I suppose I am ready to write about this. My ex-spouse passed away in December of 2017. I remember the day so vividly.
It was December 14th and I was at school that evening. My phone rang (vibrated) and I saw his sister’s name come across the caller ID. It was extremely odd as I had not maintained a relationship with any of his 3 sisters after our divorce. They lived out of state and we were never very close, but we did have wonderful phone conversations and occasional visits throughout the years. I truly liked them and they liked me and felt I was good for their brother.
I stepped away and answered the call. After saying hello, I heard, “Hi Cathy, this is Sally (not her real name). I asked how she was doing and she replied, “Not too good. We found Bob (not his real name) dead this morning.” I could not believe what I was hearing. “Bob” had relocated from Michigan back to the south a few years after our divorce. He migrated to Michigan to work in the factory as a young man and retired during our marriage. I was glad he went back south because I knew he was not a well man and needed the care and support of his siblings, who were all now back in the south.
I expressed my utter shock and gave her my condolences. She proceeded to ask if I might be able to help locate his only son, who still resided in Michigan. I told her I would reach out to my daughters to see if they could help as they maintained a relationship with “Bob” after our divorce.
I got both my daughters on a 2-way call so that I could tell them at the same time. They were beyond shocked and so incredibly broken-hearted. They had come to love “Bob” as a father figure in their lives (in the absence of their own father’s presence in their lives). When “Bob” came into my life, he fully embraced responsibility for me and my two daughters. It was a turbulent and sometimes painful ride as he came onboard as Stepdad to his Stepdaughters, but he helped them get their first cars, assisted with college expenses, helped support and babysit our 1st grandchild so my daughter could finish her degree and he just truly embraced my girls as daughters. It did not matter to him what their biological father did, or didn’t do, he always pitched in when they had needs.
They were able to locate his son and put him in touch with his Dad’s family.
I walked back to class and sat down. I was quiet the rest of the evening. I always wondered how I would feel when “that day” came for him. I did not feel anything at all initially, I was numb. I wanted to feel, but I was numb.
When the numbness wore off a few days later, I was experiencing so many emotions at one time that I could not think straight. I had to remind myself that this was real. It really happened. He is gone. I thought about how he liked to cook and would cook my dinner every day. He would make us a pot of coffee on the weekend mornings and that would be our time to sit and talk. Then we’d head out for the day to grocery shop, ride out to a rural area for a drive, go to a movie, or whatever we felt like doing that day.
Then I would think about how he broke my heart so abruptly and callously. How his abandonment and rejection sent my mind into a very dark place, my self-esteem to the gutter, and my heart….I do not have the words to describe my heartbreak.
Proverbs 18:14 (CEB) – The human spirit sustains a sick person, but who can bear a broken spirit?
Would I go to his funeral? Should I go? Is it even appropriate? How will I respond when I see him in a casket? Will I be angry? Will I feel love? Will I lose my composure? Will it be weird around his family? Oh my Lord!!! I cannot process all these questions. That’s it! I am NOT going. It’s over.
…I went. To this day, I am not sure WHY I went, but I felt that I needed to go. Many say that I needed closure. I will agree with that.
What bothers me most is that although he is no longer in this realm of life, he is still in my head, heart and spirit. I suppose that will never change. I have had many conflicting emotional moments since December 2017. I have grieved for him, I have still felt anger towards him and I have rehearsed our marriage in my mind many times just to be SURE I did right by him. Although I know that I was a committed wife to him who loved and took care of him through many years of chronic & debilitating illnesses, I still have to reassure myself that I don’t need to ask for forgiveness for anything where he is concerned. I was so grateful that I told him that I forgive him not long after our divorce. It wasn’t just words, by God’s grace, I was TRULY able to forgive him, but there could be no reconciliation. He asked on several occasions, but the breech of trust was too deep. I would never trust him again.
I choose to be grateful for the good that “Bob” did as he helped me through some very difficult financial matters, stepped in to “be there” for my daughters, truly loved and cared for our grandchildren, gave to many in need and did his best to make me happy until he got “off course”.
If you are reading this blog and you have not yet come to a place of forgiveness for your ex-spouse, I pray that you will not delay. It is too important to “put off” until later and life is so uncertain; you may not get the chance later on. It is God’s requirement and to withhold it causes God to have to withhold HIS forgiveness towards you when you need it.
Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV) – For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I still feel moments of grief. I probably always will. But I have learned not to dismiss it or file it away for later. I have to “flow” through it, as painful as that is. For me, that is the only way to get to the other side of it. I now grieve two events where “Bob” is concerned; the death of our marriage and his natural death. I give ALL praise to God, my Sustainer! I would have had a nervous break down by now if it had not been for the LORD who is on my side.
Divorce does not end a marriage in totality. It ends the legal contract between husband and wife. I do not believe it is possible to end the soul ties that form when the two become one.
Genesis 2:24 (KJV) – Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
How do you “unbecome” ONE? Herein lies the tragedy of life after divorce and there is no court in the land that can undo spiritual ONENESS.
As I counsel others, I make sure to explain that divorce is not a “solution” to all problems. It may alleviate some problems; but believe me, it will bring with it, NEW problems of its own.
Scripture retrieved from biblegateway.com. Photo retrieved from Google Images.