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I woke up with a sad heart this morning. An aching heart. At first, I thought it was about all the friends I’ve lost in such short amount of time. Each of their deaths have changed me in so many different ways. Erik’s is the only one that I won’t ever heal from. And then I thought maybe it was because I was homesick for the condo. For my friends. Or familiarity. But that wasn’t it either. See, you never remembered the important things. My birthday. My divorce hearing. The day of my first job in 17 years. My first day of college the second time around. My graduation day this past December. Or the nights we laid wrapped up in each other, naked in bed, with only you knowing that you were exploiting me and our relationship in every way imaginable.
But the reason I woke up sad this morning is because today is March 4th. One year ago today, you did the most unselfish thing you have ever done for me. You sat next to me and held my hand while I made what was probably the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make. Aside from calling Kristin to tell her Randy had died. I could not have made that call without you by my side. Encouraging me, cheering me on, writing out words, pointing to them when I lost my own. And then looking at me tearfully when I hung up, telling me how proud you were of me. Saying that you could never have been as brave as I had just been. It was also the last time I laid eyes on you—on purpose anyway. Not including the day I passed you on North Roan Street and watched you slow down to 20 miles an hour when you thought I didn’t notice you coming off the exit ramp. Nor the night in October when I saw you sitting in your truck at the condo, lights on and running, while I walked the dog. For the record, I didn’t know it was you until I was several feet away. And even though I kept walking, I froze on the inside. I didn’t know what to do in that moment because I was so caught off guard. But I so hoped that when I got back, you’d still be sitting there so we could finally talk about the horrible mess you’d made at everyone else’s expense. I guess you just weren’t ready. And in hindsight, I probably wasn’t either. But I want you to know that I watched you drive away that night until your tail lights disappeared from my sight. And I kept my eyes where I knew your eyes would be: directly in your rear-view mirror.
As I sit here typing, I feel a sickness in the depths of my belly that I could never fully describe to you. I can hardly believe that just a year ago today, you were my hero, my best friend, my everything…and yet 5 short days later, you became my biggest disappointment when you stabbed me in the back with a knife so long that it pierced my heart when the sharp end emerged on the other side. I’ve struggled so much over the last year because of the things you’ve done that I don’t know if I will ever recover from it. I tried explaining that to you in the letter you got last July (thanks for texting Kyra to let her know you read it), but even that probably didn’t convey just how deeply you’ve wounded me with your actions. What you did to me last year changed me. My friends commented on how different I was and I felt how withdrawn I had become. It took everything I had to finish school so I could graduate in December, with some days being so hard I couldn’t even will myself out of bed long enough to shower or brush my teeth. I got so overwhelmed with health issues and doctor’s appointments that I just quit showing up for them. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that as soon as December 10th arrived, I could leave Tennessee and move to the beach to heal my heart. I’ve been here three months now, and even though I have a free ride to King University starting in August, I cannot imagine ever coming back to that place I call home to do anything other than pack up the condo and leave again. It has been blissful to be here and not to have to hear your name all over town, or pass you on Roan, or run into your mother at the vet. Everywhere I turned, you were there and to say it was suffocating is an understatement.
What you did has been so unfair to me. I told you in my letter that the only thing I was ever guilty of was giving you more chances than you earned, as well as making you feel loved and cared for even when you didn’t do the same, and I stand by that because I know it’s the truth. Why you begged me to go to therapy with you so we could repair our relationship (your words), I will never understand. You professed so many times that you were different, and I had watched you so closely for so long, that I believed you were…only to discover that the Old You was alive and well and that you had not changed at all. I told our therapist this past week that if anyone should have tucked their tail and left town, it should’ve been you, not me, and she was in complete agreement with that. The sad thing is, she had started to believe in you too, only to find that she had been right about you all along. I agreed to go to counseling with you because I believed in you so much that I wanted her to see that you were indeed different so I wouldn’t have to defend myself to her anymore…(sadness)…what else can I say about that.
I am mostly content here on Oak Island and feel fortunate that I get to live by the sea and walk the sand every day. My sleep is better here, though still not great. I can breathe here. I’ve started making friends, but not too many because I like the anonymity this place brings me. I have a successful blog that not only helps me heal but heals others too. I will graduate again in May with a Sociology degree and I’m very proud of myself. I’m also very thankful that you pushed me to always be the very best I could be (3.92 GPA, and yes, I did blow the curve for everybody in Biology, but then you know that already). I heard you loud and clear that day during our first appointment when you told Syb I needed to be ready for the unknown and I’ve taken every step possible to ensure I always have a backup plan just the way you always hoped I would.
What I deserve, more than anything, is a chance to start over. I have that here. Even if it costs me a free ride at King. Or the rest of my savings. Or my friends back home who love me so much that they support whatever decision I make. They really want me to come home and I’ve given up so much for you already. I want to move forward with my life without remaining broken. I’m so ransacked because of you that I sometimes wonder if I will ever overcome it. I saw something recently that said ‘loving you was like going to war, I never came back the same’. My gosh, that’s so true. I stayed there to love you, but I left because I needed to love me.
I deserve a life in a place where you can never, ever hurt me again. And I deserve resolution so that I can keep moving forward without ever having to look back over my shoulder to see the path of destruction that you’ve left behind me over the last several years: from betraying my trust professionally, to exploiting me as your friend and lover, to betraying me in the most hurtful way by not telling the 100% truth when you could have while allowing the other woman (she will always be the other woman, make no mistake about it) to verbally attack me and my credibility while you stood by doing absolutely nothing to defend my character. You should never have allowed that to happen. The only person who was guilty of misbehaving and hurting people was you. And you should have taken ownership of that. You have betrayed me and taken advantage of me so many times that I’ve lost count. That’s so not fair and so not okay. I cannot, cannot, cannot ever be okay with that. I have tried and tried to be okay with it and I can’t. You told me once that you didn’t want to leave devastation in your past anymore. I want you to know that you have failed that test miserably.
People say we should never seek healing from the ones who broke us but I’m learning to heal. To be whole again. Your choices as a man have cost you dearly, and I am weary. Weary from watching these wounds ooze and bleed continuously. I richly deserve an apology from you. For what, you might ask? For every down-dirty, underhanded thing you have ever done to me. Whether you meant to or not. I have walked through fire with you and never wavered. My feeling is that you owe me a face to face conversation so that I can make sense of all the chaos you’ve brought into my life over the last 9 years. I cannot do this without your participation. And I know you still care enough about me to not want me to suffer for all of your foolish, careless mistakes. The last 9 years is between you and me, and you and me only. Either way, I need a response from you. You know how to reach me.
The letter above was an actual email that was sent to the man who had my heart last March. It was my attempt to gain closure from our now-defunct relationship. It is the lead, so to speak, to my upcoming blogs about grief. For the record, because I know some of you are going to message me privately and ask, he did respond. And we did sit down together and talk with our therapist. Closure, however, was not attained. Nor were things satisfactorily resolved. Names and pertinent details have been omitted to protect the-not-so-innocent.
See y’all again soon!