Once upon a time, I had a husband whom I adored and who adored me too … I was still in high school when we met and he was in his first year at college. After seven years of the big fat drama that more often than not accompanies anyone who dares to have a love affair in India’s sunny clime, we had a small, thin wedding ceremony at a Registrar’s Office, followed by one cold beer and one hot Chinese lunch shared with our two guests. Bride and groom then blithely departed for his hometown on a bicycle built for two [read ‘Jawa’ motorbike].
Over the next five years or so, life happened. He grew up very quickly to provide for his family. I grew up equally quickly when in-laws [father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, several aunts-in-law, one uncle-in-law, one niece-in-law and sundry pets] had to be negotiated with for every slice of life. Magically, a very bonny babe appeared on the scene and fitted rather neatly into the domestic circus.
I wish I could say that we all hung in there and lived happily ever after. But that was not to be. Lots more life happened … we separated and eventually divorced with the usual drama of tears and fears that sent us along different paths. The Babe came with me, of course, thanks to a very civilised legal provision, which believes that the female parent is more capable of handling life’s U-turns than the male with reference to bringing up children in a single parent situation.
Related reading: I’m divorced, so what?
Well, we all moved on successfully … he remarried and had two more beautiful children but I’d decided that on my means at that time, my one child was just fine.
Years became decades … the pain of loss subsided and sorrow eventually vanished to a hidden spot somewhere between my toes. That turned out to be a good hiding place to tuck sorrow out of sight.
Since we lived in different cities, our paths rarely crossed. The Babe grew up into a very beautiful and accomplished person who today holds her own as a thorough professional in an international setting.
As for me, I looked the wolves right in the eye and walked as tall as my 5.4” allowed me to! Over the years I accepted several professional challenges that came my way and helped me transit from dependence to independence. These opportunities helped me journey all the way from teaching in high school to K12 school leadership and finally to corporate responsibility in a group of schools as a quality assurance nerd! Aeons ago, I’d also crossed the high seas to work abroad, which provided me with a very satisfactory retirement package. Earning one’s own financial freedom is very, very sweet reward indeed.
All of these decades had passed with not much thought about my ex-husband … with the exception of the odd snippet that reached my big ears now and then, I remained in a totally different orbit around the sun.
Until the wee hours of a never-to-be-forgotten morning, when I got a call from The Babe to tell me that he’d passed on.
A completely sudden, completely uncontrollable and completely inexplicable reaction overtook me. A strange wail escaped my lips and served to release the long hidden sorrow from that spot between my toes and nearly unhinged my soul.
And I rapidly sank into a very deep and very dark abyss from inside which I had to cope all alone with my loss for the second time around!
I now understand that what I suffered is called ‘disenfranchised love’. In layman’s terms, this means that my love and loss have no visible place, since it’s socially incorrect for an ex-spouse to grieve along with the others who mourned his death. The comfort of closure will never be mine.
Most of life has now happened to me … but without a big, fat funeral to end it all.
(As told to Team Bonobology)