…do us part

In a previous blog post Till Death, [http://wp.me/pfX2b-iH], I talked about possible updates to the marriage contract.  In this post, I would like to talk about how to mourn your marriage once it is over.

Artist Taylor Tschider delivered the final piece for STATE OF THE UNION, a photo of a gravestone.

…do us part “Till Death do us part”, a phrase from the marriage liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer.  It signifies that the married couple intend to spend the remainder of their lives together – They will be parted only by death

We had parted, and fortunately there was no death involved.  Or was there?  God knows there are plenty of books on how to get over a divorce and move on.  It was surprising to me how very similar the books were to those about grieving the death of a loved one. However, it wasn’t until a friend told me that it takes two years to get over a divorce that I realized that a period of mourning really is necessary.

How do you mourn the loss of a marriage?  There is no ceremony for this, no public declaration of “support” like when the officiant asks those assembled at a wedding to say “we will” when asked.  No body to bury, and your friends stay away, for fear of saying the wrong thing as reminiscing about the “good old days” is really not appropriate or helpful.

How do you forget all of those “important” dates; our first date at the county museum, the day he asked me to marry him after a hike to the top of a waterfall in Hawaii, the day we got married, the days our children were born, etc.?  I do remember the day he sat up in bed and asked me if we were over, and I remember the day I moved into the hotel, but I don’t remember the day we signed our divorce agreement.

This project has become in some ways my mourning ritual.  Sort of the “beat it to death” approach, I’ll agree, but as this second year comes to a close, I think it is working.  I have made a ritual and a ceremony for this “life event”.  I am lucky that I have been able to re-purpose some of those dates.  For example, we got married on a very auspicious date, December 7, D-Day, “a day that will live in infamy” now for two reasons!  I can now just remember those who did die on that day so long ago.  Also, the day our divorce became final was January 1, so that day I can now celebrate with the rest of world as a day of new beginnings as I too briefly pay homage to things of the past.

However, the best way I have found to mourn a marriage is to practice forgiveness.  Forgive your former partner, and most importantly forgive yourself.  This does take some time.  Two years?  Seems like that is about right.  So as this project is coming to a close, this being its 28th post, I continue to practice forgiveness, which, like the Don Henley song says, is really the Heart of the Matter.

I got the call today, I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
…People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
The trust and self-assurance that can lead to happiness
They’re the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us,
Doesn’t keep me warm

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you, Baby
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down and hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; life goes on
You keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you inside

I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

Forgiveness.  That is what you should shoot for in a divorce.

forgiveness

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