Nine and a half years ago, I was blessed with two amazing people in my life. I had just given birth to my mini me, and began a friendship with an amazing woman. Very quickly, that friendship deepened for me. It wasn't long before I noticed that her eyes changed color depending on her mood, or the lighting, that her skin was soft and beautiful, that her smile was slightly crooked, which made it all the more heart stopping...It wasn't long before I needed to be around her, I found excuses to see her. I fell hard, and fast, long before I had any idea of who she really was.
Three months after Cass was born, I "kidnapped" that amazing woman because I had grown to care about her so much and she was going through a rough time, and I was scared for her, and wanted to help her. The next year was alternately giddy and then unsure. We grew closer, and I fell even harder for her. She was such a different person than anyone else I'd ever known. She understood me, and hidden beneath her facade of anger and indifference was the kindest, most loving and generous soul. She was wounded, and understood that I was as well.
There was never an official moment that we decided that we were committed to each other. There was simply a deepening of understanding, a growing trust, a blossoming love. We went on a road trip with a friend to San Diego and shared the most beautiful moments late at night, with the moonlight shining on the ocean.
She became my partner, my friend, my lover. She became my daughter's mother and loved her intensely. We were a family and though it wasn't always easy, it was always worth it.
I have always distrusted "forever." I learned at a very young age, that love or blood or legal paperwork was no guarantee that a person I loved today would still be there tomorrow. Instead of trying to find a way to trust that this amazing woman would be in my life forever, I kept a part of myself at arm's length...swore that I didn't believe in happily ever after, in forever. I promised her that I loved her, but I couldn't bring myself to promise that my love would last. I couldn't bring myself to trust that she would be different, that she would stay when others had left. I hurt her deeply by being unable to move past my fear of being left behind. If I could do it again, I would take back all the times I qualified the love I had for her, the times I refused the level of commitment she offered.
Even though I said I didn't believe that we would be together, the love I had for her was so immense that deep inside, in a place I never let her see, I began to believe in forever. I began to WANT forever...as long as we were together. And no, it wasn't perfect, and it wasn't easy, but then, what in this life is? And every struggle, every obstacle just made me love her even more. I should have told her that I was scared to admit how much I loved her. I should have told her that I kept back that part of myself, not because I didn't love her, but because I didn't trust that I could be enough to keep her. That I could be good enough, that she would never grow tired of me.
When I got sick, I thought...this is it. This is when she'll leave. But, she didn't. She stood by me. Watched with tortured eyes when they poked and prodded and I got sicker. She held our daughter to calm her, to shield her from the pain of my illness. As more and more of my life, of the things we so loved...hiking, camping, being able to just up and go somewhere...slipped away I retreated to a a very dark corner of my mind. I hid from her, from the pain I was causing her, from the disappointment as all the plans we had slowly wilted. Going from doctor to doctor took it's toll on all of us. Instead of reaching out, instead of fighting, I buried myself away...became the illness, and gave up hope.
I can make excuses, and some of them are even valid...but I hurt her, and I scared her and I let her down. I hurt my daughter, and I scared her and I let her down. I let the ugly depression that has been my constant enemy win and I gave up on them. I gave up on me.
I can see now what I did, I can take responsibility and I'm learning to stand on my own two painful feet. I'm learning to fight again, and it's hard. All the more so because I am doing it without her. We've hurt each other so much, and it's hard to understand how two people who loved each other the way we did can end up where we are. I may have learned it too late, but I've learned that in this life, when you are given the chance at happiness, when someone reaches out to you and says..."You...I love you even though you aren't perfect I will be here." that not trusting them is in essence throwing away the greatest gift one person can ever give another. I've learned that if you spend all your time lamenting what was, and refusing to let go of the past, letting it imprison your present, you will lose everything that is precious to you. It's a painful lesson, and it comes too late, but it's a lesson I'll never forget.
To that amazing woman: As much as I'm hurting now, I wouldn't trade what we had for anything. I learned so much from you. I can never thank you properly for all that you have given me. I'm so, so sorry that I couldn't give you what we both needed. I will always love you. I will always carry you in my heart. I hope that your future is as beautiful as you are, that you find what you need and that you can forgive my failure to love you as completely as I could. Be happy...Be well...I love you.