It was something we were definitely going to do one day once we got out from under the endless bills we seemed to always be paying. We wanted a rambler style home so when we grew old together, we wouldn’t have stairs to contend with. We talked about that small 6 stall barn, the one that would so comfortably stable our rescue horses and how we would ride them kindly and gently at their own pace, not ours.
But you found someone new.
She had a few videos on her page. Yes, of course I watched them. She was at her home in Southern Maryland you mentioned, leaning on a wooden rail fence calling her horse Whiskey to come in for his supplements. Her voice is kind. She has a strong love for animals; the same one we shared.
I don’t think you could love someone who didn’t share that love for animals and the ability to appreciate them the way you do. It was certainly one of the most powerful and joyous parts of our love. What did we have, eight at one time? Yes, we had four dogs and four cats when we combined hearts and households.
I remember holding each and every one, you by my side, as they drew their last breath of us and this world. I remember where each one is buried. I remember watching from the window as you placed them so gently in the ground. My heart was too heavy to stand beside you so you stood for me and sang those last loving lullabies to carry with them to the Bridge.
When you go to the pet cemetery where our babies are buried, the one we chose so thoughtfully under the oak, tell them I love them and that they too have a piece of my heart. Cut the purple lilacs when they bloom so fragrant, the ones you planted by the front door for me. That heavenly fragrance will rouse them and bring our angels forth to remember how they loved to roll in the dirt and wallow in the shade under those lush green leaves.
I won’t be back again to kneel at their grave and lay flowers there to honor them. Please stand for me again.
It is easy looking back, isn’t it? Why is it only then we choose to remember the good things, the things that really matter? Maybe we just choose to do so once we are apart because remembering the pain of the vicious fights and venomous words we spewed seems trite now, dismissive of what was good with us.
You were the only man I ever let help me. You knew my past, my incredibly dysfunctional upbringing full of abuse. You knew I had to be hard as stone, to do everything myself as I had since I was five. When I became so ill I could not walk without your help, I had to surrender to your hands and I fought it til I could fight no more. You were there to catch me when I collapsed physically and emotionally knowing that for me to trust someone enough to take charge of my body after what my father had done to me years before, took everything I had. It was easier than I thought once I just let go. You made it easy and I will never forget you for that.
But you found someone new.
I have to let you go now. I know that. Selfishly, I don’t want to. I want to put you back on that shelf where I can take you down and talk to you when I want to, when I need to, when I want to be the strength in the cadence of your words and world. But part of me that still loves you tells me to be happy for you. So I will snuff out the selfish thoughts and replace them with love and gratitude to send your way.
I know our polite conversation last night, our first one with her in the home that was once mine, will be our last. I woke this morning to a series of pictures you sent. There was one of you standing behind her with your arms wrapped tight around her shoulders. She has her hands placed on top of yours, holding your hug close to her heart and I felt the beats of mine pause for a moment.
Your eyes are bright and shining again. Tears still fall from mine but they are not all tears of sadness, some are happy tears. That light I see in your eyes was the same light that drew me to you when it was our time to shine.
But you found someone new.
Please don’t send anymore pictures chronicling your love. You have been with her eight long months and I have known of it less than 24 hours. I cannot be that selfless that quickly. It will take some time for me to unravel the strings that tether my heart to yours; they are so intertwined. I should have done it long ago but those damn possibilities kept me from it. It’s time now.
Don’t lie, it is the one thing that really undermines a relationship and saying you’re sorry doesn’t make it ok. Please don’t lie to her.
Please don’t be unfaithful. I forgave you but I could never forget and things were never the same after that.
I hope I taught you well as you taught me. I know you surrendered to me in ways you never had before. In retrospect, maybe we were in each other’s lives to teach and heal so that we were ready for a new level of love, a kinder one, a tender one and hopefully, a wiser one.
You know my writing so well, you always encouraged it so you know that I am a sucker for powerful endings. I spend a lot of time crafting the wind up and tying it into the beginning narrative of my story. This time, this writer cannot muster the big ending for it would be too contrived and this story already has a happy ending, a great finish and wind up – at least for you.
My story hasn’t been written yet perhaps because I haven’t spent much time thinking about it or seeking answers. Perhaps my writing, my new found release is also my prison keeping me house bound and isolated. I don’t know. It seems I’m unsure of everything now.
A piece of my heart will be forever in you care. Please be gentle, for it is now and always was, the most fragile and vulnerable part of me. Listen when it speaks to you. It knows you well and holds the memory of me inside of you.
Speak kindly of me.
This goodbye has tarried on far too long but I now realize by saying goodbye to you, I must say goodbye to it all; all we were, all we might have been and all we were never were going to be.
“But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you…….in my life, I love you more.” -Beatles