An Open Letter to Grace

Dearest Grace,

First let me say, before I go any further, that I’m deeply sorry for the anguish I’ve caused your family. To this day I feel the reverberations of those circumstances. Your grandson and I had an infinitely complicated relationship. We got married young and starry-eyed when neither of us knew what commitment, love, respect, faith or hardship truly were. I will always have a place in my heart for him and the marriage we shared.

That said, we spent several of the later years of our relationship staring at each other silently over diner tables, scrambling desperately to find something to connect on. We were both emotionally unavailable to one another, and no amount of communication about it seemed to help. We ultimately had bigger and better things in store for our lives than sharing an apartment with a stranger.

I know at the time I left, he didn’t feel that. Your whole family felt the anger and the void of me giving up on him, giving up on all of you, and most importantly giving up on the promises I’d made in front of God and my loved ones to love him through all strife. I will never be able to fully explain the circumstances to your family. All I can say is that my gut and my faith in God told me that moving on was the only way we’d survive. And I’m sorry. I know I’ve left a hole in the history of your beautiful family. You all have stories of unending love that spans all difficulties and beats all odds. Love rooted deeply in faith and respect. Love that never fails. But we did fail.

More than anything, I know your grandson. I still love and respect him. Not in the way you love a life partner, but I will always hold on to the memories of the years we spent and the adventures we had. I will always care about his well-being. And that leads me to say I know he’ll be fine. One day. I’m not sure when, or what will get him there. He may even be fine now. But he is a strong, brilliant man, and he will bounce back with a fire unlike any other.

And now, this gets dicey.

You see, when you divorce someone, you don’t just divorce them. You divorce the bonds with their families and their friends. All of a sudden the lines of right, wrong, good and bad start to blur, and you find yourself walking on eggshells to make sure you’re doing the right thing. You lose mutual friends. You find yourself dodging conversations socially, only to avoid explaining yourself again. It’s an ultimate loss, and that makes this kind of letter walk the line between right and wrong. But I needed to tell you, more than anything, how you’ve changed me.

I lost my grandparents young. To all sorts of ailments and ills, I found myself without the love of a grand-generation by the age of 12. You were, in every way, the grandmother I would have always hoped for. Even more than that, the more I got to know you, you proved to be the most beautiful soul I’ve ever known. Your unwavering kindness, your sassy sense of humor, your giving spirit, your deeply pure Christian faith; They showed me a different kind of woman I had no idea I could be. I have spent years in absolute awe of the love, support and beauty that out-pours from you so naturally.

Your very presence in my life has changed me so much, and I will never have the means to repay those gifts. I know if you were here and we were talking, all you would tell me is to “pay it forward – love others in the same way.” And in my life, I try to do that. I will spend every day until my last trying to be a manifestation of the love you give this world.

I know that because of the circumstances, saying any of this to you has never been an option. But today, of all days, I know you will read this letter. This world lost one of its most beautiful treasures last night, but I know you’re in heaven, finally with the opportunity to be the guardian angel to everyone you love.

I am forever grateful for the gifts you’ve bestowed upon me. And although I’m never sure what I’m allowed to feel, I know truly that I love you, and this world already grieves such an unbearable loss. Beautiful Grace, may you rest forever in peace, and continue to impart your eternal wisdom and love on us from above.

Thank you for everything.