Marriage, what's the secret?

Oh, my heart's so heavy. My neighbor met me outside her home this morning, completely distraught, as I walked by her house with Kia on our way to school. Her marriage of many years had all but ended overnight, upon her husband admitting to loving another, leaving her and her kids red eyed and scared. I stood there in the middle of the road, with a squirming dog under my arm, my shocked kid (who heard it all) and a crying woman, desperate for support and reassurance, which I tried to provide, trying to take it all in.

This morning kind of took me by surprise.

The thought hit me, later as I took the dog for a brief walk (like 15 minutes brief) that I had never really seen the immediate aftereffects of a family break up. I've always been partisan to the phone call breaking the news, or hearing it through someone else. Well, today I can quite honestly say that I feel like a fool. I will never again be able to think of any of those moments without the image of my heartbroken neighbor flashing in my mind. Because real life, right-there in-front-of-you-sorrow kicks phone call sorrows butt. Going your separate ways is one thing, but being left with the knowledge that you've been lied to, cheated on, and unloved, well I image that is quite another kettle of fish.

The day previously, I had one of the kids at the house. It was offhandedly mentioned that Mom and Dad were having a fight and it was better if the kids were out of the house, but, added (and now this makes me literally cry) they're not getting a divorce. Sigh. Kids are so incredibly tender and vulnerable, even under the facade of coolness or detachment, not one of them wants their parents to get divorced. Maybe eventually they will see why it had to happen, but for the most part kids remain the true champions of love.

As a woman, it's hard to hear news like this and not internalize it. You don't immediately, because truly your heart goes out to the other person. You think of what you can offer, what you can do, how you can help. But later, you reflect and you personalize. What if that was me? What if I was her today, and everything I thought I knew, fell out from under me? It's sobering thinking, and sometimes a bit of a wake up call to us folks that have been married for a dozen years.

I want to help...what can I do? Meals, watch the kids...I'm hoping my blog friends and readers can offer some suggestions on what they would need, have needed, or have seen others do.

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