Eleven years ago today my partner and I recited our vows to each other in what may have been the first sanctioned Holy Union in our diocese. We were excited after having waited a year to make this major commitment. The joy in our hearts was evident on our faces as our friends and my mother witnessed our vows and participated in the blessing of our home. We promised "All that I am and All that I have Always."
Always lasted more than 10 years though the last few were very difficult. What happened to "always" and how did it become "no more"? Neither of us are sure. We spent more than a year in couples' counseling, making one step forward and drifting backwards after a few weeks or days. We discovered differences in our lives that were significant enough to cause major grief and anger. We walked as if on egg shells for more than a year.
Finally, I asked for a separation and we moved into separate residences. Love was so overwhelming but so very, very difficult.
I am confessing publicly so that others may know they are not alone in handling the end of a love relationship in hurtful way. I had been contacted by my first love (1958); we agreed to meet halfway between our homes and see what 52 years of separation had wrought.
When I returned "home", I asked to be released from my vows with my partner. We both cried. We both knew that our relationship had been dying for some time, and now I struck the final blow to that part of our lives. I walked away with a stony heart; it was the only way I could go - just turn around and leave.
I began packing my stuff, and I have a lot of stuff. I was tired - emotionally, physically and spiritually. How do you say to God, "uh, changed my mind - can't do that always business"? My best friend offered to help - no way - she was far too unemotional to help me sort through generations of memorabilia - besides she had job. My partner offered to help. Bad news there. We would have cried and gotten little done; besides she couldn't sort my stuff. Being the last of my family placed a lot of homespun junk in my boxes and tubs.
So, I called my first love and asked him to come help me; he had no attachments to any of it - except me. Our feelings had blazed like we were teenagers again. Loading and moving tubs and tubs of yarn and stuff cooled our fires a bit...plus age and physical health creep up on you in times of stress.
He and I embarked on a trip to a town reunion in Mississippi. Being on the road together for more than a week would surely douse that fire. We met my cousins; I was present at the deathbed of one cousin; we met my friends of many years, we met his friends and his late wife's sister. We finally arrived in Florida at his home - an alien place called The Villages where golf reigns, silver is the common hair color, and travel is mostly in golf carts.
I return to my "home" in 10 days, to sign papers, make transfers, cry, sort Christmas ornaments and battery operated toys - to finish moving my stuff from the house and the garage. I have handled this breakup poorly - very poorly, but my grieving over it has been going on for more than a year.
I have apologized. However, only time will soften the hurt. The love that I still feel will endure - on that I can promise "always". No matter what other relationships evolve, this love was true; only the pieces didn't fit and the relationship broke apart.
Please encase us in your love, your prayers, and light. All of us. And, please forgive me for my mistakes.