My cousin is recently divorced. We have always spent Easter Sunday together, snacking on appetizers, laughing at things our crazy grandmother says, and sharing jokes and stories from work. His kids are teenagers now, and for the first time in that twenty-year marriage, his wife didn't come to Easter dinner. I guess I should start saying ex-wife. I don't really know the details of what happened between them, and I don't need to either; I'm sure whatever happened sucked – we exchanged teary hugs and an “if you need anything, call me” after it happened – but now it's over and we tell jokes again.
My cousin is a damn good father. That's what I've noticed since his divorce. I feel like telling him, but it seems strange to say, “hey, so uhhh, you're, like, really good at being divorced 'n stuff.” In my head, I do imagine it would be a tad more eloquent than that, but I feel like I'm ultimately saying he is good at divorce. Is that something people like to hear? For some perspective, I took a look at the contrary - “you're really good at being married” - but as a married person myself, I wouldn't exactly welcome that line with open arms.
Back to the point here – my cousin brought cookies that he had made the day before with his daughter. He now lives across town from where he used to live, and sees his kids literally every other night during the week. When asked about his ex-wife, he talks comfortably about her and there is no underlying resentment or bitterness. He just seemed so at peace with it all. He and his son have always been especially close, and they were cracking jokes and one-liners at each other like old buddies. I was blown away. He has put back the pieces of his life so well, possibly even stronger than where they had been before
When I'm going through a tough time, I generally appreciate a pat on the back or sometimes even a “hang in there, baby” kitty poster. I tend to figure everyone else on Earth is exactly like me and also appreciates little gestures or kind words to help keeping on. Is this different? Divorce is one of the most difficult things that a person can go through in life, so offering words of encouragement does seem implicit.
That settles it. Encouragement is on the way.