Photo Credit: Jewish Press

What did we do to deserve this?  We didn’t cause their arguments and inability to live with each other; yet, we were forced to suffer the consequences of their decisions.

No one asked us what we wanted; we simply got traded off in the mutual division of property during the divorce proceedings.  We no longer belonged to a family, such as it was, but were sold off like slaves to the highest bidder.  The day I became emancipated, at eighteen, I packed my bags and left, choosing to go and live with an aunt and uncle in another state.  The only person I was sad to leave behind was my little sister, who wept bitter tears at having to suffer losing yet another sibling.

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Today, at age 20, I have no one.  My father and brothers have no contact with me at all, my mother calls occasionally but my little sister is waiting to join me in a few years when she will turn eighteen.  I have come to terms with my life, after intense therapy, I am more understanding of why my parents divorced but I am still unable to forgive them for their intense selfishness and what it cost us children.  I am also in the process of studying to become a child advocate and make a difference in having a child’s voice heard in a court of law.  My days are busy, my work a deeply motivated commitment, but my life is empty, hollow and lonely.  I seem always to be living in the past, while trying to escape it.  As sad as my childhood was before my parents divorced, at least we were together, we belonged to something, but now there is nothing.  Perhaps one day, as my therapist seems to believe, I will create a healthier, loving and nurturing environment for myself and my bashert, once I find him… or he finds me.  But I still have a road to travel before that happens.

So, I’ve reached the end of my letter. I hope I have succeeded in enlightening parents who are entertaining divorce as a solution to their problems to take a step back and think of what it will do to their kids. I know that not every story has the same bitter ending as mine did, but a great many do. If you love your children more than you love yourselves, there are ways to part company in an amicable fashion and still be a family, separately yet together.  It’s too late for my family, but maybe, just maybe, others will think twice before they choose war over peace.

A Devastated Daughter

Dear Devastated,

Your letter drips blood and I can feel the weight of its sadness on my hand.  Divorce is never a pleasant experience for adults; at best, it can be amicable and, at worst, decimating and never-ending in court appearances and litigation brought about by vindictive ex-spouses. Your letter sheds a small light on what it can do to children who, indeed, are the blameless, voiceless victims in a cold and often mercenary undertaking.  With this letter, you may well have reversed the process for some of those who will read it.  If nothing more, you have opened our eyes to the plight of children in divorce.  It is not a pretty picture.

Education is the key to reform and change and I applaud your endeavor to pursue a field wherein you can make a difference.  Sometimes life experience prepares us for the task that will make the greatest difference and change things for the good.  I have a feeling you have heard your calling and will answer it in a hugely successful way.  I am also very impressed by your recognition of the importance of therapy and counseling to help you undo any damage you may have sustained.  As the healing process yields fruit you will find joy and peace enter your life and be better able to form healthy relationships. Ultimately, you will choose a spouse who will love, respect and cherish you and build the home you long to have.

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