It is just past the halfway mark for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and 30 consecutive days of writing and blogging. I’m batting 0.625 at this point. Not great, but I’ll take it. I thought it would be hard to write every day. It is. I thought it would be even harder to write about the things that rip my heart apart, in good ways and in bad ways. It is.
But before I tell you why I write love letters, your daily reminder not to take yourself too seriously. Yesterday I was in the staff bathroom, pulling up my tights and adjusting my outfit when a nurse walked into the bathroom, catching me half dressed, toilet unflushed, and surely looking redder than a ripe tomato. I had forgotten to lock the door. Making new friends at work, one bathroom trip at a time.
This week I caught up with a long lost friend who was passing through town. It had been almost 3 years since we last had seen each other, sans makeup and in our worst flannel pajamas at her then mother in law’s house. Obviously, such moments create long-lasting ties. We met at my wedding. She was engaged to be married to a dear friend of Former Husband. About a year later, Former Husband and I attended their wedding. We saw each other a few times in the ensuing years, visiting hours limited by the many states that stretched between us.
I don’t exactly remember how this all came about, but somewhere along the wretched road to divorce I learned that she had separated. She learned that I had separated. We talked a few times, sisters in arms, or more accurately sisters in sorrow, although our situations were vastly different. They mutually agreed to separate because they wanted different things. I left Former Husband for the same reason, except that I didn’t know it at the time. So I said nothing and left a tsunami of whats, whys, hows, and WTFs in my wake.
Now my friend and I are both divorced. She has since found a wonderful man and is getting married soon. It was inevitable that we would talk about the past. We both wanted to, needed to. The healing never ends. We both acknowledge the hurt, the depressive thoughts, the daunting task of rebuilding yourself from the ground up afterward – still ongoing. We spoke kindly of our exes, of the dating life, of the hours we spent in counseling, of the fact that we know now better than ever what we want and don’t want in a partnered life.
When I went home I was itching to contact Former Husband, to tell him that I had been thinking of him, to tell him I was wishing him well. I didn’t. We didn’t exactly part on good terms. I am still afraid of his (justified) anger. And what would speaking to him accomplish? Make me look like a nice person who cares? Relieve myself of lingering guilt? Offer myself a willing victim for more verbal punishment?
When Former Husband and I were married, we wrote love letters to each other. We sent each other postcards when we were apart. Mine would have sweet quotes on the front. He would draw over the image and add speech bubbles. On his birthday I would grab the keys to his car while he was in the shower and leave a birthday card on the dashboard he would find long after I would have left for school. He proposed on a piece of paper. I don’t write to Former Husband anymore but I hold on to the warm feeling that came with finding a postcard on my nightstand. We loved each other, we told each other so. That is never going away.
Today I am still in the business of writing love letters. I spend more dollars than I am willing to admit at the paper store. I write love letters to my friend and her sweet baby girl – no, she can’t read, but yes she can be read to. To some of my patients with whom a bond has been forged. To my wifey-love. To my dear friend M. And to my darling who is many miles away. I write love letters because the written word is impermanent. I write love letters because they reveal what is in the depth of my soul. I write love letters because they ground me in the here and now.
I write love letters because of the feeling of love that flows into me and pours out of me when I do.
So write to your friends, you lovers, your soul mates. Write to your families and to the cool chick you met at the show and exchanged phone numbers with because you sense serious potential for a deep connection. Tell your people that you love them. Tell them why you love them. Tell them how you love them. Tell them because in an era where we express ourselves in 140 characters or less, nothing carries more meaning than the words “I Love You”.