SORRY…Did You Say You’re Divorced? Rheia Chand

It is safe to say I didn’t have a normal childhood growing up. At the age of 9, I grew up within a flash, the train journey to Birmingham was the symbol of my youth being faded away stop by stop. My mum was running away from her life of being someone’s maid, cook, and an obedient wife, she was running to live a life of freedom; little did she know about the battle that was about to begin. From this moment onwards, I became my mum’s partner in crime, her rock, and saviour. 

I will never forget this day till the day I die, it was a reasonably sunny day in London, I had the most amazing day- it was the last day of term, I was in year 4, and we were just coming back from a trip from Hampton court palace. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was to tell my mum about the day that we had. I ran off the coach in glee much to my mum’s dismay, she was standing in an ordeal of her own, emotionless as if her life had been taken away. We got into her friend’s car, Auntie D, where I climbed through the suitcases with my younger sister on my laps and my brother cradled in my mum’s arms. Dropped off at the station with my mum saying her farewells, us oblivious wondering where my dad was and that there was the moment where my life changed upside down. 

Packing our bags, taking a leap of faith, and purchasing the tickets to Birmingham was the best decision my mum ever made.  According to recent divorce statistics, 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. 102,007 couples divorced in 2017 (the most recent year for which official statistics are currently available). 6 in 10 (62%) of divorces between heterosexual couples are initiated by the wife.

It is fair to say that when divorce happens, people think of the children involved but never are the children really involved. We have no say, we have no rights, and our parents use us as pawns of power. My life prior to this was relatively normal; every day after school we would go to my grandparent’s house, my mum would come back from work and cook and clean, my dad would come home, and we would eat dinner at around 7pm just in time for the news show on Zee TV Punjabi. This was my everyday reality. Eventually, we would go back home which was a house we never really lived in, no laughs or cry which was endured in and a bedroom which was never played in, so, to be honest, it was never our home. 

My mum was the traditional daughter in law and wife, and my grandmother was the typical mother in law from hell and the optimum of evil. My dad was your stereotypical Indian man, who stood afraid in the shadows of his mother, and for this reason, after 13 years, my mum had suffered more than enough. A decision which she didn’t take lightly but which we are better off for. No one supported her, not even her own parents everyone thought she had lost the plot, but the reality was she realised her WORTH. 

My mum is one of my heroes because of her courage and determination. My love for her will always be inevitable. Yes, we may argue and fight, but she always is the one in the right! ( Just don’t tell her that ) Without her I wouldn’t be the woman I am today, I wouldn’t be here writing to you all, I’d probably be at my grandparent’s house watching the paint dry till the clock strikes 8pm.

My mum received a lot of backlash from everyone, fought an endless battle with my dad in court, and eventually moved back into the house we lived in and turned it into a home. I moved to two different schools, got dragged into a custody battle, moved home to home, and eventually have now found a balance within this dysfunction. We live in a home which sees arguments, love, and happiness through its walls, a home which is now our safe place.

My father remarried and seems happy, but what I wish now is for my mum to find someone who treats her for the woman that she is.  She has put us first for too long now, and I want her to be happy and to be loved because everyone deserves to be loved. I will never forget what my dad did and how he never stood up for her, there will always be a part of me that will resent him, but I have learnt to numb that pain and show the love that my mum has nurtured in me towards him. 

Divorce in our communities is still an issue which is a fairly new concept to us, only now is it really being accepted, however, there are still some people who frown upon it. To those people, you are seen as somewhat a failure. That is wrong, and we need to be open-minded and accept that people make mistakes, no one is perfect. We also shouldn’t stop people from having a second chance at love. I have been at fault of this, I’ve been so against my mum finding love that I have been selfish. It is wrong of me to expect her to be only my mum and nothing else, I look back now and realise that no one should stop someone else’s chance of happiness. 

Seeing my mum love herself again, and be the best version of herself has made me realise how important it is to self-love and out yourself first. If you can’t love yourself, who will ever love you?

If there’s anything that you should take away from this is it is to support those going through a divorce/separation show them love and compassion, help them pick the pieces back up and don’t judge. If you have children involved or know of any make sure you are there for them, they are the ones suffering the most. Show them, love, keep them grounded, and make sure they know there is a light at the end of the storm. Love is a feeling which we all should express, feel, and nurture in one another, so don’t be the barrier between that.

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