Time can, and will heal most wounds… but not all
The 10th in the "10 Truths About Divorce" Series
Wrapping up my previous 9 blogs in the series, “The 10 Truths about Divorce”, an important question remains: “As time passes, will everyone be ok?”
During a recent attempt at Spring cleaning, I dove into boxes of family photos. Most of them were taken when people still went to the pharmacy to get prints of pictures shot with actual cameras. Prints came in 4x6 envelopes with a sleeve for negatives, in case you wanted to reprint or get enlargements of your favorite photos. I kept every negative for posterity. My children may not know what to do with them, but the negatives will remain, just in case.
After the divorce, my ex selected a few photos to keep and left the rest to me – including our wedding album. The album is filed away, but I did find some wonderful candids captured during the reception. They featured great pictures of dear friends and family, parents and grandparents some of whom are no longer living. Seeing their joy in our celebration evoked fond nostalgia, but also melancholy. It was a sad reminder of their deaths and of the sorrow for the loss of our marriage. I carefully curated a pile to give to my ex capturing his family and friends, avoiding any that included me.
10 years ago, when I moved into my first home sans husband, I placed pictures of me and the kids or just the kids, all over the house. I didn’t hang any containing my ex-husband. This time, as I went through hundreds of prints from births, baptisms, birthdays and graduations, I found that my initial post-divorce photo edit left out some beautiful moments. In my zeal to remove my ex-husband’s image from our new place, I excluded some lovely family memories. I’m in no rush to display these family flashbacks today, but each of the kids will receive as stack of pictures showing happy childhood memories with and without their father.
I still have hundreds of pictures to review, but in the process I’m realizing that preserving good family memories is paramount. After all the difficulties surrounding our divorce, most of my kids don’t fully recall the brighter days. Occasionally I’ll recollect a fun moment and it’s clear they barely remember it. In some small way, I hope their photo piles will help.
Does time heal all wounds? I’d say no, but it heals many. Yet time flattens memories, good or bad. It’s normal to want to protect ourselves from facing particularly difficult times. However, in doing so we may be letting the better moments fade so we don’t feel the loss of our carefree days so deeply.
Will everyone be ok? I’ve had 4 out of 5 children actively pursue some level of therapy throughout the years. I sought professional guidance during the divorce to make sure I was “doing things right” only to learn that I would have to settle for doing the best I could. Gratefully, today my children are self-sufficient, independent and loving young adults. Their early struggles challenged them and me, but their willingness to be open to assistance from friends, family and professionals helped them move forward. Divorce is one of the most trying transitions a family may face. But with time, perspective and forgiveness, wounds do heal.