There’s no way around it – regardless of whether you’re in Hollywood, Hoboken or somewhere in between, divorce is really, really tough. After nearly a century of marital splits in this country, I’d like to think that maybe we’ve learned a thing or two about love, compassion, and how to minimize the inevitable fallout from a breakup.
I have three sisters. Years ago, the second oldest announced she was getting a divorce. And to think that it took me four decades on earth to acquire any wisdom about these things. It’s strange how much clarity comes with age, because only in the past year have I garnered the insight to see what our entire family should have done the second she announced the split.
If only I knew then what I know now…
See, at the time, my parents naively recommended that we deal with it quietly – and I recall them saying that it would be tough enough on the children without inviting a lot of public scrutiny. My mother suggested we all keep our opinions to ourselves, and not to volunteer anything or get preachy unless advice was solicited. My father had added: there’s enough trouble without any of you kids stirring the pot; try to respect the situation and tread delicately.
How silly they were.
Looking back, it’s beyond clear that we should have immediately issued a press release. If we’d been smart, my sister would have released one first, and then my brother-in-law would have been left to fend for himself. I’m kicking myself for not pointing out to my sister that the whole ordeal would have been exponentially easier for everyone involved had we alerted all the members of our hometown. ASAP. In fact, best-case scenario would have been to contact everyone living within our tri-state PA, NJ, NY area – because the more people in the loop about the divorce, the closer and more united we’d feel as a family. Hindsight is 20/20, but what we should have done was taken to our local airwaves with updates. This would have been the perfect salve. Now we have the media to help with personal turmoil – back then we had only people – cold comfort indeed!
Furthermore, since it all happened in 1994, another crucial element missing at the time was Twitter. Of course when it did arrive it was far too late for my family – but at least I can take comfort knowing it’s there for others. Because that service – that electronic miracle, my friends, would have really shone a light at the end of the divorce tunnel for us. See, if only my sister had been able to post daily progress reports about what she was and wasn’t planning to do legally; if only she’d had the ability to let former classmates, work acquaintances, and childhood admirers know how she was really feeling – the whole thing might have been cake. And to think that my brother (who produces TV commercials and has made several short films) never once thought to put my sister on camera while it was happening. It just kills me that we were so naïve. Instead of capturing my sister’s transformation from blushing bride to exhausted, world weary divorcee on high-def video, we have only the dumb still photographs from her wedding. Who wants those??
My sister made it through her divorce, and she has some amazing kids who weathered it all just fine. But I know how much easier it would have been if we’d been able to communicate our feelings with the people around us – friends, associates and total strangers– via the internet.
Fortunately for the rest of us, young people today are far more attuned to the most sensitive ways to handle this kind of familial stress. The good news is that many of them have an almost inherent appreciation for those around them. Khloe Kardashian Odom is just such a person. Even at the ripe old age of 27, she understands the true power of communication. She’s tuned in to the people around her, and recognizes the value of friends and family when the going gets tough. Here’s what she wrote yesterday, about her sister’s pending divorce:
“Im grateful 4our fans who understand & r being respectful. Hate is disgusting. Love is everything”
Isn’t it though?
1) Nancy Grace
2) David Arquette
3) JR Martinez
4) Hope Solo