Monday, August 13, 2012
The home that wasn't.
After writing just a few short days ago about relative happiness and contentment with my life, I spent most of Sunday bursting into random, unexpected crying jags. Like an open palm smacking me dead in the chest, the reality of my broken home periodically knocked the wind out of me.
Saturday I helped my mom clear things out of the home I grew up in, the same one my dad moved out of six months ago. No matter how old you are, home is home. And you want it there to go back to.
You're never old enough to stop wishing it would all work out...somehow.
You're never old enough to stop wanting the smell of roast at Sunday dinners, the security of your old bedroom (just in case), the safety of that one place in the world where you belong no matter what.
I think about how hard each of my parents worked their whole lives, only to start over at (what should be) retirement age with half of what they had. I think about the seven-year relationship I dragged myself out of, and wondered what kind of strength one has to conjure to close the door on forty years. I think about how lonely it must feel to lose the partner you've had since you were a teenager.
Their sadness, though well-hidden, makes me sadder than my own sadness.
A divorce is the final decree on the matter of whether you get to have a happy family. Until the decision is handed down, you are free to entertain the fantasy that one day - yes, one day - resentments will be abandoned, bitterness will be overcome, and wrongs will be forgiven.
You're free to ponder the unknown because it's still unknown.
Until one day it isn't.
One day the pre-existing factions within your family quake into full-blown fault lines. The alliances that festered through the years persist long after the dust settles on the end of a marriage, splitting your family into divided loyalties.
There was no glamorous affair, no knock-down drag-out fight, just a fading gloom that quietly disappeared into the night. Without a clear-cut reason, I sometimes find myself forgetting why it is they're not together anymore. I wonder if they know, either.
When the last box is taped shut and hauled away, you're left standing there with the reality of the situation.
What you thought was a broken home reveals itself, instead, to be an empty home.
Where there could have been joy or love or happy times...
... is the ghost of a family that used to be...
...and a home that's never going to be -home- again.