Marjorie JamesWhile on a very long plane ride recently, the lady in the seat next to me was listening to Barbra Streisand’s recording, “The Way We Were.” It was loud enough that I could listen as well, so I relaxed and tried hard not to sing along with it!

As I listened, I started to think about memories and their role in our lives. Honestly, I then started thinking about the memories that are part of a marriage before, during, and after dissolution. (Really, I did think that! It was a very long flight!)

“Memories…light the corners of my mind. Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.” The memories a person takes away from a divorce settlement, and there will be many of them, can determine how that person adapts to the situation and situations to come.

“Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind. Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.” This part got me thinking, so I emailed my sister about how she did it. She and her ex-husband worked very hard to make sure they didn’t “mess with” the positive memories their son and daughter had, and it worked. It was a long time before the children discovered, during their teenage years, the character qualities my sister knew in a very personal way.

She said that it was hard work to separate the memory banks. For example, when the children came back from Thanksgiving with his family, their excitement actually made her wish she could tell them the whole situation. Many years later, as the children listened to their friends, they expressed gratitude to my sister that they were not included in the anger. (My sister is the “nice one” in the family; I’m not convinced I could have been that way.”)

Because she was focused on keeping positive memories fresh for the children, she was able to recall the fun activities and vacations they had before she started confronting the negatives. Consequently, she and he are now able to be in the same room during family events without the tension that negative memories could evoke.

“Could it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line?” Time has not rewritten the memories for my sister, but it has softened her public response. She and her ex-husband had a very wise pastor/counselor to help them through the divorce process, someone who, in essence, practiced Collaborative counseling. Not many people have someone like that, so Collaborative law teams are there to fill the gap and be the makers of memories.

I will continue “The Way We Were” next week. Sing on, my friends!


Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.