After living all over the country, sometimes up to 2000 miles from family, we happened to be living in the Northern Mid-west and both of my husbands sisters happened to be living in the next state. Close enough we we joked about living 'near' each other again but not so close that we actually got to see each other unless we all ended up at my father-in-laws home at the same time for his birthday or other random time of the year. We typically got to see each other about once, maybe twice a year.
When we met at the father-in-laws for his birthday, it was a grand old weekend except one of our brother-in-laws couldn't make it. At the time he had picked up a 'second job' and was working weekends and he couldn't get off. My husband was especially bummed because he really liked his brother-in-law... he joked he even liked him more than his liked his sister! He is a great guy. We missed seeing him. Another get together and brother-in-law was working. Time passed.
It was October and we decided since we hadn't seen family in a while we'd invite my husbands side up for Thanksgiving. I even decided to send out cute Thanksgiving 'invitations' to everyone to make it official. The invites were mailed out and... we got a letter.
Strange! Why would your sister write?
"This is a bit awkward, and we weren't really ready to tell anyone yet, but your Thanksgiving invitation brought it to a head..." "We've been living apart and we are getting a divorce....."
That brother-in-law we'd loved for 15 years?
We lost him in the divorce.
And we didn't even get to say good-bye.
Time went on and that sister-in-law married again. This new husband was about 7 years her junior and happened to be my age, which gave us a few things in common. He was awesome! This guy was funny and sweet and easy to talk to. Again, Mr. Coffee and I just loved him! And again... my husband joked he liked him even more than his own sister! (Joking! But... you know, kinda real. We really loved this guy!)
We did a couple more moves cross country and they did one move themselves. We were about 9 hours away from each other, which was closer than we had been in years! Yay! Let's get together! So once a year we'd all get together at our home for a long weekend of hanging out, drinking, eating, laughing, and doing nothing but hanging out on the deck and the patio and having a great time.
And then suddenly, one day... poof!
The email came.
"We're getting a divorce....."
And dangit! We didn't even get to say goodbye again!
It's like having a good friend suddenly move away and you never got to say goodbye. Or maybe even like they died without you getting to see them one last time.
There honestly IS some grieving that goes on there! It took us about two years to 'get over' losing that brother-in-law. Even now, a few years later, when his name comes up, there is a pause in the conversation and someone will say, "I miss that guy. He was a great guy."
It's too bad there isn't a rule (I don't want to say law because dang, our country has WAY TOO MANY FREAKIN' LAWS - we LOVE to make new laws don't we?) but you know... a rule of etiquette or maybe a little tiny ordinance suggestion that if you are going to get a divorce, and you know your family really likes your spouse, perhaps you should give them a chance to say good-bye. Do some grieving. Morn the loss of a '... really great guy'. Or woman.
(For the record, even the sister-in-law agrees both of them were really great guys! She doesn't like to be 'tied down' and feels constricted when she's married, and she did have regrets after the second divorce... but she loves being single so yes, you can divorce and still think your ex is a 'great guy'.)
But darnit, it would have been nice to have had one last good-bye before we lost them in the divorce.