The Wedding

My Darling

This will be a difficult letter to write and no doubt to read. I am going to tell you about my wedding. I have only been married once, and you and I both know I married the wrong woman.

I married the woman whom I abandoned you for. I knew before the day that I was making a mistake. For someone who is used to making decisions, decisive decisions, bold decisions, important decisions, I was like a rabbit in the headlights. I was inert. I was catatonic. I was frozen in fear.

It was April 2002, a little over three years since you had left these shores. The day was perfect. The morning was brisk and clear, as the hours passed the late morning witching hour arrived. The were no clouds in the sky. A faint breeze troubled the autumn leaves, and the guests milled in as I awaited my fate.

I worked the room like I was running for office, chatting to a family member here, laughing with an old friend there. Outwardly I was calm, confident, and very much in control. My wife to be? Well, as was her bent, she was late. I was not surprised; it fairly summed her up. I received a message that she was here and ready to proceed but, her sister was now detained. She was detained despite the fact that I had hired her family a cottage on the grounds of where we were to have our reception, no more than five kilometres from the site of the nuptials.

I had spoken to the guests, made light with the minister, joked with the bridal party and then a moment of silence descended upon me. There I was standing alone in the church, yet surrounded by people minutes away from signing the contract of marriage. I looked down the aisle and up at the stained glass window atop the eastern side the building, and in my moment of self reflection I thought of you. I knew it was you who should soon be by my side. I knew it was you who should be sharing my vows. Alas the moment was lost, my cowardice returned and it was on with the show.

We both know I went on to marry that woman. She proved my undoing in more ways than one. But as much as I would love to blame her, I cannot for it was at my own feet that the blame was to lay. I was the one who had forsaken you for her. I was the one who could not wait, and who did not communicate. It was and still is my cross to bear.

My life slowly unraveled from that point on. It was the moment that all hope was lost. The moment I lost my moral and ethical compass.  It was meant to be the happiest day of my life. It was the moment when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had truly lost you.

Regrettably Yours

From Sir With Love

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Dear Sir,

I am really struggling how to respond to this letter. I have so many mixed emotions running through my head right now. I know one of the things I wondered about all those years was whether or not you had married. I also questioned if you had children, how your parents were, and if you were happy. We mentioned and discussed these in earlier letters.

I am truly at a loss when it comes to your wedding day. It hurts like hell to know the place where you were married. It makes me realize that I was undoubtedly out of your life. I know you say I was not forgotten, but it doesn’t feel that way. There is no way I could have married in a place that meant so much to both of us – a place that reminded me strongly of you. I would have honored and treasured your memory, our memory.

That cottage you rented for your in-laws to stay in was our quaint cottage. I wonder which of your endearing in-laws slept in the bed we broke. (Of course the bed could have been a different one, or in the very least repaired.) How charming to think they slept in the bed where we made love, in the room where we made love, and bathed in the bathroom we shared. I don’t know what to say or think about all of this.

You were in total control of that day. You were in charge of your decisions. You made your choice. You could have walked away. You could have decided that you didn’t want to be with her. You could have found someone else – any one – with whom you could have been happy. As you stated on another blog of yours you dated many smart and beautiful women, were successful, and you married the woman you loved. Your actions tell me that I was a mere speck on your memory wall, and I have a hard time believing otherwise.

I expect the only thing left for me to say here is I am sorry. I am genuinely sorry that you did not find happiness in your decisions. I wanted you to be happy. I wanted you to have joy. I am just so dreadfully sorry.

Forsakenly yours,

Darling

©2014 Darling and Sir

I Believed You

Poem referenced in the letter “In The Blink of an Eye.”

There wasn’t a white horse
But you brought a glass shoe
Fluffy clouds, stars, and dreams
And I believed you

Didn’t need shining armor
Fairy dust – a pinch or two
High-priced colored glasses
And I believed you

The sun and moon were aligned
You played a love song
I thought I could believe you
I found out I was wrong

By Darling ©2013 TSL

Missing My Mother

My Dearest Darling.

We recently discussed my parents. When we did I mentioned how I missed my mother. I have recounted her demise to you over the phone but a little over two months after she died I embarked on a solo trip around Australia which included the first Mother’s Day I had not been with her. I have another, now inactive blog, which chronicled that trip. Below is the only post I wrote that wasn’t published. This is the first time I have read it in eighteen months and the emotion is still quite raw. It does however best describe how I miss my mother.

It’s quite a sad day for me today, my first Mother’s Day without mum. In late January of 2012, I spent 4 days at a mountain lodge near the Barrington Tops in rural New South Wales, Australia. I drank too much wine and whisky and just vegged out. On the day of my return I found that my 89 year old mother had suffered a fall and needed to be hospitalised. I put her in the local hospital on Friday 27th January 2012 and she died in the early hours of Wednesday 8th February 2012, 4 days short of her 90th birthday. I went from organising her birthday party to organising her funeral.

Mum suffered from dementia, which a hideous disease that wastes the brain. In the end she could do very little for herself and even lost the ability to speak. It was abundantly clear that she wasn’t well when I returned from my break. Watching your own mother waste away in a sterile hospital has nothing to commend it. She fought the process the whole way. She kicked and abused the ambulance officers, the nurses, the doctors and the other staff. I was the worst son in the world for subjecting her to all of this. I think she said to me in a moment of lucidity that she hoped I had daughters, implying that sons were no good at all. It quickly became evident that there were no meaningful treatment options and that all we could do was make her comfortable and manage the pain.

“Managing the Pain” became the new mantra. When it comes to someone’s death the staff at the hospital can’t come out and say it, but in effect it is their code for euthanasia. In the circumstances and when carried out ethically it is something that I fully support. Now my mother was against euthanasia, we had discussed it at length on a number of occasions. In particular we discussed it in relation to my dad (who had died 8 years earlier). So I knew she wanted to fight. But, when there were no meaningful treatment options available “managing the pain” became the only option. When presented with “suffer and die slowly with pain” or “suffer and die a little faster but with managed pain” it really ceases to be a choice. No one actually tells you that “managing the pain” is essentially medicating someone to death, you have to figure that out for yourself. And even when you have it figured it is still up to the individual hospital staff to participate in this secret society. Some would not partake at all. One quite literally told me that they would “let nature take it’s course.” Others could be described as being more proactive.

My mother started refusing all food and drink, which was hideous to watch. I learnt at this time that tube feeding someone was not really an option. Apparently it stops the body from producing the endorphins it needs to manage its own pain and causes agony to the patient. There was however one nurse (who had worked in a dementia facility in Adelaide) she was excellent. She actually managed to get mum to eat small amounts of food (a teaspoon of puréed fruit is what I mean by small). However it was a futile effort, my mother had decided to check out. About four days before she died she got significantly worse. She was moved into a private room at the end of a ward. They had done the same thing with dad. He was moved into the “dying room” and it was in mum’s dying room that I now ate, showered and slept. Mum became totally vegetative only moving when the nurses turned her as part of their schedule. All the while (depending on the vagaries of the staff) we continued to “manage the pain.”

The last hours of her life were spent with her gasping for breath. She emitted this most hideous rasp; it is one of the most sickening sounds I have ever heard. It was once described to me as a “death rattle” but until I had heard myself I didn’t truly understand what was meant.  In this last hour the senior nursing staff were of the “nature takes it course” school of thought. But after 40 minutes of mum’s sickening breathing I had to do something, I buzzed for help and blessedly there had been a change in shift (you can lose track of time when you move into hospital.) The new nursing staff came in and saw (and heard) my mother’s condition. She was clearly in great distress and a lot of pain. The more senior of the two looked me in the eye and said she could “manage the pain.” She said it in a way that conveyed a far greater meaning than just the words. Five minutes later, as I was stroking my mother’s hair, holding her hand and telling her that I loved her, she died. The pain had been managed and I had become an orphan. I miss my mother terribly but there is no way I would have her back in anything like the condition she was in. It was her time. I cannot thank the staff at the hospital enough for their compassion and understanding.

Happy Mother’s Day Mum.

So there you have it my Darling. I did it all alone and made the most hideous yet most compassionate decision of my life.

You Will Always Be My Darling

From Sir With Love

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My Dear Compassionate Sir,

This makes my heart ache for you. I know how much you loved your mother, and I know how much your mother adored you. I am so sorry you went through this alone. I am sorry I wasn’t there for you. I would have stood by your side and helped. You would not have carried that burden alone.

I loved your mother too. I truly did. She was your mother, and I thank her for you. I am happy to say I knew her.

I don’t equate pain management as euthanasia especially when that person is having their last moments on Earth. I think the medication just took away her pain and allowed her to pass into the next life peacefully. You were and are a superior son.

I love you.

Darling

©2013 Darling and Sir

Purge

Sometimes new information brings up old feelings, and I just needed to vent.

 

I knew about her when we first met

But you assured me I was the one

Then you changed your mind and looked elsewhere

You were through with me; you were done

.

How fast you fell into her arms

It was cruel of you to gloat

I wasn’t aware it was a game

She won – you had to boast

.

My heart in shatters I walked away

My feelings to preserve

I must confess the way I feel now

You both ended up with whom you deserved

.

By Darling ©2013 TSL

Memories and Mementos

To My Distant Darling

As you remember, if somewhat sporadically, when you departed these fair shores you left behind some physical, tangible and dare I say personal mementos of our time together. Also prior to our meeting, you and I had also exchanged a number of gifts, none of which sadly remain in my possession. Along with the photos recording our time together and of course my own most vivid memories, that is how I remembered you.

You had sent me a jacket, which never fitted properly. I never told you because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. It was eventually donated to a goodwill store and hopefully someone derived much pleasure and good use from it. You had sent me a shot glass emblazoned with the face of Eric Cartman of South Park, a favourite TV show of mine at the time. I remember you feeling quite risqué then for even purchasing such an item, especially in view of the strict religious nature of your upbringing and the conservative sensibilities of the town in which you lived. We both know how, years later, I ended up losing that token of our love with my then wife (whom I married after meeting you) breaking it in an “accidentally on purpose” manner because she knew of its provenance.

But after you departed I had so few ways in which to remember you. I was tidying things up after that most hideous day. It was the last time I saw you.  The last time I held you. The last time I smelled you, and the last time I kissed you. It was the day that damn Qantas jet took you from my life. Well as I tidied I found your vibrant purple pyjamas. I can remember how raw my emotion was on that day. You had just left and I was desolate. I just sat down on the bed and held them; I buried my face into them and drank in your fragrance. Then I lay down on the bed clinging to them, wishing they were you but knowing they were not. I wept.

At the time they were my most potent reminder of you. I have told you how I would place them gently on my spare bed and lay down next to them and think of you. For many years they were permeated with your scent. Sadly your fragrance depleted over time and I nearly lost them all together when my now ex wife found where they were hidden. We both know she was far from blameless in this story. You were the one variable over which she had no control. She knew that if one woman could steal me away it would be you. I never told her that I thought I would never hear from you again after what I had done and that she needn’t have worried. I took some perverse pleasure in knowing that she was threatened by you. That tale will no doubt will come forth in all its sordid glory as our story unfolds.

You also left a candle which I know you had completely forgotten about until I reminded you. It will appear twice more in this narrative, once when we stayed at Katoomba and again on the day you made contact again after all those years. But let’s save that for another time.

 

You Will Always be My Darling

From Sir With Love

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Dear Sir,

I must admit that I hid all the memories of you which included anything tangible. They were just too painful to see, and it was more than I wanted to bear. Talking about them has been very liberating and poignant. I am so happy that we can share these memories.

I must also confess that I had forgotten that I sent you a jacket. The knowledge that you hid from me for years that you didn’t keep it due to a poor fit has filled me with much mirth. How gallant of you to try to spare my feelings over it. I am just sorry that I bought and sent you such an unworthy article of clothing. My intentions were good. I can’t even remember what it looks like!  I have considered expressing mock indignation, but the situation is just too comical, not to mention I could never get away with that emotion with you much to my chagrin.

While I may not remember the infamous jacket, I do remember that darn Cartman shot glass (I didn’t even know what South Park was, and I had never watched an episode). I searched far and wide for such a trinket to send you. I felt rather devious and daring when I found it. I knew you’d love it. It saddens me that your ex-wife felt so threatened by a material object especially since I was before her time. What did Cartman ever do to her?

I also remember sending you monogrammed handkerchiefs. I was thrilled to know a man who carried handkerchiefs in a modern day and age. It made you even more dashing to me than you already were. You sent me home with a washed and ironed handkerchief the day I left you. You instinctively knew I would shed copious tears as I flew home. As you know, that handkerchief was one of the things I recently discovered and you heard the disbelief and joy when I found it.

I am still incredulous regarding my purple pajamas. When you disclosed to me that you still have them, my heart cracked. That was, of course, during our first text exchange. The disbelief still haunts me.  You got married after me. You made a life for yourself. I was forsaken. You chose to let me go, yet you clung to something that was a mere insignificant reminder of me. The irony is not lost, and I struggle with that knowledge to this day.

The candle is something you have had to tell me about, as I lost all memory of it. Your initial pun was clever though (your story to tell, not mine).

Ardently yours,

Darling

©2013 Darling and Sir

Wondering

A poem by Darling expressing her innermost thoughts as she ponders the whereabouts of Sir. Written in July 2013.

 

It’s been nearly fifteen years

I have cracked open the door

Of memories that I shut long ago

.

I feel like I can breathe again

My heart is no longer constricted

And I don’t have to tip toe

.

And I wonder how you are

And if you’ve found happiness

And if you think of me

.

Do your eyes still glow

When you tell a joke

Do you continue to dream

.

Do you see places we’ve been

Remembering with a smile

Or do you still ache

.

Are you curious about the ‘what-ifs’

Or have times of regret

Thinking it was all a mistake

.

I’m wondering.

.

By Darling ©2013 TSL