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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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I needed hugs and hot dishes

Divorce is death but the corpse is still alive

The Challenger space shuttle blew up Jan. 28, 1986. So did my 20-year marriage — and a lifetime of dreams. Looking back, I see it didn't so much blow up as slowly erode, as waves wear down rock over time. That dreary day in 1986 only marked the public recognition of the brokenness that had occurred long before. And like the weather outside, the official court proceedings offered no warmth.

Nor did the church recognize the death I experienced — death of a relationship and of hopes that stretched into the future. Other losses added to the grief — friends, stability, financial security, identity, home, extended family and even treasured belongings.

When my sister's husband was killed 12 years earlier, the church was there. A wake and funeral gave members of her church and community a chance to console her. People brought hot dishes to her home and hugged her close. I'm glad they did.

I'm not sure why my grief wasn't recognized by church or community. Perhaps people feel awkward, unsure of what to say or do in the face of divorce. But I needed (see also, page 28):


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