1968:

I was 7 years old. 

  • Divorce was almost unheard of at the time.  
  • Des Moines, Iowa  Divorce was scandalous
  • My parents got divorced
  • I came home from school one day and my Mom and 2 (of 3) older brothers had left.  They moved 40 minutes away.

1968-2019: 

The divorce was nasty and the anger and resentment spanned decades; sending ripples of  anxiety, stress, depression and anger into all of our lives. Rather than a safe, happy childhood our experience of family looked very different.

  • Walking on eggshells all the time
  • Needing to keep secrets from each parent about the other
  • Mine fields of topics, phrases, and places
  • Mental preparation to leave one parent to visit the other
  • Mental preparation for holidays, and exhaustion and depression during the holidays
  • Mental and physical preparation for milestone celebrations or how to avoid celebrations altogether (all 4 of us choose not to go to our own high school graduation)
  • Planning for who would be responsible for which parent to try to ensure minimum fallout for celebrations
  • Taking sides – the endless pull to take sides and the resulting guilt for having taken sides
  • The fallout after celebrations for whatever was perceived as an issue
  • Financial strain:  asking for something (Prom Dress, school clothes) and being told the other parent should pay for it,  then being told I pay child support…; 
  •  Guilt for not being able to protect/ help siblings
  • Stress of having to support an emotionally overwrought parent

1988:

I made a decision to dedicate my life to “fixing” divorce.   I went to law school, and then spent decades practicing family law in an effort to stop the ripples before they began.  

1993:

My Wedding – I took a stand.  I made a choice.  I was done – fed up and exhausted.  This was the turning point (at least outwardly) with my parents’ divorce.  I would not let their issues affect my children or my marriage.  And yet – it still did; because inside I still struggled with all the same emotions. 

8/2019: 

50 years after my parents’ divorce I decided to go deeper and find out how to leave my parent’s divorce to my parents.   I learned to deal with the emotions I had struggled with for decades.  I learned how to let go of the remnants and ghosts of the divorce that had permeated my life.