The Ghosts Of Divorce

Does divorce leave a haunting presence? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote on divorce and the future. Today, I would like to look at how it affects the past. By this, I am speaking a lot of the ghosts of divorce. No. I don’t mean ghosts in the sense of dead souls wandering around. Let’s see what I mean.

On September 20th, I went with a friend to the movie theater to seeĀ Free Guy. On the side, that’s an awesome movie and you should go see it. The movie was playing at a theater that met at the mall. It was a movie theater that a church she and I used to attend met at regularly. A lot of time was spent by us at the mall.

I had a free birthday slice from Sbarro pizza so I got there early. With time, I walked around the mall and noticed how awkward it was. The mall seemed to be haunted with her presence wherever I meant.

There’s Build-A-Bear. I used to get her a lot of stuffed animals there. Did I get her that Harley Quinn one that she wanted so much? I bet she sure would like those that are there now from Animal Crossing. I remember she even got me some there.

There’s Hot Topic. We used to go through there on a regular basis. Both of us had different pop culture interests that we could go and share with one another. How many times did we walk through just looking at goofy items?

There’s Godiva chocolates. I remember that I told her that it was good to always just walk through because you could get free samples any time. She always loved chocolate and I wanted to get her more if I could, but the money wasn’t there.

She liked to go into Spencer’s. I didn’t care for the store. Most of the stuff seemed off-color to me and inappropriate, but I did remember going there.

There’s where the church office was. It had a rented space at the mall as well. It’s no longer there, but we spent many a day just hanging out down here.

I could go on and on, but ghosts of the past are always there. Fortunately, the movie was so good they didn’t haunt me during that, but I talked about it with my friend who has been divorced and is remarried and he told me the first time he went to Disneyworld with his new wife, his ex’s ghost was there. It does get better, I was told.

The mall isn’t the only place those ghosts show up.

Sometimes, it can be a simple phrase that someone says that can remind me of a joke that she and I shared together. There are so many that I think I can never do again because they were ones that we had. Laughs that we shared together can never be brought back. It’s sad to think that she chose to sacrifice all of those.

For a guy, physical intimacy is one of the great gifts of marriage. Now even that brings pain. Those times were good, but now they feel so distant and far away and you wonder if such times will ever come again.

As a Christian man, this is something that hits me hard. After all, I played by the rules. To this day, I do not do pornography. This is not to say the temptation has never been there and sometimes very painfully, but it has always been resisted. It’s still something that does bring to mind the idea that nice guys do finish last.

For that part, I am working on other areas. No. Definitely not getting into pornography or breaking my Christian morals, but on learning more on how to interact with women and working on being more forward. That kind of growth I take to be good anyway. This is one time where the past can be harmful, but I can also choose to say that love is something worth fighting for and go searching.

I have had people I work with who are normally much younger than I am ask me about such items as anime and I see people with t-shirts with anime characters on them. That can be painful because anime was something she loved and something we watched together. Now I choose to not let the past hold me down again and avoid anime for the time being, but that doesn’t mean pain isn’t there.

Of course, other simple things can bring her to mind. Just going to bed at night can bring her to mind as I am with my parents again and there were times we visited for holidays where we would go up here to sleep together at night. I wonder if I will ever share that again.

Back in December when I was still in Georgia, I had to go to see my parents for Christmas. She was in the facility then and I think about how hard the drive was to get to Knoxville as there was such bad weather that I was going down the interstate at 20 MPH. If she had been with me, she would have been my extra set of eyes. She always was.

These ghosts are often around me and can pop up at the strangest times and I cannot possibly name all of them. I do refuse to let them hold me back. I am trying to do what I can to go out there and meet people and do more interaction. I am working on getting more done here so I can get away from my parents and be out in the world on my own meeting people and being self-sufficient. I have decided I can either conquer or be conquered and I choose the former.

Still, for now, the past is there and it doesn’t go away. I have to make a deliberate choice to learn from it and move on. It will take time, but I want to come out of this stronger than I was.

Thank you, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Memories Of Ruth

How do you honor someone when they’re gone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I received word that my aunt Ruth had died. I think the time reported was 4:07. The news wasn’t a surprise. She had been in the stages of dementia and had been going downhill fast. My mother had told me earlier she probably only had hours left.

I posted it on Facebook and before too long many people showed up giving their condolences. My former roommate messaged me. He had actually met Ruth before and he was glad that he had. She was a special lady.

When I was growing up, I lived next door to my grandmother and her sister, my aunt Ruth. I would regularly spend time with them. It was there I learned about playing card games and word games like Scrabble. Even today, playing Words With Friends can make me think about those times.

Ruth also lived much of her life as a librarian. I could walk down to our local library and sometimes see her behind the desk. Being who I was growing up, I had a tendency to do all that I could to tease my loved ones as much as I could.

When my wife and I married, we shortly moved to Tennessee and lived in my grandmother’s old house. I remember well a time where Allie and I went over to see Ruth and Allie talked about how sarcastic everyone in our family was, except my Mom. Ruth told her that yes, that’s how we all are. We’re all sarcastic, but we don’t mean it. I immediately said, “We don’t?!” Heck. News to me.

There was a time Ruth gave me some eggs to carry over to our house. She was worried I would drop them on the way and I insisted that I wouldn’t. Well, shortly after I left, I came back over. “Um. Ruth. You know those eggs you said I would drop and I insisted that I wouldn’t?”

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to let you know that they got over just fine.”

There was also the constant fun I had with the front door and the back door of her house. From the way I entered, what she called the back door was from my perspective the front door, and naturally vice-versa. Everytime, I would intentionally get the name of the door wrong knowing that it would irritate her a little bit more.

Sometimes, Ruth would want me to go to the library and get her a book. She didn’t have a specific, but she figured the librarian would know something. I went once and told her that I had told the librarian she requested a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. I also added that her pastor was surprised when he heard me say that’s what she wanted.

As Ruth progressed downhill though, we could not joke like we used to. The last time I had seen her, she couldn’t remember at one point who I was. I know it wasn’t intentional, but it was hard to see. She was also convinced that her one cat was actually four different cats. I don’t know what will happen to Whitefoot, but I hope he will find a good home somehow.

Death is something difficult when it comes to all of us. For the time being, all of us are deprived. We lose the experience of what it is to be with that person, and the more that person has a place in our life, the bigger the pain that will be experienced.

Most people went through their day just fine yesterday for the most part. If you read my news, you could have been sad for me, but you went through the day for the most part fine. That’s okay. I honestly tend to be detached so I went on and did a Google hangout I had been scheduled to do last night to discuss issues relating to atheism and theism.

For some people, the world is never the same. All deaths in some way diminish the world. There is a certain absence. This is even more so if the death comes about through a violent means, be it the actions of another or especially suicide. All life is precious. All of us who are pro-life realize that. I do think sometimes killing can be a sad necessity, such as in self-defense, but it is sad that it ever happened to get to that point. A marriage can end in divorce because a spouse is abusive. I think it can be necessary then, but it is always a tragedy that it got to that point.

Yet at these times, the resurrection is good news. It means we will see our loved ones again someday. Not in some ethereal way, but in a real way. It is tempted to say just like we see those alive today, but that would be false. When we see our loved ones again, they will be more real than they ever were before. They will be more themselves than they ever were before. All of us in this mode of existing are in some way inhuman. When we see each other in the end, we will see everyone as they really are, as fully human. As Lewis says, there will be surprises.

One day, I will see my aunt again. I will see her as she is and she will see me as I am. I look forward to walking through the front door of her new home someday.

Or was that the back door?

In Christ,
Nick Peters