Reducing Lives to Dollars

It’s been a long four months of mostly solitude. The terms of the divorce have been pretty well worked out now, all that’s left is a judge signing off on the terms we’ve agreed to.  The lawyers got their cut, the state will get its cut, and my wife got hers.  The kids have chosen to keep their distance from me, the process of separation hasn’t been easy, and I suppose it’s just easier for them to treat me like a ghost until things settle down.  Maybe I raised them with too much coddling, because right now I can’t help but wish there was a little more fight in them, more willingness to fight through the awkwardness and give their dad a call, or at least return his.  It’s hard not to be bitter after so many years devoted, in various ways, to growing and securing your family.  I guess you just imagine your end will come with them all around you, you still willingly providing for them.  Instead the end comes early, and they all get the payday early.  But it could have been worse.  My wife, soon my ex-wife, may have selfishly chosen not to stand by me through all this,  but one of the things that first attracted me to her was her fairness, and to her credit she remained fair through the mediation.  She didn’t ask for more than she felt she deserved, and I mostly agreed in principle at least.  There were three or four items I objected to, including her lawyer requesting equity from a mountain cabin an uncle had left me almost twenty years ago.  The cabin had been almost worthless when it was given to me, and wasn’t worth more than $20k now, but I’d fixed that cabin up with my own two hands, working on it every few weekends over a period of years, using only donated scrap materials from a neighbor’s construction business.   That cabin was entirely mine, it was my place away from the world.  It was a little hollow I carved out of this complicated world where I could be and owe no one anything, not time, not attention, not money.  Once it was fixed up I probably only made it out there one or two weekends a year, but just knowing it was out there, available, made every day better.  When I objected to her getting any money out of it she instantly relented and looked apologetic.  I knew the lawyer had put her up to it; they don’t care about morality, they just care about legality, and there’s a world of difference.  She got mostly half of everything else, and she probably deserved it, I think I’m just so deeply offended that I can’t be the one to hand it out, that neither the state nor she trusts me to do the right thing.  I’m probably making all this sound like it’s about money, but that’s what so hurts, that money should be the least of what this dissolution is about.  I hurt every day and will to some degree forever, whether I lose all my money or keep all my money, that pain isn’t just going away.  I’m too old to start again, to recreate the happy home I once had.  I will probably date again, may find love again, but there will be no more of the family I had.  And yet this whole process has been essentially about coming up with a dollar amount that represents our life together, and ensuring she gets paid that amount.  I wish the state cared as much about my emotional well-being as it did about her financial well-being.  What a rotten system we have created for ourselves over these many years of civilization, where the best of our government cares first and foremost about the money of its citizenry, and not their happiness.

John

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2 Responses to Reducing Lives to Dollars

  1. Shirley Palugyay says:

    Hi John,

    I am so sorry to hear what you’re going through, hang in my friend as time goes by things will get better. I know what you’re saying about the state, my ex and I did our own divorce and it was fair and equitable, my lawyer got $400.00 for the paperwork and child support at the time was done privately, after all these years we are still friends and I will spend Thanksgiving with my ex and his wife, the good news is my daughter, son in law and my two grandchildren will be there, maybe the reason I am going is selfish but that is the way it is.

    I pray one day that you will have the relationship with your children that you deserve.

    Your friend,
    Shirley

  2. Cezar says:

    Hey,

    I’m with Shirley on this. I know it’s rough loosing someone, even more so when you loose your family or what you have perceived to be your life. I’m at a loss of words here, nothing I say is going to make you feel better, not now. But know this, in time everything will fade, wounds will heal and everything will be forgiven. Have faith ( not THAT kind of faith 🙂 ), pick yourself up and keep moving, no matter where you go.

    All the best,
    Cezar.

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