Persistent memory

Why is it that now, of all times, I find my mind constantly drawn back to thinking about my ex? Now, many months since we split up and almost as long since we last communicated? Now, when I’m starting a new life in a new city and a new country. Now when so much is happening? For weeks I’ve barely thought about him at all, and then, during the last few days before leaving the UK, the thoughts started to resurface. Not distressing, not even particularly strong. Just a constant low grade wondering how he’s doing and whether he’s reached a point where we could talk about things.

Perhaps it’s that, having started a new life myself, it nags me to have these little bits of the past left unresolved because of his unwillingness to talk. Perhaps because of the anger still inside me that I have never expressed to him. Perhaps because, having come so far in my own healing and personal growth, I have an irrational hope that maybe he has made a little progress himself, and might be open to a real discussion. Or is it just that, in transit, I have had a lot of time to think and my mind just drifts back into the worn old tracks?

In my memory he is two people – one that was open, affectionate and vividly alive, and as I thought at the time, honest and committed to truth and personal growth and communication. That person I would love to hear from again because I truly loved him. But he was suddenly replaced by someone very different, someone arrogant and driven by fear. Someone who, despite his claims, was unable to face up to the truth, and who took out so much of his pain on me at a time when I was utterly open and vulnerable to him. That person I would also like to speak to again – but with a very different purpose. I want to tell him clearly what he did and how he hurt me. I want to express the anger that I started to feel only after he had closed off communication between us. I want to make him see, not that I was perfect, because I wasn’t, but how unrealistically negative a picture of me he constructed in his mind towards the end.

These two versions of him are very different – but either way, I find myself wanting to speak to him.

But it’s fairly academic. Given our last conversation, I don’t see how anything good will come out of a conversation that I initiate. And with each day that has gone past, it seems less and less likely that he will ever have the maturity and courage to face up to the way he behaved towards me and initiate contact from his side. So communication remains as unlikely as ever.

Part of learning to let go is learning to live with the incompleteness and the messiness, the words unsaid. I have come a very long way in doing that, and rebuilding what really matters to me. And tomorrow I start my new job, which will give me more than enough to occupy heart and mind. I suspect that this period of wistful memory will soon vanish in the rush of new things to do.

But sometimes those loose ends still itch.


9 responses to “Persistent memory

  1. It is so eerie to read your blog sometimes! I really hurt someone – the single most important person I’ve ever known in my life – in a way that sounds very similar to what you describe going through. Only unlike you, she is gone forever and has no interest in communicating with me. I think I would give just about anything for her to have a place in her heart like you do in yours. I would have gone to any length to make amends were I given the chance. But like you said, life is incomplete and messy…and that’s uncomfortable.
    At one point in our relationship I was going through so much darkness and pain trying to figure my shit out that she couldn’t stick around any longer…she needed to be in a healthier place; by the time I finally got it together it was just too late I guess. I tried so hard to bring her back to me. I felt the depths of pain I caused her, realized the gravity of my mistake, and knew just how important and unique she was to my life. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her, and I still love her like no other. Sometimes that makes me ache, sometimes angry, sometimes sad…but always, in the end, full of joy. I’m so happy to have at least been given the short amount of time that I did have with her. It is one of my life’s best treasures.
    But I find, as you are currently experiencing, that those thoughts of her are particularly poignant during moments in my life when I’m experiencing a big change or transition. Life is a wonderful sort of poetry, nes pa?

  2. I really doubt that talking to the actual person could ever resolve these issues.

    I once did a form of meditation where you talked to significant people in your life and was a little frightened at how “real” our conversations seemed and how they sounded so much like themselves and so little like me.

    I suspect it isn’t the person themself that we need to reconcile with, but, instead, our perception of those people and how we have failed to connect with them in ways that we wanted to.

  3. blissfromtheabyss – It’s rather eerie for me reading your responses too… they are so close to what I would like to hear from my ex, but suspect I never will.

    I honour you for having the courage and honesty to recognise what you did wrong, how painful that was for her, and accept, even if reluctantly, that the consequences are a relationship that cannot be healed. And I hope that what you have learnt from that process will make it possible for you to have a deep and satisfying relationship in the future that is free from the problems of the past.

    I’m also really interested to find your memories are stronger at times of change. I suspect that has a lot to do with this current resurgence.

  4. Loren, thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    I’ve done that kind of meditation too, and it can be very powerful. Though I think I’ve done far too much talking to my ex in my head for it to help at this point!

    In some ways you’re right to say that talking to the actual person wouldn’t help. I’m not looking for his forgiveness or understanding any more – I’ve dealt with a hell of a lot of stuff in those areas, and have also become extremely sceptical about the validity of his judgments about me. So while I like to have the good opinion of people who I respect – I wouldn’t include him in that category any more.

    But I feel a real need to give voice to the things I have learnt and experienced in the aftermath. So insofar as speaking would have any value, it would I suspect come from my side, from having the determination and trust in myself to say to him what I mean, regardless of how he might respond.

    In some ways writing this blog has helped me to express some of these things. But doing it to his face might speed up the process of laying to rest some of the frustrations and unspoken words. Though it might also create new ones… so probably best avoided on balance!

  5. lirone, I know it’s trite, but time really will help.
    The key is hold yourself together.

    I’ve got two completely different divorces behind me. The first marriage lasted 14 years and we have a now 17-yo daughter who lives with me. Having a child basically means we’ll never be completely separated, so the wounds will never completely heal. It’s still hard to talk to her 8 years after the divorce, but we have to get along,so we do.

    My second marriage was, in retrospect, a rebound that pretty much broke up the few bits that were remaining of my life,although in fairness she did help me get through the first divorce (and I was a basket case). I haven’t communicated with her in many months because,frankly, there hasn’t been any need.
    This divorce was less painful partly because I knew we had done all we could. In contrast, I’ll always think that I could have done better in the first marriage.

    After all that, I’m now married to a wonderful woman who is aware of all my baggage (and I of hers; she’s divorced once and widowed once with three grown children) and we’re about to celebrate our first anniversary. I’m not sure what this says about me, but it certainly shows that eventually life gets better as long as you let it.

  6. Insightful, I think, to realize the tug of the loose ends now as you’re moving on and away. And it could be the pending finality, that last one cry out.

    Your pieces about this relationship are full of energy, and I’m glad that you go with it rather than pushing it aside. It’s always such alive writing.

  7. In the line of what Mikesdak said, time will heal all. There are loose bits I never was able to tie off and now they hurt me no more. There was a man whom I thought I would never get over, because he was so utterly special and different. Different from him again is the most special person I am now happily married to. I wish you all the very best. Keep faith, keep hope, and just be yourself. And don’t even fret about it taking time. It will take time… but time is on your side. All the best.

  8. Katia and Mikesdak, you’re absolutely right about time healing. I suppose what I have is a healed wound whose scar still occasionally itches a bit!

  9. Ybonesy, thanks for your thoughtful comment. Writing about the relationship on this blog has been a really important part of the healing process for me

    At times I’ve wondered if I’m going on about it too much for the patience of my readers – but there are times when the story of the relationship needs to be told. And interestingly, the relationship posts are always the ones that attract most comments.

    It’s fascinating for me how even when I write patchwork poems I end up telling the same story using other people’s words…

    My story of love and loss and recovery seems to arrange words like a powerful magnet arranges iron filings!

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