Reboot: Divorce After Fifty

So it goes.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. used that phrase to mark every death, to signify the inevitability and perhaps our pointless flailing at death, in his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death. I have avoided the phrase in speech and writing since I first read the novel many years ago. As if, in uttering it, I might condemn someone or something to their or its demise.

July 21, 2020 officially marks the death of my second marriage after slightly more than twenty-nine years.

So it goes.

Anyone who thinks that because I am “the Leaver” that I have not grieved this death as deeply as any other death I have experienced, has never been through a divorce. Anyone who doesn’t understand what it takes to leave twenty-nine years of entanglement and love, rage and joy, argument and, eventually, resignation, doesn’t understand and will never understand how difficult the decision was, how painful leaving has been and, ultimately, how strong I was and am to have left.

And that’s okay. Because I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself. I am, as it happens, the only one I’ve ever had to answer to. I’ve spent a lot of years being convinced I had to behave a certain way to please others: spouse, parents, child, siblings, and friends.

I was wrong all those years. I only ever had to live up to my own expectations.

I’m finally doing that now in the smallest and grandest ways.

So, with the death of my marriage also comes the death of my fear and dysfunction. Comes the death of my accepting the will of another. The death of my need for the approval of others.

So it goes.


4 thoughts on “Reboot: Divorce After Fifty

  1. Liza

    I’m so sorry Karen. That’s how I felt when I left. 26 years together. Good luck and Godspeed on your journey. May you find great peace and enlightenment. If you need help or a friend pls reach out to me.
    Liza Wimmer

    1. K. C. Dockal Post author

      Thank you, Liza. Careful what you ask for. 😬 It’s storming (TS Hanna) here tonight and the gutter just got ripped off my little cottage. Feeling like, ugh. It’s a little thing but one of those things you chatter with a spouse about. Even one with which you are unhappy.

      I’m sorry you have been on a similar journey but hopefully you have since come out the other side with much healing.

  2. relaxdamit

    My wife is leaving me after 29 years of living together and marriage. Even after she said we were getting divorced I told her I love her now more than the day we were married. This will never change, but our relationship needs to evolve. We all deserve to be happy and I respect how difficult it was for to make that choice. Now I need to provide her with either the space or comfort she needs to heal. Hopefully it will be a little of both.


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