A post popped up in my Facebook feed yesterday from my break-up bible, Huffington Post Divorce. It was an extract from the dearly departed Nora Ephron’s book I Remember Nothing And Other Reflections.
I love Nora Ephron. I dream of writing the way she did. I shed so many tears and found so much comfort in her book Heartburn when my husband left.
This extract struck a similar chord.
It kicked off with:
The most important thing about me, for quite a long chunk of my life, was that I was divorced. Even after I was no longer divorced but remarried, this was true. I have now been married to my third husband for more than twenty years. But when you’ve had children with someone you’re divorced from, divorce defines everything; it’s the lurking fact, a slice of anger in the pie of your brain.
Of course, there are good divorces, where everything is civil, even friendly. Child support payments arrive. Visitations take place on schedule. Your ex-husband rings the doorbell and stays on the other side of the threshold; he never walks in without knocking and helps himself to the coffee. In my next life I must get one of those divorces.
One good thing I’d like to say about divorce is that it sometimes makes it possible for you to be a much better wife to your next husband because you have a place for your anger; it’s not directed at the person you’re currently with.
Another good thing about divorce is that it makes clear something that marriage obscures, which is that you’re on your own. There’s no power struggle over which of you is going to get up in the middle of the night; you are.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Fortunately, my separation is civil. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop me having that slice of anger in the pie of my brain.
When her second marriage ended, Nora notes: “I felt gaslighted, and idiotic, and completely mortified.”
I relate so hard to Nora when she writes: “I survived. My religion is Get Over It. I turned it into a rollicking story. I wrote a novel. I bought a house with the money from the novel.
“People always say that once it goes away, you forget the pain. It’s a cliché of childbirth: you forget the pain. I don’t happen to agree. I remember the pain. What you really forget is love.”
The extract ends with her saying:
“The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me.
“And now it’s not.
“Now the most important thing about me is that I’m old.”
That’s where we kinda deviate.
Yes, I’m a little obsessed with ravages of time. I avoid mirrors, preferring the vision of myself that’s inside my head, which remembers me as permanently 29.
And sometimes, when I believe hard enough that I still am carefree and 29, it takes a decade off me.
It happens when I get a text from DD that makes a giant smile explode across my face. I’ll glimpse people reacting to my smile, the joy is infectious and they start grinning too.
I had dinner beside an open fire with a dear friend last night and I went a bit hoopy froody on her. I told her about the dolphins swimming around DD when we were kayaking on Pittwater the other weekend. I admitted thinking as I sat in that soggy kayak that the universe was sending me a message.
It was telling me that my life is pretty special. It’s filled with amazing things – I just have to open my heart and mind to them.
And that’s what I’m trying to do.
It’s not easy when they’ve been closed for decades. But each day I try. Many days I fail.
But sometimes, when a dolphin frolics in front of you, the laughter bubbles up and you can’t imagine anything more beautiful than this second chance at happiness you’ve been privileged enough to be given.
Song of the day: New Radicals “You get what you give”