Divorce and Death

I heard from my lawyer today. Apparently she’s sent on my copy of the divorce decree, as well as some ancillary documents relating to the settlement. I’m reminded how strangely casual the actual divorce has been. I was initially nervous about proving the Decree, the process whereby you officially request to be divorced. As the Petitioner, that would normally have been my ex-wife’s responsibility, but as she moved out of town shortly after I left her, my lawyer offered to have me prove the Decree up as a courtesy. It would have been more of a courtesy had she consulted me before offering to help out my ex-wife; we were still in negotiations at the time, and I was a little peeved at having a bargaining chip so casually thrown away. And, to be honest, I wasn’t happy at being forced to do something nice for a woman who tried to destroy any vestiges of independence in me. Also, I had read that the process of proving up the Decree was emotionally difficult; I heard stories of women (all the stories I read were written by women) breaking down and crying, or forgetting when they were married. In contrast, I found it easy and almost brusque. I approached the bench with my lawyer, who asked me some basic questions, such as the date of our marriage and whether my ex-wife was pregnant. She framed these questions in a yes or no format. After about ten or so of these queries, the Judge simply said, “The divorce is granted. Good luck to you, sir.” And after being excused from the bench, we left. And that was that.

I do wonder if the emotional difficulties I’m having is related to my divorce. It doesn’t feel like it. The two years between my realizing I wanted to leave and the actual separation were hellish, and the year or so before that even more agonizing. I honestly feel I passed through the emotional trials then. The day I left, driving away was a relief. There was uncertainty, to be sure, but also hope. I had no idea then of the financial difficulties facing me. All I knew was that a very dark time in my life was passed. That once again, I had survived, perhaps not unscathed, but still standing with pride in myself.

How different I feel today. And yet the divorce still seems easy. I feel no real pain to think on it, or even our marriage. No, my pain seems to have another source, a hole in my soul that I cannot find the source of nor any end to, which I had covered up with thought of sexual hedonism and the delight of watching women around me in my daily life. This solitude is forcing me to stare into that particular abyss, and I fear not only what I may find there, but what that discovery will do to me as a person. I’m anxious that the death of who I am now that seems to be all that inevitable will lead to the creation of a new self that I can be proud of. Images of remaining broken and dying alone haunt me daily.

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~ by arkhilokhus on March 28, 2008.

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