To Whom It May Concern,
I lost my mind today, the day began with a breakfast planned with my brother. We had just celebrated the Christmas holiday, and now when I reflect I recall a quiet perhaps eery drive home that night. I chose to sleep in the bed with my partner of many decades and that had become a rarity in the last decade. I offered an affection, a hand on a shoulder that for many years now had remained simply that, but it was Christmas it was the holiday, it was a time to be thankful.
When I tossed aside the comforter to get up to ready myself for breakfast the words that I received forever changed my life. “We need to talk” she said. And I replied with a what’s up, like plans later in the afternoon. “I want a divorce” were her next utterance. I sat on my side in disbelief, what would now begin is a fog, almost a blackout of the hours ahead. I rose up in rage, and stated, ‘that is the most selfish thing you could ever do to this marriage.’ Those words burn in my heart now because I have come to realize I wasn’t speaking to her as much as I was myself.
I stormed out into the bathroom, stood in the mirror, I stormed out of the room into the hallway. While leaving there was a faint sound of her saying, ‘there will always be a part of you I love,’ and I scoffed and went downstairs. I made noise, slammed cupboards, threw things for effect that I knew wouldn’t break. I took some deep breaths, sat in my chair, and texted my brother a raincheck for breakfast. I stared at the bookcase that held twenty years of our lives together and I realized this was a nightmare I would not awaken from. This was real.
To the reader this might seem horrific, and it was, but to those closest to me, it would not come as a surprise. I had spoken for years of the disharmony of our relationship, that we were friends and we were past the hope of being anything more. I had moved on in many respects. I had begun to find ‘my own time’ as I like to call it, and in recent years I guess I should have realized it was far more easy to find that time than it had been over the last thirty years. My marriage was over, but my pride was just getting started,
I called my children and they were both unreachable. I later discovered it was because they were on the phone with their mother hearing the news themselves for the first time. I later received a text from my daughter that said, “I’m sorry Dad, I love you so much” and then gone. She had just driven off the grid to our cabin (my wife’s cabin) deep in the north wood where there would be no cell service. This place is where I always told people if ever I lost my mind, that is where I would be found. I now am not sure if that is possible any more, not the losing mind part of course.
My son I would talk to later that night. Beforehand I had gone home to pack a bag and left again and contacted a very dear friend who gave me her afternoon and just listened. She let me express my full range of emotions and in her stoic nature I knew a compassion that I hadn’t felt anywhere else for many years, but from her yes, it was a constant in our relationship no matter how obscure it had become by society’s norm. We talked about my many hours of expressing dismay over my marriage and how I wanted out and now I had gotten what I wished for.
I went back to the house early evening with one more appeal. At one point later, my wife would say I frightened her. Not in the I’m going to abuse you manner but just my affect, my willingness to share with her my darkest plans, my intent to jump off the Washington Bridge, my rage to drive out of the driveway fast enough so she could not get my plate number as she dialed to the local police department to ask for a welfare check on her husband who as she stated had lost his mind.
I began to drive wherever my car would take me. I thought of a hotel room, I thought of a bridge, I thought of a Mack truck, I thought of having forgotten my medications at home, so that option was out. I was beside myself and I didn’t know what to do. I called my son.
For the next forty five minutes with my son on the phone I cried harder than I have in twenty years. I told him how sorry I was I let him down. He refused to let me believe that, expressed his love and talked me off of the ledge. I pulled into a parking lot, thanked him, turned off my ignition, and thought about my next move.
To my own surprise, that move had already been put in motion. I suddenly watched a squad car pull in front of me, while another pulled in back. I gathered they were here for me. They later told me they pinged my phone. So in the many weeks that have passed when I have expressed a morose attitude to a close friend, I have fully expected a welfare check to knock at my door, but that hasn’t happened, so today as I write this I am not sure if I should be happy or sad that my emotions are now taken for granted.
December 26th is a turning point in my life. I’m an old man, but not an elder. I have life ahead of me, as does my wife. We care about each other, but we have struggled to love one another for many years. She made a good choice, and I can feel it, but in writing this letter I am reminded that nothing is easy in our lives, and there are so many important embraces to our realities that come to the forefront that we can never completely find a solution. There is one in particular that is my daily struggle.
Today, our divorce is days away, and we are friends. Our children love us, we have begun living new lives, all in the midst of COVID 19.
I don’t ever want to talk about that today.