In the past few weeks I have witnessed the two extremes of the end of marriage. The tragic promise of “’til death do us part” coming to fruition, and the heartbreaking reality of separation following the annihilation of trust. I have also listened to a first-hand account of something that falls fairly squarely in-between….that of the amicable separation (if I dare to believe that such a thing truly exists at all).
I have also been extremely conscious of my reaction to all of these scenarios, and I have to admit that I am rather disappointed in myself. For, though there was of course empathy, I cannot deny that one of the overriding emotions I experienced in each of these scenarios was: Relief. Relief that it wasn’t me. Relief that my cosy little life is still intact. Relief that I know exactly where I am, what I am doing, and what my plan is to face tomorrow.
If that wasn’t selfish enough, the another major emotion I felt was: Fear. Fear, upon the realisation that despite the fact that I am single, it is inevitable that somehow – perhaps soon – my life too, will be upended like a canister of pick-up sticks, and scattered in indiscriminate chaos.
I truly hope when that day comes, I am capable of of handling it nearly as well as these dear people, whose grace has been humbling, their strength inspiring, and honesty so refreshing.
In the meantime, how does one, standing on the outside, provide any kind of assistance or comfort? It all seems so futile, so trifling, so…unsatisfactory.