Civil Endings

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the story of my divorce from a woman who was and remained my best friend

Submitted: December 06, 2011

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Submitted: December 06, 2011

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Civil Endings

This is the tale of stranger who became my wife, a wife who became my friend and when the trappings of a marriage of convenience finally unraveled, an ex wife who remained my best friend.  She moved in with me because she needed a place to live and we both needed financial help.  We married two years later to get me on her health insurance.  Strange are the ironies of life.  She once told me that had I not met her, my life of wine, women and song would have killed me and I daresay she was correct.  Now I am still alive and Joan has gone to that far green country.

Anyone who’s ever divorced after a long marriage will understand that growing to the point of wanting to divorce someone you’ve been with a long time is a painful step .  It’s even harder divorcing one’s best friend.  The love in my life now told me she didn’t want to be my best friend because if we didn’t work out, she could lose her lover and her best friend.  A valid point, however  Joan and I proved the exception to that rule.  Ours may have been the most civil breakup in the history of nuptials.

  Joan returned from work one evening and said, “My friend Cindy has moved and her condo is empty.  I think I’m going to live there for awhile.”

 “Ok. “  I said.  “That’s probably a good idea.”

And that was it.  I helped her move and nine months later called to say I was going to file for divorce.  She hesitated but agreed.  At the final hearing the Justice kept asking in disbelief if there were no challenges over pets, or property or support, but there were none.  We celebrated at the same restaurant we celebrated our wedding twenty six years earlier and remained best friends. We had dinner together every week. I would do things like winterize her condo or carry new furniture in and she would loan me money or talk to people for her anti-social ex husband.Generally  there are things one can talk about with an ex wife and there are things they can’t, problems with your new relationship for example. Joan was the exception to that rule as well.

  About the time we were coming to realize our marriage was over, she noticed a small lump in one of her breasts.  I encouraged her to get it checked out, but she refused, insisting it was nothing.  A year later, after the divorce, I asked her about it.  She told me it had grown larger and again I pressed her to see a doctor and she said she would.  Weeks turned to months and our lives drifted apart, aside from semi-regular phone calls and visits. She was always closed lipped about her condition and whether she had seen a professional and I, lost in my own world, stopped asking.  One of the few things in life I’d redo given a chance.

  I would find out a couple years after our separation that she had breast cancer and had been seeing a homeopath for several months.  This “doctor” used all kinds of holistic approaches and finally a drug banned by the AMA which she managed to acquire from Mexico.  She injected that substance into the cancer and when lumps appeared on the surface, removed them with a scalpel using no anesthetic.  I was never allowed to see the results but the on call physician at the hospital months later was appalled. 

  After weeks of taking Joan on the hour long trip to see this homeopathic  “doctor”,  doing her shopping and going over daily to make her something to eat,  I couldn’t take it any longer and told her if she didn’t go to a real doctor  I wasn’t going to come over and watch her suffer any more.  I was bluffing and she knew it but the next day she acquiesced and I took her to the ER.  The diagnosis was stage four cancer and untreatable.

 I spent my non working hours at a nursing home over the following two months watching my friend waste away until she died quietly in her sleep.  Joan was always a stubborn one.  She didn’t want me to see her die and one day when I took a few minutes to run home to feed our dogs, my best friend left this mortal coil. The divorce was easy.  Losing my dearest friend was very hard.


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