Two years ago, my parents divorced after 50 years of marriage. Actually, my mum divorced my dad, after 50 years of marriage. She said dad was "the love of her life", (it might be interesting to note that my dad is in his late 80s, my mum turns 79 next week). Okay, so that's how you treat the 'love of your life' then is it?
It's a very long story, which I won't bore you with. At times it really has been like living in a soap opera... But no, the point of this post is this. I'm bloody disappointed. My whole family is. We still are. It has totally rocked our close, what we all thought was a happy family. My mum being at it's absolute centre. The main reason for the split? My mum was totally sick of looking after my dad, who had beaten bowel cancer several years prior, but was not totally over it. Hygiene was a big issue (fair enough), age and chemo had beaten my dad down, so he is no longer the man he once was. He changed from being active and capable, to a painfully slow mover who relied on my mum for nearly everything. Mum just got to a point where she couldn't cope anymore and resented the old man that he had become. Oh, and one other thing. She met another man, who promised her a new life. so off she went.
I never thought my parents would split up. I thought they were solid, best friends, a team. They just fit. They were our role models. We all wanted a marriage like theirs. Happy. Easy. One of respect and loyalty, compromise and open communication, freedom and together-ness, all that history and shared experience. All those memories, children and grand kids.
Now, I just feel confused to be honest. Everything I was brought up to believe, has to a certain extent, been shattered. I really did think it was possible to spend your whole life with someone, that you could get through tough times, work at things, support each other, and then just be happy to reach old age and enjoy companionship and reminisce about the good old times. Now? I don't know. Is there a point in working things out, if things get too hard?
I never thought divorce, as an adult, would really bother me. But I was wrong. And the strange thing is, time hasn't made it easier. Not yet anyway. Maybe it would be okay if both of my parents were happy and had moved on. But at their age? Really, how is a man of 80-odd every going to get over being 'dumped' by the person he still loves and just wants to come home? Now he's sick, giving up I think, and still longs for mum. She is all he ever talks about, "When she comes back". Well she won't be going back. She hasn't been back since the day she walked out of their house, got on a plane, and left him for another man.
And my mum? She just doesn't get why we can't just be happy for her. She doesn't understand our reluctance to open our arms to the new bloke (who she has been off and on with since leaving dad. They are 'on' again for now, but when they were 'off' she was glued to checking out potential replacements on RSVP). Yes I want her to be happy. She deserves a life in her old age. But. At the cost of breaking the heart of the man who did everything for her? Of alienating her family? I'm just not so sure.