It had been several months since the hearing and our official divorce and I thought enough time had gone by and possibly enough distance from the pain to bring a different perspective to both of us. I wanted to get the unresolved possession situation resolved and over with, hopefully in a manner that would be equitable to both of us. I miscalculated our emotional situations with unfortunate results. What I got instead of mature cooperation was a huge push back from him. You see, it says in the decree that all items in the possession of the husband at the time of the divorce would remain his and the same for the wife. Now it was brought up in court that there were items in the house to still be negotiated but that somehow didn’t end up in the divorce papers rendering it, in his mind at least, null and void. Using those papers against me he let me know very clearly that he was now the sole owner of everything I had trustingly and, apparently naively, left in his care, even the things he had previously agreed I should have. He further let me know that he would let me know what he didn’t want and I could then decide if I wanted any of it and arrange to come and get it. Now, that was shocking enough but what was even more shocking was coming face to face with a human being I no longer knew though I had spent the vast majority of my life with him. The man I thought I knew had turned into someone, something totally alien to me.
What my ex husband left out of his assessment of value is very revealing of the man he is. In his world “things” are valuable; the people, specifically our children and me were not. When I left him I left behind a very long struggle to get him to connect to us, his own family. I desparately wanted him to see us, to appreciate us and treat us with the respect and care that we deserved from him and which he so quickly and willingly gave to those he saw as potential sources of money, recognition and appreciation all the while not understanding the treasure he had all around him.
Now having said that what is really most important in this narrative is what I discovered because of all that he is and has done. It took a little while but eventually I got it. Because of this experience I have rediscovered something precious -what is really most valuable in my life and it came through my son’s words of wisdom and counsel and in the form of a two year old child’s love and compassion for her gramma.
I babysit my granddaughter during the week and the day I was informed of my lack of belongings was one of those days. Though I felt devastated by what was happening I knew they were depending on me to be there so I drove over to their house albeit crying the entire way. I pulled up to the curb and parked in front of their house, took a moment to get myself under control as best I could and headed toward the door. I did not know that God had arranged a miracle just on the other side of it for me, one that would change everything the moment I walked in. My sweet little grandbaby, since the day she understood what the sound of the door opening was, began a routine of squealing and screaming in delight at my arrival then running from wherever she was to me. That day her enthusiasm and delight in my presence, my just being sliced through all my resolve to be brave and composed like a hot knife through butter and suddenly I couldn’t hold back the grief, breaking down and crying as I pulled her tiny little body into my arms. As I stood there holding her, clinging to her and her to me she began to pat and rub my back and with tears in her voice told me, “It’s okay gramma, it’s okay”. In all the years of our marriage, I can honestly say my ex husband was never able to be there for me emotionally like that little two year old child was. It was in that moment that I truly realized there is no material possession in the world that could ever equal the gift of that child’s love or that experience and they were mine and mine alone to receive. A gift of healing and enlightenment from God to me, a truth brought through a little child that I will cherish for the rest of my life and beyond.
That day was difficult, to say the least and, as with any traumatic experience, there are stages to go through. The first stage was the shock of finding out everything I left behind, that I once owned and cherished was no longer mine to have. The next was the grief and sorrow I felt when I came to understand his total dismissal of me as anyone with any rights, value or worth for consideration by him. Then came the anger and the pain and hurt at my lack of power in the situation. I freely admit I struggled with each of these stages, in fact I cried…a lot. Then I talked with my son, my brilliant, logical, wonderful son who reminded me of what I really did have in comparison to what his father had outside of those things he valued so highly. He reminded me that happiness doesn’t come from the things we have but the people we love and how much he and his sister, his daughter love me.
It’s unfortunate, but it is because of the lack in their father that I have such a wonderful relationship with both our children and my grandchildren. I have the awesome privilege of being one of the most important people in each of their lives. I say that humbly because I am constantly amazed and gratified by the love and respect they all have for me; for how much they want me in their lives, how much they depend on me and how much I can depend on them.
I ultimately sent him an email in which I reliniquished everything to him both to free myself from any power he felt he had over me through those possessions and, more importantly, for my own ability to move forward unburdened by the past. He now owns every material item of “value” we acquired in our 40 year long relationship and I, well I am totally free of them. I hope he enjoys them, I hope they bring him some measure of happiness but whatever they bring to him, I know he will never, ever have what I have.; he will never be as rich in love or as blessed.