When you are going through your divorce, the last thing you’re likely to think about is how you’ll feel when you hear of the death of your former spouse. In the middle of all of the legal proceedings there’s probably at least some part of you that secretly (or maybe not so secretly) would take a certain amount of satisfaction out of dancing on your soon-to-be-ex’s grave. But, when your better self takes hold, which sometimes takes a year or two from the time the judge signs the decree, you usually recognize that your children have the right to have two parents, even if one of them falls far short of the mark.
Eventually, your children will be adults and are likely to have children of their own. That’s when you and your former partner become co-grandparents. If you’ve managed to work through your anger you’ll be able to share the joy in the delivery room, at the baby naming, at the first birthday party, and at all the other happy events that will follow. No, you don’t need to be best friends, but your kids will be a lot happier if they know that family occasions can be pleasant opportunities to have a good time and maybe even to reminisce a little.
No matter how your post-divorce relationship evolves, you’ll never be able to adequately plan for your former spouse’s death. That’s when you’ll realize that a part of your life is gone forever. You’ll also recognize that your children and grandchildren have suffered a huge loss. You might even find yourself feeling a certain unexpected sadness at the passing of someone you once cared for and who once cared for you.
It’s very easy to get lost in the hundreds of details that bog you down as you go through the seemingly endless divorce process. Those details often make you spend all of your time focused on your immediate concerns: How am I going to handle being questioned by my spouse’s attorney? Where will I live and how will I pay my bills when this divorce is over? What will my children’s lives look like after we split into two households?
Remember, however, that there is life after divorce and that you have more control than you realize over how that life proceeds. One of your choices will be how you choose to relate to your co-parent–your former spouse. If you can find a way to make that new relationship work, you will discover a higher level of peace in your life and someday you’ll be better able to dry your children’s tears as they mourn the loss of their parent.