Friday, November 30, 2012

4 Things to Not Say to Me Right Now

Warning: My crappy mood continues.  Thank you for loving me as I am.

I have this one friend named Julia and when she heard I was getting divorced she told me, honestly and beautifully, that she didn't know what to say.  She asked what she should say.

And I was surprised to find that I was stumped.

I don't know what I want people to say.  I only know what I don't want.

1. "Sometimes people just grow apart."
This bugs me because my husband I didn't just grow apart.  It was way more complicated than that.  It wasn't a slow fade.  I don't want people to think that we stopped holding hands for longer and longer periods of time and then one day we realized we had wandered miles apart from each other in the woods.

That wasn't what happened.

But I don't want to talk about what did happen.

2. "My spouse and I are celebrating our 112th anniversary next month."
I'm so happy for you, really I am.

Except I'm not.

Know what I mean?

3. "Children are so resilient."
Resilience is over-rated.  I wanted my kids to grow up in an intact family, with a mother and father in the house.  In a house filled with harmony and love.  One that was a healthy environment for them.  That is what's best for children but it wasn't one of my options.  I had to choose between some pretty bad options and I chose the least bad of them.  But the thing about kids being resilient, it's like saying that after an amputation you're going to weigh a lot less.

Yes, you weigh less.  Big deal.  Everybody wants two legs.

4. "OMG, I can't believe it!  I thought you and Buddy were so happy together!  How can this be?!"
Umm, this is a moment where I need you to be there for ME.  Don't ask me to comfort you through my divorce.  Take it in stride, this stuff happens every day.  If you thought my marriage was perfect that makes two of us.  Sh*t happens.  

Now I'm back-pedaling a bit because I don't want to be mean:
If you have said any of these things to me please don't feel bad.  You were trying to make me feel better and that is what I will remember.

Here's what I guess you could say.  
Can you tell me about a time when you experienced a loss that was also a gain?  An end that was also a beginning or a beginning that was also the end?  Pain that was also joy?  Sorrow that was also beautiful?  Maybe you could tell me that story in the comments section or in an email.


Lenny said...

I am glad that I am the first one to comment this time. I was thinking about philosophy the whole day,Melanie, life can be so bad sometimes.. First, I want to say, that"Buddy" guy may be cool for you..but,at the end of the day, he is just a very normal Chinese guy..very ordinary..and he has a big beer belly?!..He ISN'T so cool..You can have someone better.I think, the years this CHINESE man( I am too) has been playing an important role in your life is out of his traditional caring..and hardwoking etc..ethics..well, EVERY Chinese man can have them or even better.

Now back to philosophy, you are German, and so is my aunt's (our beautiful neighbour in China)husband ( I just love the German-Sino combination),indeed, we all would lose something important in a tiime, but that is how we grow wisdom..divorce is hard..I am never married,but I just know it.Indeed, Melanie, pain is also joy,every human we see daily, they all have pain and joy,some experience ahead of others, some are delayed to suffer.And, look beyond our suffering Melanie, someone or someones may be suffering more than us.My friend's whole family were slayed two years ago at this time..and I am suffering now too.I wouldn't say, I need a hug from you, because I am a man..but please don't drop me an email address(I can't PM you), if you want to talk more about hardship..which we are both in now..Stay strong beautiful woman..Nothing can press you down..I know it..

Lenny said...

*Don't hesitate to drop me an email address..( the keyboard is too small for me).

Lenny said...

Yeah..Melanine..the whole World seems up side down now for me too.the HARDEST Friday for me to bear..during my years in this beautiful foreign land..

Stephanie said...

Melanie, I didn't even meet you until after I'd been married and divorced and then lost my sister to cancer. She was 34 when she died. She was my best friend and losing her made the pain of my divorce pale in comparison. Loss is part of every life but we don't get to chose how and when we meet it. New beginnings always start with endings. We grieve, we heal, and we go on stronger than we were. We're never the same, our innocence is lost, but we are wiser and better. All these years later I am blessed that those losses led almost directly to marrying Seamus and being Ardan's mom - my greatest joy in life. You are on a road that feels hard and lonely and truly sometimes is, but you are carried in the hearts and minds of more people than you can imagine, and you will really and truly be ok. Much love, Stephanie

Melanie Gao said...

Stephanie thanks for that, I really appreciate it.

Jocelyn said...

Dear Melanie, I can completely understand your frustration right now with people. It sort of reminds me of the immense sorrow I experienced when I lost my mother -- and how people also didn't always know how to respond in the proper way (and like yourself, sometimes the response hit me in a way that made me upset). I wouldn't wish that loss on anyone, ever -- yet I know that my life today is not what it is without that loss, when I was only 17. After she passed away, I became much more independent than I ever was -- and surprised myself by taking a leap into a country I never would have thought I would have gone to (China).

Another more recent example of great pain and loss in my life was the discrimination my husband experienced starting about a year ago. I can't tell you how much it incapacitated me at times, at how hopeless I felt sometimes (there were times when I felt as if our future was slipping away). But then something happened -- we were able to move away from Idaho, my husband landed into an amazing internship at one of the top 10 hospitals in the world, and his future looks brighter than ever. When I look back at it all, I still can't believe where we ended up after all of the trouble. And while I can't be sure of what will happen next year, at least I know that there is always hope, a fragile hope that somehow guided us through hell and back, a hope that I almost didn't even believe in. So there you go.

Melanie Gao said...

Jocelyn that's beautiful. Fragile hope. I will carry that phrase with me for a while, in a pocket of my mind, and turn it over like a smooth stone. Thank you.

Carter said...

Hi Melanie,

Just want to give you a big virtual hug, you are one of the best boss I ever had, I trust whatever decision you made is the best choice you had. As you said, sh*t happens, but eventually we need to move on, it's a slow progress, but time will heal you. I've had some pretty bad experience myself which I cannot even tell you, but now I turned out ok. So will you.

Melanie Gao said...

Thank you for that, Carter. You turned out more than OK. :)

Pepper Tan said...

I don't want to hear those words either! Especially numbers 1 and 2. It feels so good to be here. I love that I can identify with you :)

Melanie Gao said...

Pepper I'm so glad you're here! I love your blog and am honored to have you as a reader.

Barb Kish said...

Hi Melanie, I am just catching up on your blog and came across this post. I hope that these few months have eased some pain, but all I can say is that divorce, for what ever the reason, is incredibly painful.

Everyone's journey is different, and no two are alike.

For me, now that I've been divorced quite some time (~5 years) is that most of the time I never give it a thought, maybe easier for me because we didn't have kids, but some days either anger, hurt or despair raises it's ugly head. The good news is it passes quickly...and I remind myself that this is a much much better path for me...

So, keep posting if you have bad days, and yes, many people have NO IDEA what to say, so they say the wrong thing...other people pretend nothings changed because they are afraid to say something.

As I'm babbling on with this, I think back to right after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A very well meaning friend shared with me the horrifying story of how his cousin had the same diagnosis as me, went through treatment only to die a long, slow and painful death. Seriously? Ties to your #4...

Ok, better stop writing now...

The light you see some days will truly mean you are coming out of the tunnel, and it won't be a train :)

Melanie Gao said...

Barb it's so nice to see you here! Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the kind words. You and your blog have always been an inspiration to me. Thank you for being such a faithful friend to me. Maybe one of these days we'll even meet - you, me and Christin! :)