It’s been just a bit more than a year since we last talked.

Some days I don’t think about her at all, which is the way life and memories work. I know this because there are days I don’t think about drinking. And if you’d have asked me three years ago if I’d go a day without thinking about The Muse or The Drink, I would have smacked you across the face and declared jihad on your intelligence.

For 16 years, she was the one against which everyone else was compared. She got me in ways that I wonder sometimes if I ever understood myself.

Along the way, though, we got lost. As people do. I drank and sank into a world she couldn’t – and didn’t want to – go. And she searched for something that I couldn’t – and didn’t – understand.

But we never let go of each other, two engines revving in different directions.

By the time I got sober, starting to climb out of my pit, I thought – we thought – that it wasn’t too late. That we could drop the cars into neutral for a bit and slide into reverse. Moving back towards each other, finding that place where we could – where we were supposed to – be.

What we didn’t know, though, was that all those years of pulling in different directions had already broken us. Beyond repair.

There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold. – Frodo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


In the end, we had to go away from each other. We were the relationship our parents warned us about.

Still, I think about us from time to time. About her daughter. About the kids we talked about having. About the life we thought we would – should – have together. About the damages I’ve done. The decisions we made that pushed us inexorably away from each other, our flaws working against each other.

I’m reminded every day, viscerally, that the small decisions we make in our lives have lasting impacts beyond our reasoning. We never know where the end lies.

And I think about her last words: “You’ll notice that I haven’t called.”

The bitter-sweet end to an incredibly fucked up and beautiful relationship that trampled through our lives.

I never believed in ends before her. The world is too small to close books. But this end – our end – felt permanent. We said the goodbyes we needed to say. We wrapped up the loose ends that needed wrapping. We closed the book that needed closing.

Still: on nights that I sit alone, writing, my mind wanders to her. Always. Not to the broken reality we created. Instead, my mind floats to a different world, where we chose better. Where we were more careful with each other. Where “my pretty words” as she used to call them weren’t the weapons she came to resent.

Where we are here:


WOW, you really have been doing a helluva lot of soul work! You pinpoint so well the .shoulda.coulda.woulda fork-in-the road. You know the intersection of Stick-a-Fork-In-Me-I'm-Done Road and Let-Me-Try-This-One-This-Time Trail. Today I have chosen to travel the Trail because surrendering just isn't in my bones. Being on that same trifling ROAD, settling for whatever comes my way isn't cutting it. In many ways I've been lucky. I just have the collateral damage of the family genetic and societal predisposition to alcohol and my Mom's alcoholism. Childhood memories haunt me decades later. The co-dependency effect has impacted my adult life and choices in more ways than I ever imagined. While letting you know WHY I became part of your rooting section, you apologized FOR my Mom. Although your words were liberating they lanced a festering wound. Those words never came from my parents before they died. I told my Dad after Mom died I remembered her suicide attempt when I was 8 and the middle of night drunken arguments among other things. I tried sharing the same with Mom while in my 20s. She, no longer drinking, was in denial while Dad was shocked at my childhood awareness and memories. I had become the child-adult, a perfectionist trying to bring order to chaos and a pleaser as well. I have a residual love-hate relationship with the holidays or any big social event. My parents had their issues and I have mine to still unravel as I strive to live a fulfilling life with the "cards I've been dealt". My perfectionism has gone by the wayside. I still don't like people to argue. I've developed better boundaries. Now choices are based on what feels right compared to purely duty. I'm frequently happier and content that way. The daily jotting and introspection 90-in-90 provided, focused me on triaging my warrior spirit as old hurts surfaced. My first attempt spewed forth more than I could handle, more crying than writing and putting it aside. It took two attempts to make it to completion. I'm starting my third one today. Even though I feel #SoNew, I'll do a pure #SoNew this spring as part of my seasonal renewal process. Making the time each day to explore what's going on in my life, spirit etc is a gift to me. Thank you for sharing your awesomeness, complete with it's ups and downs.