observations on life

A letter to Scott

I just found this.  I don’t remember writing it.  But it’s good.  And it’s true.

Dear Scott,

My life is so much better without you.  And it’s OK that you told all our friends that our divorce was all my fault.  I don’t need them.  In fact I get along just fine without them, and knowing how little they care for me is really good information.

No,  I wasn’t perfect.  But you were a drunk, a spendthrift, a spoiled 2 year old, a raging lunatic, a hazard to me, yourself, and everybody else on the road, verbally abusive, arrogant, (a terrible writer, by the way) and often obnoxious.  Yet I would never have left you because I loved and cared about you and felt I was all you had left in the world, and that you needed me because you couldn’t take care of yourself.  Who would have covered you up when you fell asleep in a chair, so drunk you couldn’t get up and come to bed?  Who would have picked you up off the floor when you were so drunk you couldn’t stand up?  Who would have fed you, cleaned for you, loved you?

Why were you all those wretched, impossible to endure things?  Why did those things never improve as you got older and wiser?  First, I guess, because you were an alcoholic, stuck where you were when you first started drinking so much.  But why were you so immature even then?  You had the emotional age of a two year old.  What happened when you were two that to make you get stuck there for the rest of your life?  What made you drink, made you so full of rage , made you think you were evil, which resulted in your arrogance and the need to try to “make up for it” in so many destructive and hurtful ways?  Hurtful for both of us?

Without you, my anxiety is about two thousand percent better.  I don’t have to worry constantly about your driving, your spending, you drinking, your rages, your smoking, having you embarrass me or yourself in public — the list could go on and on.

I should have saved myself by leaving you years earlier.  That was the fault of my own weaknesses.

I have many regrets.  They begin with my parents never having had any sense of priority about my or Roxie’s futures; their utter lack of insight into our personalities, strengths, weaknesses, needs, or enrichment in any other way other than religious.  It took me decades to overcome my childhood.  Decades.  At 40 I was where most people are at 22.  I regret my inability to make good decisions for myself.  I regret that so often any decision one makes will be the wrong one.  I regret not traveling, although the biggest reason we didn’t travel is that you spent so much money we never had any left for traveling.  I regret being generous to you when we divorced–you just gave it all to that stupid, manipulative nutjob.  I regret doing that internship at the VA for dozens of reasons.

I regret not seeing my Grandma before she died, and not talking to my dad on the phone two days before he died.  I regret not lying down in the bed with my mom after she died to wait with her before they came for her body.  I regret that you were so stupid as to bring a puppy home from a pet store when we both worked and there was nobody home to take care of her.  I regret not finding her a better home right away.

I loved being single, but I regret trusting men who were not worthy of me.  I regret working at Sanford Hospice.  I regret listening to Jim Nardini’s advice to come work there.  I regret not leaving Family Service completely a lot sooner than I did.

I would really like to not do another thing that I will regret.  It’s so hard, though, to know ahead of time.  Your whole life can go by while you stay where you are, with a person who is so destructive for you, and you wake up one day and he has betrayed you anyway.  And he has given everything that’s yours to someone else.  Love, compassion, history, money.  Death.



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