I received word that my first wife, and mother of my first two children, passed away at approximately 1 a.m. this morning. I have yet to process this, but it has affected me, and I believe it will for quite some time to come. I do know that for me, it marks the end of yet another era, another chapter of my life. Yet more of my past is now locked forever in history, and my world has become smaller with her passing.
I met Gina when I was still in high school, and she was my girlfriend from my sophomore year onward. We had our share of misadventures, as many of that age did at the time, and memories of those times come out of the dark now at odd hours to remind me of just how long I’ve been on this road. We got married pretty much right out of school, for different reasons, I suppose, although both of us being young and stupid counted for a lot of what happened after.
Yes, things went wrong. It was my relationship that blew my portfolio review for MICA, where I had pretty much been scheduled to receive a full scholarship, and this changed my life to an extreme degree. There was a great deal of misery and strife, also because we were young and stupid, and I became a work horse, doing whatever I could to support my wife and children. I hated most of these jobs, hated life a great deal of the time, to be honest, and although I grew to know our relationship was in trouble, I continued to hold onto hope until the very end. Things were made worse by my grandmother, who did not hold my wife or her family in any regard, and made things harder for us because of it.
This was made even worse after we divorced, using whatever means she could to cause more tension between us, and still being young and stupid, I did nothing to make things easier. It took another ten years for us to reconcile our past, and to begin treating each other civilly. We had done what was necessary for the children in the meantime, but it was never friendly. I resented my treatment, and it took years for me to understand how we had both been manipulated by our caregivers, and the truth behind what had happened to us. It was then that I could finally forgive her for the things she had done, and let go of my anger. In the end, we ended up creating two beautiful children together, and I came to understand that some things…are not about us; they are about greater things.
Yet, despite all the bad things that happened, all the things she may have done against me in our marriage, I know she never took pleasure in it. Anything we did, we did for reasons inspired by our youth and inexperience, for our own protection, or doing what we thought we needed to do. Neither of us ever set out to set up the other, or deliberately cause them pain for our pleasure or benefit. In short, my first wife had some flaws, as do we all, but she was not a narcissistic monster like the one that nearly killed me several years ago. She did not deserve the cancer that ravaged her for four years, did not deserve the pain and fear it brings, nor did her children or husband, all of whom are decent people who do their best to make their way in the world without hurting others. Gina never had what could be called an easy life, and I think she deserved much more happiness than what she received. I can only hope that now, after fighting a battle against that dark and insidious opponent, that she will finally know happiness and peace.
Farewell and Godspeed, Gina. Rest now, and take joy in knowing your children, all of them, love you and will miss you.
As will I.