Recently I haven’t had the time to look at myself in the mirror. No,seriously, working, caring for two boys (husband and son) and taking care of the house completely exhausted me. Even in days when I don’t have anything to do, I feel like my world is literally spinning at a 100 miles per second. Things seem to be happening outside of me, news reach me with a delay, not hours, but days and weeks. All this and much more I can’t even remember now, prevented me from seeing the real disaster around me. A world that has gone mad, families that have been ruined, people that have died, animals that have extinct from the face of the earth.
Where was I when all this happened? In Sydney? Yes, for sure! Was I asleep in my blissful, busy little world. Probably.
This is how I woke up one day when I did my ice bucket challenge. No, I didn’t really. My husband did the ice bucket challenge. On the same morning I had a conversation with my sister who splashed me with cold water and ice. She was getting a divorce. How? Why? When? What the heck? We used to double date with her and her husband and I never saw that there was a growing gap between them. This is how asleep I was. I was unable to see my sister was no longer loved and happy. In that moment I looked around me and I didn’t know whether to cry or to fall on my knees thanking the good Lord my family is still keeping together and going strong.
Looking at all this I felt even more hopeless. Now I had to help my sister move out and move on. Her life and her husband’s life were now able to be measured in boxes and items - the kitchen table for her, the living room furniture for him, this box, that box…
I got tired…
I got tired from just thinking about it. Wonder what was going on in my sister’s head. She was holding up. I had to pull myself together. I was the bigger sister with career and a strong marriage and now I suddenly acted like a lost puppy. Have you even noticed how many times I used “I”. Way too many. It was about her family and about her life. She trusted someone, moved in with him, followed him everywhere and now she had to move out and move on… Go her own way.
How do you support someone who is going through this?
I never asked myself this question, probably because I never thought I will deal with it. In my fairytale of life I have always seen the good, never the bad and the ugly. So what did I do.
I was just there. I was focused, I was present. I grabbed hold of myself and I didn’t want to let myself go with the current. That being said:
It is enough to help a person move on by simply being there and listening to them and not blaming/judging them.
It is enough to help a person move on by providing physical help. A divorce is not like a break up. During a break up, yes you do have that excruciating heart-ache, but not topped by all the even more heartbreaking legalities of leaving your spouse. That being said you can always help with the end of lease cleaning, the packing of items, the search for a new home, even with day-to-day cooking and cleaning when needed. Financial help might also be needed.
Supporting a loved one through a divorce may even sometimes include giving this person space and opposite to what I said before. Not being there sometimes helps too. It may help the person be alone with their thoughts and to be true to themselves.
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