Growing up with an alcoholic father and an enabling mother, I clearly did not see a very positive example of a marriage growing up. Arguing, threats and violence was the norm in our house, although I do remember my parents sharing genuine affection before my dad’s addiction took over. When she was 7 years old, my sister told my mom all she wanted for Christmas was for them to get a divorce. That makes me so sad now.
I would be lying (to you and to myself) if I said I did not have reservations about getting married while I was planning my wedding. I was not scared of getting married per se, but I had seen a lot of red flags in my husband’s behavior that I ignored (that’s another story). My exhusband just annulled our marriage (I got the final letter this past weekend). At first, I fought the annulment- we were married for 4 1/2 years and the grounds he used were outright lies. Neither of us are religious, so it seemed very hypocritical that he was pursuing an annulment, although it is clearly because he wants to remarry in the church. I was very upset at first, but I finally decided that no one (not even God) could say that our marriage is invalid. Regardless it was an unpleasant experience.
I do not think I will ever get married again because I felt so trapped in my marriage at the end. But, the ironic thing is that I truly do still believe in the beauty of marriage. My mother’s parents, my Mama and Papa, were married for 68 years (and together for a total of 72). I am not saying their marriage did not face trials and difficult times, but they were the most inspirational example of true love I have ever seen. After more than 65 years of marriage, my grandfather still kissed my grandmother goodbye when he left the house and before he went to bed every single night. They were so loving towards each other. My marriage might have failed, but I will always believe in marriage because of my Mama and Papa. They were my favorite people in the world and I learned so much about life, teaching and love from them. I could tell my Mama anything, sometimes things I wouldn’t even tell my best girlfriends. I was so anxious to tell them I was getting a divorce because I didn’t want to disappoint them. When I finally worked up the courage to call and tell them, my Mama immediately said she was glad because she knew I wasn’t happy and I heard my Papa in the background yell out “he’s a prick” (you would find this much funnier if you knew what a gentleman my grandfather was). They were just the best and at 93 and 92 respectively, Mama and Papa still lived in their home, drove around town and were pretty healthy for their ages.
In October of 2009, my Mama passed away while taking a nap in her bed. She kissed my grandfather, went to lie down and died peacefully. After she died, my grandfather literally could not survive without her. Within 40 days of her death, he passed away. He went from being a relatively healthy to being on hospice care within a month. Once his beloved wife was gone, he lost the will to live and he starved himself to death. It is so heartbreaking and I miss them every single day. But there is something so romantic and beautiful about their story. My grandfather died from a broken heart. I had heard of that before but never really believed that it was a real thing. Their love was so strong and their marriage was an inspiration to everyone who was lucky enough to know them.
I filed for divorce in November of 2009. Even though my exhusband and I were trying to reconcile when my Mama passed away, it is reassuring to know she supported my decision to leave him. Those few months were the worst of my life and losing my grandparents while going through a divorce was incredibly painful. I often wished that I could just call my grandmother one more time. Even three years later, I miss them so damn much. But I also know how lucky I am- not only to have had such amazing grandparents up until I was in my 30s- but also to be a part of their love story.