As a result of an unfortunate glitch, this is a repost of the blog is brought to you by Kathryn Haueisen, who has served her community as a freelance author, pastor, and speaker. Let’s welcome her words of wisdom which speak about love in the face of heartbreak and divorce.
He broke my heart. I’d never known such pain before and haven’t since. It took a full two years to get to the “since” part of my recovery from our divorce. We were together thirty-three years and three weeks from “I do” to divorce. The first thirty years were great, at least from my side of our “until death do us part” vows. We had plenty of challenges, but we faced them as a team. The last few years were full of family events requiring cross-country travel, a couple of moves, and mutual work obligations.
The last year was sheer agony. I replayed the few awkward conversations we had, and those we avoided having, over and over, looking for a different outcome. Could I have done anything differently that would have changed things?
I repeated the phrase “take the high road” as a prayer mantra when I found yet another item he left behind. A photo of his mother. His master’s thesis. Tools he inherited from his father. Photos from family vacations with him with our girls. Though I was sorely tempted to burn them or toss them in the trash, I instead informed him that I’d found them and made arrangements to give them to him.
When we both ended up at a milestone event for someone in our family, I sat a few rows behind him in the church service. Our youngest granddaughter, three years old at the time, sat on my lap. Several times when visiting, she’d asked “Why isn’t Grandpa here?” or told me, “I miss Grandpa.” Believe me, child, I wish I knew why Grandpa isn’t here, I thought, as I managed to say, “I miss him too.”
At the service, I whispered in her ear, “There’s Grandpa. I bet he’d like to see you.” I sent her up a few rows to cuddle with him. When I took our grandchildren to family camp near his home, I made arrangements for them to spend time with him and his new wife.
I put on a brave face and showed up at events where his new wife seemed truly annoyed that I had the nerve to show up. It did take nerve; more nerve than I ever knew I had. I really would have preferred to be home eating a carton of ice cream than facing into the pain and awkwardness of such encounters.
Gradually it got easier. It helped that I moved out of the small town where people knew too much for my personal peace of mind. It helped that I learned how to travel to fun places without him as my travel partner and made new friends. It helped that I too eventually re-married. It also helped to focus on the fact we had in common two daughters, six grandchildren, and a host of people in both his and my family that we both loved; people with whom we’d shared many vacations and holidays.
“Take the high road,” I kept telling myself. “This too shall pass,” I heard my grandmother whisper in my ear. “Joy comes in the morning.” I changed that one to “Joy comes in the mourning.” I even attempted to write a book by that title, but it didn’t really go anywhere. I did write a fictionalized story about love, marriage, divorce, and remarriage that I titled Asunder. It was my practice novel and occupied much of my time for several years. He heard about it and requested a copy. I sent him one. He sent a check to cover the cost of the book and postage to mail it. Through a mutual friend, I heard he thought it pretty accurately described what happened to us.
I consider Thanksgiving 2018 the date we achieved reconciliation. My daughter invited me and my current husband for Thanksgiving, announcing she’d also invited her father, now divorced from his second wife. Fair enough. Her house, her rules. That Thanksgiving I found myself seated between my first husband and my current one, with my daughter and son-in-law at either end of the table. Across from me sat our three young adult grandchildren. The conversation flowed like a well-played tennis match, with the conversation volleying from talk of things our family did when he and I were still married to more current conversations about places any of us had traveled recently.
When I got home my current husband asked me if that was awkward. I truthfully answered, “Not really. He is the father of my daughters and the grandfather of my grandchildren. It feels good to be at peace about all that.”
I doubt I will ever understand what ended my first marriage. I suspect I shall always regret that it ended in a divorce court rather than at a funeral service. However, I treasure the family we created and the many, many good memories I have from our first three decades together. I am grateful we can now function together as parents and grandparents when an occasion calls for such roles.
It is true that weeping lasts through the night, often months, even years of nights. It is equally true that joy does come again. Beyond the mourning, there is healing and hope.
Sometimes love consists of accepting life the way it is rather than the way I’d hope it would be.
Sometimes love means letting go of expectations.
Sometimes love means letting the person I loved the most for the longest stretch of time, go on a separate path, even though it broke my heart to see him go.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 – NLT
Kathryn’s—7 Answers to 7 Questions—
Favorite musician at present...someone/band you must listen to in the gym or on a road trip, no exceptions, they're getting played. Who are they?
John Denver. We’ve traveled thousands of miles together. I saw him in concert three times and a John Denver look-alike in concert a few years ago.
Do you name your vehicle and if so what’s the name, why, and do you have any swag to represent your ride?
We named a brown and tan VW van Brownie. When she approached 100,000 miles we drove around until she turned 100,000 and celebrated with ice cream cones.
The junk drawer in your CAR…which item is most valuable?
Toss-up between pen and umbrella.
Historical figure you most identify with and why?
Though not well known, Mary Brewster, Mrs. William Brewster of the Mayflower story. What I learned about her so fascinated me that my next book is a fictional biography of her life.
What are you hungry for (not food), something you quest after, that motivates you?
To meet in person with a small group of women my age to swap stories and solutions to life’s assorted challenges.
Where would you like to spend a year of your life…no limits on how it’s done?
A cottage in a village in England, close to a river, lake, or ocean.
What is your soul message, a one-sentence legacy for your posterity?
Whether wonderful or awful, this moment shall pass; therefore, be patient and kind for you know not what comes next.
Where can you find more from Kathryn?
-From the Fire Ring Blog, Vol. 1, No. 16