A Decade Past
Even the most painful episodes in life should be honored, commem-orated.
This is the time of year, ten years ago, that I ended my 14 year marriage.
All I could say at the time was "I have done as much as I can, as well as I could, for as long as I can. I cannot do this any longer."
Even though it was my decision, that I moved actively toward my dissolution, it was one of the most painful, if not the most painful, episodes of my life.
In our culture, still, marriage is held out as the manifest destiny of a woman ... her highest purpose, next to motherhood.
After all the societal gains we seem to have made in granting women full humanity, marriage still remains the goal around which most little girls build their dreams.
I was no different. I can remember moving as an automaton toward that aim ... especially after I passed the age of 30, when a new sense of urgency propels women toward attaining the legitimacy of wifedom.
It's telling that my relationship with my own mother finally solidified when I married. It's as if I became real to her once I had passed that rite. That, as a wife, she could finally see me, that we reached a level of mutual understanding that had thus far eluded us.
I wonder if that is the truth of it now. That society still withholds the badge of authenticity from those women who refuse to be bound.
God knows it is difficult to be a divorcee. I imagine it will be as difficult to be a widow.
There is something truly awful about being a woman alone.
I know that I should qualify that statement in some manner. Perhaps I should say there is something truly awful about being a human alone.
We need to be with each other. To belong to the other and to have the other belong to us. Life is with people. It took my divorce to bring that home to me. I hope never to be that isolated again.
photo: Desolation Sound, British Columbia