As I sit here looking at the final divorce decree putting a stamp on the end of my marriage, I'm saddened beyond belief. I knew receiving this would invoke some kind of emotion inside of me. I had thought that emotion would be joy and relief for both of us, but I'm just sad.
While I'm relieved we can both move on with our lives without the encumbrances of marriage and that we can both put this behind us, I'm sad for the loss of what was once a beautiful relationship. I'm disappointed that we, of all couples, didn't make it.
I always thought we would. Everyone thought we would. Through it all, we both fought like hell to protect our marriage. But in the end, I couldn't find the strength to fight anymore, and for that I'll always be sorry.
I tried so hard to hold on to us. I promised to love you forever, and I've kept that promise. I just never thought it would look like this.
I am now — and will forever be — sorry for the way things ended. I could have made better choices. Our marriage deserved that. You deserved that. I deserved that.
I'm sorry I couldn't see beyond my own selfish desires enough to give you that. I hope you can forgive my shortcomings and know that I have forgiven all of yours.
Our relationship was never perfect, but I loved you so much. And in that love, I found that letting you go was the only way to show it now. Letting you go was the most selfless way to show my love for you. Here are eight things I want you to know that I never had the opportunity to tell you, or should have told you more often:
1. I never got tired of hearing my name cross your lips.
Your voice — even through your anger — always soothed me and made me feel loved.
2. You are one of the most generous people I've ever met.
You taught me how to be generous to those in need, and for that I will always be thankful.
3. Your laugh and smile are contagious.
I hope this experience hasn't dulled their sparkle.
4. Your arms were my refuge where I found peace and safety.
Even on the occasions that you were the one who had left me broken, being in your embrace gave me serenity.
5. When we look back on us, I hope that we'll see the good memories first.
I hope that we remember the years after we first met, when we lived in Orlando. We were young, didn't have anyone but each other and didn't need anyone but each other. All we wanted was to spend the rest of our lives together, and nothing else mattered.
There were nights we made love until the wee hours of the morning, only to have to get up to go to work a few hours later. There were fights — oh, the fights — and they were big in the beginning. It was usually over something petty like shrinking one of your favorite shirts in the wash or you refusing to eat piece of chicken because it was a burned. (I still maintain it gave it flavor.)
But, we had dreams for our future. It was one of the happiest times of my life.
6. I hope we remember the years that followed.
I want us to remember the multiple moves, how we were always there for each other during tough moments, losing loved ones, friends and jobs and breaking each other's hearts.
I hope we remember our road trip when we moved to Chicago. We were both so excited and scared. We laughed and cried so many times on the way. We sang our favorite songs. You listened while I belted the country tunes.
I saw snow for the first time as we drove into Indianapolis. Chicago didn't turn out the way we hoped, but I'm glad we experienced it together.
7. I hope we remember all of the holidays we spent with our families.
Our parents always went out of their way to make sure everyone had their favorite dish, but it was our time together that meant so much.
8. I hope that in time, we can look back and smile at what once was.
You were my best friend, and I have mourned the loss of our friendship as much — if not more — than the loss of our marriage. If I am ever asked to define our marriage, I'll simply say, “It was beautiful.”
Sometimes it was a disaster. Sometimes it was messy as hell. But, there was beauty and love in all of it.
When we first separated, I thought I fell short on my promise to love you forever, but I didn't. I made some bad decisions, but in loving you, I was never wrong. I never fell short, and I never will.
I want the happiest future for you. I want you to be healthy. I want you to be physically and mentally strong. I want you to continue shining your light through your bright smile and loving eyes. I want you to never feel pain or hurt again. I love you for the person you are.
Even though we are in different places than either of us ever imagined, nothing can take away from our memories. I wish you a life filled with happiness and love. And on the days when you experience sadness, I wish you have peace.
If you ever have regrets about us, I wish that you'll be eased knowing we tried our hardest and gave it everything we had for 15 years. I hope that you see — as I do — that love is shown, even in letting each other go. And I hope that is enough.