When my ex-husband first broke the news that he was leaving me, I wanted to destroy everything in my possession that was connected to him. I wanted to have a bonfire to burn every letter I wrote him, every letter he wrote me, all our pictures; I wanted to be rid of anything that reminded me of my life with him.
My best friend requested that I hold onto the things I wanted to be rid of. She said that they were worth saving for future examination. She said that one day I'd want to re-read the letters and look at pictures. I thought, at the time, her request was ridiculous. Only a sentimental fool would hold onto letters to and from a man that broke my heart over and over again. Against my emotional desire to be rid of the ties that bound us together, I kept the letters. It now sits in the beautiful keepsake box that I received from my cousin and his wife.
I visit the box every now and again. Each time I open the box, I'm immediately transported to the world I left behind when my ex-husband left me. I can't say for sure what his motives were. I do know that he's on marriage #3 now. (I was #2.)
The first thing I see when I open the box is the engagement picture. What I wouldn't give to look the way I did in those pictures. It's not the physical characteristics of my face that I long for, though it wouldn't hurt. What I long for is that fresh, never-been-hurt excitement that comes with new love. The picture reveals, every single time I look at it, a girl in love with love. Yes, I was still a girl. Girlhood kept me chasing Prince Charming. Experiencing my first broken heart, at the hands of my ex-husband, shattered the dreams of finding a prince and brought me into womanhood. Not every girl will have to pass through the halls of heart break to find what it is to be a woman, but I did.
My first broken heart still aches, especially when I open up the beautiful storage box full of my life with my ex-husband. After getting through the engagement picture and staring at the girl I used to be, the next thing I find is a package of letters that I wrote him. Lets see, we met in 1994. Married in 1997. Separated in 2001. Divorced in 2003. All of my letters to him, spanning those years, are in there; neatly sorted chronologically. Actually there are a few letters from after '03 in there as well. After the divorce, we did indeed speak and correspond via email and regular postal mail. Nothing ever came of it, mostly because I had moved on then eventually he did too.
Removing the letters gives way to the pictures from our wedding. It was a huge event. So huge that this was our wedding cake. Count 'em... 22 tiers! I look at the pictures and think how far away that life seems. The white dress. The bridesmaids and groomsmen. The JR bridesmaids. The flower girls and ring bearers. The eloquent speech by my Uncle Cy, who married us, about love and blessings and the need to nurture each other. The daddy/daughter dance. The bouquet toss. The garter toss. That life is indeed behind me, left at the foot of other girls longing to be a bride.
It takes me a couple of hours to get through everything. I usually sort through the letters. I read the words I wrote and remember the exact moment I wrote them. I think about how hard I worked at loving him. I wanted to be the "exceptional" woman, the one to change his mind about women and relationships. I wanted him to know what a loyal wife truly is, in contrast to his first marriage. I wanted him to experience a good woman, first-hand! I think I did all that and more. In his own words:
Woman, oh womanI miss your mind and soul, I truly wasted a blessing. You said to me once, forgive yourself. I understand now what you were saying to me.
God has always worked in ways unknown to man. sometimes you have to be hit hard to wake up, like i did. I do know that i needed to be a more humble person in this life and to be more grateful for and to take better care of the blessing i am given. I have messed off more than any man can want. and im alright on through his grace.
i ask for God's forgivness almost everyday now, cause i know in my heart i messed of one of his sweetest gifts.
I wish i could turn back time but i cant you are always in my thoughts and when i pray you are there too. so know this, we are fighters! take care of your happiness. I do miss you and think of you too thats why i'm writeing this at this time i dreamed of you again you are such a beautiful woman inside and out take care woman.
Opening up my special, little box reminds me of how far I've come. That little box runs through brand new love. Fairytale wedding. Girlhood to womanhood. Broken hearts. Divorce. And the conclusion: the ex-husband finally realizing that I was and always have been a blessing in his life. Nothing is sweeter to me, in regards to that relationship, than knowing that when we split I had nothing to hang my head about. I had done everything in my power to try and make it work and he still chose to leave.
My special visit to the box always makes me cry. After that, I feel grateful for what I have now and am reminded that my life is so wonderful. The man that shares my space is so wonderful and that after all that has happened, I did find my Prince Charming.