Love is often elastic — and can retain its strength even after divorce. As soon as Travis Barker’s ex-wife, Shanna Moakler, heard that Barker, the former drummer for Blink 182, was seriously injured in a plane crash, she rushed to his side.
Barker and DJ AM are the survivors of a crash in South Carolina that sadly left four other people dead: the pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31; the co-pilot James Bland, 52; security guard Charles Still, 25; and Barker's assistant Chris Baker, 29.
Doctors have said that both Barker and DJ AM , whose real name is Adam Michael Goldstein and who was once engaged to Nicole Richie, should survive, but that the recuperation from their burns will be long and painful.
Shanna Moakler, 33, a former Miss USA and Playboy Playmate, was married to Barker, 32, from 2004 until earlier this year. They have two children, son Landon 4 and daughter Alabama 2, and were known from an MTV reality TV show called “Meet the Barkers.”
Barker’s ex-mother-in-law told People Magazine that “there’s still love between them. “
“They may be divorced by they’re still very close. She spends a lot of time with him. Their priorities are their kids."
As of this weekend, the children have not yet been told about the accident because they are so young. Whether it is about divorce or illness, parents should edit what they tell young children.
It’s heart warming to hear about Moakler rushing to her ex-husband’s side, because it’s a reality for many divorced couples that the bond extends beyond the divorce. Once you are parents, you are forever connected to your ex-husband.
Especially if neither of you have remarried.
Perhaps it is what France’s First Lady Carla Bruni said, that after the hurt feelings heal, you appreciate the good that still exists, the reasons you got together in the first place. It is why she is still friendly with her ex-boyfriends.
Recently the New York Times did a story on how ex-wives become the caregivers to ex-husbands who are terminally ill. The article cited several woman who reunited with their ex-husbands during their last days. For example, Millie Hayes, an antiques shop owner in Monroe, Louisiana, hated living with her ex-husband, Karl, because he was so controlling. “He picked out her car and her clothes and checked the walls for smudges after she cleaned house.”
But when he got sick, she chose to take care of him, because “there was no one else.”
As The Times reported, the number of older Americans who have divorced and not remarried has risen more than 60 percent in the last decade, according to the Census Bureau.
In 2003, the most recent year for which the census reports statistics, there were 2,726,000 divorced Americans older than 65, compared with 1,718,000 in 1994.
Often a person feels deep ties to a former husband or wife, or feels a responsibility borne of common experience and child-rearing. “They are acting more like a brother or sister, or cousin or extended family member, or sometimes they have the joy of being grandparents together,” said J. Donald Schumacher, chief executive of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a public policy group representing hospices. He said the presence of former spouses at the hospital or deathbed isn't uncommon anymore.
So when Shanna visits Travis, the fact that she is his ex-wife caring for him will not be surprising, but much more a fact of American life in the modern age of divorce.