RIP Nora Ephron: "Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever."
Nora Ephron was the original Ex Wife. The brilliant author and screenwriter was really the best, funniest and most courageous writer to pull back the curtain and reveal the indignities and horrors of being cheated on by your husband, of navigating the uncertain aftermath of post-split-with-children life.
Ms. Ephron died Tuesday after living privately with an aggressive cancer. She was 71.
If you have not read her book "Heartburn" and seen the movie starring Meryl Streep playing the very pregnant, very cheated on Nora Ephron, do yourself a favor and do so right now.
Endless tributes are rightfully being written about Ms. Ephron. I'm choosing to write a Bill of Rights for Ex Wives in her honor. The tagline for her blog on HuffPost Divorce was "Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever." That says it all, with wit, humor and a dash of agony – which is precisely how Nora Ephron lived and wrote.
The Doyenne of Divorce
She was founder and editor-at-large for Huffington Post Divorce, and the site said goodbye to her today beneath the headline: "Thank You, Nora Ephron, For Telling the Truth About Divorce"
It seems a fitting way to say goodbye to one of our favorite and most loved chroniclers of women's lives. She told painful truths encased in hysterically funny prose, with some fabulous recipes thrown in.
Beneath the veneer of incredible humor and wit, she rendered so many sad realities and conflicts inherent in post-divorce parenting.
This tribute is from Huffington Post Divorce, mourning Ms. Ephron's death Tuesday:
"Ephron was a two-time divorcee, and divorce was a constant theme in her life. Her second marriage to — and subsequent divorce from — famed journalist Carl Bernstein inspired her 1983 novel "Heartburn," which was adapted into the acclaimed film by the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Ephron was one of the first women to talk about divorce with sophistication, humor and wit; her honesty about the subject added an inspired and relatable degree of poignancy to her work."
In honor of Nora Ephron, I offer:
A Bill of Rights for Ex Wives
You have the right not to be cheated on – especially when pregnant.
You have the right to make loud public scenes when finding out your husband is cheating on you – when you're pregnant.
You have the right to announce your findings at a dinner party with close friends.
You have the right to use cooking and food as comfort, distraction, revenge or weaponry – but, alas—chances are it will come back to bite you on the hips.
You have the right to share your story (or, if you're Nora Ephron, write a best-selling book about it that gets turned into an award-winning movie starring Meryl Streep as you…and then get to be buddies with Ms. Streep.)
You have the right to an honest accounting by your ex-husband of what he's done – only if you want it.
You have the right to feel stunned and outraged that your life turned out this way.
You have the right to pamper yourself, to nip or tuck or spa your way through the despair.
You have the right to demand payment for your decades of unpaid labor and not feel one iota of guilt.
You have the right to tell your children the whole truth, (some of it only when they are old enough.)
You have the right not to run interference between your ex-husband and your children no matter how old they are.
You have the right to demand your ex be an excellent father, meet all his responsibilities, keep promises he makes and have it all in writing. (One of the few cool things about divorce is you can require and enforce behaviors you couldn't in marriage. In divorce, you can actually make your ex spend undistracted time with the kids, do their laundry, feed them dinner, make their school lunches, remember to sign permission slips….I know, right??)
You have the right to claim any of the good, fun friends you made as a couple and bequeath the losers to your ex.
You have the right to be bitter that your ex-husband's new girlfriend is, wait… hold on.
You have the right to be bitter that your ex-husband has a new girlfriend.
You have the right to be bitter that your ex-husband's new girlfriend seems smart and is probably not a model.
You have the right to feel weird and sad that he is seeing someone else even if you are totally relieved not to be married to him anymore. It's still weird.
You have the right to go through Facebook looking for old high school crushes.
You have the right to be outraged that statistically, first wives' income goes down catastrophically while their ex-husbands' income skyrockets after the divorce.
You have the right not to have to listen to your ex-husband's anxieties or comfort him anymore, even if you are so good at it.
You have the right to cling to your children for dear life, for a while, careful not to smother them with too much mother love.
You have the right to re-write the rules of your new relationship with your ex.
You are re-negotiating the contract in all ways.
You have the right to demand to be treated with respect and decency.
You have the right to move on with your life in whatever way and on whatever timetable you choose.
You have the right to choose your new life, and for it to be wonderful.
Read more from the series the Divorce Diaries: