Saturday, July 26, 2008

Worse than Death

The other night one of my sisters, Donna, took me out to dinner. She wanted to check on me and show her support which was nice. I am sure that this support stuff is easier on women than men. It is easy for a man to feel pathetic. No man wants anyone to ever think about him, "He better man up!" Men, generally, aren't allowed to hurt. But, I digress. Donna and I had a nice talk.

Donna hasn't had the easiest life. One marriage she had ended in her spouse cheating on her and subsequent divorce. When she finally found someone that treated her like she deserved, that husband died of cancer after only a few years of marriage. She has found another "good one" now. Amazingly, she has always been able to be joyous throughout all her ordeals. Oh sure she cried, but it never beat her. I have always admired that about her.

My sister is one of the few people in my life that knows how I feel. I was compelled to ask her, "What hurt the worse: the infidelity and divorce or the death of your husband?"

She didn't hesitate, "The divorce was MUCH worse. When a marriage ends in death, one has the comfort of knowing that the love and marriage was alive till the end. There is no control there. No one CHOSE to leave, it was just death. When someone goes through a divorce such as this, there is failure and someone CHOSE to betray and leave. It is MUCH tougher and makes the victim feel worthless."

Her words gave me comfort - even if for just a short while. SHE KNOWS! It is strange. When a spouse dies, everyone comes and comforts and is "there" for you. However, in a divorce one suffers and grieves alone - a hurt WORSE than losing the spouse to death. It just doesn't make sense.

13 comments:

Chris said...

Jeff, I wish I had the words to say to make it better or at least understandable. I know you're hurting.

kristen said...

Not that I've been through either ordeal, but I can imagine that divorce would be more difficult.....for the reasons your sister gave. I'm glad you have her to help support you, because sometimes that's what we need. And never feel like you aren't 'man' enough; you're human, and we ALL go through pain.

HoosierGirl5 said...

Hang in there! You're tough, you can make it!

Don't forget - I'm just a phone call away!

J.

The Real Mother Hen said...

*hug*

Whatever she chose to do, has nothing to do with your worthiness Jeff. It's her loss, and really, your gain.

*hug* again.

Sayre said...

I think divorce leaves people feeling vulnerable - the people NOT going through it. Like it's contagious or something.

"Oh, you're getting divorced? I invoke the 10-foot pole rule!!!! If I don't get close, it won't happen to me. And by the way - I'm so sorry!"

Which is a shame because THAT'S when you really need the support.

What they don't realize, of course, is that EVERYONE dies. No one is exempt and there's not much you can do about it.

Jaquandor said...

A man I work with is in his second marriage, and despite some standard-issue difficulties, it's a happy one. From what he's told me of his first marriage, it was doomed from the moment they took the vows, with him and his former wife growing so far apart that divorce was inevitable -- and he's described the divorce as being "six months of feeling like you're going to throw up at any minute".

I have another dear friend, a woman, who is also divorcing a husband whom she should never married in the first place (her whole family loathed him, with good reason, it's turned out), and even though she wants the divorce and wants him out of her life so she can live happily for the first time in years, she's finding the process awful as well.

From what I've learned from talking to both, divorce is everything your sister says, and also a guided tour of everything you and the spouse you're divorcing have ever done wrong. Your feelings of dread are well-founded; I guess the only consolation is that it does end and life does resume. Divorce isn't like cancer in that it's not a complete unknown that's always lurking: it's a trauma we end up in by our own choosing, but it's also one that reaches a definite end.

(I've had cause to think a great deal about these issues myself.)

HollyGL said...

What really hits home for me, and largely for you I'm sure, is how hard you worked on the marriage. How much time, energy, thought and hope you continually poured into what you believed to be the promise of togetherness. I'm so sorry, Jeff. You deserved so much better in terms of sheer respect - aside from everything else.

You will make it through this, and you will recover all within yourself that you think you've lost. And when you do, you'll realize that the recovered pieces of yourself will be more precious and valuable to you than you'd ever have imagined before this all began. xoxo

Jeff said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement. I know I have been neglectful with "getting back" to you, but I am managing the best I can.

Jaquandor: I hope these issues don't get too personal with you.

Michelle said...

(((Jeff)))

Just a hug

Alice in Wonderbread said...

Hi Jeff:
My husband, with whom I'd been lovers with since I was 19 (I am 37 now), asked for a divorce May 28 this year. No. Let me rephrase: He TOLD me he was leaving the relationship. No negotiation, no nothing- just oh, I don't love you anymore this isn't working out la l ala....let's still be friends, okay?

It is by far the most painful experience I have ever been through in my entire life.

I expect better things to come, however. I would prefer this pain over staying in a relationship with someone who had slowly fallen out of love with me and had no interest in rekindling or working on making things better.

Good luck to you- things will get better soon.

Alice in Wonderbread said...

Hi Jeff:
My husband, with whom I'd been lovers with since I was 19 (I am 37 now), asked for a divorce May 28 this year. No. Let me rephrase: He TOLD me he was leaving the relationship. No negotiation, no nothing- just oh, I don't love you anymore this isn't working out la l ala....let's still be friends, okay?

It is by far the most painful experience I have ever been through in my entire life.

I expect better things to come, however. I would prefer this pain over staying in a relationship with someone who had slowly fallen out of love with me and had no interest in rekindling or working on making things better.

Good luck to you- things will get better soon.

Jessica said...

Jeff, I was researching ways to explain that going through a divorce is worse than going through a death. Your blog posting is perfect for getting this point across. I was wondering if I could us this blog entry as a quote for a book I am writing about how misunderstood divorce is? Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks Jeff.

Jeff said...

Jessica: I would like to talk to you about this further,but I can't find your information. Suggestions?