In Their Shoes

“If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion and peace.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

Compassion is my new best friend. Before the divorce, before separation, before affairs, I saw myself a compassionate individual. Not one a quick-judge of character, giving of myself always came naturally for me. Not one to completely lambast myself at all costs these days (learning scale differs each day, sometimes by the hour) discovery is such I’m not as tolerant, compassionate as once thought. Until this year, this particular personal experience, compassion is the one characteristic I would ever expect to question.

Mindfulness equals power. I have found this as I explore the feelings of my children, what they are feeling, thinking, wondering…Lives shattered for what they knew as safety, security, unequivocally, without warning blew up before them, though for their parents, discourse had been underway for sometime. What did they feel like for them? What were they to do now? How to again trust, now questioning the adult world? We talked with them, they knew of our unhappiness. No matter, as they did not expect such an epic disintegration in their own family.

Who are we to judge? Compassion removes judgement, replaces with mindful acceptance. Tolerance equally important, I find I am less tolerant of those who are quick to judge. Young adults should not be expected to accept divorce based solely because of age. After reading stories of adult children coping with the loss of their long-term parents’ marriages, to say depresses me would be like saying my own divorce is kinda emotional. Many of these adult children do not fully recover from such an experience. I hope my girls will see differently, a mother and father, unable to live together; their own individual journey, an undertaking of new uncertainties.

Compassion must be felt. It can not just be, it must be embraced, accepted, practiced. Compassion is only as useful as one makes it. It can come in waves or a slight sprinkle as there are no measuring its nuances. I am learning, feeling my daughter’s pain more and more. Like grieving itself, divorce takes time; the separation, division of property, people, places rocks everyone involved. My darling girls…with hateful and hurt words, little responsiveness, estrangement once never thought possible, how naive to think their world would remain as it was. Not fully understanding the implications that would be, I look with clarity, realizing my displacement, triggered by a woman of desperation, longing to be loved and accepted. And thus, I turn away from the two most significant people in my life and hurt them as nothing has before. They are moving on, doing what necessary to forge through, carry their heads high, unaware the amount of pain and heartfelt sorrow their mother endures, longing to strip away theirs as well.

In one of her first texts sent to me shortly after announcing our divorce, my daughter said I had no idea the significance of what this had done to her. Her words, those words, forever in my thoughts, a renewed sense of what she means today. In her shoes I stay, many miles to come, compassion my new best friend.  

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About Carin

Writing is for me, though sharing with others, is a gift.

4 responses to “In Their Shoes

  1. I am going through divorce. I have four adult children. I know exactly how you feel. It hurts.
    Hopefully, in time, we I’ll all survive and come out stronger people at the other end. ………. and more compassionate.

    • Elizabeth, my heart understands… If so inclined, how is the relationship with your children right now? Thanks so much for sharing..

      • Eldest 2 sons are fine. Younger son and daughter have been harder hit as they are still finding their own way in the world. They are OK with me – much to work through with their father. Have noticed them gravitating to friend’s family gatherings as they are missing our family unit; and this makes me sad.
        I hope you are OK. Keep strong.

  2. Gravitating to friend’s family gatherings, indeed. All of us, finding our way. Unlike you, my children not OK with me. I am learning to be OK with me. And today, I am. Thank you for being so dear…you too, keep strong.

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