It was a Sunday tradition when I was a little girl and became even more so implemented after my mother left when I was 8-years-old.
My father would leave me a bag containing the sausage egg McMuffin with a crispy hash brown encased in an oily envelope and tart and tangy orange juice to wash down the salt, oil, and fat. Next to the grease-stained bag was a note by my father. Sometimes he would write paragraphs. Other times, he would write a couple sentences. But, always, he signed it: Love, Dad.
On one particular Sunday, my father wrote in this note about “Divorce.”
My father explained, “Divorce just means that things didn’t work out. It isn’t anyone’s fault. Sometimes things in life happen that will not always have a reason or explanation. Just because your mother left does not mean she doesn’t love you. Just because your mother and I do not love each other anymore does not mean that we do not love you anymore. We both love you—very much.”
Unlike most children, I welcomed my parents’ divorce and my mother leaving, but I did not fully understand and could not accept how a mother could literally leave, a marriage could finish, and people who claimed they loved each other and vowed until death do them part in a Church could just end everything. How can people be so enamored with each other at one point in their lives and then leave and not even acknowledge or talk to each other at another point in their life? How can people (especially a mother) just abandon and leave the family making something so bad even worse? I was particularly angry that none of my friends’ had divorced parents AND all of my friends had mothers when I did not.
In my life, I’ve been accustomed to people coming and going and knowing that nothing and no one is permanent and forever. I do not hold high expectations for and of others because I’ve learned the hard way that people disappoint—not purposefully or with any ill intention, but because of a multitude of unexplainable factors that mostly revolve around the constant changes of people and life.
People have commented to me, “It is sad that you do not have any high expectations of people because you deserve the best.”
My simple response: “I do not have high expectations, but I have high hopes.”
The two are different. Wouldn’t you say so?
I have never been the one to really leave. I’ve always been the one who was left. It has to take a lot for me to really leave, and I’ve always been the one that stays and sticks around during the worst times because of my own experiences from mother as the first person who left and my father who was the first person to stay around during the worst times. I have learned from my mother that sometimes there is no choice but to leave when there is that sense that “this is the beginning of the end.” There is the kind of love to stick and stay around during the worst times, but, sometimes, love is also leaving and letting go. This is the kind of love from a distance and in the spaces in between the worst and best. Sometimes, love is knowing and accepting deep down inside that staying and sticking around would actually be worst and the best thing and only right thing to do is ending what was the beginning that never lasts forever. It takes courage to both stay and leave, depending on the situation at hand.
It has taken me awhile to say that I can now finally understand how people can fall out of love with one another and relationships drift apart. It is never anyone’s fault. It is about what has happened in life and how people and things are constantly changing. Who I am now is very different from who I was ten and even five years ago. I can also understand the desire for closure and the lingering and longing feelings and thoughts even after an ending occurs.
Have you ever loved to the point of leaving? Have you ever loved to the point of staying? Have you stayed even when you sensed and knew deep down inside that the relationship was in the throes of the beginning of the end? Would you have or did you ever have the courage to accept an ending and leave?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,