All I ever wanted in my personal life was to experience an intact family. My parents never married, and it took me 38 years to finally find and reconnect with my father. My own marriage ended in divorce 7 years ago, and it took me a very long time to get over that loss despite being considered an expert in the field as a divorce lawyer.
There are many factors that led to my slow recovery from this major setback in my personal life, but I eventually learned to channel that pain into something useful through my writings and lectures. Finally, after 14 years of watching so many families fall apart, including my own, I get the ultimate opportunity to make things right– I get my own t.v. show to help families deal with a variety of issues by having guests come to talk about the most common problems that we all may face in life.
I never intended to be the poster child of divorce, but sometimes life has a funny way of making things happen for a reason, and I find myself in the strange position of being able to look back now and connect the dots. My career as a national gymnast made me goal-oriented and fearless; my academic years taught me the importance of sharing our gifts and ideas; my professional years have taught me that even the most brilliant people struggle with personal relationships, and it is truly up to each individual to define his/her own success. Now, if I cannot help others improve their lives with all the information I have gathered over the last 14 years while guiding families through difficult transitions, then in my opinion, I will have failed all those that helped to create me.
Every little story, journey or idea that anyone shared with me throughout these years has played a part in getting me to the point where I can comment on radio, tv, books or lectures about the importance of preserving our relationships as best we can– even if sometimes we cannot all continue to live under one roof. Many times, I have heard people say that they have not told a soul about the fact that they are getting divorced. This is truly the most non-sensical thing to me– it is precisely when your life is falling apart that you need to reach out to your friends and family the most. Your support system is meant to be there during these times of need, and divorce should no longer be seen as something shameful. It happens to the best of us, and maybe it needs to happen in order to make us a little more human, a little more humble, and maybe a little bit wiser or kinder.
I wish I could have gotten to the point I am now without having experienced so much pain, but I now understand that it never could have happened any other way. So, reluctantly I accept being the poster-child of divorce, in order to normalize the process for the rest of you and help families move on.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.