Hurting after their divorce

20 October 2020

Liceanne Utah

New Erima Primary School, NCD – SINCE Papua New Guinea is into this so called gender-based violence, no one cares about what’s going on in the minds of children when parents are separated or divorced.
Family is all that matters to children. They wish that they would have a happy normal life that they are so used to.
For me, life was going so well when my mom and dad were together. I don’t know how they met each other but they don’t talk about any of it with me. Having fun and going out with them, taking pictures together and travelling from one place to another was something I’ve never imagined.
Sometimes I could even go to my dad’s office and spend the rest of the day in there, since he was the headmaster of a school. On other days I would be at my mom’s work place, when she was a nurse. That became my daily routine, because I had not started school yet. I was six years old then.
Since I was the only child in the family, they gave me everything I wanted, which is common for every parent who has only one child.
Spending time with them was the best thing I could do in my life. Often times, I would play around with my best friends.
Everything was going well but at times I started seeing mom and dad arguing over small things, although it didn’t bother me. I was only eight years old that time and did not think seriously about them.
I started going to school when I was seven years old and that was when I started hanging out with my friends a lot. When I went back home after school, I would hear my small cousins telling me that mom and dad had been arguing again. From then on, everything got serious and I realised that every time I came back from school, they would tell me that there was fighting going on between my parents.
At dinner time, they would pretend in front of me as if nothing bad was going on between them. Things started getting serious and I felt like everything was going the opposite way instead of what I had expected. Dad started drinking and would come home and argue with mom. Sometimes when he got frustrated he would destroy things in the house. No one tried to stop him when he did that, not even my uncle, and I don’t know why.
I was the one they would put in front of him and when he saw me, he calmed down. Ever since then, I was used to stop their ongoing fights. I was starting to get afraid that something bad might happen to mom and dad. Even my aunts and uncles started complaining about the everyday arguments. Sometimes I questioned myself, wondering what to do next.
One odd morning, I woke up and my dad told me that he was going to leave for a while. I suddenly felt so weak when I heard him telling me that. I wanted to go with him but he refused. My mom also didn’t want me to follow him.
I said goodbye to him, he hugged me and left for town. I was crying while watching him go.
Mom and I left for the house and we spent the day by ourselves. It was so odd and unusual that day. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. The thoughts usually ruined my days. I didn’t stop asking mom when dad would be home but she just ignored me and didn’t even want to answer my questions.
Every day, I woke up missing dad around the house and I could wait and wait hoping he would come home. It just didn’t happen. Every day I felt hopeless and caught up thinking about him why he wouldn’t come to see me.
Mom was so fast, she just moved on with her life. As an eight-year-old child, I was getting suspicious.
I don’t know if that is is normal for aneight-year-old child. I can’t even remember one single time seeing my mom worrying about dad. It was strange seeing my mom come home late at night. I thought it was her normal time to end the day.
My dad left and never came back for me and my mom. One afternoon, I was playing with my sisters and mom came and told me to go to the house and wait for dinner. I left my sisters and did as she told me. We both had dinner together in silence and I felt like she was going to say something.
After dinner, she sat me down in front of her and she said, “I have something very important to tell you. Your dad is going out with another lady and I think he’s going to marry her.” She didn’t stop yet and I was already in tears. She continued, “You know that I can’t take care of you by myself so I’m going to need someone to help me raise you up.”
I understood what she was saying. I was running out of breath while sobbing. She hugged me so tight and I just fell under her arms and was motionless.
The next morning I woke up and realised that I fell asleep last night while sobbing under my mom’s arms. My head was filled with all kind of questions of whys and hows. I still didn’t understand why my dad would do such a thing.
Since last night I felt some kind of feeling that I couldn’t explain to the world and hundreds of questions run through my mind. I even ask myself why mom and dad were doing this to me. Why is this happening? Why are things ganging up on me? ‘
I tried to live a normal life when mom and dad wanted to marry their so-called new husband and wife. It just didn’t feel the same, the place I always called home was never the same as it used to be.
Sadness and grief always appear in front of me when I see mom and her new husband being together. Everyday mom was so different, she never spent that much time with me like she used to when dad was around. She was so brain-washed by the new husband.
My aunts tried their best to be good mothers towards me but it didn’t change how I felt towards my parents. I once heard stories about single parents and how their children felt so hopeless without their mothers or fathers being close to them. Now I really feel how they felt like. I tried to live in the same lane with them but that didn’t suit me at all.
Every day seeing a family having fun together made me feel so sad and I just wished everything went back to normal.
I would ask myself why they divorced. They don’t have any idea how I feel when seeing other children living with their whole family.
Parents don’t realise how it feels like to live with a mom and a dad being separated or divorced. It hurts so much that parents have to know this. I’m always grateful for my friends and the people that I can call family because they were so supportive, encouraging and loving.
Writing this story as a 15-year-old sucks when I always think back. I’m so grateful for myself because I was strong and brave enough to overcome it, even if it happened to me at a very young age.
As a 15 year old, I want to encourage young people to make wise decisions to choose a good partner in life. It might happen that in the middle of your relationship you might do the same thing my parents did to me. You have to think about your child and what he or she is going to face if you happen to do the mistake my parents did. Stronger children might handle the situation but soft hearted ones might go through a hard time in their lives.
Please parents, don’t be so selfish and think about yourselves only but consider your poor children and what they might go through.
Please be cautious because you might end up hurting your own children and it might affect their personal lives too.

Liceanne Utah from Bougainville is in Grade 8 Purple at New Erima Primary School. These two stories are from a school writing project coordinated by If you want to support this initiative or donate any used books to the school, you can email the coordinator Betty Wakia on

This story first appeared in the Weekender, The National of 25 September 2020

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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