’ve seen my siblings’ and friends divorces, and in almost every single case, everyone is happier in time. You just have to keep it respectful between the adults and reassure the kids how much they are cherished. Good vibes headed your way!

  14. thordora December 7, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    They’ve been told.

  15. Maggie, dammit December 7, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Oh, babe.

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