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I'd Like to say 'Good Bye'
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Home > Writings > On Divorce > Here

I have had many ups and downs within my marriage. Since August 1999, when I walked in on my wife and her female lover, I realized that my marriage was in deep trouble. Several weeks later, when I was asked by my them to join in a love triangle so as to "save our marriage", I knew I had to get out. I filed for divorce the next Monday. Ever since, I have been seeking some sort of relief from the pain, loneliness, and despair I felt over my wife's betrail of our marriage. So started the trek to the lawyers, the various religious folks, as well as to the counselors that were at hand.

As was my case in Payne County, the court system there requires people who have children and are divorcing to go through a 4-hour course on how to behave with respect to your soon to be ex in front of the kids. I signed up and attended and was greeted by one of the strongest child advocate types I had to that time run up against. She went through all of the details about how I as a custodial father of three small children (two boys, 2 and 4, and a girl 9) would need to exercise great care in dealing with my children. Further, she indicated to me that in her opinion, none of what has been discussed here, even in the broad strokes that I've chosen to outline it, should EVER be discussed with my children.

About this point in the conversation, I heard several others guffaw and say "yeah right". Many were so caught up in their own grief, anger, and frustration at being in the divorce process that they could not see past it. I also felt a general confusion about where my own feelings were. In the end, I came to feel that as many of the things my wife did were in front of our children, I would not have to tell them much about the details. Furthermore, as time progressed, I came to understand both from this session and other counseling sessions that the beautiful children that I and my wife brought into this world should not be burdened with this knowledge. They would not be ready for it and it could well do more harm to them than good for my position in their eyes.

While still in this class, I felt myself letting go of the pain. This was the first indication I experienced that everything would work itself out. Later on in this class, the instructor gave a piece of homework. She suggested that all in attendance should go home and finish this sentence out for as many things about our soon to be ex's as we could. We should order these from the most painful, hateful, annoying details about our ex's that we could not stand to the small things that we would truly miss. The sentence was "I want to say good-bye to..."

I want to share with you what I wrote that evening...

I want to say good-bye to your cat pissing all over our bedroom.
I want to say good-bye to your dogs jumping all over me...then running away.
I want to say good-bye to your crying about a blouse that I ruined by running it through the dryer.
I want to say good-bye to your inability to express emotions (in favor of door slamming).
I want to say good-bye to your laziness when it came to helping with the ten acres we bought together.
I want to say good-bye to all of your clutter in our bedroom.
I want to say good-bye to all of the times that you did your best to belittle me and hurt my feelings.
I want to say good-bye to all of the times that I kept dreaming that you would try to show me that you loved me.
I want to say good-bye to your inability and disinterest in "my world", "my friends", "my hobbies", even after I supported you all the way through Vet School.
I want to say good-bye to all of the destruction your "charity" towards your pets inflicted on our house.
I want to say good-bye to your interest in the newspaper, books, etc. late at night rather than with me.
I want to say good-bye to your giving up on us.
I want to say good-bye to a warm body to snuggle up to in bed.
I want to say good-bye to your smile at my jokes.
I want to say good-bye to having someone I cared to cook for.
I want to say good-bye to having someone to care for me when I felt bad/sick.
I want to say good-bye to joining your family for Thanksgiving, eating, puzzle building, etc.
I want to say good-bye to your mom, although she cannot be with us during this time, I feel a loss. When she disappeared in New Mexico, that was a loss no youngest daughter should have to bear.
I want to say good-bye to the idea of taking our kids with us on our 20'th anniversary to Alaska as we discussed on our honey-moon there.
I want to say good-bye to our showers together, kidding you about washing behind your ears, etc.
I want to say good-bye to your hugs.
I want to say good-bye to our marriage, with all of it's hope, possibilities, and fun.

To say the least, when I got done typing out all of this, I was a wreck. It was late at night, after a very long day when nothing much seemed to work right. However, when I finished this assignment, I was emptied out. All of the twisted up feeling, the confusion, the conflicting emotions, seemed to evaporate.

As luck would have it, my eldest daughter had to go to the bathroom about this same time frame and on her way back to bed, she came by and asked, "Why are you crying daddy?" I couldn't answer her right away. When I was able to do so, I told her, "Daddy is just saying goodbye to how things were so he could prepare for the way things would be." I'm sure this answer probably befuddled her, but her next words brought credence to the phrase "out of the mouths of babes". She said, "It'll be all right." and gave me a big hug. At that moment I found myself finally accepting my situation; this divorce was going to happen. I was going to survive.

Well, I'm not sure it's "all right" just yet. The divorce has been dragging on now for six months. I'm going to loose more than just the wife out of this. As time and bills mount, some days seem like the process will never quite be over. To the "plus" side, my wife and I have taken up a very positive attitude about the help, support, and care of our kids. I've been working on the house and ten acres so that I and the kids will have a nice place to live. All in all, I'm finding inner reserves that I didn't know I had (or at least had forgotten about). A good portion of my current state in life I give to doing that block of homework.

Later, my Beginning Experience (BE) weekend helped me sort out many of these conflicting emotions, thoughts, and priorities that had been floating about in the amorphous mess that was my marriage, is my divorce, and may yet become my life. Through the BE process, I came to reaffirm that things will be "all right", just as my daughter had said. I am adrift in a river of grief just as many others before me have been. Much as most of us are. I can only say that for myself, taking that BE weekend to focus all of my thoughts, emotions, etc. on my situation was one of the best things I could ever have done for myself.

Written February, 2000.

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