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letters to the deceased

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I wrote this a year out. I was still pretty angry then.

Dear J,
you went out of your way to make the last years of our marriage unpleasant. You had time for everyone except me. You had unrequited crushes on at least four or five women whom you talked about constantly. If I wanted to speak with you about anything, your response was usually, "Make it quick. I have things to do."

Well, you were an alcoholic who couldn't hold a job the last six years of your life, so you weren't going to work. We had no money, so you weren't making improvements on the house. Every time I was away from home though, you were talking with the women you had crushes on.  That is, until each of them learned to check the caller ID and not pick up the phone when it was you. One of them even had a family member talk to you, as having a man in his mid-fifties call, drunk, wanting to talk to their 21-year-old daughter freaked them out.

So here's the part that grates on my nerves, J. You were diagnosed with lung cancer. Someone had to stand by you and take care of you. Those girls you had hopeless crushes on: they didn't drive you to the hospital to have your porta-cath installed. They didn't go to the treatment center to take notes on your after care. They weren't there when you were taking your temperature three times a day to see if any infection had set in,ready to drive you to the hospital. They weren't there to clean up after you when you were sick. They didn't change the sheets, find more pillows to prop you up, try to prepare food you could keep down. They weren't there to try to raise your spirits.

They got the friendly, jovial, albeit drunk J. I got the sick, irritable one. No one knew what you were like to live with; they thought you treated me the way you treated them. Not fair at all. I can't say anything to anyone now because speaking ill of the dead, well, that would only make me look bad.

I realize it was partly my own doing because I never had the guts to call it quits. So somehow, I have to forgive you for being human, and me for making a poor choice and sticking with it, even when it was clear things weren't going to change.

I know, or at least I rationalize, that you very likely loved me the best you knew how. But because I didn't feel loved I now feel cheated.

Thank you for sharing this.  There are some here, who didn't have perfect marriages, and who, like you, feel they can't share this with people in their real lives.  I loved my Kenneth, and we mostly had a pretty good life together.  His illness changed him, though, and there were times, when he became verbally abusive.  I didn't share that with anyone, because I didn't want people to think poorly of my husband.  There were times, when I was hurt and when I wanted out, too; and yet I stayed, because I knew there would be no one else to take care of him, if I left.  I can honestly say, there were times, when I felt cheated, too.

That is a very good way to let the anger go. I hope it helped you! Of course there is always bad times and like someone told me. People tend to have amnesia remembering the bad side of the deceased. We tend to glorify them. But I disagree, I think that we let go of the bad because it does not good to our heart so only the good is left.

I think you are an Angel. Because you did, and wrote, what you did.
Mine was an admiration letter, to myself. I don't know in hindsight, whether I did, or said, the right things.
But it's for sure, I Loved, with all my heart.


I know, or at least I rationalize, that you very likely loved me the best you knew how. But because I didn't feel loved I now feel cheated.
Nonesuch, that is beautifully said and you are very courageous. I am sorry for the pain you feel and felt. It is so difficult. It is complicated grief. I can relate to some of the things you said. It hurts and it always will hurt. I am learning to forgive and the more I really in my heart do forgive, the lighter this part of the burden gets. Just because we love with all our hearts does unfortunately not guarantee the same love in return.....'the best you knew how'...some people have never experienced caring, supporting love (whether it is a mother's or a lover's)  and thus have no concept of it...oh, well what do I know...??
many hugs to you.


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