According to Trish

not worth reading since 2009

The pangs of sympathetic divorce

Note: I wrote this more than a week ago. Certainly this situation aggravated the slow, acid-reflux burn of my own breakup.

Feeling much better now than when I wrote it. No need to call the men with the white coats. You know, unless they’re single and cute …


A marriage very close to me is breaking up. It’s so sad that I can’t bear it. Sad for everyone involved and sad for me, too.

It all hits too close to home.

They say that a tree will do a process like self-cauterization if a limb becomes infected. It will cut off any sap to that area and block it off. That way the limb can die without killing the tree.

That’s what happens when you get divorced. You have to cut off circulation to certain areas of yourself so they can die and you can live. Otherwise there’s just no way to get through the day.

Obviously, I’m one chick who positively wallows in feelings in sometimes. I can milk a moment. But man, not with my divorce. If I sit and think about it too long and turn it over and over as is my nature, it’s too much to bear. There are so many things that are surrounded with sadness and worry for me. I just can’t dwell on them. I have to move forward.

I had to sacrifice that limb so I could keep breathing, keep walking.

To use another metaphor, sometimes it feels like I’m learning to use a prosthetic limb. It’s not the same as the old limb. It doesn’t look the same — people know it’s an after-market part. It doesn’t feel the same. I have to move a little differently. I have fallen down a lot while learning to incorporate this new limb into my body.

The idea is that eventually it becomes mundane. The way life is. No need to dwell on it. Just get up and put it on and go about your day.

The phantom pain from the old limb is still there sometimes, though. It hums and it aches and it’s so real that sometimes I swear I’m going to wake up in my old house.

But then I remember where I am.

How things are now.

Remind myself not to dwell.

And shut it off.

This divorce close to me is tough. It has shaken my faith. I rarely freely cry for my own divorce anymore, but I can let it rip for this person. My phantom limb picks up on what’s going on and it hums with sympathetic vibrations. Everyone’s pain is different, but there’s a kinship and a commonality with people who have had to do this.

This gorgeous, strong woman can’t see my tears for her. It would kill her. I know. When I was in the middle of it, I needed to summon every ounce of courage I had.

People falling to bits around you knocks you off kilter when you need to stand firm.

People looking at you with pity just about undoes you.

If this girl is in your life, tell her you love her and that if anyone can do it, she can. Tell her she’s a great mom and that she’s capable of so many things and that in many ways, life for her is just beginning.

A new beginning. A true one.


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