Monday, September 14, 2009

Divorce Is Like A Zombie Invasion

In order to survive my divorce in a relatively sane manner, I have decided to seek help from from books and a therapist and through a support group, and it is really helping me process my emotions and thoughts about divorce.

And I've come to understand that Divorce is like a Zombie Invasion.

We were talking last night in my divorce class/group about grief and the fact that divorce is very much like the death of a spouse - even though the person doesn't actually die, it is the death of your relationship and you lose that person just as surely as you would if they had died. The instructor was saying that most divorced people face extreme pressure from everyone they know to just "get over it", but research and experience show clearly that it takes most divorced people about 5 years to completely heal from the divorce. The instructor was saying that nobody expects a widow to just "get over it" and start dating within weeks of her husband's death [to "get back in the saddle again" as they often put it], but that with divorce people often say such ridiculous things to you.

I thought about this more, and, while I do agree that it is a kind of death in a very definite, concrete sense; I think divorce is actually worse.

Divorce is like a Zombie Invasion - suddenly, the person you love more than anything on Earth "dies" and they are taken from you against your will. The person who you most relied on, most enjoyed being with, the person who promised to love you *FOREVER* is Gone.

But, it is worse than if they just died, because you turn around and the Son of a Bitch has turned into a Zombie and is trying to eat your brains. They have become someone *else* - someone different, someone who wants to hurt you, someone who is alien and no longer shares your hopes and dreams - who, even more, wants to destroy those things and take them from you.

Divorce is the worst kind of betrayal. It may sound incredibly horrible for me to say this, but I would MUCH rather be a widow than a divorced woman. I often worried myself sick about my husband dying during our marriage because he was so ill at times, and that was something that was almost a phobia for me - that something would happen to my precious beloved husband and he would die. But the reality is that it would have been INFINITELY preferable - because in death he still would have loved me. He still would have been my husband. He would not be the number one active source of pain and hardship in my life - he would not be trying to screw me over at every turn. He would not be going out of his way to find ways to hurt me. He'd just be... dead.

Divorce often entails a personality and values change in one of the partners. Suddenly the partner abandons the values and morals they held for all the long years of the marriage and they start acting in ways that just a few short years ago would have been abhorrent to them. They *become* the exact same kind of person they would have fought to protect their children from before. One minute your partner is shooting the heads off the Zombies to protect you and the children and the next you turn around and he's a Zombie himself trying to eat your brain and the teeny tasty little brains of your children.

Geez. And in divorce [unlike Zombie Invasions], you aren't allowed to blow his head off, even when it seems very appropriate to do so. LOL!

Divorce also tends to make your friends disappear much like a Zombie invasion. You look around and suddenly realize "Hey, where'd all my friends go?!!!". Now, if you are fortunate, you have your core "Zombie Invasion Buddies" that stick by you no matter what - those guys are worth their weight in shotgun shells, believe me. :) But you will see many of your friendships just kind of dissipate. Not necessarily intentionally on the part of your friends, but simply because the situation has changed and things aren't comfortable any longer [fortunately at least they don't usually turn into Zombies and then try to eat your Brains in Divorce like they would in a Zombie Invasion - unless, of course, you are one of the unlucky people who has your partner leave you for your best friend :( ].

In a Zombie Invasion, you often have to leave your home because it has been made uninhabitable by Zombies. In divorce you often have to leave your home because you are so stinking poor there is no way you could afford to live in your home any longer.

The Zombie Invasion effect is even worse for children - they suddenly look up at the parent they have always adored and trusted to put their best interests first and instead of good old "Daddy" or "Mommy" they see a Monster who totally destroys their lives - forcing them to face what seems like insurmountable loss all at once. And not just the loss of their Family, which is indeed completely devastating, but also the loss of friends, their home, neighbors, favorite things and places - most especially if the custodial parent is forced to move.

Just like a Zombie Invasion, Divorce is the death of a family, of a future, of a Dream. Whether your partner is turned into a literal Zombie or whether he or she voluntarily jumps on the Zombie Train and divorces you of his or her own free will, the effect is the same. The Family is annihilated - everything that your family was, everything it stood for, every goal it had, every Mission it sought to fulfill, every "inside joke" you shared - is OVER. The survivors try to pick up the pieces, to find meaning, to find some way to move forward - but no matter what they find or how well they eventually heal, that Family is destroyed. Nothing will ever be the same - all of that Family's expectations and hopes for the future are gone - vanished in the blink of an eye.

Just like in a Zombie Invasion, Divorce can really make you question everything and want to just give up. After blowing the heads off so many Zombies, you start to just feel like it isn't worth it any more. You feel exhausted, you feel alone, you feel devastated, you feel like the only human being in a sea of Zombies, you feel like nothing will ever get better, you question everything you ever believed, everything you thought was true. You question who you are - CAN you do this? Is this whole Invasion your fault somehow? And WHAT is wrong with you anyway that you are here in the middle of a Zombie Invasion to start with - does God hate you or something?

Sometimes [a lot of times?] you just want to drop your shot gun and give in. But of course, in the Zombie Invasion you don't get the peaceful rest of death, you become a monster too and go on to wreak havoc in your own right. In divorce, especially with children involved, to give up is to become another Zombie in the lives of your loved ones, and most especially in your children's lives - to condemn them to a Hell you wouldn't wish on anyone.

Either way it Sucks.

So, to all my righteous Brothers and Sisters out there who are with me here trying to Survive the Zombie Invasion, I say turn up the Bob Marley and keep on keeping on. You are NOT alone and one day the Sun will Rise and the Invasion will be a thing of the past. And then we get to walk in the Sunshine and re-populate the planet, right?! ;)

God bless you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life on Mars

I'm seriously considering changing the name of my blog to "Life on Mars" because that's really so much more descriptive of my life these days.

I am torn a lot about my blog. I have made a real effort over the past almost 3 years of blogging to be "real". To be honest and genuine. I've taken criticism at times for how honest I am on my blog, but that's OK. I have been contacted over the years by a lot of different women who have found support in reading my blog - women dealing with mental or physical illness in a partner, women dealing with a partner who abandons them and then wants to reconcile, women who are so relieved to hear from a homeschooling mother who is up front about having a messy home and feeling overwhelmed at times, women dealing with PIH and Pre-Eclampsia and looking for support - all of these women have found my blog and have found something here that made them feel less alone. That made them feel less like a freak. That made them feel a part of the human family - they felt supported.

That is important to me. I want to support others who may be going through things I've already survived [or am surviving]. I want to be a voice out in blog land saying "Hey, it isn't all Shiney Happy out there, but man is it still GOOD!". Because at the end of the day, that's my life - sometimes my life just plain sucks. It really does. But as a general rule, Life is Good and God is Gracious and nothing is going to hold me back from becoming who He wants me to be. I want to share that spirit and that recognition - that witness of God's love if you will - with the world.

But now I'm in such a weird place - because I am, quite literally, an Alien in almost every single social situation.

I was already a Freak - I have 6 kids. I am a Christian that actually believes all that stuff in the Bible. I was a Homeschooler. I'm a little bit of a Hippy with definite Granola leanings. I'm a bit of an environmentalist. I'm an avid organic gardener and a chicken lady. I mean, I already had a lot of "weirdo" points stocked up before this all happened.

And now I am a "Devout Christian Divorced Mother of Six Children".

I don't fit in *anywhere*.

I don't fit in at Church. The people at Church are *polite*, but that's as far as they are gonna take it - my whole situation seems like such a mess that I think it quite genuinely just scares people off - nobody wants to deal with it. [Heck, *I* don't want to deal with it]. It really isn't anyone's fault, it is just the reality of where I am.

I don't fit in to the secular world, because I do have these crazy ideas about God being real and loving and all of this.

I don't fit in with Single Moms, because, so far, nobody I've met who is single has 6 kids. Or anything even close. Every single mom I've met looks at me and thinks "Geez, at least I'm not THAT lady" and they pity me. Which really stinks. I don't want to be pitied - I treasure my children and I feel completely blessed to have them.

I don't fit in with the married moms either. I think in some subtle way I am a reminder that their worlds could come crashing down too - not likely, fortunately, but possible. I feel like I bring a sense of vague unease to women every where I go. Because if I could end up like this [as committed to making it work as I was], then maybe anyone could end up like this.

I don't fit in with the feminists. I am the *poster child* for their campaign to get women to leave children in day care and *Work*Work*Work* because you can't ever depend on any man to take care of you. While they may be right about that "you can't depend on a man to take care of you" thing, I do NOT regret leaving the work force to raise my children - I think my children benefited in myriad ways and they will reap the rewards of that for their entire lives. TOTALLY Worth It as far as I'm concerned.

I learned tonight that I don't fit in at the Divorce Support Group either. Only one other person there even had kids and that person only had one older school aged child. They were all looking at me like I had 3 heads. They were all nice, but not eager to make friends, lets just say. [Again that overwhelming feeling of people thinking "Well, my life sucks, but at least I'm not THAT lady!" . ugh.]

So, here I am, living on Mars and looking around at all the Earthlings - not knowing what really to do with myself. I feel completely alienated from every other living human being - I feel like I have a big Scarlet "A" on my head, only it stands for "Alien" not "Adultery".

And I'm torn over how much to share here.... in the past I've always felt I would be helping others by sharing how I dealt with my struggles and by sharing my joys, but in this case - who am I going to help? I don't think there ARE any other "Devout Christian Divorced Mothers of Six Children" out there - and if there are, the odds of them happening upon my blog are pretty slim I'd wager.

So, Geez. What do I do? Do I share what is "real" even though it is really raw right now? Do I turn the blog into a "Shiny Happy Blog" [GAG] and pretend everything is all nicey-nice here in Wonderland? Do I shut the whole blog down and let it go?

I don't know.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Children Are Picking My New Husband

[Ha - don't panic, I'm not serious!]

A frequent topic of conversation around our house is that Mommy should start dating and re-marry and get a new husband. [Is that weird? I don't know - I didn't expect it, but all of the kids feel strongly that Mommy should not be alone. I, on the other hand, have my doubts about matrimony ever being a good thing in my life again - marriage is HARD! And, in my personal experience, painful, exhausting, gut wrenching and it still may turn out badly even when you give it 110%!!!]

I think the situation is kind of funny though - what they have to say is *really* revealing about their character, and it is amusing to hear what they come up with.

So, for those who are curious, these are the specifications The Monkeys have set forth for my new husband:

1. He must already have children. His children must be nice kids and he must have done a good job being a dad to them. It does not matter how old the children are - my children say they would love some older siblings, but they also luuuuuuv babies so younger kids would be really cool too. Some of each would be even better.

2. The more children he has, the better. Up to 6. My oldest says she does not want me to marry a man with more than 6 children, because more than 12 children all together would be "too many". [ROFL!] My younger children have requested various numbers of children, up to and including 15, because they thought it would be really cool to have 21 children in the home. [Why 21? I have no clue! ;) ]. But, the minimum they will accept seems to be around 4. 4-6 kids seems to be the ideal range for the hypothetical Monkey Step father to possess.

3. A man with at least one son is very important. The son does not have to be the same age as my son [though my son would prefer this ideally he says], but he should have at least one son. The absolute ideal would be a man with 5 sons and 1 daughter and then we would have 6 of each. LOL! [I am proud of my daughters' compassion and concern for my lone boy!]

4. He must be a Christian. He must attend Church every single week that he is able to and have a strong faith.

5. He does not have to be from the United States originally, but it IS very important that he speak English. If he speaks two [or more] languages, that's even better.

6. He cannot be gray. [ROFL!] Skin tones of choice are: black, white, brown, yellow, red... even purple, but he must NOT be gray according to my 6 year old. That is the forbidden color. So, as long as I steer clear of those Gray Guys we will be fine. ;)

7. He must have a good sense of humor [or "be funny" as my 6yo says]. They will have no overly serious men in the running. ;)

Finally, the children rule that they get final say so. IF there should arise a circumstance in which I find any man that I might think is even possibly suitable for marriage, he must meet them and THEY get the final say so on whether he is acceptable or not.

I really found this very amusing tonight [this was our dinner conversation LOL!]. I'm really proud of the children I'm raising - these kids have their heads on straight - they are generous, loving, accepting and they know what IS important and what is NOT. [Notice, money nor race nor good looks was a deciding factor - but faith, humor, and good fathering ability WAS!]

You know, looking over their list, if I should become insane and decide that re-marriage is a good idea, then I think I *WILL* let my children pick the guy - they will do a MUCH better job than I could do I think!


Have a great weekend and God Bless you!