Sep 21, 2009

Broken endings

Suddenly, marriages around me are breaking all over the place in bits and bites of hate and disillusionment, and I am sad and queasy. Nothing we ever do is without repercussion. Nothing.

Losing a parent to divorce is not the same as losing a parent to death. Yama fills in for the missing link. As far as the child (or the remaining partner) is concerned, the love is untouched. The person’s presence is missing, but the relationship is not. It will always be alive.

In a divorce, however, your world view itself is shaken up. Emotions take on degrees upon degrees of complexity. The father is no longer a father. The mother is a changed person. The family structure is skewed, one whole section of cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles is removed from your scheme of things (but not from your memory). A spouse becomes an enemy; a parent becomes a stranger. What was once love is proved hollow. What was once commitment and loyalty has dissipated in clouds of blame and abuse. Who belongs to whom? The answer shifts uneasily and turns its face away.

Do the benefits of divorcehood (of peace, personal space, freedom) outweigh the benefits of marriage (of your child having a complete home, social sanction and support, a co-shoulder for day-to-day drudgery)? I don’t know but I’m learning that every day, life throws up new battles. You have traded in some sorrows for some others. You have to constantly rationalize your choice, constantly reassure yourself that you did the right thing. Constantly ask yourself, “If I had to live my life again, would I still walk the same paths?” And constantly, convincingly, reply with a “Yes”.

But if I am honest with myself, there is a tinge of regret. I know what I’ve been through and I don’t recommend it to anyone else. I cannot undo the past, but there is a slight care that now leads my actions. Maybe it is doubt, maybe it is wisdom. Maybe it's all for the best. One thing’s for sure: ‘Been there, done that’ is not necessarily a happy ending.

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