Monday, June 22, 2009

Heartbreak

I remember where I was when my sister told me that our mom and dad were officially separating. It was the summer of 2000, I had just graduated from college. I was lying across the navy blue and white plaid loveseat that had been in our family since before I was born. It was tucked into the corner of Anna and Debbie’s living room in their apartment where I was crashing for the summer. I remember the sun on my face. I remember the feel of the upholstery under my legs. And even though it wasn’t a surprise {Allie and I had known for months that this was coming}, I sobbed harder than I ever had before.

It would not be the last time.

That afternoon, I didn’t have to grieve alone. My friends came alongside of me as quickly as I called them. They, along with a pastor at my church, prayed over me and I vividly remember the words, “Lord, please be a soothing balm to Leslie’s aching heart, soul and mind.”

As I watched “Jon & Kate Plus 8” tonight {yes, I watched} and listened to them utter the words that will change all their lives forever, I was right back on that navy blue and white plaid loveseat. I remember thinking that summer day, “I’m part of this club now. I’m part of the number, the statistic whose parents are divorced.” It makes me nauseous that those precious, clueless, innocent kids are now co-members with me.

My emotions volleyed back and forth as I watched Jon and Kate explain, defend, rationalize it all in front of a national audience. Anger, sadness. Anger, sadness. Anger. Over and over again they said things like, “I just want to do what’s best for my children….Hopefully, this will bring us some peace…This will let my kids know that they are loved…I only want the best for my children…It is all about my children.”

Really? Really?!?! This separation, this divorce will NOT bring peace. It is the exact opposite of that. This will not let them know that they are loved. This will set up an environment for the rest of their lives in which they will never again be certain of stability in their family. You only want the best for your children? Then how about making an effort to heal your marriage, to be humble enough to look each other in the eye and deal with the crap, to take an honest attempt at counseling. Separate schedules with mom and dad coming and going, that’s best for your children? That’s peace?!

I understand that when a separation/divorce occurs in a marriage the circumstances are unique for each. My parent’s divorce came after twenty-five years of marriage. It wasn’t surprising, there were issues there throughout. I have always admired my mom for being appropriately honest with me about those issues, about how she could have handled things differently, about how she wanted me to learn from her mistakes so that I didn’t have to suffer the same outcome. But the time came when one person can only fight so hard for the marriage without the other one’s engagement in it as well. In that first year, I wrestled daily with understanding the divorce and even giving my blessing to it {as my mom’s friend I wanted her to have more than what was being offered} but grieving it terribly {as her daughter}.

We don’t know all the circumstances that have led to this decision by Jon and Kate. We have our hunches based on what we’ve seen play out before us for the last 3-4 years. I can’t really place blame on either one of them. It’s not about blame, really. But I am angry. Angry that they continue to let this play out on a national stage {and yes, I know I contribute by watching} with seemingly little concern as to how that might affect their children in the future. Angry that this is what seems to satisfy them as a solution. Angry that they have deluded themselves into thinking this is “the best thing for our children.”

I will not watch the show anymore, not for any reason, not for any future “announcements”. Divorce is not a form of entertainment. Watching a husband and wife choose to ignore the vows they made {and renewed just a year ago!!!!} is not good television. It is life this side of the fall. It is not life nor marriage as God intended it. It will be a death for those kids, one that they will grieve over the next days, months, years. And no one should have access to that grief, I don’t care how much money Jon and Kate make off of it even if “it is all for our children”.

My grief in that first year was palpable every single day. I was blessed beyond reason to live with three sisters of my heart who wept with me, prayed for me, laughed with me, cursed with me, and listened to me as I grieved. It’s been nine years. A lot has changed since then. I’m older {oh lord, am I older}, I’m a little wiser, I’m married. Jason and I both come from divorced families which makes me all the more determined that divorce is not an option. I know firsthand of it’s devastating effects. And yet, I also know that I serve and love a God who can redeem all things. God has and is redeeming things in my broken family, even if I can’t see the final results right now.

And I trust and pray He’ll do the same for the Gosselins.

12 comments:

  1. Wow, this post hit home for me. Girl, I couldn't have said it any better than you did. Soul sister, really.

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  2. Honestly? Our divorce stories are different, but our reactions -- the same.

    Jon & Kate don't realize it, and I (along with you) will not watch the show anymore. Divorce tore my family apart 21 years ago, and like you said - divorce is not entertainment.

    My Mom and I have been praying for them so much in the last few days. It just makes me sad. AMEN to this post.

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  3. Thank you for your thoughtful, heart-full post. This whole situation makes me so sad. I'm sorry your family has gone through divorce, but thank you for sharing your perspective.

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  4. So well written. It breaks my heart that those children. For some reason - I just can't get past that Jon and Kate should have taken a hiatus from the show to really address their issues rather than let them unravel in front of a national audience.
    Again, well said.

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  5. All I can say is "Amen" and very well said.

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  6. I'm sorry for your loss. My parents' marriage blew up after 35 years and an anniversary trip to Hawaii. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday, not almost 7 years ago.

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  7. I, unlike you, didn't have to live through divorce. However, I am married to a man who has lived it. And just from hearing the hurt (still) in his voice of something that happened 23 years ago, helps me to grasp just how real divorce can be.

    There are a lot of things I don't and won't ever understand about that show.

    Thank you for sharing your point of view - for opening up your heart and being honest with us.

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  8. You don't know me... happened across your blog, but I am so thankful for someone gutsy enough to say this. 5 years ago my husband and I fought blood, sweat, and tears to nail a shattered marriage back together. What's that? You can't nail shattered pieces back together, you say? Precisely. Only God's grace does that after he and I did all the work. So I'm ticked when I see people too afraid of the work it will take to put it back together -- trading a lifetime of pain and heartbreak for themselves and their children to avoid a few weeks and months of pain for themselves.

    Anyway, it's a mess, yes, played out on a national stage. So sad for all of them. Another notch for Satan's belt..., praying that, as you said, God will redeem this as well.

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  9. it too broke my heart
    i knew it was coming, but it hurt so much! i had the worst feeling in my stomach after they said the words! :/
    those poor babies!

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  10. I too come from a divorced family and am completely heartbroken over the Gosselin's decision. I have been praying for them and trying to figure out how to write about the whole thing.

    In the end, I linked to your page because, really, I don't think I could have said it better myself.

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  11. you dont know me either, but i came across your blog as well. my parents separated 3 years ago and are now proceeding with divorce. thank you for your words. God can redeem all things you are very right.

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  12. Thanks for sharing this. I hear ya all the way. I too cried as I listened to them just give up and give in. Their kids really do deserve more than throwing in the towel...all kids do.

    But again, thanks. :)

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