Happily Ever After Divorce
Notes of a Joyful Journey
By Jessica Bram
Health Communications, Inc.
$14.95, paperback, 254 pages, 978-0-7375-0758-4 (2009)
This is a book with a unique point of view: divorce doesn't have to be the worst experience of your life, and it can even lead to a joyful and fulfilling life. Although the author doesn't skimp on the challenges she faced in going through her divorce, her personal stories show her ability to overcome difficult times and emerge triumphant.
The book opens with the author, Jessica Bram, leaving her nineteen year marriage at the age of forty-one, with three young children. In her introduction, she admits that finding the courage to get out of her marriage was hard.
Hard like childbirth, like building a skyscraper or perhaps demolishing one. As hard as any of the most formidable challenges I had ever faced -- every college or graduate school degree, every major disruption, every relocation, every turnaround.
But then, as after childbirth, a glorious new life emerged at this time, my own. After my divorce I emerged into sunlight, stunned and blinking. Disoriented, yes, and many, many times afraid. But only then did life begin. Only then did I start to piece together, for the first time ever, a life that had fresh air and laughter, challenges and triumphs. A life of outer joys and for the first time, inner peace.
I am here to say that it can be done.
In a refreshing down-to-earth writing style, Bram reveals how she coped with the rollercoaster of emotions as she went through the divorce process. She discusses how she raised her children in a loving atmosphere and worked with her ex-husband to be sure that they always acted in a way that was best for the children.
How did these children of a painful, difficult divorce turn out? I can say this unequivocally: that the way we raised them as children who belong to two separate homes, governed in the agreement that we tediously began to hammer out over that long-ago cup of coffee, is the one thing, in my life at least, I can call an unqualified success. Our three boys grew up confident and secure in two different, peaceful, loving homes. Never having had to choose between their parents, they have close, comfortable relationships with both their father and me. They get along well with each other and with friends. There have been girlfriends, some long-term. All three have excelled in school, with the two oldest attending Ivy League colleges. The fact that their lives were not cradled in wall-to-wall comfort, that they had extra responsibilities -- remembering in which house their school books were left, helping their mother shoulder difficult household chores, preparing their week's assignments while keeping in mind in which house they would be spending the night -- only made them more capable and mature than a good many of their peers. Mostly, I believe that they are truly secure -- as only children with reliable, mature, and loving parents can be.
This is a book that any woman going through the emotional turmoil of divorce will relate to. It's filled with personal moments of revelation, good sound advice, and helpful ideas. If you're going through a divorce – or even thinking about divorce – this book is for you. Not only will you find a kindred spirit, but you'll enjoy the clever writing and upbeat message that even though your marriage is ending, a new and possibly wondrous life for you is just beginning.
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