My Family's Divorce This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 5, 2012
When people talk of the past, a time before I was born, they talk of a period when the family was the strongest of the foundations of life. When I ponder the present and the future yet to come, I see something threatening hovering over our heads and dominating the horizon. It seems that people are abandoning the strength of the family in the midst of the technology of today.

I have heard, or maybe even dreamed, of a time from the past, a time when men and women kept their promises to each other and to their loved ones. This seems almost absurd in a decade filled with divorces between spouses, of children from their parents, and even of parents from children.

To the families of today who have not been touched by this tragedy, this problem seems distant from their paradise, as it once did to me.

When I peer into my past through the one-way mirror of life, I wish I could tell the little boy before me to enjoy his life while he can, but my voice is unheard and my advice unheeded.

My life was drawn into this world of despair approximately four days after Christmas. I awoke that morning to the sound of my mother's weeping. When I inquired what was troubling her, her only explanation was my father had left during the night, leaving our family to fend for ourselves. The truth struck my heart like a dull knife twisted into my flesh. After the initial shock, all I felt was pure anger, directed at any inanimate object that I could get my hands on.

The memory of that day now seems a blur, or just simply not to have even happened. Maybe my mind has set up its own fortification against the onslaught of anger and sadness that enters my being when I recall the past. Maybe these past few months have just been one horrible, recurring nightmare. One can only wish ...

My feelings were not as complicated as some might think. I felt only one emotion - anger - toward my father, God, my family, and myself. I realize now that I have forgiven all these people, including my father.

The one complicating factor in forgiving my father was the way he left us. As a reminder of the 35 years he had spent with his family, he left a pair of typed notes, saying that he had left us basically for no reason at all. He had seemed to have become irrational over the space of just a few hours to have totally lost his mind and the memories of our happy times together. It is equally enraging when I think of his timing. He had chosen a time when my family was spread across the country. My older brother was spending a week with his own family, camping in Alabama. My oldest sister was living in California with her family. The last two people in this equation were my older sister and my twin sister who were spending the week together in Boston.

We decided not to tell my older sister until my little sister was back home from Boston. The hardest time was waiting for my twin to arrive, and the time shortly following. When she discovered what had happened, she was crushed. It was heart-wrenching to watch my mother and younger sister cry together each day.

As a son and brother, I find myself very overprotective of my family. When I see them upset, I will strike out at what troubles them; I would rather perish than see my family experience the grief we went through those months. But, this was an enemy that I could not reach, so I was forced into the role of spectator. This painful time pushed my anger past the critical point, and my family had a number of fights itself out of pure anger and sorrow.

This also seemed to change my life in countless ways, including emotionally. The main effects of this event surfaced in my school work. I suddenly lost all interest, and groped outward for any friends I could find. As I did, I realized that many people had a similar or worse life than mine. I suddenly lost my talent for writing that I had possessed since I had been a small child, along with the dream of becoming a writer. I also lost one very important thing, my self-control. For so many years, I had worked on containing my temper. Now it seemed that I lost my temper whenever I felt cheated or mocked.

I did not write this for sympathy, nor do I expect any from my friends. I have written this in memory of the life I have left behind and to teach a lesson to those whose life is unaffected by the tragedy of divorce.

Movies make such events happen gradually, seeming to drag on for months. This is a misconception that the public should really know about; my life was torn apart within the space of one single night. Only now have I just started to put it back together once more.

I say this to those people: Enjoy the happiness within your life while it lasts. Never take anything for granted. Also, love your parents deeply, and with all your heart, for you never know when you could lose one or both of them.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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