What Would Completion Look Like?


As the year draws to a close, this year of divorce, dislocation, sickness, surgery, and global malaise, what would completeness look like? What would complete the conversation with her, the woman I loved and who ended our marriage? What words might be said? Setting all leftover rancor, bitterness, and the nasty threatening cease and desist order aside, what communication remains that would end the year if not in joy and happiness, at least not in sorrow and regret?

Our experience of things, of the world and relationships and even love, exists in language. When language is absent, all that’s left are emotions, our internal states disconnected from what’s actually happening, drawing on the past, and pulling that past into the present. There can be no future lived in a new possibility when there is no language to declare the way forward. There’s only stalemate, and all the old regrets. It’s like leaving a brick wall behind.

I don’t know what we would say to one another. That, yes, we did love one another once? That we were sorry our marriage ended this way? “I’m sorry our marriage has ended this way” was the last thing she said to me, standing in the living room, moments before she walked out the door and out of my life forever. I believe she was sorry. Perhaps no more, now that the dissociation is total, that the only communication from her arrives in lawyer’s letters. (She had only to call and ask. Talk…words.)

All that I might want to say I have written. And I would no longer want to say these things that I have written. The past needs to be put in the past.

But some words, maybe even kind words, need to be said for there to be some kind of completion to this marriage ending. She told me many times in our final months together, those strange painful months of packing up and moving out when nothing was said of any consequence, that she had to withhold compassion because it was what I wanted. I never said I wanted her to be compassionate but of course I did. I would have been grateful for any table scrap of kindness. And maybe she was right: to have been kind to me might have given me false hope that there was a glimmer of salvation.

No, those words need not be said now. No rehashing, no rationales, no what if’s, maybe’s, might have beens.

But something. To part, finally, these four months after my moving out, with no words, no language, no looking into one another’s eyes, maybe even a smile of recognition, is sad, deeply sad. To remember the person who more than five years ago was the light of my life. To say goodbye. No I’m sorry’s.

Just goodbye and good luck.

It would be nice.

It would be complete.


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