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!


  1. Kelly,

    I'll keep this short:

    I've been trying to leave comments many times and my computer fritzes on me! So, all my pithy comments blew away...

    So, remember I'm still praying for you. I know you have a gregarious and friendly nature, but use this 'time' of quiet for yourself. In a few months you will have a batch of friends! All so much fun and you won't have those lonely quiet moments.

    God Bless you Kelly!

  2. Kelly,
    I am glad you have a blog to process this all with along with some faithful friends.

    I am fortunate enough not to have had to experience divorce, but 20 yrs. of marriage has led me to understand that it can happen to anyone. You're right: marriage is not easy.

    You're also correct in that death is a less destructive tragedy. Children have an easier time as well, coping with the death of a parent than a desertion. And our society can say what it will, but there is no such thing as a "good divorce." You can minimize the damage, but a divorce is a desertion in the way that a death is not because, quite simply, death is unintended.

    My purpose is to let you know, in a society that needs to be in denial, that your are right. I'm not glad you're grieving, but I'm glad you're grieving realistically. It's OK to say that divorce sucks, drains, isn't intended, and will drag everyone through the wringer. I think that very acknowledgement will give you the perspective you need to help your children through it all. Not around it all, but through it all. God can make it right now or in the end, but it will be a process, and you may not see it all in this lifetime.

    At least you really walked the walk and married for real instead of trying to avoid all the struggle and risk like a lot of people today who never bother to marry. That will be the grace that God will build on.

    Bless you and your children...

  3. Lola is wise. You need this time alone to really grieve rather than filling it up with lots of friends and activities. It's best to focus on your kids and yourself right now than filling it up with distractions. It will continue to hurt, but in time the hurt will lessen and you will feel at peace.

    I think it is a good idea to write about your feelings too. It is therapeutic I'm sure.

    PS: let me know if you'd like some ducks or chickens.