Letter to a reader
Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey hit #6 in the Divorce category on Amazon’s Bestselling Books today, which must explain why I’ve been recently receiving a whole lot of e-mails from appreciative readers. That’s the absolutely, undeniably best thing about having had a memoir published – knowing that one’s own experience has given a moment of encouragement or comfort to someone else.
But sometimes it works the other way around: I find enormous validation when someone puts in words the very thing that I myself have thought and felt. Here’s my reply to a reader who wrote to me yesterday, describing her feeling of powerlessness to leave her marriage for her children’s sake:
I was so glad to hear from you, and thank you for writing. Let me just say to you that the situation you describe is EXACTLY where I was for most of my marriage – certainly since I had children. When one of our biggest fights erupted in his saying “I’m sick of hearing you’re unhappy in this marriage, Jessica. If you want a divorce, go get a divorce!” my answer was “I can’t. I have three children.”
It was as simple as that – or so I thought. So I know exactly where you are coming from.
I also completely identified with your sentence “I have wanted a divorce for so long I can’t remember not wanting one.” Wow, that was me for nineteen years.
First, I want to let you know that my book is not at all a “light-hearted look at divorce”. Divorce is never light-hearted. There were lots of very tough moments, including guilt about “taking my children away from their father”. But the point of the book is that my actual experience, once I faced the fact that the marriage had to end, was not only not nearly as bad as I had expected it to be, but we all actually thrived and did fine afterward. The stories in Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey are about things like learning I could love my alone time, learning that I enjoyed my time alone with my children, the thrill and terrors of learning to stand on my own two feet in lots of ways, and eventually dating and finding love again. (I just remarried: did you see the NY Times Vows article?)
I don’t tell anyone what to do in the book. I just recount my own stories, and I think people figure out how to make that apply to themselves.
I hope you read it, and especially, I hope that it helps you find the courage to claim your happiness. You deserve it. And it’s what your children want for you, truly.
Keep in touch, and let me know how it’s going.