Friday, August 17, 2007

No pain, no gain.

Once again I find that Cherly gets me blogging. Take a lesson Derek!!)))). You know, if I didn't know better, I'd say that she sows these seeds well knowing that there'll be another link in it for her! This time it was Cheryl's very personal account of her brother's tragic death that, having initially touched me, then got me thinking. You see, what grabbed and impressed me more than anything in that heartfelt account was her inspirational reaction to a very painful and personal tragedy. Cheryl's thoughts and actions gave me another slant on my own recent 'tragedy', that being a very sticky and, well to be honest, quite vicious divorce.

For those who haven't experienced it, getting thrown out of your family sucks. Losing contact with your kids and watching from a distance as some other bloke seeps slowly into their lives hurts like hell. Sitting in silence as a judge packages up everything you own before handing it to the person who did all this too you, well that’s just plain wrong; pumps you full of hate. Finding yourself on the wrong end of a divorce is bad.

Or is it? Okay, I accept that it has its down side, but on balance would it be true to say that divorce is fundamentally a bad thing? I mean ultimately, if you look at the end game, what divorce actually manages to do is disconnect; put legal and emotional space between us and something that has become, over whatever period and for whatever reasons, a threat to our happiness. Understanding that this painful process is necessary from inside a marriage, I would suggest, is impossible for all but the most philosophical and even then, even if we had the courage to remove the rose coloured glasses and see the drab colours of a stale relationship, would that revelation really change our view of the world (and particularly how we judge our own decisions and behaviour within that marital mess)? I suspect not. Just like me and my cigarettes. I know they’re trying to kill me but I keep them close by and kiss them all the same. You see, my problem with giving up smoking is that there’s nothing to motivate me, other than the knowledge that it is bad for my health. Unfortunately though, that knowledge just isn’t enough. I need something more tangible. I need to find myself hunched over, gagging for breath five minutes into a game of football or clutching at a stitch as I miss the bus. Maybe then I’ll have the tools I need to walk away and not look back. And this is another thing that the whole divorce process does for us; it gives us pain. It sticks prying fingers deep into the most sensitive parts, salts the wounds and like an x-ray backlit on the surgeon’s wall, illustrates to the world that, beyond doubt, something is bad and has to be removed before it consumes and ruins totally. Imagine a divorce without all the nasty business to sterilise and wipe the dreams away? I can’t. I think it would be torture to be left outside of something that you still loved and desired. Heart surgery may be painful, but once it’s done, it’s done.

Of course all this is only my take on it. I’m no expert but I am recently divorced and I guess far enough through the other side now to think about what just happened. And when I do, I smile. Sure there are moments of reflection, twinges from time to time but nothing to worry about. And having been given the chance to re-evaluate and remodel, I’m more than happy with the way things are turning out. Selfishly some might say I’ve put a lot of effort into ‘me’ over the past twelve months. I’m skiing again, plenty of travel, thrashing the guitar a whole lot better than I used to and recently had my first novel published. No doubt, shifting the focus back toward my own happiness for a while has certainly helped Andy Tilley; not to forget what happened to him but to remember who he was before getting swept away in a bad marriage. And if proof is needed that what we perceive as personal tragedy (in my case divorce) isn’t necessarily something to fear, I find myself in love again. Seems like the old heart is perhaps more resilient than I for one gave it credit for. Then again, maybe it’s just more stupid than I thought!

Andy

1 comment:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song said...

Andy,
I stumbled upon your post here because I needed to add a link to the one I wrote below. And then I found myself reading the beginning of your post and wondering who this 'Cherly' was you were talking about. LMAO!

Thank you for the link, but honestly I don't expect it and I'm not sure what I did to get you blogging. But you blog, buddy!!! (That's kinda my male version of 'You go, girl!')

Seriously though, I am sorry to hear about your loss. For divorce is exactly that. It's a loss of what once was, and what was once good. And that loss deserves to be mourned so you can pick yourself up and carry on.

I am glad to hear you are coming out on the other end...smiling. It sounds like your divorce was very rough. I am the 'child' of divorced parents. But they divorced not when I was a kid, but when I was an adult with my own family. 36 years of marriage down the drain. I won't go into the details but suffice it to say my father found someone else. As the only daughter, I found it very hard at first because I hurt so much for my mother.

It's been a few years now. My father married his girlfriend. My mother has moved around a bit, maybe trying to find herself. I think in the last few years, she has. She seems far happier than when she was married. And that took me a while to see. I don't agree with how my father left her, but in the end he did her a favor. It took me some time to forgive him...right around the time I had finished Whale Song, finished the last few chapters, which ironically are all about forgiveness...of a father. My brother's death taught me many things. Tolerance and understanding, for instance.

The biggest lesson I learned from my parents' divorce and my brother's death is this:
Life goes on.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Cheryl