to the ones who left,
hi. it’s been a while, hasn’t it? you’ve been on my mind extra lately, so i decided it was probably time to finally write this. these words keep swirling around in my head; sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep because the words just keep coming. some nights they’re sad words about how much i miss you or how i wish i could pick up the phone and call you to tell you about something that happened. other nights they’re angry words and i want them to hurt you, to give you a taste of how much hurt you’ve caused me, my family, my kids. but mostly they’re questions…why? how? and the knowing that those questions will forever go unanswered is what keeps me awake the most.
at the very least you were among my best friends…at the most, you were family. and now you’re gone. i’ll never understand that choice, but i’m at least to a point now of being able to accept it and i want to tell you a few things about how your choice has rippled.
listen, i get it. i made a choice that made you uncomfortable. maybe you loved my husband, maybe you just loved the seemingly perfect little family we had, maybe you just have really firmly held beliefs in traditional marriage, maybe you were worried about me or my girls. after two years i’ve realized that figuring out the why of your decision won’t make it any easier, so it doesn’t even really matter why, does it? what matters is that you left before you even tried. you decided it was too hard or wrong or ridiculous or dangerous or whatever adjective you want to throw at it. you decided, and you left.
i used to be so heartbroken about your choice. i let it define me and let it make me feel less than and unworthy.
i let it shrink me.
i held my girls while they cried, too young to really understand why you left. i explained love and choices to them. sometimes i cried with them, letting my tears and confusion match theirs. other times i held it together and helped them feel strong and capable and brave in spite of the sadness and loss…and then wept after they were in bed. eventually i started to believe the things i was telling them.
“everybody gets to make their own choices.”
“we’re better off surrounding ourselves with people who love us no matter what.”
“it won’t always hurt this much.”
“think of how much kinder and more aware of people’s feelings you are now.”
so i guess what i mostly want to tell you is that we’re okay. we have people who love us – really love us no matter what. we are so happy and whole and healthy. we laugh a lot and our smiles are plentiful. our home is full of joy and so much love. sometimes your name comes up and we all pause. we let ourselves remember the good things, though with a tinge of sadness.
and another thing…you were wrong.
you were so wrong about this.
you left a friend, a best friend, a daughter, granddaughters, nieces. you caused so much damage and heartache in your self-righteous temper tantrum, and you don’t get to take that back. you (yes you) made choices that i didn’t agree with, had different political leanings, believed different things about jesus and the church, married people i thought weren’t good enough for you, spent money on things i thought were ridiculous, raised your children differently than i did…
…but i loved you still. i wish you could have done the same for us.