We're here for you, Mel

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Hey Mel,

I don't know if you want to discuss how you're feeling more but I wanted to let you know that we're here and we all wish we could be there with you to give you a hug and let you cry on our shoulders if you need it.

But, Mel, I want you to know that you are not a bad person. You did all you could. You tried. You did love Ken and you thought you wanted to be with him -- You couldn't predict that you would grow while he didn't. And you couldn't be expected to stay in a situation where you were stagnating and unhappy. Knowing you and what a wonderfully kind and compassionate person you are, I know that you broke things off with him in the gentlest way possible -- and you can take solace in that fact. That even while you were unhappy and confused, you still cared enough for him to worry about how he felt.

And you're not alone in how you feel, Mel, believe me. The only day I ever felt like a truly bad person was the day that I left Jeffrey for good. I had gone away for the weekend to think and come back that Monday and told him that we needed to break up. We fought, he asked me to leave, to just take some clothes and get out. I did. I went to stay with my friend Janet. He called me, begging me to come back. We talked, and he pleaded, swore he would change, but I remained firm -- I knew it was for the best. But then I had to go back a few weeks later and divide up the apartment. He laid on the couch and made nasty remarks to me as I asked him which set of towels he wanted and if he wanted to keep the curtains. As long as he was being disagreeable, it was easy for me to feel like I was doing the right thing, like I wasn't hurting him. But then it came time for me to leave. He didn't get up off the couch so I went to where he was laying. And that's when I noticed he was crying. He was staring up at the ceiling and blinking back these big, fat tears and I just stood there for a second before I reached out and brushed his hair away from his forehead. He grasped my wrist and looked up into my face and whispered, "Please, don't go." We were both crying, but I said, "I have to. I'm sorry." I kissed his forehead and I ran out of the apartment before I dissolved into sobs.

I hated myself at that moment. I hated that I had the power to so deeply hurt someone that I cared about. I felt like the most selfish, cruel, horrible girl on the face of the earth at that moment. And even now, four years later, even though I know that leaving Jeff was the best thing I could have done for either of us, I still feel like a bad person when I think of that moment and his tears and the way he looked at me.

I don't think I could ever do that again.

But, you know what, Mel? I'm not a bad person (and I've done far, far worse than you ever have, believe me.) *You* aren't a bad person. You did what needed to be done and you did it as kindly and as nicely as possible. And, more importantly, you tried to avoid it altogether. The problem is that you and Ken were right for each other at a certain point in your lives and there was no way for you to predict that you wouldn't be right for each other forever. There is no shame in making a mistake. The only shame is in not facing it head on and doing all you can to make things better.

You have nothing to feel ashamed of, girl.

If you need me, I'm here. I love you, Mel.

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2000


Oh, my, I'm doing no work today! I've got so much to say to you girls.

Mel -- I feel for you too. I think you did the best thing for everyone by breaking up when you knew it wasn't working. It certaintly would not have been better if you stayed with him and worked on it and maybe had a kid and then when you were 40 realized that it just wasn't right, but that you'd both been in it all that time. I'm sure it was hurtful for him at the time, but it was the best thing you could have done for him in the long run.

But I know that doesn't stop the feelings that you failed. I felt that way when I left Vin and he wanted to marry me. I just *knew* it wasn't right and it hurt him so much. But it was way better for him and way better for me -- he's happily married and I'm with someone who understands me.

The whole anniversiary thing is getting to me a little now too. It's been almost 4 years since I was supposed to marry Pat. The guilt and pain I carry around with me now is that I was going to go through with it. I was going to marry him even though I knew deep down that it was all wrong. I was caught up in the wedding stuff and I belived that if we loved each other it would work out. Hello? it doesn't work out if you're really not meant to be togehter.

And I'll always feel a little bad that I let it get that far. That I was going to marry him. That I so wrongly thought he was the one.

The thing is, we did love them and we did care about them, but they weren't right for us. And we all know we can't force it.

But I also think it's important that we reflect on these things and learn from our mistakes. And as long as we're working on it and doing better in the present and in the future we have to cut ourselves some slack for stumbling or making mistakes along the way. It's not like we were malicious or manipulative -- we're all just finding out way in this world and sometimes we make mistakes along the way.

Mel and Liz -- you're really super special wonderful people. Dont' ever forget that!

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2000

Thanks. Really.

I'm not upset about it today, as I suspected I might not be. But yesterday...well, especially last night, I was pretty depressed. John called after Steve and I had been drinking (sigh...drown the sorrows) and I was pretty vulnerable, and decided to tell him about it. So I told him the whole story of the divorce. Poor thing, he had just gotten out of a 12 HOUR MEETING (girls, he is now the president of a SEVEN MILLION DOLLAR COMPANY) but he listened and listened as I rambled on. And then he told me that he would keep the phone next to his bed all night and if I needed him, no matter what time it was, that I should call, and he made me promise.

I'm so lucky in this. It's time to let go of the past.

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2000

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