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Brightening your day with the augur of Grim Death

September 30, 2010

First of all, I’m feeling really gratified so far by the positive feedback and civil discussions this blog has engendered. But I absolutely don’t want anyone to read WTFGU and reconsider their marriage vows. Are you kidding me? To me, recommending Divorce With Kids is like telling people to have their shins amputated because Hey! You can get these cool, springy prostheses!

As Reader PP said, we’re doing okay. For now. Moxie has lots of work out of town, and I can pick up the slack because I’m out of work. Life’s a little easier because the amenable weather of autumn is coming. But this is the eye of the hurricane. The kids’ after-school activities start next week, and soon the sun will go down at four-frickin-thirty, and the weather will turn cold and wet, and there’s going to be a lot of:

  • Shit! T’s boots are at Mama’s!
  • Shit! R’s homework is at Dad’s!
  • Shit! We’re cursing way too much in front of the kids!

Also, by the way, I’m out of work. Another wolf at the door.

On my own blog, I recently posted about how my 45th birthday, and the recent death of a high-school classmate, had me thinking about mortality. Naturally, it didn’t help to read about the passing of Greg Giraldo, a great comedian and another child of 1965. After a good few hours of stewing in my brainjuices, I got to thinking: What if that happened to me? What if my heart just gave out and I died in my sleep? There’s a good chance that either 1) my kids would find me and be emotionally scarred for life, or 2) I’d be alone and (since I’m not working) unmissed, until I didn’t show up at school to pick up the kids. Who would be told their daddy was dead and be emotionally scarred for life.

There’s a third option, naturally, but so far asking women to stay over so they can call my family if I wake up dead hasn’t worked out so great.

So I guess the message here is that Divorce With Kids is a shit sandwich, and the more bread you have the less shit you taste. Do it if it’s the absolute last resort, but be aware that, for all the potential good a divorce might bring, there’s also the chance that your dead body might not be found until your neighbor complains about the smell.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. anne permalink
    September 30, 2010 2:04 pm

    dude, this wasn’t good reading for me today.

    • LOD permalink*
      September 30, 2010 4:07 pm

      I know, and it wasn’t fun writing it either. 🙂 Sorry if this came across as a major bummer. I’m not a morose person, but I also do not want to come across as proselytizing about our lifestyle. Divorce is a turd, no matter how much sugar you sprinkle on it.

      • anne permalink
        October 1, 2010 9:51 am

        I agree totally. I need to stop reading all these books that tell me that my kid is going to be scarred by divorce.

      • askmoxie permalink*
        October 1, 2010 1:19 pm

        Anne, believe me, I obsessed. the latest research shows that what determines how scarred your kids are is how well you can get along after the divorce. Kids whose parents can be civil and polite afterwards have no measurable differences from kids whose parents stay together.

        I’d love to see studies that only looked at bad marriages and outcomes of splitting or staying together. Because it’s not fair to compare kids growing up with two parents who love and can work together and have a happy home to those whose parents can’t get along. My suspicion is that kids whose parents shouldn’t be together but stay together anyway have worse outcomes than the other two groups.

  2. Anna permalink
    September 30, 2010 3:43 pm

    Oh my god! That’s exactly what I was thinking this afternoon as I raked and filled up 5 bags full of leaves from my lawn and driveway. All. By. My. Self.
    (Even had to run to Home Depot halfway through to get more bags!)

    What if something were to happen to me? Who’s got my back?

    I agree: don’t get divorced unless you are 100% sure it’s for the best.
    Luckily, I’m certain I did the right thing. So let the leaves fall where they may.

  3. September 30, 2010 4:56 pm

    My mom has set up a daily phone call with my grandma (grandma has to call her). Grandma is 90 and lives alone. My mom goes by at least once a week, as do other relatives. If my mom is out of town, Grandma calls other relatives.

    I know it’s morbid, but maybe you can do a similar thing with a friend or with Moxie? Daily phone call, just to check in?

  4. September 30, 2010 6:14 pm

    i always appreciate your honesty. for real. “So I guess the message here is that Divorce With Kids is a shit sandwich, and the more bread you have the less shit you taste.” whenever a friend candidly glorifies divorce (“oh the free time, i could use some of that!”) i remind them it’s the hardest thing i’ve ever done (and i gave birth at home to a 10 lb baby with no drugs! in the snow… up hill both ways) …

    how you write about the 1, 2, 3’s is what i experienced after my son’s birth. it’s that anxiety of being “the only one” on your shift that is a heavy weight. and i’m sure moxie is experiencing the same thing on her shifts too. it’s only human. the first year of my separation/divorce i don’t think i slept at all (which now in hindsight probably aided in the aging process, doh!) this is not morose. this is reality. my friends know if they haven’t seen me (online, with email, or in person, etc) each day (especially because i work from home) they check in with me to make sure everything’s all good (and i’m an introvert). i actually made a plan for ‘what ifs’ and a good friend of mine has my spare house key. making plans like that can only help minimize the worry.

    you’ve got enough peeps who’d miss you first before smelling you 🙂

  5. September 30, 2010 6:54 pm

    I was thinking the same thing for the same reason: reading about Greg Giraldo’s death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. I got a tooth pulled on Tuesday and am taking Vicodin for the pain, and I was sitting alone in the house thinking, what if I “accidentally overdosed?” I’m not expected anywhere until Saturday (I work from home) and so, how would anyone know until then? And I’m staying at my parents’ cabin up in the mountains, so no one would smell anything. Ha, such morbid thoughts, but yeah.

  6. Sonya permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:17 pm

    I think this all the time. I often worry that if something happened my 3 year old would have no idea what to do. And if something happened to me on my watch, how would someone know to get him? It’s terrifying sometimes…

  7. the milliner permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:17 pm

    Not to burst the bubble, but being married doesn’t necessarily prevent your kids to being scarred for life from your untimely and unforseeable death. True, chances are greater that your kids won’t find you. And also true, probably less time will elapse when someone will find you.

    But one of my biggest fears is that my DH (who has a heart transplant and who actually does have a higher risk of having heart failure) will go into cardiac arrest when he is taking care of our 2 y.o. son and I am out or away on business. Chances are, it won’t happen this way. But it’s always lurking in the back of my mind.

    Sadly, no guarantees on any of this. And in a way, no preparing for this. The best defense is a back up plan for ‘what if’s that you can actually manage. And then try to banish the worst case scenarios from your head. Worrying about it will bring you no where good, fast.

  8. Margaret permalink
    October 1, 2010 7:57 am

    I really cherish this blog. My parents divorced when I was 13. Not having them live together anymore was great, but the side effects (mom’s depression and dating, dad having to move) were awful. In almost 25 years post-divorce, my dad made exactly one anti-mom statement, and the rest of the time, he tried to get me to see her perspective. Wish I could say the same of my mom. The good news: it took a decade, but they became friendly, rather like brother and sister. My mom was with us at my dad’s bedside when he died. As my husband always says, “Character is how you deal with the consequences of a decision when the emotion that caused you to make a decision has passed.”

  9. BratGrrl permalink
    October 2, 2010 7:04 am

    Wow. Love this blog. Unbelievable how I can come here and find others on the same page, again and again.

    I had, literally, a rude awakening to this, just Thursday night. I was way deep into a loopy dream when I was startled awake by a tiny noise. I looked to my left to see a small shadowy figure planted beside me. Nearly jumped out of my soul in my half-asleep delirium but then I realized that it was my 6yo daughter, mumbling something toothlessly. I was relieved only long enough to ask her to repeat herself, “I said I had a bad dream, Mommy. You were dead.” Felt bad for her and tucked her back in her bed, said a prayer about good dreams and watched her fall back asleep peacefully. Felt bad for me, and at how much confidence I lacked internally as I reassured her that mommy wasn’t going anywhere. That all resulted in a very frazzled morning at work and then tonight, a shudder as I was startled awake by a stuffed sinus. What if I did stop breathing, and she walked in to greet Mommy in the morning, but instead her little hand rested on a cold, hard corpse? This hits waaaay to close to home because this did indeed happen to my 15 yo nephew, when he found my sister after she drank herself death. Only, he’d gone to school that morning thinking she was asleep on the couch, to come home to find her in the exact same position, except blue.

    Not helpful? Sorry. I know that got a little dark. It’s just good to know you guys understand.

  10. Lisananda permalink
    October 2, 2010 7:56 am

    Askmoxie, you might want to check out the book by Judith Wallerstein called The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. She does compare families that stayed together in spite of marital difficulties with families that split up. It provides a lot of food for thought and the outcomes aren’t necessarily what you would expect.

    • LOD permalink*
      October 4, 2010 1:08 pm

      Agreed. I read this book during the first long commutes from Moxie’s house to mine, and her findings were a great comfort.

  11. afc permalink
    October 3, 2010 9:05 pm

    2 things:
    1. i have a friend who at the time was recently divorced & re-married tell me: “at all costs, DO NOT GET divorced if you can manage to stay together”. considering she’s now on her 2nd divorce, well, i’m not sure what she was trying to tell me.
    2. my spouse travels for work, so i single parent frequently, & i too worry about dying in my sleep. easy-ish solution is to have a friend text you at set time (typically in the AM to make sure you’ve woken up!) and you respond, if you don’t respond to the text, level 2 goes into effect: the friend calls, and so on. maybe there’s a $1M app idea there? “the death watcher app” … or the “checker-in-er app” or the “wake up app?”.

  12. October 4, 2010 6:00 pm

    I don’t feel like you guys are glorifying divorce at all. Telling people that you don’t have to do it the way “everyone” seems to think you have to do it is a really positive thing. However, I am in the midst of a divorce. I can totally see how others may see the idea of divorce as easier. But please, listen to all of us, IT IS NOT. It isn’t easier by any means, and it is not pretty or fun or a relief. Mostly, it is hard. If you can avoid it, do so. If you have to do it, surround yourself with information like this so you don’t have to feel so alone.

  13. Beth permalink
    November 11, 2010 11:58 am

    My parents divorced when I was two. When I was four we moved 2,000 miles away from my dad, with his permission. A week or two after move-in, Mom was putting up a bookshelf and it fell forward — I remember watching her jump backwards practically across the room. And then she took me into her bedroom and taught me how to dial 911. And I realized she was completely alone, and it would be up to me to take care of things if she had an accident.

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