When I was a kid I had this idea of what divorce looked like. It was a really beautiful ceremony, similar to marriage, where the couple said their tearful goodbyes and shared their last kiss and signed a registry in front of a priest. There were flowers everywhere and both parties’ families and friends were there. There were some heartfelt comments about how and why it didn’t work out but they loved each other and wished each other the best. When I was 7 or 8, and I finally understood that my parents were getting a divorce, I would lie in bed and play this scenario out in my head. Whether my mother would wear the same dress she wore to her wedding or a different one. Where I would be standing in the church. Which of my friends would be there. Their last kiss as a married couple.
Tonight, I learned that my divorce had gone through. It apparently went through months ago and I just never found out, after at least 2 years of paperwork and international custody agreements and official document translations and notarization and epic headaches. There was no ceremonious last kiss, no friends and family, no priest and official divorce registry. It was just me, sitting in my green chair in the corner, with a glass of whiskey and a whatsapp message in response to my question that said, “of course it went through. We’ve been divorced since April 1st”.
For months and months there was so much that felt like it was pending on this divorce…the greatest of those thing being the purchase of my home (banks apparently do not want to lend to people in the middle of messy divorce proceedings, fancy that). But there were other things, too. My boyfriend of more than 2 years, who was getting quite annoyed at living with a married woman. My son’s international travel documents. Tax documents. Everything that asks about marital status. There was so much anxiety wrapped up in this process of waiting, waiting, waiting. Until one day it had just finally happened.
And after all that time, my response when I found out today that I was finally divorced was a bit of shock and dismay and feeling like I got left in the dark. Like, wait a minute, I’ve been divorced for 2 months and I am only just finding that out today? Shouldn’t I have gotten some sort of official memo? An invitation to the divorce ceremony? A divorce certificate, with gold seals and signatures and holograms? A singing telegram? Divorce flowers? A divorce shower with a registry of everything necessary to restart one’s life after a divorce?
And then, a bittersweet sensation. Elation and celebration followed by sadness. A desire to both celebrate my divorced status and triumph through this hellhole of an international divorce and to simultaneously reflect on the beauty of what was and disbelief of it being over. Within about 30 seconds of finding this out I was both sending texts and shouting, “yeah, I’m divorced!” and tears were streaming down my face. There was such a cacophony of emotion that I didn’t even know what to do with myself. Laugh or cry. Write or talk. Scream with joy or sadness. And I write this in all honesty, knowing that certain people in my life will never understand where that statement comes from, assuming that I am still in love with my ex or that I regret the decisions that we have made, neither of which is true. We made the best decisions each of us could make. But our marriage did not end because we could not stand each other, but rather because we could not love each other in the way each of us deserved, after becoming the people we needed to become. And so there is a mourning of sorts, of what we had, but there is also a joy to be had in knowing that both of us are better people because of it.
If my life were a book, there would be a chapter that would end today. And at this point I can look back and say, “THIS is why all those things happened in that chapter!”. But it was a long crazy roller coaster of a chapter.