By Jack Tawil
It happens more than 50% of the time; it happens for many reasons; its emotional result spares few; its societal brand is understood, but a brand nonetheless; it’s happened to me and has possibly in some way happened to you: it’s divorce.
I was a freshman in college thinking, “How can the day get any worse after receiving my worst graded exam since third grade spelling?”. A random phone call from my father instantly set off a trigger. Was it my sick grandma, my brother who just had surgery, my mother who needed surgery, did student aid deny my application again, or could he just sense like parents know how? Fortunately, (with the exception of student aid) it was none of them, however the news was still equally crushing. He was leaving my mother, he was leaving the family, and how it ultimately felt – he was leaving me. The conversation felt like a never-ending nightmare, but only lasted a few minutes. Its completion left me feeling like I was to blame, as if I could have somehow prevented it.
People say that when something dramatic happens in your life you remember everything. I remember the date, time, weather, noise of life around me, and the feeling of my stomach drop; so it's safe to say that people are right. From that moment it was crazy to think that two paths were created. The first path allows a dark cloud to hang over your head. The second path is one of resilience.
From that moment, me, being the youngest of six, went from being sheltered to the one doing the sheltering. Many of us all remember the amazing freedom that college provided. Well, that ended. I had to trade freedom for weekly train rides to my mom and then walking to visit my dad, who for the most part, was shut out by my siblings. While this “dramatic experience” isn’t the end of the world, it was seemingly the end my world.
Picture an 18-year-old boy who went to a religious orthodox high school and was now adapting to a diverse college life, now has to adapt again to console both parents individually, maintaining the upkeep of house and even secretly financially contributing to the family. That adaptation seemed to make me grow up faster than I wanted to. The years that followed were much of the same with new challenges seemingly popping up every once in a while. However, with a little bit of resilience, life rewarded me with many blessings and the ability to share my experiences to help others.
As someone affected by divorce, I hope to lend these short nuggets of advice that I’ve learned to those who are currently going through this rough time: Never blame yourself; find a support system that is healthy for you; stay away from “toxic” people and be open minded to why the divorce is happening. You may not realize it at the time, but sometimes people are just better off without each other. To the adults who may be the ones going through divorce, I’d be happy to discuss the perspective being received by a young adult.
Thankfully, time seems to heal all wounds, and with the holiday season being here it is important to step back and reflect. My mother and I continue to realize that life is a blessing, my father and I have reestablished a level of respect for one another. I have my health, job, friendships, and love from my siblings and 16 nieces and nephews. Thankfully, the right path chose me:
Jack Tawil is a Litigation Support Senior Analyst at Wiss & Company. If you are in a similar situation and would like to speak with Jack, you may reach him at 973.994.9400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.