The View From Here: A severed family’s pain eases at last

Posted on November 14, 2013


The View From Here: A severed family’s pain eases at last

By: Rachael Mattice

Divorce isn’t just the splitting of spouses, and the children in the family are not equally divided down the middle. Divorce is as if someone ripped the seams and they never fit exactly right again. Those tiny pieces become lost in the severing, sometimes forever.

My sister and I were included in the severing of parents five years ago. Even worse, my sister and I were both adults with skills of reasoning, understanding and opinions. Witnessing the wretched imperfections of your “moral” parents in the children’s eyes seems unforgivable for a long time.

The tumultuous storm of humiliation, anger and depression would surface at the most unwanted times, too, such as moving into my dorm room one parent short my first day at Purdue.

The holidays, though, were much more touchy and vulnerable for Grinch-ness in my family. I spent a few Christmases alone with my dad in Wisconsin because my sister had moved out to northern California. It never was full of cheer, as the greeting cards and commercials advertised.

I hated and was envious of my friends who had happy married parents and huge families to celebrate with
while mine was separated and broken. Someone is always mad at another or holding a grudge so tight it
would take years of psychological acceptance to release.

Although I was not perfect in the years of acceptance of the divorce, I played the rock in my family for survival. I forgave my mother, got used to her new husband and acquired step-brother, accepted my father’s remarriage a few years later and became the medium for discussion between my sister and mother and settler of disputes between Mom and Dad.

My family may never be together again, but this holiday season has finally had a different mood. It’s been years since I was excited for the holidays, preparing my shopping lists early, watching “White Christmas” and whole-heartedly laughing on the 25th and 31st.

This year I was content because my mom, sister, dad and I each had someone of our own to spend the cheer and spirit with. I didn’t have to worry about someone drinking too much, not answering a phone call or secretly suffering in pain.

Our hearts were fuller this year, almost reaching sincere charity and forgiveness that will bring us all peace on earth and inspiration for happy futures with love.

Still far from the closest form of recovery, we’ve come to understand how to break away from destructive thoughts and have become anchored in ourselves, bringing more joy and strength to whatever else we may face next, individually and as a separated family.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached at

Posted in: "Rock It" Column