Children look to their parents for comfort, strength, support, and stability. When parents of children of any age make the decision to get divorced then there becomes the question of what is forever, and what will become wavering. While there are many people who go through divorce these days, there are also many children who suffer from the impacts of divorce on their mind and emotions. One of the most common impacts of divorce on children is the element of the child feeling like it is his or her fault. No matter how many times parents try to explain what is happening and why it is happening, many children tend to take accountability for the divorce internally. The child fears that it is because he or she misbehaved, or because he or she was “bad” at one point or another. This is because of the fact that most often when raising children, parents tend to try to correlate bad behavior with consequences. Therefore, when there are consequences, the child correlates the perceived punishment with bad behavior. Divorce is a confusing and challenging event for everyone involved. When parents get divorced, the child starts to feel unsure about elements of his or her life that he or she had never questioned before. Furthermore, the child will typically begin to act out in violent or negative behaviors in an effort to process the feelings of sadness, anger, and disappointment.
One good thing is that I have gathered a lot of support from people in the community who are horrified by the whole issue of the agunot [women whose husbands won’t grant gets]. They staged two rallies outside Avrohom’s home in Staten Island, with about 200 supporters each, in June 2012 and June 2013. We asked people to make it as non-confrontational as possible and keep it respectful. He never even came out of his house. Even though withholding a get is defined by Jewish law as a form of domestic abuse, Avrohom refuses to give an inch.
Patchett, to state the obvious, is a good storyteller, and that minor bombshell about the 11-year courtship leading up to her eventual second marriage is dramatically placed to rivet a reader's attention. Beyond entertainment value, however, that title essay is a spirited contribution to the larger story of romantic relationships that aren't, well, "romantic" in the swooning ways we're used to reading about or seeing in movies. Patchett's down-to-earthness also sets the tone for her essays on the easily sentimentalized subject of caregiving: She writes here about tending to her beloved dog, an elderly nun friend and her 90-something-year-old grandmother. That particular essay, called "Love Sustained," is a must-read for anyone in the draining role of caregiver. Patchett wryly says that "I had planned to live far away from my family and miss them terribly. I had every intention of feeling simply awful that I wasn't with my grandmother in her years of decline." But fate thwarts Patchett's escape plans. She winds up intimately nursing her grandmother — scrubbing her in the shower, clipping her toenails and, as Patchett says, watching helpless as "every ability and pleasure my grandmother had would be taken from her, one by one by one."