Simple Man: or When I Told My Mom about the Divorce

Sitting on a Bench in the Rain

I was sitting on a hard wooden bench outside of my favorite dive bar. The trees protected me from the pitter-patter of the rain. I took a deep breath, inhaling the smoke from my cigarette, in an attempt at forcing the nicotine into calming my nerves. On exhaling, I saw the smoke float out of my mouth and into the night sky. The rain dispersed the smoke and soon, it disappeared. I grabbed my beer mug and took a sip, letting the by then room temperature beer warm my cold body. I looked down at my phone, took a deep breath, and made the call.

I already told my friends about what was going on. I hadn’t told all of them, but I told the one’s who I felt needed to know. It was hard, incredibly hard, but it didn’t prepare me for the phone call I was about to make. The call to my mother.

10 Steps Back

On the day of my wedding, I spent most of the morning at the wedding location site, helping prepare the place for the big day. I decided that my soon to be wife had enough to stress about and took it upon myself to fix any last minute problems. I remember no one remembering to bring ice. I thought our planner would have remembered that and she didn’t. So, two hours before the big show, I am calling as many friends as I can asking them to pick up some up.

My mom was a big help that day. She was running around helping people get dressed, corralling my niece and nephews, and just doing whatever she could do to assist.

In the middle of all the hustle and bustle, I tried to pull her aside to chat for a minute. See, my dad died when I was a pre-teen and I wouldn’t get the chance to have a man to man conversation with him that day. So instead, I reached out to the woman who raised me for most of my life. She brushed me off. Obviously, she didn’t know that I needed her then, but it hurt. I didn’t get to have a man to man talk with my dad or a heart to heart chat with my mom.

My mom and I have a funny relationship. We chat a lot, but don’t share our feelings until we are way passed okay. I always thought we were close, but we never really spoke like that as adults. I needed her then and she wasn’t able to be there for me. Almost three years later, she was.

Back to the Story

I began to cry as soon as I heard the phone ring on the other end. The phone rang and rang. No answer. It was late evening on a week day. I knew she’d be home. Her voicemail greeted me. I didn’t leave a message. My arm sank down onto my lap and I began to light another cigarette. A minute or so later, I got a text from her saying that she’d call me back in a second. So, I waited.

I looked up at the sky and saw that it had started to clear up, stopping the rain. I decided to run back into the bar and grab another pint while I waited for her to return my call. I clutched my phone in my hand tightly, ready in case it started to vibrate. Everyone in the bar knew what was going on in my life at that time, so when they saw that I had been crying, they understood. I got outside and sat down on the same bench under the trees when the call came.

I wasn’t sure that there was a proper way to open the conversation. There probably are guides out there, but in the moment, you don’t generally hop on your kindle and read the best divorce e-books. So, skipping the pleasantries, I told her that my wife would not be coming to our family vacation that year, but that I would. She knew by the tone of my voice that something was wrong and asked what was going on. This was on the same day that I confronted the ex about her cheating, which she denied. I will eventually get a post up about that, but as you can guess, my head, heart, and everything in between was shattered.

So, I told my mom everything. I told her about the cheating, the way I was treated, the pain, all of it. I sat there outside of my favorite bar and let my mom know, for the first time in almost three years, how my marriage really was.

She knew I was not okay, so she didn’t bother asking me that. Instead, she asked if I had a place to stay that night. She knew I had had a bit to drink. She said that we would figure it out and do whatever we needed to do. Planning would come later, she was just trying to get me through that night.

I told her to tell my family. I couldn’t bare the thought of doing it myself. My older sister and I had hardly spoken for years. There was a big fight that had happened, because of some issues between her and my wife, and we are both stubborn as hell. Now, we knew that we’d always be there for each other, but the rift was definitely still there. Frankly, for the last few years, I had been a shit brother and uncle to her children and that was on me. Later, I would promise to make up for it and I still am.

Two hours later, I told my mom that I needed to get going. She told me she loved me and we both hung up.

It is hard to describe the experience. In a way, I felt like I was making a phone call telling someone about a death in the family. In a way, that’s true. I also felt like a failure. The proud son had to tell his mother that he failed as a husband and as a man.

I know that she was proud of her happily married son and I took that from her. Our family isn’t really big on divorce so that made me feel even more like a failure. I felt like my failed marriage would, in a way, make her look like she failed as a mother.

I know none of this is true, but that night, it felt that way. I felt like hell and the boat is still continuing to adjust itself to this day.

My family came through and welcomed me back with open arms. Since then, we laughed, cried, and fought like we always did before. I missed them and I was glad to be back.

Tell me your story. How difficult was it for you to tell your family about your divorce?

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