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.
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.