I begin at the end. This is a farewell letter. Not a maybe or a possibly. This is the end.
There are decisions you make in your life that are just that: decisions. Maybe you know their repercussions. Maybe you don’t. I certainly didn’t when I started writing, at the time, daily pouring out my worst and best moments onto a screen.
My impetus for this entire site wasn’t particularly benevolent. It wasn’t even particularly original. I wrote because it was selfish. I’m not above copping to the reality of things. I could make some sort of long and descriptive pitch about the benefits of a single father’s perspective. I could say how getting the widower’s perspective out there and onto the internet was important and insightful. I could even say that there were people who got something out of the daily (weekday) posts I put here.
It certainly brought its bright spots. It got guest writing gigs from it. I became very good friends with a parent blogger, Good Enough Mother Rene Syler. We worked together years ago, sure, but not really together, we were in the same station and maybe shot together once or twice. So yes . . . this gave me the benefit of some really good friends and contact with others I had lost contact with as well. Yes, I could try to make an argument about the benefits and benevolence of this site.
I’d be lying, though. Let’s be honest.
I wrote this tiny little corner of the internet not for others, not for the perspective, and certainly not to be a bastion for parenting. I wrote it for me. That’s about as selfish and atypical an internet and social media site can be.
I haven’t gone back and read the site. In some ways it’s really painful. In others it’s like cutting through scars that have finally shown up after the wound healed. I also don’t necessarily want to read some of the things I shouldn’t have written.
Here’s why: along the way I found some amazing things and shared some spectacular stories. I also think there’s a reality that I wrote some things I shouldn’t have. I revealed laundry that was dirty or too personal and I wasn’t thinking. To any that may have seen or read or heard about these things I can only apologize and I do so with the utmost and deepest of sincerity. I don’t make excuses like I was grieving or that I was tired or that I was trying to be deep and raw and emotive. None of that matters. The reality is it shouldn’t have been there in the first place and I wasn’t thinking.
I was told years ago a very important thing: words are permanent. They can bring down governments or inspire action. They can also hurt or pierce in ways you never imagined. I wrote things coming out of my head and – being a journalist – I should have been a better editor. In ways the use of a typewriter or a pen are better tools than a computer. Those words are permanent, they cannot be taken back. You think more and ponder more. I don’t know specifics, but I can see words in my mind’s eye; events that transpired or feelings that poured out without filter. It needed a filter and I didn’t put the filter or the editing hat on that I needed.
For some reason the idea of hitting the “publish” button and watching this go out seemed to give me solace. Where I couldn’t afford the time or the money for therapy writing what was going on, what I was feeling and what was happening helped. I told my stories – really just snapshots and feelings of things – and seemed to gain a catharsis from letting those stories go.
It’s been six years. The catharsis is over, let’s be honest.
There have been many, many issues to come up since the passing of my wife, Andrea. They still come up, even this week. They will continue to come up. There will be pictures and smells and feelings and events that all come out of nowhere. Like a land mine you never knew was there they will blow up and hit you and take out your legs right from under you. Still . . . you’ll watch the wounds heal and get back up.
I was up late tonight, after a very long and difficult conversation about my late wife with someone, and realized it was time.
It’s time to decide for this site to reach its conclusion. It doesn’t mean I won’t write. It doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It certainly doesn’t mean I think painful things won’t continue to happen. It simply means . . . I don’t feel the spark, the urge or the relief I needed from writing. The handful of readers, the audience that reads (small as it is) isn’t what drove me to write. Healing drew me to the screen.
After the production we put together with my daughter singing I realized this was my family. It’s big, it’s crazy, and it’s a lot to take. It’s also mine. I never thought anything but the fact that I needed to be there for my children. Writing gave me the outlet to shake the weight of the day off my shoulders. It dawns on me now that those same kids carry more of their own burdens on their own, making my weight not heavier . . . though not necessarily lighter, either.
I’ve just gotten stronger shoulders.
So as a fitting end . . . I say goodbye. My wife has left, standing still in time, with the perfect smile and lightning-in-a-bottle personality whose shadow still stands over us. We don’t live without her, we have learned to live with living without her and that’s okay.
To any I hurt – no matter if it was unintentional, it hurt anyway – my sincere apologies. For those I may have inspired, I hope you do great things. For those who just wanted to know we were okay . . . believe it or not, for the most part, we are.
For that reason . . . I see this section of the internet coming to a close. Our Story (still) Begins. It continues and we came to the realization that we’re stronger together than when we’re apart.
Thank you for dealing with my craziness, my thoughtfulness, my thoughtlessness, my ignorance, sadness, happiness and everything in-between. It continues to be a journey.
Thank you for taking some of it with me.