Monday, December 18, 2017

The Quest for New Memories

My wife and I were married on December, 18th.  Today.  And it was 18 years ago. 

I'm not doing well.  I never do, either. 

I hate the fucking holidays for a lot of reasons.  This is one of them.  To me, this day is a reminder that I used to be happy. 

Here's a memory I always go back to in my head:  My wife and I, sitting in our small apartment in Seoul, in the Ewha District, as she holds our daughter.  Raven is drinking from her bottle and I'm petting our dog, Charlie.  Charlie is laying down and Seung-Hee, my wife, is looking at me and smiling.  We're talking about how lucky we are.  We're talking about how fortunate we are to have gotten to the point we're at and how incredibly grateful we both were to have what we had because neither of us thought it was possible.  Not for us.  Not in our lives. 

My wife and I both remembered where we came from.  Her life wasn't very good, either.  And she wasn't looking to meet anybody when we first met.  Our first dates weren't even dates.  I was teaching her English via e-mails and both of us had very shitty weeks.  I was starving for something other than the few dishes I knew and I told her--be my food guide and I'll take you out to dinner. 

That was our first few dates.  They weren't dates--she was teaching me about Korean food and I was teaching her English. 

In short time, we discovered something about each other--we respected each other on an emotional level.  She knew I wasn't going to be some drunken asshole, I wasn't violent, I didn't yell, and I didn't push her around or bully her.  I respected her thoughts and feelings, asked her rationally what she thought about things, and we made choices based on a calm, respectful conversation. 

Most of the time.  I was an asshole sometimes.  I'll admit this.  And there were times when she was very controlling and jealous.  Plus, she really didn't like my darker side, which I kept very hidden from her.  Gladly, too.  I wanted to be for her what she wanted me to be. 

On that night, I knew I'd finally had everything I've ever wanted out of life.  I had a family.  That's all I wanted.  That was the ultimate goal for me--a family.  I wanted to do it better than my dad.  I wanted to be a better husband than him, too.  I wanted to start from the beginning with a family and be the man I knew I could be for somebody who cared about me the way I cared about them. 

And I lost it.  All of it.  I had it and lost it all.

I won't go through the long, shitty story but suffice to say I lost everything no matter what I did, how hard I fought, and it left me devastated. 

Is there anything worse than knowing what you have and then losing it? 

On this day, every year, I am reminded that I was happy once.  I was happy once, goddammit!  And I can't get it back no matter what I do.  Losing my family changed me in a thousand ways and I'm no longer the person I was.  If my wife saw me today she wouldn't even recognize me.  I'm not the guy she fell in love with anymore. 

I've tried to get back what I had and I just can't.  It's like they were taken from me because I had to fall apart.  I had to be damaged.  Fate had plans other than happiness. 

And sometimes the answers to our prayers is "Go fuck yourself." 

When December 18th rolls around, it feels like I haven't been happy since I lost them and that no matter what I do, I never will be again.  Every effort will be nothing more than a feeble attempt at a replacement for what I had so I can lie to myself and make believe it's ok. 

But all of that is nothing compared to the guilt.  My wife forgave me.  Our last conversation on the phone was her forgiving me for all that happened.  She said she knew it wasn't my fault and I gave it my best, but there were too many things happening at once and it just wasn't allowed by fate. 

It is a punch in the gut to have someone you failed forgive you and tell you she still loves you.  I wish she had told me she hated me.  I wish she told me she wanted to shoot me in the face.  I wish she had told me, "If I ever see you again, I'm going to throw acid in your face and cut off your various body parts, you son of a bitch!" 

But no, she was the woman I knew she was when I married her.  She forgave me. 

I feel like I've ruined her life.  I feel like I have exposed her to all kinds of horrible shit because it's Korea and dangerous for women.  I feel like I'm responsible for everything bad that has happened to her since I left.  And I am responsible.  She was my responsibility and I failed her.  Fate and the gods be damned, the blame rests at my feet, no matter how many incredibly weird things happened to destroy our marriage. 

But here's something I'm starting to consider after friends pointed out a different perspective:  What if it wasn't about me?  What if all of those times I got back up and came so close to getting them back only to be derailed by something was Fate and the universe removing me from their lives so they could walk their own path? 

What if it wasn't about me at all?  What if they needed me to be removed from them so they could grow in their own ways? 

I've blamed myself for things that were totally out of my control for a long time.  Long enough, really.  I'm afraid to let this go, though.  I'm afraid to walk away and I don't know why.  But I can't keep living like this.  I can't keep punishing and tormenting myself for things in the past I couldn't control in the lives of people who deserve their own fate. 

In the past, I have written a letter to my daughter, explaining to her how badly the guilt I have carried around for years has eaten away at me.  I shared that with some but a friend suggested I do it again and this time, keep it private.  The goal of this is to communicate with my wife's higher self on a soulful level.  Those vibrations are important.  She might not hear me directly but she will in her heart. 

I can't contact my family.  They moved when I was homeless and I didn't get my mail, so I lost contact with them and I have no way of finding them.  It's done.  I wrote the letter to my wife tonight and I feel better because of it.  I didn't say "goodbye" as much as I released myself from the bonds of guilt, anger, and loss. 

I feel like I made a step in the right direction today.  It's going to be a long journey and it might take a long time for me to let go of this.  I'm still angry and incredibly upset.  I think part of that is because I just haven't dealt with this much and instead buried things because I just couldn't deal with it.  Maybe one day I'll find some kind of happiness.  I'm trying.  I really am.  I'm not sure what to do next but I feel another lesson will present itself later on down the road. 

For now, I will accept that I have lost happiness, and hope it doesn't last forever.  It often feels like it is forever but I've been wrong before.  I hope I'm wrong about this. 

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