When An “Ex” Dies

Years ago a man and I were married.  Years later we had a child.  Years later we divorced.

There were some unpleasant times during that process.  I suspect that may be typical of divorce as everyone adjusts to upturned lives.  But through that time, and over the years since, there have always been three people connected.   Despite a divorce.  As parents, we were connected via that child, forever.

Over the years we both moved on.  Different directions.  We were civil, even friendly.  I never wanted my child to think she couldn’t talk to me about her father, and I suspect (hope) he felt the same way.  We could be in the same place at the same time to celebrate life events, and to console during life’s losses.  He cried tears for my father upon his death.  I cried tears for his parents upon their deaths.  We both felt those losses.

We both love this child.

And as life goes on for us….it also ends for us.

He passed away.

My child had to say goodbye to her father.  And I had the ability to be with her throughout the entire process.  His wife welcomed me to be by my child’s side.  By her husband’s side.  We all said goodbye together.

I will be by her side for prayers.  For more goodbyes.  For comfort.  For laughter and stories.

For support.

During this time I thanked his wife on numerous occasions.   It did not escape me that not every divorce ends like this.  With civility and kindness extended.

I thought of how many people I know, especially with children, who’s relationship free-falls into an acrimonious, bitter and difficult existence.  For one another, and for the child(ren).  As a result there are no shared celebrations, or support through the trials and pains.  The child celebrates two of everything and support is divided between two separate existences.

I could not imagine my child going through this and me not being there.

I’m not great at giving advice.   But I have a little bit of it today.  If you have children with a person you are no longer with, please remember there will be huge events in this child’s life.  Events that should be full of celebration and joy.  Where the more people celebrating together intensifies and multiplies not only the impact of it but the memories of it.  And there will be events where the sorrow is made more bearable by the number of people who can come together to help with that burden of anguish.

I am grateful her father and I did not dwell in hate.  I am grateful that we both wanted her to be happy and loved.  And I am grateful that I could say goodbye to him and remember him fondly with good stories and laughter.

That is not just a gift to me, it is a gift to our child.

RIP Father of My Child.












56 thoughts on “When An “Ex” Dies

  1. You are very fortunate that you had a good relationship with your child’s father. That makes it so much better for the child. Sadly, I did not have this experience for my children. I just thank God that they are grown up now and don’t have to be in the middle from a bitter father. I’m sorry that your ex has died and that your child has had to go through the death of her father. May he RIP.


  2. You have the most beautiful soul Colleen. My heart hurts for your daughter right now but I’m so thankful she has your support to guide her through.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My heart warmed as I read your blog. I was touched. I felt hapiness for the three of you. But I know there’s another dark side out there where the people involved feel deep pain. My heart hurts for them.


  4. a wonderful very sensitive post!
    Divorces are always bad. For the children, but also for the spouses, who have to cope that their dream of community has failed.
    It takes a lot of strength to cope with this disappointment, but I also take it for granted to continue to be polite and appreciate the other’s worth. Unfortunately, many people here forget the decency and it’s all about money, envy and blame.


    • I know there are many, many stories and different situations. I hope I didn’t come across as preachy here (especially after I posted about preaching!). This is just my current experience. I am very grateful he and I could exist on the same planet and not hate one another. It really mattered to our child.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear of his passing. Good to hear that your child had still both and could celebrate and love both without boundaries and problems. Your child is one of few I am sure who could grow up without hate and is /was loved by both very much!


  6. You have perfectly described one of the myriad of reasons that the illness and death of your ex, my ex brother in law, father of my beloved niece, has been personally devastating. I know what my children have already endured as a result of my failed relationship with their father, and I know that at some point they, along with my grandchildren, will be faced with the death of a parent. While I know that he and I should be able to celebrate alongside our children life’s ups, and support our children, at least with civility towards one another, life’s tragedies, I know that it has not been our reality and likely never will be.

    I know that he loved and cherished your daughter. She was the answer to his prayers.

    I thank God that I saw him last summer. That we sat and talked. That we hugged. I will cherish that memory. And I thank God that I was able to be by his side, supporting your daughter, and you, and sharing my love with all of you as he left our world and all of his pain and suffering behind, to be forever reunited with his parents and sister.

    It’s complicated when an ex dies.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry for your loss and celebrate the generosity of spirit that allowed you to be a continued support for your daughter and her relationship with her father. Lovely life lesson. Thank you.


  8. Very tenderly expressed, Colleen, and a tremendous example. I’m sorry that your child has experienced this loss, but it’s clear there is a lot of support. Thank you for sharing so personally.


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