It’s been many months, but I needed to write to you. This week marks the year anniversary that I decided to no longer live in the shadows. It’s the anniversary of living in the light. This same time last year is when I shut down my blog where I wrote about our “perfect” life and publicly revealed that I wasn’t living with you and we were in the middle of a divorce. A full year of acknowledging the truth and dealing with the consequences.
I lost count of how many times I stayed up all night praying that this would be a time of healing for both of us. The darkest hours of trying to piece back together a life for the children. I was just trying to survive, a victim no longer of the life you designed. I never could have imagined where the road was going to take us. I could not have prepared.
So many times over the last decade I felt alone. I believed I was unheard. Yet this week a year ago showed me that I wasn’t alone and my voice was heard. Family and friends covered me with their love and prayers. We all worked together to make the best out of a worse situation. These same people stood unwavering beside me as the worse situation became a nightmare. That group still stand by me today. Their love for me was a lighthouse in the darkest and most violent storm. Their strength is what brought me from the tumultuous waves and safely into a harbor.
As I type this I am watching the three girls playing out in the sandbox. Sunlight plays in their hair and I can hear their laughter. They hardly resemble the children of last year and I wonder if you would even recognize them. Gone are their somber shells that they dwelled in. Gone are the eyes that were always moments from shedding tears at circumstances beyond their control. They are living fully in the sunlight and unafraid of the shadows any longer.
Life is full of strange twists. Everyday I have to pass where you lived and died. I swore a long time ago I would never come close to that place again because of what happened. For quite some time my heart would become heavy with memories. My stomach would twist and my throat would grow tight with sorrow. One day though when the wave of grief was flooding my soul, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the faces of the girls. They were giggling and smiling. They weren’t thinking of their past; they were living in the moment.
Dan, this is what it means to live in the sun. Not a day passes that I don’t think of what happened and have to face the inner voices of what your choice impacted. I honestly don’t know where your soul is. I like to believe that you are in heaven. I desire to believe that somehow you can see what the girls are becoming and you are intensely proud. I long to believe that you see the sunlight we all live in now and that your soul is at peace.
Over many years you talked about how you weren’t meant to live to be an old man. You told me many times you would never live past 40. I always thought you were being pessimistic. Yet, when you died days after your 41st birthday I had to come to realize that you made a choice a long time ago that you didn’t want to live. Having children would have changed nothing. Being married would have changed nothing. In your mental turmoil you gave up the sunlight long ago. I am sorry that you will never again see the girls playing in the sunlight. I am sorry that you will no longer feel the warmth on your face.
For me, it’s been a year in the sun. A year of sprouting from the soil and growing. A year of surviving the rainstorms and learning that those are what it takes to grow stronger. A year of blossoming into what God had designed me to be all along.