I can never tell you in person how I feel. I can never make amends. These words on this page are what I would say if you were here today.
The last thing you remember of me is the person I was at the end of our marriage. I wasn’t as kind or as understanding as I could have been. If I hurt you, I’m so sorry.
From this place, out in the future and off to the side, I see things differently. I understand now I never knew who you were. Even at the beginning of our relationship, I never found out what you thought. There were too many questions I was afraid to ask, too many topics that were off-limits and too many feelings I never shared with you.
I made you into the person I wanted you to be, without taking into account you might be someone completely different.
It turns out you were different. And I blamed you for that. I blamed you for being you and not the person I wanted you to be. I’m sorry for that. It wasn’t fair.
I was wrong for you and I couldn’t see it because I was too busy imagining you as the ideal husband and trying to be what I thought you wanted. A foolish endeavour, especially when I never even asked you what you needed. I am sorry that you didn’t get to spend your short life with someone who was right for you. I stole that away from you.
I had no idea what caused you pain or what brought you happiness. I was too wrapped up in myself to notice your struggles. The silences were easy for me because I didn’t have to have a difficult conversation. I’ve called you a coward; it turns out the coward was me.
I am sorry for my lies, my pretence and for misunderstanding you. I regret that I never communicated my deep heartfelt truth to you. I’m doing that now.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to struggle with a mental illness. I will never know if you had it your entire life, but if you lived for forty years with that kind of pain you must have been so brave. If you’d decided to kill yourself back in 1992 and you held out until 2010 then you are one of the strongest people I know.
There are so many things I have to thank you for. For never hurting me physically, for never cheating on me, for sticking it out for as long as you did. You never left me or abandoned me — I was the only one who left.
Knowing you has enlightened me and given me many gifts. Our marriage taught me that an authentic connection is the only path to happiness. We both wore masks — it was unreasonable to expect you to have dropped yours when I was wearing mine. I didn’t trust your love because what you were loving was the façade I’d created. To drop my disguise meant the person you loved would be gone. When I finally allowed my true nature to emerge, it was too late.
Love has many faces. I spent a long time believing the love I had for you had died. Love can never die. I still love you.
I love the part of you that ‘got’ my jokes, that never demanded I did anything I didn’t want to, and the part of you that would try to solve my problems. Those memories are still there, not quite accessible, but the flavour of them runs underneath the bitterness of those last days.
Thank you for the gift of letting me go. I no longer have to worry about you or feel responsible for your pain. You are now at peace and knowing that means I also have peace. Your death brought an end to my old life and closed off any opportunity to go back. Without that option I had to commit to my new life. And look how beautiful my world is now …
Without knowing the pain of disconnection I would never appreciate the relationship I have now. The deep scar in my heart is a daily reminder to treasure intimacy and truth. Taking another person for granted is a thing of the past.
I am thrilled to have had you in my life, and I look forward to the day when we meet again as different energies, in a different universe, and all there will be is love.