Saturday, September 22, 2007

What Remains

On Thursday I retained my lawyer and experienced first-hand how one tallies a life. My husband and I have been married eight years, an entire lifetime shared, the result of which are three young, beautiful people. Simple math tells me our marriage represents 30 birthdays, 8 anniversaries, three pregnancies, three births, two apartments, two houses, over 150 Christmas cards, one car accident, three surgeries, two therapists, and now, one divorce decree.

And as I sat at the long lacquered table answering my lawyer’s questions, I couldn’t help but wonder how you divvy out a life. Could we really calculate all the spiritual debts and assets that have accrued within that time? Could we tally what’s yours and mine and theirs without ripping, unnaturally, at the center of our lives? As my lawyer applied this surreal formula of delineation I anticipated years of emotional hemorrhaging for all of us. This moment, drawing the lines and boundaries between us, preparing a chart of alternating holidays, determining percentages of responsibility, was the lesser of two evils.

If you’ve seen Indian Jones and the Last Crusade you probably remember the scene where Indiana is to walk across a gapping chasm to reach the Holy Grail. He’s instructed to walk the chasm by faith. I’m certain that doing such a thing would weight your heart with a cold fear, because how could you see such impossibility before you and ever expect to achieve solid footing again? I’m certain because as I sat in my lawyer’s office that day, my heart was a frozen anchor of fear.

I believe in marriage and always have. Divorce was never in the plan and for years, three exactly, I struggled against the idea. I perceived divorce, like a character in Wonder Boys, “as the first refuge for the weak in character and the last of the hopelessly incompetent.” It took no less than a whisper from God to assure me that what I saw as death would be a better path, not necessarily now, but years into the future. And while I’m sure there are some who see divorce as a lack of faith, for me it has been a faith-filled journey, one-step over a darkened chasm.

So as I type to what seems to be a never-ending pulse of pain, I allow myself to answer it with tears; they honor this marriage that will soon be over. It wasn’t a mistake, because the three beauties of my life were born within its bounds. And while I’m not sure how I would define it, I do know that regardless of what the divorce decree may say, five lives are forever held together by one fine gossamer strand, and that will always remain.

21 comments:

Erin said...

That was beautifully written. You really showed your soul to all of us. Thanks for sharing a (painful) piece of yourself. We love you.

Kristi O said...

Thanks for reminding me that faith doesn't always looks like what we thought it would look like. It isn't always in the neatly packaged-add water and microwave. Rather it is often scary, dark and not great feeling... but we have a hand hold us and arms to keep us up from a Loving all knowing Father. We're praying for your family. love ya

shawn said...

Shauna ... I've learned that sometimes the only thing we have is faith ... my journey has 15 years, three children, and countless memories, dates, occasions ... I don't want to just walk away, but I want the anger and the hurting to stop ... the effect is too great on OUR children ... but some how we can't stop it ...

It is a dark and scary place ... I've spent many nights alone weeping from the sorrow ... I can't say it will get better, but with each step you take, you are one step closer to the light of a new day ... a new dawn ...

The memories will linger, and in time only the good ones will remain, clinging to that gossamer thread ...

Hang in there girl!!! You're not the only one walking in the darkness ...

Anonymous said...

Shauna you have a wonderful way with words and right to the heart. I will never regret my first marriage in that you are the product of. Life would of been so empty without you! I truly live and breath the sonderful rewards of my second marriage: our children and the wonderful times we all have together as a family. It does take faith to find that happiness again and you will!!! love Mom

Annie said...

Such a moving post. I wish you well on this difficult and uncertain journey.

Karen said...

What an outpouring! No mistakes: just beginnings and endings and underlying everything, the eternal.

suburbancorrespondent said...

Break my heart, why don't you? It's true, though - divorce is a legal fiction, as you are forever bound by the children and by the memories of the life you shared. So much pain...hang in there!

Feener said...

Gosh, you can really write. I am sorry for your pain, but I do hope writing is helping you sort through all this.

my minivan is faster than yours said...

You do such an amazing job of sharing your story without being scandelous. Good for you!

Rachel said...

Beautifully written and completely heartbreaking. Through it all, though, you never lose sight of that life long, all important, connection. The connection that will make all of this much easier on your children. It will truly show them, that through it all, they were and are the shining light of both your lives.

Midwest Mommy said...

My sister is in a very similar place right now and this post has helped me to realize some of the things she may be going through too. Thank you.

pinks & blues girls said...

Oh Shauna, my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry you have had to go through such pain for three years. You have clearly found that this is, really, the only right thing to do. I know it is so hard. But you will get through it.

So beautifully written.

Jane, Pinks & Blues

Anonymous said...

You made me cry this morning. What a beautiful piece, and how lucky your family is to have someone who can see the good in the relationship even as it is ending. We love you all, and pray for you daily.
Mary

Tonya said...

Shauna... This is Tonya (Bennett/ Rothermal). I used to go to school and church with you when we were young. So sorry to hear that you are going through a divorce. I have been there, but honestly it WAS the best path for me. Now, I am happily married with 3 children (1 from first marriage, 2 from second). In all of the years that I knew you, you were a VERY caring and wonderful person and I am sure you still are. Please hold onto your faith and continue to bless your children as a wonderful mother. You were ALWAYS so great to your younger siblings! Stay strong. Sincerely ~ Tonya Poppen

Eileen said...

Shauna,
As always, your writing is so beautiful and gets right to the heart and soul of the the issue, without getting into the nasty, angry feelings. You are putting your children's needs first and that is what counts. You are also acknowleding, that things are not always so black and white in this world, mostly we like in the shades of grey. What I do know is that you will be OK, you will get through this and come out on the other side a better and ever stronger person. I admire you for listening to your innerself, and acting on what you know was know right for you at this time. Stay strong! XOXOXO

Anonymous said...

I love your fantastic support group!! You are very talented in writing I have never doubted your skill with words:). I love your blog & I love you. Hang in there. Love your sis, Denise

Gustogirl said...

You are smart to cling to your faith. I believe our Father in Heaven can understand our pain more than anyone else, which works out well, because He is the one who can also grant us strength, peace and comfort. I hope you feel some of these in the midst of this painful time.

Happy Homemaker said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

birnels said...

You are an amazing writer. I felt so much reading your post. It is not often that ones blog writing can pull so much emotion from me. You have shared such an intimate part of yourself with us and I commend you for your courage. I ma positive that through your writing you have touched and helped many people struggling with this same thing. My prayers are with you at this difficult time in your life.

zellmer said...

Beautifully written. I've been there, and all I can offer in the way of advice is...I truly believe you will be rewarded for the risk you're taking. It takes guts to go through something so painful because you believe in something better for yourself. You will find that something better.

Anonymous said...

Rent contains a pretty little ditty that your blog reminded me of, called "seasons of love."

~Jordan