Divorce changes everything, doesn’t it? Some say it feels
worse than death, because it feels much more personal.
You aren’t only losing your primary relationship with
someone you probably never dreamed you’d be separating
from (even if you chose it), but you also lose THEIR family.
For some, losing their in-laws may feel like a benefit (LOL) if
they weren’t always supportive, but for others it’s a significant loss.
Losing Joe and Ella, my amazing in-laws
When I married into my ex-husband’s (we will call Bob) family,
I was ecstatic to have a new mom and dad. I first met them
when I was 16 years old, just starting college. They took me under
their wings and fell in love with me as I fell in love with them.
Ella, my mother-in-law, and I had so much in common. She
was a retired home economics teacher, and she loved to bake
and cook. She taught me how to make Christmas candies and
cookies, and I continue gifting my goodies to loved ones today.
She also cooked fabulous meals, and the four of us (Bob,
Joe, Ella and I) sat down to regular meals. It was always such
a treat, as I felt so nurtured and loved. I learned many of my
culinary skills from Ella and baked many a birthday cake.
She also invited me to her Lutheran Church which I began to
regularly attend and loved the stability of it for many years. And
Ella introduced me to one of my lifetime’s favorite traditions,
going to Spoon River Drive, in northern Illinois (a string of small
towns with outdoor craft fairs the 1st two weekends in October).
Oh joy! We had such a bonding time, driving the few hours
there and back and delighting in all the beautiful fall and Christmas arts
and crafts and the delicious kettle corn, elephant ears, and other
tasty treats. I passed this tradition on to my daughters and we
continued to go for many years. I still go with my mom and
And Joe, my father-in-law, was an amazing guy. He spent time
really talking to me. When Bob traveled abroad to Spain for 6 months,
Joe and I re-painted Bob’s car, sanded it, repaired bad spots, and painted
two coats—it was a long job but so much fun even while I had a
dry socket from having my wisdom teeth removed in the midst of it.
Joe and Ella were always there for me. We had regular campfires
in the backyard of their old farmhouse and shared many celebrations
for birthdays and holidays. Our biggest mutual celebration was
when my daughter, Maddie, was born. She stole their hearts completely.
So when I divorced when Maddie was two, I lost more than my
marriage to Bob (which I realize I was choosing), I also lost my
relationship as I knew it with my in-laws which was a big deal.
I still saw them on occasion, but the whole energy had shifted.
It made things weird for many years. It put them in a strange position
of feeling like they needed to choose their alliance to Bob or me,
and he was their son. I’m certain I broke their hearts with my choice
Perhaps you have divorced and it has made things awkward with
your “other” family, which may be more extensive than your
parents-in-law. Maybe it includes brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces,
And on top of all that, you are concerned about how these shifting
relationships may affect your kids. They are always observing after
all. We want to avoid alienating them from their grandparents,
assuming the grandparents are healthy role models for them.
The key is to take care of your heart and mind first. Keep being gentle
on yourself and loving /accepting yourself, forgiving yourself for
your past. Divorce is such a stressful time, and so much seems to
You may not be able to visualize it now, but things will stablize and
you will get stronger.
Taking care of yourself means so many things. Taking a bath,
meditating in a way you enjoy, journaling, being in nature, watching
your favorite Christmas movie, making a pot of creamy, hot broccoli
and cheese soup with some crusty sourdough bread (which is
healthier than most gluten breads).
When you can do this for yourself, and find small things to look
forward to, like a good book or your favorite Netflix series, a
delicious meal, fun time at the park, or whatever lights you up,
this can really ground you and help you through this.
Give yourself some time to have fun without guilt. You deserve
this time. When your kids see you relaxing and happy, it gives them
permission to relax too.
I’m passionate about helping you do divorce differently, not just
while you are going through it, but afterwards too. I want to help
you rebuild a new thriving life for you and your kids.
Schedule a time to talk with me now. Why wait? Let me gift you
this extremely valuable time with me. The goal is to help you get
clarity about your next step, whatever that is, by deeply listening
to your needs, thoughts and feelings.
How often do you get this type of special attention from another
human? And I’m quite good at it too. Just saying….
Don’t be stubborn here. A key to being happy is to get the right
support when you are going through a rough patch, whether it’s
divorce, loss or another transition.
Sending you much love,
PS: Take advantage of the gift of my time to you today. Book
Confidently Navigate Divorce Session.
PSS: Mark your calendars for Sat, January 15th, 2022 for
the Heal Your Heart Retreat.