To the Ones Who Left:
I don’t think we understand the magnitude of pain until we experience it, live in it, and see it through to the other side. At the beginning of my separation from my now ex-husband, my life was in chaos. Literally deconstructed. Emotionally devastated by a life-changing decision I made. The impact it had on my family, well, chaos doesn’t even begin to describe it.
You see, I know I made a decision; one you do not agree with. I know I hurt people for a sake that you may never choose to understand. I know some of you will read this and say, “I’m not the one who left her! She left all of us!” Well, I guess that could be true, depending on how you choose to see it.
If you remember me, you remember I’m a good person. If you once loved me, you know I have a warm heart. If you cared for me, there was probably a time I helped you through something (without judgment). If you laughed with me, you probably liked my sense of humor. If you cried with me, we probably had a bond. If we had heart-to-hearts, we were probably vulnerable with one another.
But now you don’t know me anymore. And you’re angry. You’re angry that I changed. That I hurt people. Maybe I hurt you, indirectly and unintentionally. Maybe you’ve labeled me selfish, a user, a bitch, a villain — spoken bad about me to people by whispering in their ear, who in turn whisper in mine. I know who you are, and I know what you say.
You’ve judged my decision and come up with your own opinion of what happened in my life, my marriage, and why I walked away. And you’ve decided I’m not worth your time and effort, and you’ve given up on me.
We all grieve in our own way. And before I could come to all of you and explain my pain, I needed to attempt to understand it first. I needed people in my life who would wait for me, without judgment. I needed people not to create their own stories about me, but wait for me to tell mine. I needed unconditional love, not to be left out with the trash. I needed you not to take it personally. I needed it not to be about you. I needed time. Time to catch my breath, so that I could grab the hands that reached out, that waited for me and didn’t give up on me.
But many of you let me go. And that’s okay. I’m not mad at you. I understand.
But there’s something I want you to know. I will always remember you. I will remember being in your wedding, and crying as I stood next to you. I will remember listening to your problems and reconciling mine with you over a glass of wine. I will remember being your roommate and dancing together until the sun came up. I will remember your birthday every year. I will remember going through births, deaths, and everything in between with you. I’ll never forget. I’ll always remember with fondness, a bittersweet feeling swirling in the pit of my heart. I’ll smile when I hear that you got married, that you’re having a baby, and that you’re happy.
But I’ll also be here if things ever fall apart, if things change course or if your life ever deconstructs. I’ll be here without judgment. I won’t talk bad about you. I’ll listen and try to understand. And if I can’t, I’ll be there for you anyway. If you don’t return my calls, I’ll keep calling. I won’t take your heartache personal. I’ll create a safety net for you, should you ever need to use it. I will be a safe haven without question.
Because I could never forget what we’ve shared or the times we’ve had. Because I will always love you, unconditionally. Because no matter the choices you make, I will always remember who you are.
And you are good.
I will always remember you are good.