BRANDON – ValTrenda Cesar, founder of the Ruth Catherine Women’s Institute, shares her experience of surviving divorce in her new books, “The Residue of Marriage and Divorce: The Issues No One Wants to Talk About” and “Clearing the Residue of Marriage and Divorce Handbook.”
The books will be available for purchase at a book signing and release party – with discussion, hors d’oeuvres and door prizes – from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at the Holiday Express-Brandon, 501 Grand Regency Blvd.
Cesar, who lives in Riverview, was recently divorced, and the process was more difficult than she ever expected.
“It ended up being a very traumatic experience for me,” said the 30-year-old student, mother of two and crisis center counselor.
She took a personal approach in writing “The Residue of Marriage and Divorce,” hoping to help others heal and move forward by sharing her journey from the childhood roots of her beliefs about marriage to the ultimate dissolution of her marriage.
People may not go through the exact same process, she said, but they may feel similar feelings and have comparable problems.
“These are issues that a lot of women and men try to brush under the rug, because in a lot of cultures and religions, divorce is shunned,” said Cesar. “If you admit you’re divorced, you get kicked out of the church or your religion or get kicked out of the family. So people who have experienced divorce hide. They’re not okay with talking about their divorce experience and taking action to heal. Sometimes they jump into another relationship or use unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse or sexual immorality to cover up what they went through.”
She knows firsthand that when a marriage ends, “it’s the death of a relationship, so you go through a grieving process, the same process if you lost someone significant to death,” she said. “But life continues to happen around you. I still had to finish my college degree, I still had to raise my children and I still had to go to work.”
When someone dies, people may empathize, offering comfort and condolences, but when someone loses their loved one through divorce, people may judge, ostracize or minimize its significance.
Heavily influenced by her grandmother, Ruth Catherine Hip’pard, and other role models, Cesar founded the Ruth Catherine Women’s Institute in 2007 as a vehicle for leading people “into a better life, better relationships, better health and locating the beauty that’s inside.”
Whether mentoring young women, presenting motivational talks to groups or writing books, she pours her “life experiences into others,” she said, “so they see ‘I’m not the only one going through this, not the only one who has this problem, has experienced this. Apparently this person made it, so I can make it, too.’”
Learn more at www.rcwiconsultants.com. Contact Cesar at [email protected], (813) 770-8195.
Send community news to Barbara Routen, freelance correspondent, at [email protected]