Saturday, February 27, 2010


One warm evening when I was seven (I think) my brother, mom, dad and I were driving with the top down in our little Morris Minor. We were at Forest Park Blvd. and Skinker. I remember the Washington University building looking like a castle in silhouette against the sunset.

I asked a question that would haunt me for the rest of my life. “What does divorce mean?” After it was explained to me my folks asked us how we would feel about it happening to our family. My brother and I put on brave faces and told them if that’s what they wanted it was okay with us. It wasn’t of course. For years I thought I gave them the idea.

I’ve lost people I love very much over the years. Bad things have happened to good people. I don’t think anything hit me as hard as that. It still hurts if I let it.

I loved both of my parents and couldn’t accept anything tearing our family apart. Kids need that I think but what doesn’t kill you…….

There had been a lot of fighting and yelling. I know now that it was an impossible situation for my mother. It had to happen. I made a silent resolution that this would never happen if I had kids.

It happened! When my ex told me our marriage was over I couldn’t believe it. I was in a fog for months. She talked me into taking antidepressants.

I told my old girlfriend Joanie about it. My emotions must have been pretty close to the surface. “Someone finally got to you,” she said. I didn’t want to sound like a complete jerk by telling her I wasn’t that hurt by our breakup. It was the loss to our kids.

Friends tried to keep me distracted. I went out a lot. Let me tell you antidepressants and booze don’t mix. I was a complete ass!

My buddy Steve took me to Beale Street one night. I remember the band was great. That’s all I remember. The owner of the club wore an eye patch. Steve later told me I kept calling him patch. Later that night he joined us at the bar across the street and asked Steve who his a$$hole friend was.

I almost went back to apologize. I found myself doing that a lot in those days. I’ve always thought bad behavior under the influence was a glimpse of who you really are inside.

One afternoon we were having a barbeque on our deck and Kim’s folks were there. I was incoherent from pills and booze and decided to start a religious argument. They considered themselves biblical scholars and were incredibly offended by my remarks. It didn’t help that I was mixing facts in my delirium.

After (what was becoming too commonplace) my apologies the next day I began to do some soul searching.

The pills were incredibly easy to get from my doctor. I’d been on a few different types for a few months now. It occurred to me their purpose was to keep me from dealing directly with my problems. I realized things really were that bad and I needed to feel every bit of the painful truth. Instead of being incapacitated by my troubles, I really did become stronger.

I stayed at the house for a year before moving back to the city. It took a long time for us to get the courage to tell the kids. We were all in tears. I got really angry when Kim hugged the kids and said, “We’ll make it somehow.” I saw it all as her fault.

That night, as I lay in the dark in bed devastated and still in tears, Kim came in and sat at the edge of the bed.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“That’s life!” I replied.


Anonymous said...

Oh, David, you'll never know the pain, the guilt, the soul-searching, wondering if I could possibly do it differently.Even years after the divorce I asked myself if I could pull it together again, knowing I couldn't and continue to exist.

At least you never had to doubt how very much your Dad loved you and your brother.

He was so lost after the divorce.

Sadly still,
Your Mom

Anonymous said...

My parent's divorced when I was 5, my mom, sister and I went to live with my grandparents. There was a lot of fighting before that. I remember my Dad waking up my sister and I in the middle of the night to take us to our grandparents, and wondering all the long drive if my mom was okay. My parents were partiers, young parents (18) and beautiful. They were Carolina shaggers, it was a popular dance at that time down south. I always thought of my Dad as so much fun, always playing with us, and he was good to us. Just not to my mom after he'd been drinking. I was always worried about her, but never put two and two together.
For years, I must have underneath blamed my mom, and had a belief that women were mean to men. I became attracted to men I thought needed me, and got pregnant then married twice to men I shouldn't have been married to. For years I thought I was okay, because I wasn't an addict, and had my life somewhat together. But of course I wasn't okay, it takes the school of hardknocks to learn some things. I still have a lot of learning to do, but now I look at it as a spiritual journey, and I'm thankful for the gifts my life has brought me.

My husband Jeff and I are birdnesting. We've been married 22 years but not happily for most of them, I especially didn't want to hurt our kids with divorce. At a certain point though I realized if I didn't get away from him, I was going to cease to exist. We have kept our house together for our youngest son Robin, and we each spend our scheduled days away from the house, so neither of us is here at the same time. It has worked for us. I feel better about this situation, even though I feel a bit old to be sofa surfing. I feel much more at peace with this arrangement. Dede