Divorce, I guarantee all of us know someone who has been affected by divorce or who has actually been divorced. Before you all start getting excited about some juicy gossip, no I am not getting divorced, the husband and I are still very happily married, but we both are the product of divorced families. I am bringing this up because I just went to my uncle’s wedding to his second wife and found that it was much more difficult than I originally thought it would be.
I have three uncles on my father’s side, so let’s all conclude that my grandma had four sons; yes we are good at math. All four sons have now been divorced after somewhat long marriages; I think the shortest marriage to end was 17 years. All of the divorces have happened within the last 10 years, including my parents, for their varying reasons. Being at this wedding, a new-found beginning for my uncle and his new wife, brought so many memories to the surface, memories that I had forgotten were even buried in my little childhood self and it made me very sad, even on that happy of a day. I can only imagine what my cousin was feeling, even being the young adult that she is now, receiving a new step-mother because there were a swirl of emotions roiling through me as I watched someone else standing in my aunt’s place.
When you grow up in a close-knit family, where there are gatherings of loved ones at the holidays, birthdays and numerous ball games, you are surrounded by the adoration of your family and take it for granted that it will always be there, a well that will never run dry. As you grow older, up and out of the house, making your way out into the world, they are all there waving you on, and again, you take it for granted that they will always be there. It is quite sad when the day comes when one of them is not.
The first one to go was my aunt married to the eldest uncle. She was the one that we lived closest to and who was around the most often when we were growing up. When she and my uncle divorced I never saw her again and only would hear about her from my other aunts occasionally. I haven’t seen her in 10 years. I missed her at my wedding and even thought of her when I found out I was expecting my first child. I was sad that I could not share the news with her. The next divorce was my parents and that is another story entirely.
The next aunt to go was married to my youngest uncle (the cool ones). They would take us kids to the super fun places in the summer and we would get to spend the night with them at the beach and go to the pier and to the giant water slides. Pizza Hut was always on the menu and adventures were endless. After the divorce I heard she remarried but have not seen her in over eight years.
The last one to go was the middle aunt, the one who had been through it all. We used to joke about her still hanging in there but little did we know what was really going on because two years ago she left the picture too. This couple was the only other one in the family with a child besides my parents, so I keep up with her through my cousin but it’s just awkward and weird. Especially now that my uncle has recently remarried, I have not seen my aunt in over two years.
What I realized at this wedding was how sad my family makes me. I think of who I am outside of my family and I am okay, but when I am with them it just stirs up old memories and there is so much hurt there from all sides. I think that everyone feels it and when we do get together it’s hard for my uncles and my dad to even look at us kids. I’m sure it makes them sad to remember how it used to be when we were all small and they were all happy. When people divorce, it’s almost like a death in families. I have not seen these women who meant so much to me as a child in many years, and while I don’t dwell on it daily, there are certain times that I do think about it and it makes me sad.
This is not a solitary story. This is a story that goes on in millions of families all over this country and much right here in Chester. There are broken families everywhere, with a trail of brokenhearted children/adults left in their wake. What are we going to do to fix it?