Post Divorce Relationships: A Trip to the ER Brings New Divorce Perspective

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

All post divorce relationships are different. Some are good, some are great, but most of what I see when it comes to couple’s post-divorce relationships  is quite honestly, hideous.

A Trip to the ER Brings New Divorce Perspective

I will probably remember last Thursday as clear as can be for the rest of my life. I was lying on a lawn chair on my back patio, stealing some of the bright sunshine while on a conference call for work. Ah…the life. I’m catching some serious rays while landing a pretty big deal for my business.

I hung up and started walking back into the house when I got another call, a number I didn’t recognize.

“Hello, this is Jackie,” I answered.

“Hi Mrs. So and So, this is So and So from your son’s camp. Uh…” She starts nervously stuttering and that’s when my heart began to pound.

“What happened?!”

“Well, there was an accident. Your son’s head is bleeding pretty badly. We have an ambulance on its way. You should go to the hospital.”

Now I was frantic. I seriously was out the door within 3 seconds.

Just before I pulled out of the driveway, I called my ex husband. He didn’t pick up. “Call me. It’s an emergency,” I texted. He called back a couple minutes later, as I’m flying to the ER.

Through tears, I said, “Go to the emergency now. There was an accident at camp and our son’s head is bleeding. That’s all I know.”

“Be right there,” he said.

My heart continued to pound. I couldn’t stop shaking, and tears were streaming down my face as I kept repeating, “Please, God, let him be okay, Please, God, let him be okay…” over and over.

I waited at the hospital for the ambulance and when it got there, I got to go to his room, where I saw my sweet little boy sitting there, brave as you can be.

I had stopped crying because the lady at the front desk told me to. She said if I cried in front of my boy, it would scare him.

So, I smiled and hugged and kissed him and held his hand. I was told pretty immediately that he needed 4 stitches in his head, but all in all, he was going to be fine.

A couple minutes later, in walks my ex, his eyes red, the most worried look I think I’ve ever seen on his face.

This is what I want to share in regards to why I would post this story on Divorced Girl Smiling, a divorce blog.

Two people can have a miserable marriage. They can hate each other at times, argue, fight, call each other names, say cruel things, do mean things to each other.

And then they can decide to get divorced, at which time the behavior and the name-calling and the fighting and arguing get worse and worse. And even after the divorce is final, their relationship can be Gosh darn awful. Cold exchanges, bitter comments, court appearances post divorce. One of them can even be in a serious relationship, getting ready to get married again.

At that moment, despite all the ugliness we’d been through in the past 6 years, I wanted to hug my ex husband. I wanted to tell him he didn’t have to worry because everything was fine. I wanted to tell him that nothing on earth really matters except for our children, and that the divorce seemed so minimal and stupid and meaningless. I’ll go so far as to say for a minute, I even wanted him back. I wanted to erase the past 6 years and pretend it didn’t happen. I wanted my family back together.

But let me be clear. After the shock and the devastation of what happened wore off, I realized those feelings were false and temporary. BUT, they had been there. I’m not sure if that’s a natural reaction, or if I’m unique. But I think when something like this happens, the resentment, hostility, coldness you feel for an ex instantly disappears. The incident brings you back to what is truly important in life, and it makes you realize that the pettiness and the hate and the anger are a waste.

All I know is that my son is fine, and really that’s all that matters. As for my ex, maybe this can be the start of a friendship. I can only hope. Because friends are people who have things in common, and what can you have more in common than the commonality of both of you loving your children?

In a way, my ex will always be my best friend, for only one reason: that he co-created my two favorite human beings on earth. That’s a pretty good friend.

Accidents and tragedies and deaths change people’s perspectives drastically. But 99% of the time, it’s temporary. The perspective switches back after the tragedy ends, or after the funeral, God forbid. I guess the lesson is to try to keep the perspective even when things are good.

Today, the sun is shining again. It’s a great day, like every other day I’m not in the ER. Keep that in mind next time your ex does something that really bugs you. “Who cares?” is a good way to think.

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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

    3 Responses to “Post Divorce Relationships: A Trip to the ER Brings New Divorce Perspective”

    1. Liberated Mama

      My kids and I lived in Skokie back in 2007 and I was driving both kids to school the morning of May 8th (this would have been our 8 year wedding anniversary). We stopped at the Dunkin Donuts on Dempster Street because it was Pajama Day for my daughter at Elizabeth Meyer and we were bringing Munchkins. It was a gorgeous morning the sun was shining and life couldn’t have been any better.

      We lived close to DD so I drove through our neighborhood passed our street on our way to Keeler. As I was driving West approaching Kedvale I saw a Jeep Cherokee driving North on Kedvale and it didn’t look like we were going to clear the intersection, she had a Yield sign and we had the right of way.

      What happened next still haunts me to this day and I find myself having flashbacks out of the blue. I knew we were going to get hit and also realized that slamming on my breaks wasn’t going to lessen the impact because the other driver wasn’t slowing down. My heart felt like it was going to explode and I was scared. I just pressed on the horn and held it hoping the driver would realize what was about to happen due to her negligence. My kids started to cry and scream, “mommy!, mommy!, mommy!”…………

      The next thing I remember is being hit at full force on the drivers side of our Toyota Sienna minivan and feeling the car tipping over on it’s side and coming to a crashing stop on the curb. I can’t tell you how petrified I was to turn around to look at my precious jewels. My daughter was in the seat right behind so she felt the impact just like I did and I noticed that she was bleeding from her head. My son was sitting right behind her in the third row and he was stuck and couldn’t unbuckle his seatbelt.

      I was in shock and followed the instructions from all of the neighbors, paramedics, policeman and firefighters who came to help, I will never forget their generosity and how they helped us.

      Because our car flipped on it’s side, we all needed help getting out through the sunroof as the drivers window was badly damaged. I realized I was barefoot and felt the pieces of glass while I was moving away from the car. I remember begging for a cell phone, I needed to call my ex-husband.

      He had just started a new job so it took me a few tries to reach him on his cell phone. I was so relieved when he answered and started crying and screaming in pain. You see, when I stepped away from the car and looked back I saw each of our children on separate gurney’s being attended to by the paramedics, they were each strapped to keep their little toddler bodies still. I looked to the left of them and saw our car on it’s side with glass everywhere as well as the munchkins and all of our stuff covering the intersection.

      It was at that moment while on the phone that I realized how terrified my ex-husband must be and begged him to drive safely to the scene. To this day I can’t imagine what he must have felt when he arrived, seeing our car on it’s side and our children being treated by the paramedics.

      We spent the rest of the day together as a family, at the hospital and then back at my in-laws to rest and recuperate. It is very comforting to know that even though our marriage ended, the commitment to our children and each other will continue as long as both shall live.


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