I have just finished reading a great little book titled, "Big City Eyes" by Delia Ephron. (Delia is such a pretty name.) I picked it up some months back from the $1.00 book table at my discount bookshop. I was attracted to it because it is a mystery built around the life of a divorced woman with a teenage son facing the guilt she has over her divorce. Topics I could well relate to. The main character, Lily (another lovely name) moves out of New York City to a small, rural town to provide a safer lifestyle for her son. She ends up falling in love and having an affair with a married man with three small children. In the end, she realizes that if she stays in the town she will continue the affair and it will end this man's marriage. She does not want his children affected by divorce as her son has been affected. It is one of the reasons she decideds to return to NYC.
I like the theme of sacrifice in this book and I can also relate to that. When my Mom was dying in July, 2007 I put off my move to join my husband out of state and this decision was the catalyst for the divorce. I also had a number of strong concerns about my boys moving out of state to a larger working-class, industrial city where there was a high crime rate and gang/drug issues. So in many ways I can relate to the sacrifices Lily made for her son and then her lover. She had the strength to make them because she knew it was the right thing to do.
Examining my divorce in this way is helpful to me and reduces some of the guilt and pain I feel. My husband believed that I chose my Mom over him and it should have been the other way around. But there was no way at the time that I could have moved under the circumstances and left my Mom alone in that hospital room. Nor could I do it today. About my boys, by the time I had come around to accepting the move and the implications it would have for them, the realtionship was already over. Should I have been worried about my boys' outcome? Absolutely! If I hadn't been concerned what kind of mother would I be?
So, I can look at some of the decisions I made that contriuted to my failed marriage as sacrifices I made for the betterment of others. And looking at it all in that way makes the end of the marriage somehow less of a mistake or a waste. I acted out of deep love, care and concern for the people closest to me that had been in my life prior to my marriage.
This book had an added bonus (what a treat!) that turned out to be very healing to me. As she drives out of the small coastal town, her lover Tom, who is a cop, stops her with his lights flashing. He wants to say goodbye. Lily had not had any contact with him after she made her decision to move. I just thought that this was such a sweet and appropriate ending. Even though their relationship was over, Tom wanted to say goodbye and give her a kiss. Of course, this is in direct contrast to my husband who refused my request for a face-to-face goodbye after our mediation and then ran out the door when it was over! In a way I got the ending I wanted with him by reading this book! It made me recognize that most normal people out there would have said goodbye.
It is just interesting to me that in my life I seem to find the books I need to read when I most need them (or they find me). And I am grateful for that.
Today, I am also grateful:
2. That I still believe in the power of love and that my divorce hasn't made me cynical and bitter.
3. That I have people to love and care for in my life.