I usually find the magazines in the supermarket checkout so depressing. In fact, now that I think about it, that may be one of the things I like best about Whole Foods and River Valley Market. They don’t peddle garbage to you as you are trying to leave.
However, today I was behind someone slow at Stop n Shop and saw an article in People magazine that grabbed my attention. Valerie Bertinelli got remarried recently, and her famous ex husband Eddie Van Halen was in attendance. Bertinelli and Van Halen wed in 1981, when I was fourteen, and it made an impression on my young adolescent mind. As the years passed, and they outlasted all expectations, I was actually happy that they beat the odds. But like many long-term Hollywood marriages, like Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, theirs did not last. Marriage is difficult under so-called normal circumstances, it would seem damned near impossible for people who have a constant stream of attractive admirers offering themselves up.
Now that I seem to have morphed into the new role of peaceful divorcee, my impressionable middle-aged mind looks around for signs of happy divorced couples that are still friendly and doing a good job of co-parenting together. I know that it is a bit quixotic to look to celebrities for role models, but the truth is that they do get a lot of our society’s attention. I have been disappointed in the way that the Huffington Post has reported celebrity break ups (usually train wrecks).
Call me an optimist, but when I read about Elizabeth Edwards’ death and heard that John was with her at the end, I imagined peace. I imagined forgiveness. I imagined nothing but the expression of love, for the family that they created, and for each other. None of us will probably know what when on in that room, but that’s my vision of it.
So I was delighted to see that Bertinelli and Van Halen are still good friends. People reported that Van Halen and his new wife were guests at the small wedding, and there are photos of the bridegroom hugging the ex-husband. I couldn’t help but feel my heart melt a bit at that photo (you’ll have to check out the magazine to see it because it’s not on-line). It was a genuine expression of affection and happiness over his ex-wife’s new union. Who knew that I would turn to Eddie Van Halen as a role model? Maybe he hasn’t handled everything in his life the way I would, but he seems to have handled his divorced life well.
That’s how I envision my future: my ex and I happy for each others’ successes and pleased that we have found other partners, having extended family celebrations together, maybe even attending each others’ weddings. It certainly takes time to get there, but I feel like we have come to a place where we could do that. Already I have come to see that his current girlfriend is both great for him and the kids (a future post in the making). So here’s to deep and loyal friendship after divorce. If two celebrities with high pressure lives can do it, so can anyone.