The “D” word- DIVORCE. It can be painful and ugly, but also liberating and (at times) necessary. Luckily this is not about my own personal relationship, but there are a few people very close to me who are going through this process (all in different stages). As a person who is second hand experiencing all of the emotions, frustrations, and (for a few) excitement of new possibilities it makes me cherish the relationship that I have and also be well aware that it takes work each day to maintain that strong bond. It also makes me reflect on how my children are viewing/experiencing the process.
My sister-in-law is one of the people we know who is currently going through a divorce. We talked with our six year old so that she knew what was going on. We started with the fact that her aunt and uncle will not be together anymore. On the flip side we also wanted to reassure her that it wasn’t something that would be happening to her own parents. But things are different now. We don’t go to their house as much while the divorce is in process. We won’t see her uncle at holidays like we did previously. While I know that you can never predict what will happen in life, I feel like it is most important to make sure your children know they are loved and supported in times of worry, hardship, and unknown.
As an aunt, I see the conflict in my nieces daily lives, as they attempt to sort out the what, why, and how things are going to play out. This is on top of everything else they have going on as busy teenagers, and I recognize how difficult it is for them. Luckily their mom is doing a great job of being supportive, and also understanding the fact that they might need some outside support to figure all this out. Though they may not fully understand all the reasoning behind the divorce, nor the amount of stress their mom is enduring through this process, I hope that one day they can recognize the power that she had to take to make this happen for herself. Counseling or support groups are a great way to connect with others who are in similar situations, and for kids to talk through some of their issues to someone on neutral ground. I watch as their mom tries to maintain as much normalcy as she can.
As a sister-in-law, I see the hope in her eyes as she sees new opportunities before her. From one woman/mom/sister to another, I offer her some advice at times, but mainly I support her by listening to her frustrations, and helping her stay strong through the process.
If you are going through a divorce, here are some contacts for help and support in the Madison area.
A Meet Up group for single parents
Rebuilding At Bethel a three part group for people who are ending a committed relationship