If you know me, and I think you do, you know that family is the most important aspect of my life. Thus, when one family member experiences a traumatic event, much like a ripple effect, I, too, am, affected. Kinda like the 'they hurt therefore I hurt' syndrome.
I think I underestimated such a phenomenon until 4 months ago. For it was then that my sister's husband woke up, decided he'd had enough of being a husband, father and provider and promptly exited stage right. And exit he did, Within days of purging the cliche', 'I've been unhappy for years and it's your fault' he was out and living elsewhere. Might I add that Father of the Year's new abode was over an hour away. Now tacky as it may be, setting up a new life sans wife on a moments notice isn't good enough. No. Not for this Cretan. He's set up a new life sans 7 year old autistic son. Yeah.
Now I'm not naive enough to believe that this evolved out of a vacuum and that people don't get divorced every day for a myriad of reasons, but just trust me when I say the execution of his departure spoke volumes about his character and I just had a nagging suspicion that this was only the tip of the iceberg.
Fast forward 4 months. Any attempt at reconciliation is moot as finalization of divorce has been left to the tasks of the attorneys. Attempts at mediation were hopeless as Cretan showed his true colors and threatened my sister when it came to finances and property. Kinda funny as he, himself, has only the equity of half the home and is now waiting on bated breath to be bought out. What about custody, you may ask? That, too, was moot as he never even wanted more than the requisite visits which came to two weekends a month. Even though he had never been Father of the Year, even I was surprised at his lack of initiative when it came to spending time with his son. But let me say for the record I am grateful beyond measure as he clearly needs stability, love, understanding, support and empathy, things Father of the year is incapable of supplying. Being with my sister is the best environment for him as she rocks as a mother and has always cherished that child. Yes, I'm biased but a truths a truth and it's just the way it is.
Now I could dwell in the minutia and explain every little aspect of what has turned into an acrimonious divorce, but I'll spare you the diatribe and instead tell you that I have developed a new found respect, love and admiration for my sister. She has come to really know in her heart that she is far better off without him and not only is she surviving she is thriving and getting copious levels of support from her endless supply of family and friends. It's kinda telling that not one of their mutual friends sided with the Cretan yet all of them came out in spades for my sister. And while there definitely have been nights of tears, fears and worries for what lie ahead I am proud and grateful to say she is well on her way to a full recovery.
In these four months I have come to know unbearable pain and loss through someone else's suffering. I have shed tears not of my own plight but of hers as to watch her endure and hurt over this has been almost unbearable. But I have also discovered a new depth of understanding and compassion for a sister I knew I had always loved, but never really understood the meaning of that love until now.