I am “home”, which is Prince George. I am here for one of the nieces’ graduation. This means that at 8 am this morning, my ex husband picked me up. He came in the house, carried my bags. He asked if I wanted to bring a pillow and blanket, and when I demurred, he reminded me that I like to nap on the drive. We chatted off and on, caught up on what we have been doing. We stopped at the Willow River, where we spread Otto’s ashes.
We had a coffee, Owen signed the cards. He transferred the money for his share of the gifts. We drove past his dad’s old place, past the garage his father and mine built. I am staying at a hotel tonight. He is staying at friends.
I say all of this against a back drop, an idle comment from someone that they are sorry my marriage “failed”.
I was and still am surprised.
Tell me, what has failed?
We spent 8 enjoyable hours together. He reminded me that I should have a nap and I put my hand on his shoulder as I saw him think about his dad. We signed cards for our nieces as we ever have.
That’s not failure.
Failure? Failure would have been an inability for both of us to be at a grad. Failure would be uncaring. An inability to laugh. An inability to talk about our memories and the good times.
Failure would have been contempt, it would have been hatred.
Is the only successful marriage is where you die at the end, still married? Even if you hate each other?
For almost 16 years we were married. We loved, honoured and cherished each other. And then that didn’t work for me. I tried to make it work. I tried for years. I just couldn’t. Contempt would have come.
We aren’t married any more. Something else has taken its place. Something that still involves love and care. Something that still has space for history and memory. Something that still has laughter. It still stops, without asking, at Willow River. It still drives past the old house and remarks that Otto would have been glad they kept the Canadian Flag.
Do not tell me my marriage failed.
It, like all things, has simply changed.