Sunday, February 15, 2009

Four Years Later

Note: I originally wrote this entry as a letter to Charlotte. I never intended to send it to her, but thought it was a good way of putting into words the things I was thinking about on this day – four years later. As it was originally written, I think it's perhaps one of the best pieces of writing I've done in a long time.

I read the rough draft to Terry, and he offered the opinion that if I left it in its original form (addressed to Charlotte, but shared with all of you), it would prompt different reactions than I intended, especially for those who don't know the context out of which it is being expressed.

He suggested making some changes or at least providing some context in the form of an introduction or explanation.

I benefit now from his wisdom as a writer and friend – indeed, every day it is so.

I will write more after.

Four Years Later.It was four years ago today that she and I, with many tears and much travail, walked into the Lake County Courthouse and ended our marriage of ten years.

For a long time, thinking of this day only brought pain and regret. Now, it prompts other thoughts. And, when such thoughts come, I must write. So, now, I write.

It is perhaps fitting that, having begun as friends, our friendship is what remains after all. I treasured that friendship in the beginning, and treasure it now.

I am glad that four years later, we have both moved past the hurt and pain of our parting, and I think that in very important ways both of us are better, stronger, more whole as people than we were four years ago. We have both found some level of happiness and contentment, and for that I am thankful.

As I think about this day, I think not so much about our separation and the ending of our marriage as about the ten years we had together. And I think about it with joy.

She was my love of a lifetime, and in our ten years, I loved for a lifetime. I seek no other, can imagine, no other love.

Thoughts of that time bring small remembrances from the treasure house of my heart where such things are stored.

I remember her laughter, and how it brought joy to my heart to hear it. I remember making her coffee every morning so she could wake up slowly while watching HGTV. I remember our Thursday nights watching “Friends” and “ER”.

I remember our Friday night date nights, especially those that found us over at Mom and Dad's playing gin rummy.

I remember cooking breakfast on Saturday mornings.

I remember her thrill at finding a treasure at the thrift store, a yard sale, or the flea market.

I remember her touch, her smile, her kiss, her love. I remember the way she felt in my arms. I remember how right the world was lying next to her, snuggling on those rare cold nights in Florida.

I remember, and am glad.

The end of the matter is this:

Four years later, I still miss her.

Four years later, I still love her.

Four years later, I remain, and ever shall be, though time itself should cease and fail to mark the span since we parted, truly hers.

Postscript. Even those who know me well, and are familiar with the history of Charlotte and our love, might be asking themselves why, if I still love this woman so obviously four years later, do I not get on the first plane to Florida to tell her these things, get off the road, and go back to Florida, where, you might think, I evidently belong.

I only say to you three things:

  • Loving someone, no matter how much or for how long, is not enough to make being together possible. You already know this from your own experience. It is as common a theme in human experience as anything else, and that fact is reflected in the greatest literary and dramatic expressions of the past five thousand years and more. So it is with us.

  • As I wrote, I have moved beyond focusing on the pain and regret of the past, and am able to treasure the wonderful, good, and perfect things about Charlotte and our magical union. That's not the same as saying I want to rewind the clock, or that it would even be possible.

  • I say often in this blog that I am more content, more whole, more satisfied with my life – the choices I've made and taking the responsibility for those choices – than I can ever remember being. That is true. And a part of that present life are those things I treasure about my beloved Charlotte as I mark this day. Be glad with me that it is not marked by remembering the pain and regret, but instead by a celebration of all that I will forever cherish about this most wonderful woman I've ever known.

Until next time . . . keep the wheels rollin' . . . making choices and taking responsibility . . .


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