Divorce: an Act Of Love
By Gina Gippner
ive years ago I went through a divorce, and had to work several jobs. One of my jobs was working for a division of Social Service which cared for those who could no longer care for themselves. When I first met Rosie she was well into her 70’s and lived alone. The only visitors she ever received were from those who were paid to care for her. Her husband had been killed in front of her, decades before, and she never seemed to recover.
One day I showed up for work and she had two suitcases that were packed and placed next to her front door. I walked in and asked, “Rosie. Where are you going?” She replied, “Nowhere!” I asked, “Well then why are your bags packed?” She replied, “Because I’m ready in case he shows up.” I replied, “In case who shows up?” She answered, “The man I’m supposed to marry.” I pondered what she had said and then I asked, “Is there a man in your life you didn’t tell me about?” She said, “No. I just decided that I’m going to be ready in the event that he does show up. If I like the man that knocks on the door, I’ll let him in. If not… I’ll close the door.”
I have to share that afternoon I went home and decided there was something very profound in what she had said, and so I decided that I would live my life that way. I was married for 22 years the first time, and decided that I would go on living my life, and if ever I was meant to be married again I would wait and see if someone showed up at my door, and if I liked him I would let him in, and if I didn’t… I would close the door.
One evening I was sitting in my office working, and my phone rang. I did what one normally does when the phone rings, and that was answered it. Turned out it was an ol’ friend from high school that I had not seen in 25 years, and he was calling just to say, ‘hello’. A few months went by and he continued calling, (I lived in Northern California, and he lived in Southern California) so one weekend he decided he would come for a visit. He drove 8 hours and when he arrived he knocked on my door, and when I saw him, I let him in.
That evening we went out to dinner and it was wonderful hearing about his life. The journeys of our lives were so different. I had spent the last 25 years with one person, and had three children. He had spent the last 25 years dating many, never married, nor had any children. He always knew that he wanted to get married, but it had never been the right time, or the right woman. Time went on and we kept chatting over the phone, and it wasn’t until he said to me, “Gina, you know our relationship is effortless!” that I realized he was right.
Two years later, on October of 2007, Kenny and I got married. He not only married me, but became a step-father to my three grown children, and is now a grandfather to our granddaughter, Cadynce. He went from being a single man, to a man with a complete family, and on the night of my wedding my grown son came up to him, shook his hand, and said, “Now I no longer have to worry about my mother because I know that she will be well taken care of. I didn’t feel that I could move on with my life, until I knew that she was taken care of.” I had no idea that my son had felt that way, but then when I heard him say it I realized that my son had moved to Southern California to be near me, and always would say, “I like Kenny. He loves you!”
Maybe divorce, in some aspects, is a form of love. When we’re able to let go of our failures, move away from our past, and forgive ourselves for those we’ve hurt or those who have hurt us… maybe that’s when love is able to walk through our front door, and that’s when we’re able to receive it.
I believe Rosie is one of the smartest women I’ve ever met… Her message was, "Don’t think that life isn’t going to happen… Make sure you’re ready for it when it does."