Dave (courier_iii) wrote,

Collateral Damage

That's the modern euphemism that describes the hurt to innocents as the inadvertent result of a conflict.
It's a nice phrase.
You don't have to think about it very much.
It's what happens to someone else, someplace else, and the nasty specific details of the wounds and scars are missing.

But not all conflicts are far away, and not all victims are someone else's
Divorce is a conflict.
And, no matter how 'civil' the process, the children of a divorce are always it's innocent victims. My own are included in that list.

In brief: Matthew dressed for school yesterday morning. Before going off to the bus he went out back to feed Bonnie, his pet duck, in her cage.
What he found was a gored carcass.
Overnight an animal - presumably a fox, had managed to lift the lid and destroyed her.

Matthew was devastated.

He's gone through a lot in the last six months. He's witnessed his family, and home come apart. He's been forced to move in the middle of a school year to a new state and a new school, leaving behind all friends and familiar places. I am no longer a daily part of his life. Sunday he watched as his brother Mike flew off to California to start a life on his own. There are just the two of them now, he and his mother, where once there had been five.

I opened the e-mail telling me what happened at 9:15. I couldn't even call until after my morning staff meeting. Even then, there was little that I could say except to be strong and go bury the remains. That is so very unfair to him. There are other pets in the home, but Bonnie was his specifically, and I had been the one to make the purchase. She would come to him and eat from his hand. In a very real way she was loved and was a focal point for such.

I miss my family.
I miss them in the good times.
I miss them more in not being able to comfort them in the bad times.
I know that the decision to divorce was correct at the time that it was made.

But I have to wonder if it could have been saved. Not last year, but five or ten years ago, when the beginning signs were there and we were both to naive, or indifferent, or just plain lazy to do the hard work that needed to be done. That's a part of the private hell that I live with, and I suspect that it will be with me for a very long time to come.
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