Tag Archives: family

Meeting Jessica

Jessica Liversidge was just 18 years old when she laid down to sleep in the early hours of Sunday morning, October 23rd. She never woke up. She was my niece through marriage, the only child of my wife Debbie’s sister, Vickie, and Vickie’s husband Joe.

I had only seen Jess in person twice since she was a very little girl, both times in her pre-teen years. Once their family visited our home in the Somerton section of Philadelphia. Another was at the funeral for her maternal blood grandmother, Alma Marshall, Debbie and Vickie’s mother by birth.

I say “by birth” because the whole family relationship story is kind of unique, reminiscent of an “Oprah” episode where family members who were long estranged or never knew about one another are suddenly united or reunited.
Alma had 4-5 children already when she discovered that she was pregnant with Vickie.

This was the early 1950’s, still the post-World War II years, and times were tough in the household. Knowing she was carrying a life inside of her, but believing they could not afford another child, she and her husband Bob decided to give Vickie up for adoption.

Incredibly, it turned out that Alma still wasn’t done with mothering. About two years later, my wife Debbie came along, and the couple decided that it must be God’s will to keep expanding their family. They kept Debbie, and even ended up adding two more children to their family after that.

Vickie was adopted by what all accounts seem to indicate was a wonderful couple who raised her in the area in and around Downingtown, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles to the west of the Marshall home on Huntingdon Street in Philly.

I am not sure of the exact circumstances, but from what I have learned, a part of the adoption agreement directed that the records would not be opened until Vickie’s mother had passed away, or until Vickie had a child of her own. Both of these events ended up happening within a short time of one another.

Meanwhile, back in Philly, Vickie’s older brothers and sisters were very young at the time of the pregnancy, and were kept out of the plans. Vickie’s birth was not known by them, and was never made known to them. The same happened when my wife Debbie and her younger siblings came along. It was simply a chapter of life too difficult for Alma to talk about.

Debbie and I met in late spring of 1992, and so I was around the family when suddenly one afternoon in early 1993 a phone call came to the home of Deb’s younger sister, Arlene, one of the kids born to Alma after Vickie’s adoption. It was from Vickie, breaking some pretty big news to the family – the “Oprah” moment.

That phone call began a series of telephone and in-person meetings between Vickie and her blood family, Debbie’s family, the Marshalls. When Deb and I got married in the fall of 1995, we asked Vickie to be in the wedding as one of our bridesmaids. It was a great period of getting to know one another, and a part of that was Vickie’s husband, Joe, and their beautiful little daughter, Jessica.

Jess was an always smiling little bundle of sunshine and light. She would always seem to skip into a room, often bobbing her head from one side to the other, blond hair bobbing back and forth as she walked. I am sure she was a challenge as she got older, but around our family as a little girl she was always a joy to be around.

We saw their family at our home, at Arlene’s home, and at a number of other family social occasions over the next few years. Jessica wasn’t exposed to the drama of the family reunion situation as a young child. She knew our family only as what it was, hers, from the time she was born. She was around us pretty regularly right up until she was about 7-8 years old, maybe a little older, when visits got less frequent.

Lots of things happen with family and friends as our kids get older, and our lives gravitate more around what the kids are doing. When you live any kind of distance from one another, it makes those visits even more difficult and less frequent. We just simply didn’t get together much, and didn’t seem to have major family events come up.

Vickie and Joe fell into some marital problems that resulted in a separation, and eventually Vickie began a new relationship with a man named Bob. We saw Vickie and Bob at a couple of family functions, and eventually it just seemed like another casualty of modern family times. But somehow, and I don’t know most of the details, Vickie and Joe ended up drifting back together, which was something that our family was happy to learn.

By the time early 2010 rolled around, I probably hadn’t seen or heard from Jess in a few years. Then one day out of the blue I received a message at my Facebook account from her. She asked if I remembered her, and began to ask me for some law enforcement advice (I’m a Philly cop by profession.)

My first response was that, duh, of course I remembered her. She was my niece for God’s sake (said in completely humorous tone with the requisite 🙂 internet smiley face.) And I took her “my friend recently got in trouble, what should they do?” question as most cops do when confronted with this kind of thing, wondering if the “friend” was actually Jess herself.

I answered whatever her question was as best I could, we did a little chit-chatting to catch up, and then both said that we would talk with our respective families about getting everyone together soon. Over this last year and a half, I have probably had that same kind of exchange with her on Facebook 2-3 other times, but we never did actually get the family together.

Having Jessica as a Facebook ‘friend’ was a bit of a challenge for an uncle in that the language used and the pictures displayed by her and her friends was not always, shall we say, family appropriate. But I always took it as simply a young girl growing up and finding her way in a new-media world.

I got to know some things about Jess through those words and pictures that would often pop into my Facebook feed. She was obviously a pretty, fun-loving girl with many interests. She loved hanging out with her friends, and she loved her parents even as she challenged them. She seemed to flit effortlessly between her life at home in Pennsylvania, and up in Maine where her father Joe’s family was from, and where she spent a good amount of visiting time.

There were pictures and descriptions of her waterskiing, and she talked about loving opportunities to go flying with Joe, who is a pilot, as well as boating with the family. From these pictures and her writings, I was largely able to fill in a representative picture of her life in the few years since I had last seen her.

Then just a couple of weeks ago, I happened to be off from work and in my bedroom in the morning when I heard the phone ring. Our daughter, Melissa, who is Jess’s cousin and who, at 25, always seemed closer in age with her than the 7 years that actually separate them, walked down the hall from her own bedroom to answer the phone.

I knew that she wasn’t going to get there before our answering machine picked up, and she didn’t, and I heard a female voice leaving a message. I couldn’t hear the words at all, but when Melissa started to break down crying out loud I knew that it could only be one kind of message.

Vickie and Deb’s father, Bob Marshall, is now 86 years old, and so when I realized this message was the worst kind of news, Bob was where my thoughts went. I looked at Melissa and said “Poppy?“, but she shook her head and said “No” through her tears. That probably made me even more worried, and then she told me it was Jess.

I played back Vickie’s message, which was heart-breaking. I find it difficult to leave any kind of message on someone’s answering service, let alone trying to pass on a message to my family that my teenage daughter had just died. I called Deb, Arlene, and their sister Joanne. Then I passed the word to my two older daughters from my first marriage, Chrissy and Kelly, who also knew Jess. I let the message spread out to the rest of the family from there.

Last Saturday, Deb, Melissa and I drove out to Downingtown for the open-casket viewing and the funeral service. No matter how professional a job a funeral home does, and this one did well, they can never capture the glow of life found in a teenage girl. The service after the viewing, however, was a completely uplifting experience.

Directly next door to the funeral home is the Downingtown Friends Meetinghouse. Vickie was raised there, went to school and attended their services. Personally, I had never been to a Quaker meetinghouse for any kind of ceremony. My first impression, with the bare walls and the stark, old benches, was cold and skeptical. Boy, was I wrong.

The premise of the Quaker ceremony is to celebrate the life of the descedent through anectodal recollections of times shared, events celebrated, and life lived with the person who has passed. A moderator stands and gives a brief introduction, and then invites others to begin sharing, should anyone feel moved to do so.

At first, just a young cousin of Jess’ got up and shared a pre-written piece on their lives together. It was very warm and heartfelt, recalling a relationship that was obviously close between two young girls of the same age growing up together. The young lady obviously took time to think about what she was writing, and did an outstanding job both in her writing and in telling the stories through her tears.

A lengthy period of silence followed, and I started to get a little uncomfortable. I looked over at Joe and Vickie and hoped that someone would find something more to share. There were dozens of people in the hall. Someone had to have something to share about Jess.

When it wasn’t happening, I decided to get up myself. I spoke on behalf of Deb’s family, mostly recounting the things that I’ve now shared here in this piece. I ended by imploring her young friends and family members present to realize how precious is this gift of life. I asked them to realize that, even if on the wrong path now, or making some bad choices now, they still can make changes. Their whole lives are in front of them. I hope even one person that might need such a message was listening, and took it to heart.

Slowly, more and more got up to speak. At first it was older family members, and parents of her friends. But more and more her younger family and friends got up to speak. Many of the stories brought Jess’ spirit back to life in that room, and filled it with warmth, even putting a smile on our faces and filling the room with laughter a couple of times.

One young female cousin told the story of how Jess had taught her to drive: “I was 12 – and she was 11.” The place cracked up. She went on to share that Jess told her that the peddle on the right was for the gas. When the girl asked which one was the brake, Jess said “You don’t need to know.” That was Jessica right there, full speed ahead, no brakes.

In her lifetime, I probably spent no more than two weeks worth of days in the actual company of Jess. But she touched me with her loving spirit, which from the stories I heard that day was nothing unique. She touched everyone that way.

Jess had a substance abuse problem. She used drugs, and she drank, and she partied far too much. Her family tried very hard to get her help, but in the end it was not enough. We lost her from her own choices, there was nothing anyone else was going to be able to do. But as one uncle related, she lived life on her terms.

Jessica Liversidge left us with many memories. She left a warm spot in the hearts of those of us who got to know her on any real level. She lived her life in a way which taught us lessons, good and bad. She made a difference, she will be missed, and she will be loved. And it was really nice getting to meet her again in that Quaker meetinghouse.

Thanks Mom?

My mother was a very good woman, of that I am as certain as anything I have ever known in this life.

She loved God, loved her family, and despite being overwhelmed by a debilitating illness that robbed her of much of her life’s full enjoyment, she never ceased to express that love to either.

My mom mattered. She mattered in my life, the life of my brother, the lives of my children, and the lives of a great number of other friends and family members. She touched us all in a way that will always be with us.

But for as much as she was to everyone else, what she was to my brother Mike and I was extra special. But did she choose life for us? Roe did not exist then, should it have, should we have been her ‘choice’?

This is an important idea to discuss, as yesterday was the awful anniversary of the ‘Roe v Wade’ court decision that made abortion a legal medical procedure here in the United States. What ‘Roe’ effectively did was lead to the mass slaughter of more than 50 million American babies over the next three and a half decades.

Supporters of that decision would argue that had ‘Roe’ been in effect in 1961, my birth would not have been the miracle from God that it was considered at that time, but instead it would have been a medical ‘choice’ made by my mom. And it would have been a ‘choice’ that she could make regardless of what my dad wanted.

Of course her ‘choosing’ to nurture and birth me out into the world should probably be something that would make me happy, right? What is better, to be considered just some random accident of nature, or something forced on her by God, or a conscious choice made by one’s mother or parents together?

The fact of the matter is that having been born, in the end my own ‘choice’ has to be that I would rather my mom did not have such a one herself. For with that ‘choice’ comes the possibility that hers could have been different. Play a little game with me here.

Had my mother made the choice to not have me, I would never have been born in the first place. Without even considering myself as anything special in the grand scheme of existence, it is a simple fact that the world would never be the same. My brother either would not have been born either, or his life would also be completely different if for no other reason than his growing up without my interactions.

Anyone with whom I came in contact over the course of my life would be different, particularly if there was anyone: a friend, girlfriend, co-worker with whom I interacted and made some even small difference in their lives. My children would not have been born, nor my grandchildren. Generations would not exist. What could their contributions have been to the world?

What about her own mother? What if her mother had chosen not to have my mom? What if somehow there was a test that could have told my grandmother that my mom would end up as sick as she was? Would that have been a legitimate reason to ‘choose’ to terminate the pregnancy, to kill my mom? Was my mom’s life worth less somehow because some illness would eventually overwhelm her?

For those who consider ‘choice’ as a woman’s natural ‘right’, have you ever bothered to take a minute to consider the ‘right’ of the unborn child to actually have a life? You know, the life that is enabling you to read this posting right now? The gift of your life is not a gift of your mother’s choice. It is a gift from God Himself, to your parents, your family, your friends, and to you.

The arguments on behalf of abortion always come down to a handful: saving the life of the mother or terminating a pregnancy that happened due to rape or incest. These arguments simply do not hold up under close examination. The fact of the matter is that abortion is used as birth control.

In both 1987 and 2004, the AGI (Alan Guttmacher Institute) surveyed women who had actually had abortions as to the reasons that they did it. Feel free to do the research yourself as to the validity of the organization or their methods, but you will find that they are professional, reputable and scientifically sound.

In 1987, only 1% of respondents had an abortion due to rape or incest, and only 3% due to some medical condition of the mother. Even taking into account the 3% additional who claimed that some fetal health issue was the reason, this means that 93% of those who had abortions did so simply because it would make their lives easier. They killed their child so that things would supposedly be easier on them.

In 2004, the respondents only claimed that rape or incest was the reason in less than half of one percent of the cases. Mother’s health was the reason in 4%, fetal health issues in 3%. So once again, roughly 93% of respondents gave reasons for their ‘choice’ that boiled down to making their own lives easier at the cost of the life of the baby.

Women who support a ‘right’ to a ‘choice’, who are you kidding? The only ‘choice’ that you want to be able to make is to reverse the effects of some decision to have unprotected sex that you made in an irresponsible moment. That is the simple fact for more than 9 out of 10 women who walk into an abortion clinic or hospital to take this action.

It would be easy for you to get mad at me and say that my position is easy for some man to take. But the fact of the matter is that those who fight for life include tens of millions of women and girls, so save that attack for someone who will be intimidated. If you are ‘pro-abortion’ then you have made the decision to support the killing of babies so that irresponsible people can have supposedly easier lives. Live with it, or change.

Of course the fact is also an ironic one, that a large number of women who do have abortions simply do not have easier lives. Survey after survey reveals that many women suffer for years, decades, even the rest of their lives due to the effects of the guilt feelings that follow this ‘choice’. Why would that be so? Is it just that society makes them feel guilty, or do they know inside that their ‘choice’ was morally bankrupt?

These are harsh words for some to hear, but when more than 50 million babies have been slaughtered across the United States of America for reasons that end up not being valid in the end anyway, that is nothing short of a holocaust. The unknown and untold loss of their lives and what they may have brought to their individual families and to humanity in general will never be known or measurable, but they are indeed missed, and their lives while in the womb are indeed worth fighting over.

The babies that should have been born in the most painful situations and under the most awful circumstances could have been given up for adoption, or could have been kept, raised, nurtured lovingly, and become the very blessing that would have made an intolerable and impossible situation into a healing and healthy one.

There is always another side to every story. For too long the side of the baby has been silent. The baby cannot speak for itself. Anyone who has ever had a child, held a fragile young infant in their arms, especially one that they themselves have given birth to or whom they have loved knows this instinctively. Someone needs to stand up and speak for their right to live.

If you have ever had an abortion or been a party to one, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness, to seek your own healing, and to begin to join the fight for life. If there is one thing that Jesus Christ taught us it was that the reason He died for us all on the cross was for the forgiveness and healing of our sins. You can make that ‘choice’ right now.

So in the end, I thank my mom for many things. For the good woman that she was in her life. For her love of God and family that rubbed off on me and eventually helped to make me the man that I am today. But one thing that I do not thank her for is my life. That life was given to her, to me, by God. It is all of our responsibility to stand up for life, not as a ‘choice’, but as every human beings real natural right.

NOTE: this is a continuation of the regular ‘Sunday Sermon’ series, all articles of which can be read by clicking on the link below this article at the http://www.mattveasey.com website

Thank You, God

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who takes the time to read these thoughts of mine. Anyone who cares enough about the way you think and express yourself to actually use some of their valuable time to bother reading is certainly worth thanking.

There are many others in my life for whom I am thankful that they are a part. There are many things, situations, events, objects, opportunities for which I am particularly thankful this year. But there is one above all others to whom I am grateful for providing the blessings of all those others in my life.

Thank you, God.

Thank you for the wife whom you directed into my life more than 17 years ago. Thank you for providing to her the gifts that have enabled her to grow with me, forgive me, love me. Thank you particularly for the gift of the time we’ve spent together all these years. Most particularly, for bringing us together in an understanding and acceptance of faith in your son, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for my daughters and my grandchildren. They have provided incredible love, color, and depth to the experiences of my lifetime. Thank you for all they have taught me and brought me, more than they probably know or could understand. Thank you for the gift of continuing to enjoy them as they all grow and mature, and I will continue to offer special prayers for their increased spiritual growth.

Thank you for this home that you have provided for my wife and I, and for the opportunities that we have had over the years to improve and secure it for ourselves. Thank you for the enjoyment of our family and friends here, some as their home, some as regular visitors, some as infrequent guests. All as welcome today as they have ever been at any time previously.

Thank you for my education, particularly this year with the achievement of a life long goal to graduate from college. Thank you for the opportunities provided to me by the Philadelphia Police Department, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Saint Joseph’s University and all of the good people who manage those programs. And going back even further, to the people at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint John Neumann for providing the educational and spiritual foundation that inspired those later goals.

Thank you for the gift of health, and for a reasonable amount of financial security and prosperity in times that have been difficult for many others. Well aware of the difficult times that I have experienced in the past, both physically and materially, I will never take these particular blessings for granted, knowing full well that challenges may lie ahead in the coming years.

Thank you for continuing to inspire Americans within this great nation that was founded with and grew under your direct blessings. Thank you for the men and women who still remember your primary role in that founding, in our past, in our present, and in our future. Thank you for all of those who refuse to surrender to the efforts to turn our nation away from your path. Thank you for not turning away from America when so many Americans have turned away from you.

Thank you for another incredible season of sporting enjoyment from the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as for the gift of the game and for inspiring my own passion for it’s enjoyment over the years as both a spectator and a participant. Thank you for getting to experience the thrill of the Phillies winning two World Series titles in my lifetime, and watching them compete in three others. Bless their organization with continued success, and we fans with continued opportunities to enjoy their play.

Thank you for the gifts that you have given me to express myself, both verbally and in writing. These gifts have allowed me opportunities that would not have come along otherwise. Opportunities to serve my community as a police officer, and to serve police officers and others as a teacher. The opportunity to express my feelings on issues of importance here at my website. And now the opportunity to express your Word as a lector for my parish.

Thank you for the meal that I am going to enjoy with some of my family members this particular Thanksgiving Day. For the turkey and stuffing and vegetables and trimmings. For the warm, happy home in which we will enjoy that feast. For the people with whom we will share that meal. And thank you for all of the meals that I am privileged to share throughout the year with all of my loved ones at every opportunity.

Thank you, God. Thank you for my life and for the people in that life. For all of the family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, priests, teachers, service providers. My one prayer this Thanksgiving Day is that every one of them, particularly those who intentionally turn away from you, or who do not fully understand or accept the sacrifice of Christ, that their hearts and minds and souls may be opened to the full measure of your love, forgiveness, and grace.

Reflections on the Fourth

Over this past weekend our country celebrated it’s 233rd birthday. We the people of the United States of America celebrated in a variety of ways.

Many flocked to the beaches along our coastlines. Even more celebrated with family or community barbecue cookouts during the day, followed by fireworks displays at night. Our family was no different.

No matter how we celebrated the day, the vast majority of Americans did indeed celebrate in some way. The reasons that we celebrated were many. Some would say that for many, like Christmas, the true meaning of Independence Day has become lost on most people. I don’t believe that is so.

As most Americans know and celebrate, Independence Day (or the ‘Fourth of July’) celebrates that date that the young American colonies declared their independence from the British crown back in 1776. Thus the massive display of the American flag, and of people incorporating the American colors of red, white, and blue into their wardrobes this weekend.

John Adams himself declared: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

He was off by two days in that letter, written to his wife on July 3rd, 1776, the reason being that Congress debated and revised the original Declaration of Independence after approving it a day earlier. The final version famously lists the July 4th ratification date. The actual signing of the Declaration, famously highlighted by John Hancock’s gorgeous signature, happened on August 2nd, 1776.

Amazingly, both Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two of America’s most celebrated Founding Fathers, two of the first men to lead our nation as President, and two signers of the Declaration, both died on the 4th of July, 1826 within hours of one another on the fiftieth anniversary of that great event. Five years later, President James Monroe also died on July 4th, though he was not a signer of the Declaration.

In 1777, Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in ways that a modern American would be familiar with, including an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships on the Delaware River were decked with red, white, and blue bunting to mark the occasion.

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to adopt July 4th as a state holiday. In 1785, Bristol, Rhode Island, held the first-ever parade in honor of the date, and has held one continuously on that date ever since.

In 1791, the first recorded use of the term ‘Independence Day’ happened. In 1870, Congress made the date an unpaid holiday for federal employees, then changed that to a paid holiday in 1938. Many American businesses have followed suit.

My own family had a very nice Independence Day weekend. We began our celebrations with my oldest daughter, Christine, and grandkids Elysia and Reznor staying at our home on both Friday and Saturday nights.

On Saturday, I spent the day in our pool with my granddaughter, then fired up the grill for a cookout as younger daughter Kelly and her boyfriend Jay Dooley joined the festivities. At night we lit sparklers in our backyard, and got to enjoy a tremendous neighborhood fireworks display put on by one of our neighbors. I even got to enjoy the New York and Philly fireworks displays on television.

On Sunday, my wife Debbie and I packed up Chrissy, Elysia and Rez, and headed over to Williamstown, New Jersey for a cookout and pool party with some of Deb’s family in honor of her father’s 84th birthday.

While there we had the great fortune to watch as the Phillies defeated the Mets to sweep a holiday weekend series, setting up the finale of our own celebration. Deb and I will be heading down to Citizens Bank Park tonight to watch the Phils take on the Cincinnati Reds.

Our family celebrates Independence Day the way that the vast majority of normal Americans do: family gatherings, cookouts, swimming, baseball, fireworks and all with the flag proudly displayed and the red, white, and blue clothing worn.

On this date in particular, we all pause to reflect on the braveness of our forefathers, the greatness of our nation, and the unity of purpose with which we must all move forward together to keep our country free. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Splitting Up for the Kids Sake is a Lie

‘John and Kate Plus Eight’ are now apparently going to be just ‘Kate Plus Eight’, with John seeing the kids once in awhile, or taking them every other weekend, or having joint custody, or some other arrangement such as the beginning one where the kids will stay in the house, and John and Kate will take turns living there.

What is not going to happen is having these eight innocent little kids growing up in their home together with two loving parents who also care about one another.

That is not only a shame, but it is also to the little tykes detriment. Problems for the children of broken homes are many and well-documented.

But in their case it is not a detriment, not if you ask John and Kate themselves. In a public statement, they claimed that one of the reasons they are divorcing is actually FOR the kiddies benefit, because it “is not healthy for the kids to grow up around all the fighting and arguing.”

This is a very lame argument indeed. Kids have grown up with parents arguing and fighting for millenia. I would bet that Adam and Eve themselves had some real donneybrooks after the whole ‘snake and apple’ fiasco, and it has been going on ever since.

People need to start returning to our grandparents day, when you married for life, and you toughed out the ups and downs. The bottom line in those relationships was simple: family first.

Did they have problems ‘back in the day”? Of course they did. Drinking, gambling, arguing, infidelity, illness, economic difficulties. These are not inventions of the 21st century, nor were they of the 20th. But families stayed together and gutted it out.

Fact is, splitting up for the kids sake is almost always a lie.
John and Kate, just like most other couples who do so, are splitting up because they are selfish and immature. They were unable or unwilling to set aside their egos, give one another a break, and put their kids and their family first.

I know first-hand of what I speak. I went through a divorce myself, with two young daughters affected. I was selfish and immature. I was also the product of a broken home, as was my father before me. The reasons always seem different, but usually come back to the same thing in the end: easing some burden on one or both partners.

I am not proud of my divorce in any way, but I will not allow it to silence me from expressing the knowledge that maturity and a mostly healthy second marriage has brought my way in the ensuing years.

Maybe in the end some number of marriages will always need to end due to out-of-control violence, or incest, or criminality, or some other situation that actually does endanger the welfare of the children. But far too often these days divorce is about ego gratification, and that is a fact.

Splitting up, or running away, when inevitable difficulties arise. These have become the norms in modern society. Somehow, we need to all begin to demand of ourselves things like perseverance, patience, and prioritization of our children over ourselves. Staying and making it work needs to be about us. It needs to be at our core. It needs to be our bottom line, the idea that no matter what, we will not leave.

John and Kate may have each had an affair. Maybe one of them did. Maybe they got a nice home and a bloated bank account and got soft. Maybe they came to believe that they could financially make it without one another. Perhaps they believe they can find newer, more exciting sexual partners, or more compatible lifemates. Whatever the case, it is all about them. Don’t make it about somehow benefiting the kids.