Posted by: Jack Hope | Monday June 4, 2012

The Wreckage of My Life

Dear Terry,

I recently went back to my old townhouse here in Calgary to help my Dad with some chores there.  The townhouse, a legacy of my failed relationship with Peter, has become a financial burden to my entire family as I have been able to manage it the way that I had intended once I got sick.  My parents have been managing it but it’s incredibly unfair that they should even have to be managing the damn place.

We’d get rid of it if we could, of course, but the market hasn’t been exactly favourable to selling property these last few years. Of course, I’d have a major depressive episode just as the world economy would skirt the worst down turn since the Great Depression. Typical.

I tend to get quiet when any discussions of the townhouse come up.  In my mind it still stands out as a huge personal failure. A monument to my own foolishness and my obvious inability to recognize how precarious my relationship with Peter was.

Given all of this though, there was simply no way I could refuse a request from my Dad for help with cleaning the place up for some new tenants.  Even if it’s pretty much the last place on Earth I ever want to go again.

Walking in, I have to admit my first feeling was similar to the feeling I had walking through Angkor Wat for the first time: these ruins are a monument to something that’s long dead.  I walked upstairs to my old bedroom, the whole place feeling distinctly like I had never lived there.  It was like I was touring someone else’s life.  The life of someone long dead.

And then I saw it: our old bed was still there.  I had forgotten that the last tenants had decided to make use of it.  I think we had all assumed they would simply take it when they left, but apparently not.  There it was, the tangible proof that I had once tried to make this place a home with someone I loved.

I wasn’t sure how to feel about it.  But it all came rushing back, a flood of memories of the life I had lived here, the few months I had spent with Peter and the year I lived there without him after all. The night he left.  The day he came to move his things out.

Not a monument anymore, not a long dead ruin anymore, the townhouse now stood as a the living wreckage of my life.  The remains that were left over after a huge fire had destroyed everything.

You were there during all of that, of course, you remember the nights crying on the couch and the days after of numb pain.  At first, when I began my treatment for Depression I thought that his departure represented the start of this current episode, but in truth, it was just another small episode that was arrested by my move to the Coast.  But like all of the episodes that I have had since I was 20, I never fully recovered from it.  It just eroded me a little further.

Being back in the townhouse, it began to reinforce everything that I had come to realize about the relationship, how my dysfunctions had driven it, how my need for something stable to hold onto had caused me to latch onto Peter.  I loved him very much.  But we were not a good match from the get go and I should have realized it.  I just wanted something good in my life so badly and he became the good thing that I had.

Now, I realize the truth and the truth is that I have never been in a good place to be in a relationship with anyone.  I have never felt secure enough with myself, I have never felt that I could offer as much as someone else could.  Until these things can change, and recognizing them is the first step, I can’t be fully engaged in a healthy relationship.  Dependence is a poor basis for a relationship.

I didn’t expect that I would find the experience of coming back to my old townhouse to be a cathartic experience, but there is no denying that it was.  Everything that has happened to me, has left me stuck in limbo.

Purgatory, that’s as an apt a description for where I am in my life right now as any.  Especially given my recent struggles to find some kind of treatment here in Alberta.

But whatever sins I have committed in this lifetime I have paid for in spades.  The time to stop punishing myself for things that I didn’t do is long past due.  It’s time to let go of all of this that’s been keeping me down.

Life is too short to punish myself for the things I cannot change.

Time to move on.

Love always,

 

Jack

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