“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.