SELECTIVE MEMORY AND DIVORCE

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Selective memory is a helluva thing…

This evening I watched the Norwegian flick “The Wave” which was wonderful, but terrifying. It was as thrilling as Twister and scary as a good, suspenseful, horror flick.

There’s NO WAY I can go to sleep with the images in that film being the last ones I see before bed. So I look for something visually appealing and mellow to watch. These are my “go to” head clearing flicks.  (Usually with stunning scenery and/or great acting, like “Enchanted April” or “A Month By The Lake” or “Howards End”. )

But tonight I opted for something I haven’t seen in years…”On Golden Pond” with Kate Hepburn and Henry Fonda. (I call her “Kate” because considering how many years of my youth I spent idolizing her,  I feel like we’re old friends.)

Having seen this movie about 30 times,  it strikes me (in seeing parts of  it again) that my marriage was not that bad after all. When you’re getting divorced and after it’s finally over, all you can see is the crappy stuff, until eventually  numbness sets in. I think it’s easier to view it all as a disaster or to forget all the good times because the alternative to that is having to face the fact that the two of you screwed it up. Period.

What would be the point of reflection? It’s over. Besides, isn’t it so much easier to just tell yourself it was all wrong from the start?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing that we’re divorced and my ex is happily remarried. It just works. And…we have an amazing, kind, talented, very clever son who is loved, respected and admired by many. He’s a blessing!

But in watching this movie, I’m reminded of the countless times we watched it together, sometimes even with Mike , prior to going to the family cabins in Minnesota. (I can still do a fairly decent impression of Kate shrieking “Norman!! The loons!” Which I was often known to do upon request once we arrived in Lake Washburn.)

There was  a time when we used to see ourselves being old people going up to the cabins and watching the loons. But things change…usually for the better.

When on vacation out east, we even went to New Hampshire with our son, Mike, to see the actual lake and cabin where “On Golden Pond” was shot. But, as it turned out, we argued that day so when we saw it from across the lake, the romance of it all seemed to vanish in the mist and it didn’t really matter to me anymore whether we drove up to the house or not. The writing was on the wall. It was almost closing time, so we aborted our mission. I didn’t care. (Oddly enough, his family cabins were the catalyst in my decision to get divorced. But that’s ancient history now. We were separated 11 years ago and divorced  9 years.)

I see my ex maybe one or twice a year and it’s always pleasant. It’s also a little weird though.

We’re always nice, cordial and respectful of each other’s boundaries. You’d never guess that we once knew one another on such a profoundly intimate level.  Occasionally , there’s a knowing smile or a familiar glance. You can’t spend 24 years with someone without developing a kind of secret shorthand or code in either looks or words, that only the two of you understand. But like an archeologist finding ancient cave writings or a piece of hieroglyphics, it no doubt held great significance at the time it was created, but it has little to no meaning today, except as a piece of ancient history.

My point being, if you wait long enough, selective memory can swing in your favor or in a direction that is far more appealing than some of the ones you’re currently stuck with.

No matter what the crisis or cause for a bust up, there will hopefully come a time when you’ll look back with fondness and maybe even gratitude for having shared some great times with that person. I hope this happens to you. Because if and when you’re in a place to let it happen, it’s really quite lovely.

One last point, if this post sounds regretful at all, it isn’t. On the contrary. I was sad alot of the time back then. It occurs to me that sadness hardly ever invades my life anymore. For that, I am exceedingly grateful!!

Cheers!

Julie

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