Some things should be sacred. I would like to believe that at some point a marriage has lasted long enough that one partner should be free from the fear that the other would suddenly end it.

After my mother died, a family member became like a mother to me. We always had a special relationship, but it became even more so after my mother was gone. And now, my heart is breaking with hers at the news that her husband of 35 years has suddenly decided that he does not want to be married any longer. Her heartbreak is compounded by the fact that he has chosen to pursue a relationship with someone who came between them 22 years earlier. Wounds that she thought were healed have been ripped open anew.

I am also grieving with her children. Although I have never suffered through a divorce, I know full well the sadness that comes from having your family ripped apart. I understand the death of the dream of happy future gatherings with both your parents and your children. I comprehend the pain of knowing that your life will never be as it was only a few moments before.

Once again, I am asking myself, even though I know, what can I say? Words seem so insincere, even though they are far from it. There is nothing that I can say to rectify this wrong. There is little that I can do beyond just being. I can let my family know that I am grieving with them. I can listen when they want to talk. I can be with them when they are ready for company. And someday, when they are ready to hear it, I can tell them that it is possible to accept a new reality – even one that you don’t want – and move forward.

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