There are so many things that suck about getting divorced that it's hard to start a post with "One of the worst things about getting divorced is..." Still, some things qualify as really bad. Like when you like your ex's friends or family, and you suddenly don't see or talk to them anymore. It's not like you stop caring about them. You do, but you can't just call somebody up and be all, "hey, remember when we used to be related? Fun!"
My former brother-in-law died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 50 years old and leaves behind a wife and two young children, along with his mother and three siblings, including my ex-husband. I am finding it hard to put into words how sad this makes me feel.
I hadn't spoken to him in about four years, around the time that my marriage was disintegrating. I met F and his wife when I was 23 and they were in their late thirties. At the time, I thought I was so old and mature. Now I realize that I didn't know jack shit, but the family was never condescending and they welcomed me and hung around with my just-graduated-from-college friends and invited me to lots of things at their house. It was my first foray into the world of the suburban family with kids (other than my family of origin) and good practice -- I had fun helping with puppet and magic shows for the kids, hanging out in the backyard barbequing and playing volleyball. F was pretty hilarious and had a wicked sense of humor, and he and my ex played off each other really well. His whole family adored him -- sometimes jealous, sometimes irritated, but they knew he was a good guy. Even though things eventually went to hell, I give F and his wife lots of props for at least trying to understand, or at least ask me questions about how bad things were for me back then. There is a lot more I can say about him, but I know that this information is semi-public and it's not my story to tell -- it just seems unfair to lose someone who battled through so much shit and so many other terrible things throughout the course of his life.
I was there when their father died. I was there when F had a relapse of cancer. I was there when F and his wife adopted their second child. I think the last time I saw him was at his daughter's Communion. I'm not there now, nor would it be appropriate for me to be. But I am thinking of the family and those kids and just wishing, vibing, whatever, HOPING that they have the strength to make it through this.