“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” -Ernest Hemingway
I hate that my parents have been separated since August, 2015. Shouldn’t this nightmare be over now? It’s April, 2017. Or maybe it’s better that we’re still in limbo, if it means avoiding the true nightmare of divorce. I guess if they stay together it’s worth it. If it takes a little more time to solidify their relationship then I guess their time was productive. I’m just sick of it. It’s exhausting.
It makes me sad that my mom lives alone, because she wasn’t the one who wanted this. I’m glad she has the dog as her companion. I don’t know what she would do if she didn’t have him. I feel like my dad got the upper hand with this whole deal. He gets a new condo to soak in the solitude he had been craving. He gets something new and exciting. He can even leave all his clutter at the family homestead and just avoid dealing with it. The irony is, he has an empty garage at the new place.
That’s what keeps coming to mind: clutter. Part of me doesn’t like going home because of all the clutter, physical and mental. Being there reminds me of the past, and somehow the negative seems to linger more than the positive. Of course we had good times- birthdays, Christmases, family dinners, joking around, blasting rock ‘n roll, cookouts, LOST binge watching. But the halls still echo with the sound of arguments past, and I just want to start new. I want to start our family over in a new house. We can get rid of the clutter and start fresh; a rekindled relationship and a new life.
I hate that even with one person living there, our house is still full to the brim. Where did all this stuff come from? Did we lose ourselves in it? There’s so much mail. So much computer junk. The remnants of my dad’s old desk from the job he got laid off from years ago. The detritus of our childhood. Empty boxes we’re saving for who knows what. And so many coats. I think too much when I’m home. It’s the bad kind of nostalgia.
I feel bad for my dad, because he has to get up at 4 AM every day to commute from where he lives to his new job, which is a little further than his old job and a lot further from our house. He just looks so exhausted all the time. Why won’t he come home? Wouldn’t it be easier to get to work at least? And the dog would get more attention. He’s acting out now that he has to split his time between two houses.
Best of all, he would be home, with mom. I don’t buy that this new place feels like home to him. I don’t even think he buys it; he still calls the family house home when he isn’t paying attention. He’s just stubborn.
I don’t believe for a second that they don’t love each other. Even in this separation, they are lost without each other, I just don’t think they realize it. My dad is constantly calling my mom to chat. They’re best friends. Maybe frenemies sometimes, but best friends. Neither of them will ever find anyone who knows them the way they know each other. Yes, that means their bad qualities. But that’s what love is! You love the whole person, flaws and all. And you try to change your flaws to better yourself and for that person. And that’s actually what they’re doing.
I know that they love each other because I know how much they love me and my brother. I know that the things my dad loves about me are a lot of the same things he loves about my mom. I know I remind him of her, in a good way. I know he’s proud that I turned out like her. I am her in some ways. And my brother has the good qualities that my mom loves so much in him and my dad. He is my dad in some ways. We’re a family. How can they break up the family they created? I can’t imagine Christmases where we aren’t all together, the four of us. “Our little family,” as my dad calls it.
I’m still holding onto hope. Hope that they will reconcile, and that the marriage counseling and prayers are helping to heal things. Hope that this won’t ruin my own view of love and marriage. My precious boyfriend has a reminder in his phone to pray for my parents daily because I don’t usually have the strength to. Even if they divorce, maybe my view of love will be okay.
I was a pretty scared and anxious kid a lot of the time. I held it all in of course, but my biggest fear (besides dying in my sleep), was that my parents would get divorced. In my simple child mind, I thought I could prevent this by giving them the silent treatment. If I stopped talking to them, they couldn’t possibly go through with their decision. They wouldn’t be able to bear their little girl not talking to them. The irony is, now that they’ve been separated I have been mostly silent about the issue. It’s not because I don’t care. It’s because it’s way too painful to even think about, never mind talk about with them. I’m paralyzed.
Mom and Dad, I just want you to know that even though I’m almost 30 now and you probably think that divorce won’t scar me too much, you’re wrong. It will hurt and affect me just as much, maybe even more, since I am at the age where I am probably going to get married sooner rather than later. You’ve spent your whole adult lives together, why would you stop now? You’re almost 60. Do you really think you can just start over and have it better? You will never have anything as meaningful as our little family.
I can see it now…a small rededication of marriage vows ceremony, fixing up the house, getting rid of the clutter (physical and mental), selling the house, and moving to a new place together closer to the city. Closer to work and your kids. Closer to the church you love. Smaller, but cozier. With a fenced in yard for the dog. A big kitchen for Dad to cook for us in. One where he won’t be feeling crowded if someone else is there with him. A man cave for Dad and a reading nook for Mom. So that they can have some time apart while still being together. A guest room or two for us to stay in when we come home. A new home. A place that maybe is even cheaper than the living situation now. An opportunity for rental income in the empty condo. A new life, together. Oh, please, God. Please.