Friday, March 21, 2008

Missing Out

Yesterday I went to Uncle Frank's funeral where two of his six sons stood in front of the mourners and spoke of the love they had for their dad. Uncle Frank was a quiet man, one that if you didn't know him well you would dread being left alone with. He lived a simple, humble life on his farm with his wife, Aunt Betty, and seven children. Aunt Betty died last May and since that day all Uncle Frank wanted to do was join her. When his two sons spoke of his humility they also spoke of his love for his wife and of all the trials they suffered, together.

And that is what I will miss as an adult of divorced parents. I will never stand in front of anybody and eulogize my parents in the name of each other. The trials that they endured blew them apart and in turn took away my sense of belonging and family.

Aunt Betty and Uncle Frank lived a difficult life that was filled with great loss at almost every turn, yet they plodded along together, not always happy, but as a unit. She depended on him to financially support the family and he relied on her for, well, everything else. She was pregnant when they married and often joked that they lived in the chicken coop until he finished the house. Well, if you know anything about the genetic make-up of a Kuchar she likely would have died in that chicken coop if that were a true story. She would smile her quiet knowing smile when I would mention strife between my husband and I, and laugh out loud when I chided her for not warning me! She knew marriage wasn't ever easy. Even when times seemed good there was hail on the horizon just before wheat harvest.

This is not a pity party for a child of divorced parents. It is simply the realization that the stampede to get divorced in the 80's and 90's was done without consideration for the vast amount of ways everyone is affected. Not only is my dad's pension smaller than it should be, but at every holiday and major event I am forced to choose. I am required to publicly display my loyalty to one parent. And when one of my parents leaves this earth I will not stand at the front of the church and speak kind words of them enduring together. I won't even mention that those 20 years of their lives existed, that I was ever the product of their union. I will miss out on the rite of burying my parents side by side with a single headstone, bearing a single last name, their name together.

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