The Second Ceremony Project
The Second Ceremony Project is a project about divorce and children. To put it really simply, it is about dissolving marriage without destroying the kids or each other. The goal is to do this in several ways:
By sharing my stories and experience with you;
Hearing your stories and helping you through ritual and ceremony; and
Sharing our stories with even more people to help them through this part of their lives.
Besides being married and divorced three times, I’m also a child of divorce. One of my strongest memories of my early childhood is the screaming. I remember the sound of big heavy feet walking down the hallway and then stopping, and the silence of my dad standing in the doorway before he stormed out the front door. Another early memory is standing in the hallway of my father’s hotel room holding my mom’s hand. I remember lots of silence and a sailboat painting on the wall. I remember wanting to be really small, and understanding but also not understanding what was happening. I was five.
The short version of my childhood is that my parents fought a lot, and then my dad moved out. It happened fast but never ended, the type of ongoing fight that became the skeleton in my closet and the story of who I am. Needless to say, it wasn’t a friendly separation.
Even though I understood at a five-year-old level, it’s not like I really knew what was happening, and we definitely didn’t have any conversations about it even when I was older. I did know that I felt afraid and unsafe, suffered nightmares and kidney infections, and developed a relentless need for my parents’ love and approval. It was important that I knew it was okay. In my brain that meant that I needed to know that I was okay and that I didn’t do anything wrong.
The practice of seeing Dad for a few hours every other week, the pressure of endless child support and alimony, the emotional and financial expenses caused by fighting and lawyer bills—all of these aspects of divorce tore our family apart in ways that I am still learning about.
One thing I do know for sure is that there are other ways to dissolve a family—or rather, another way to create a new family in a family where the partners/parents/friends lovers don’t want to be together anymore. I know, because I’ve done it—more than once. At some point we made the decision to be together, and then made the decision to not be together. I saw how it happened with my parents—messy, unending, and never healing. How can you end a marriage or relationship with grace, and what does that even look like? These are the questions we answer at second ceremony.
I am well versed in the ending of a marriage and the effect on the children. Besides this site, I am writing a book on children, divorce, and the rituals that save us. And I hope to share your stories with my readers, so they don’t feel so alone in the pain of it all. We can’t do it alone. It’s not possible.
My hope is that all of this work will show readers that another way exists. There are several ways to honor endings, just as we honor the beginnings and the middles; ways that make space and allows kindness to come in. A way of letting go, forgiving, and seeing that the world outside of the pain of endings is friendly. Find out how you can help be part of the book and the site and help others through this same journey.