What I remember most is the screaming and the big heavy feet walking down the hallway – then stopping and standing in the doorway. And the next memory – standing in the hallway of my father’s hotel room holding my moms hand – 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.
My parents fought a lot. And then my Dad moved out. It happened fast but never ended, the type of ongoing fight that becomes the skeleton in your closet and the story of who you are. Needless to say it wasn’t a friendly separation.
It is not like I really knew what was happening – and we definitely didn’t have any conversation about it. I did know that I felt afraid and unsafe, suffered nightmares, kidney infections and the relentless need for my parents love and approval. It was important that I know it was okay and in my brain that meant I needed to know that I was okay and didn’t do anything wrong. Thus the “good girl” behavior began.
The seeing Dad for a few hours every other week the endless child support and alimony – fighting and lawyer bills really did tear the family apart in ways that I am still not aware of. The only thing I do know is that there has to be another way to dissolve a family – or what I would rather say is another way to create a new family in a family where the partners/parents/friends lovers don’t want to be together anymore. Because at some point we have made the decision to be together… and then made the decision to not be together. How to end it with grace is the question addressed (really) here at second ceremony and (really) what does that even look like?