I am a child of divorce.
Like many of us in this day and age, I have experienced what it is like to be in the epicenter of a deteriorating family life. Navigating such a heartbreaking season in my life was incredibly difficult for so many reasons but for me a newly graduated young woman of 17 having the illusion of my teenage years ripped away from me sent me spiraling into another dimension.
Divorce isn't talked about in terms of loss and grief. Not nearly enough in my opinion. Even if the divorce was warranted because of abuse or neglect it is still a major loss and a significant grieving period usually follows.
I remember telling my mom once " It feels like the people that we were, the family that we were has died" I realized very quickly that my life would never be the same. The two-story home that we shared as a family of three would soon become a distant memory, the marker of a time when my childhood was still intact.
When your parents get divorced and you are seventeen years old there isn't a lot of support or understanding. Many of my friends and the people that I was surrounded by at that time would say things like " Oh well, you are a young woman now..this shouldn't affect you too badly" or " At least your parents waited until you had finished high school". The funny thing is I agreed with them. I was always looking on the bright side of things and negating the difficult emotions that come with this sort of life change. I felt like no one understood me, and no one cared to console me because I was grown enough.
This period of my life spurred on my second bout of depression.
Even though my parents were incredibly civil with each other, the tension in our household was undeniably present. I won't go into too much detail but I experienced something no child should ever have to experience. Without my knowledge and my consent, I was wrapped up in the middle of a very adult situation that required me to keep secrets from one of my parents.
In my defense I thought I was doing the right thing, keeping my one parent from feeling more pain and keeping my other parent happy by being a good compliant girl.
This spiraled me into the deepest depression I had felt yet. I think back to how my younger self was feeling and I send her so much love and compassion. She really did everything she could to keep things sailing smoothly, but the escapism that was creeping in was only the beginning of a five-year cycle.
I most definitely found comfort in things that were less than healthy for me. This behavior seemed to permeate every inch of my life.
Eventually, my parents sold our home.
My mom and dad went their separate ways and began rebuilding their lives. At this time I felt like I didn't really belong anywhere. I ended up moving out into a place with my boyfriend at the time. I would randomly go to dinner with my dad or spend the night at my mom's place.
There was one night in particular that I remember very clearly. I was invited to spend the night at my mom's apartment. I was happy and excited to see her but I couldn't help feeling a sense of disconnection, an awkwardness as she showed me her home. How strange it was to be in a home that we didn't share.
We had cleaned up the dinner dishes and got into bed early to watch some tv before drifting off to dreamland. I think we both really needed to lighten the mood a bit so we decided to watch a few episodes of America's Funniest Home Videos. I absolutely adored this show! I still do, even though it is so cheesy sometimes.
I don't remember what hilarious home video they were showing on the screen but it caught both of us off guard as we slipped into a fit of laughter. Now this kind of laughter was the kind that took your breath away. This is the kind that you felt all the way in your belly, the kind that had your whole body shaking and even some wheezing like an old man.
This was the kind of laughter that you kept playing the funny scene over and over again in your mind which made you laugh even harder.
This was the laughter that we so desperately needed in this time of sorrow and so much transition. In all the pain and anger that we were dealing with this laughter was the best medicine of all.