My mom and her sister were going through my grandparents' old photo albums the other day and came across this adorable picture of my ex-husband, Craig, and I. It was taken in 1995, when we were engaged, at my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary party.
It's undeniably a cute picture of both of us. It served to remind me of what was a halcyon period in my young adulthood. I was already unwittingly showing signs of manic depression, but it was before I was addicted to anything. Craig and I were 23 and 24, respectively, and in love. Both fresh out of college, we were working to start building a life together in Chicago, where Craig had uprooted himself after being raised in Emporia, KS. I have a lot of fond memories of that time spent together before we got married, before drugs and alcohol invaded our lives, before our son was even a glimmer in our eyes.
So I posted the picture to my Facebook wall, and tagged Craig, Luke and myself in it. That means it shows up on Craig's wall & Luke's wall as well as my own, along with the commentary other friends had regarding the picture. My friend Anne, who went to college with both Craig and I, commented on what a cute couple we made and asked if we'd ever get back together again. I said no, that Craig has made it clear there's no hope of a complete reconciliation, and that he has a wonderful girlfriend whom he loves very much. I also commented back, "He's moved on and has a wonderful girlfriend and I'm really happy for him because he's happy. That's what is most important. We're still friends and I love him a lot. We were meant to be Luke's parents. Meant to be friends. We just weren't meant to be married to one another, it seems..."
Which was the God's honest yet painful truth. I DO still love Craig. I think he's a wonderful person and a terrific father. I admire him very much. Am I still angry with him that he didn't get me help for my addictions and mental illness while we were married? Sure. But he's mad at me for lots of legit reasons himself, and we're still healing from that. Craig got mad that I'd posted such personal information on Facebook about the state of our relationship, and I'm not sure why. He commented on the photo, "Ok, again, does EVERYONE have to know EVERYTHING? No offense to Anne or anyone else,but really!"
Craig and I got a divorce. We can't change that. We're not going to get back together. I accept that. It doesn't mean I don't still honestly love him and want him to be happy, for I do. And I don't care who publicly knows I love that guy or who doesn't know. I don't care if his girlfriend knows. She's not the jealous type, according to Craig, but lovey-dovey things from me on his page bother her. I kind of file that under "too damn bad." I have a 20-year history with this man and a child we're raising, who needs to know that his parents are a team, no matter what.
Craig came to the ER some months back when I was having a heart scare, to take me home. He sat in the waiting room and was eventually let in to be with me, before I was discharged. He told the security guard in the ER that he was my husband. Just made things easier, he said. The ER docs, who knew me well at this point, thought that Christopher was my husband, since he'd been in there with me on numerous occasions too. Whereas Chris wouldn't even admit to them that he was my boyfriend, Craig said he was my husband. And a little part of me will always refer to him as my husband, though we've been apart for 4 1/2 years.
August 3rd not only would've been my dad's 70th birthday, but also would've been mine and Craig's 15th wedding anniversary. We both thought of each other on that day. To date, the only time I have cried in psychotherapy has been whilst talking about Craig. So much is still unresolved and I desperately want the chance to make amends (part of the 12 steps) to Craig about the harm I caused him and our family.
Until that happens, I have pictures like this one to remind me of the happy times I had with Craig, and too bad if he feels like our privacy was invaded.
Craig, you're a mensch and I do still love you.