01 May 2006

Freebird

Life is interesting how it plays out. The last couple years has been a whirlwind of action for my family. In 2002 me and my sister graduated from single life and got married. My brother was in a terrible accident but thankfully recovered. He left on his mission early in 2003. He has since returned and found his eternal companion. In 2004 two grandchildren were been born and last year had their first birthdays. The one other defining event throughout all this time has been my parents relationship.

It has steadily declined. In August of 2004 my mom packed up her things and moved to Utah. She told us kids that she just needed a break. She lived with a friend and a month or so later called me to tell me she had filed for divorce from my father. I was floored. The day after she told me I couldn't even go to work. It was devastating to me to hear that my parents, who had been sealed in the temple and married for 30 years, were not going to be together. When my sister had her baby in November my mom came back but we weren't sure if it was permanent. She ended up staying and my parents moved into separate homes in April of 2005. From April to just recently their relationship was on-again, off-again. Finally my parents made the decision to end it and the divorce was final about a month ago.

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with my mom about their divorce. I made the comment that I was over it. It didn't affect me anymore. She asked me baffled how I could be over it so soon when it took her years to get over her parents divorce. When I answered, I said the first things that came to my mind. I hadn't really thought about it but somehow the words just came to me and it was very clear.

I told my mom that while married to my dad she could never be who she was. She was married a couple years into college and recently free from her abusive home. She didn't have time to find out her identity. She hadn't lived on her own long enough to really know who she was and what she wanted in life. It didn't help that she had my older sister about 10 months after they were married. Her time of self discovery had to be put on hold while she raised her new daughter in a strange place (Utah) with a (relatively) new husband. I came along 2 years later and that didn't help either. She had one more baby--a boy--in 1983. So she has spent 25 years raising us kids all the while not knowing who she really is as a person. She has only been defined as my dad's wife and our mom. She is a wonderful person but has a hard time believing it much of the time. She has never been truly happy with herself.

My parents were married when my dad had a couple years of college done and worked as hard as he could to finish while supporting his young family. He loved my mom and could see who she was underneath the weathered exterior. He saw her true potential as a daughter of God and tried to help her become who he saw her as. He spent the better part of 30 years striving to make someone else happy. He would do anything for my mom if it would only make her happier. This was taxing on him. Nothing he ever did was good enough--not to mention my mom never believed him when he complimented her. During this time he really sacrificed much of his identity to try to build up my mom's.

Together they were never happy as individuals. The relationship was always a give and take with my dad giving and my mom taking--rarely the other way around. So I told my mom that they needed to be apart to be really happy. They needed to be apart for each of them to find out who they were again. Their individuality had been lost while they were married and separately is the only way they can find it.

This is a comfort to me. I never thought I would come to grips with the divorce. I mean who wants their parents divorced? I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know that each of them is free now to be who they really are and I hope they find themselves.

3 comments:

Island Queen said...

How beautifully written. I wish the best for your parents.

Lolly said...

What an amazing post - How wonderful to find peace by just looking at her life and showing her that it needn't be shameful. I'm sure that your words, at some point, will help her to find her own peace. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

s'mee said...

wow. I not sure whatelse I can add.

1st time comment, thanks LDS chicks