15 February 2006

Failure and Friendship

Failure: Earlier today, before the sun rose, I left my home for the last time. The long winter of my marriage has taken its toll on my wife and me; the next step now is to dissolve the bind that no longer really exists.

As the child of a divorce, this was not supposed to be. We have a little boy, Kaleb, who's 5 years old and suffering the anxiety of insecurity, the quiet pain of constant tension, the sadness that emerges when one's parents are enmeshed in strife. I see in his eyes and face the pains I carried throughout my childhood, many of which I refuse to remember. It wasn't supposed to be that way for him. I was so sure it wouldn't be.

I have failed. Though not alone in that failure, I make no claim to being a victim, nor a martyr. I tried what I could for as long as I was able, but there came a point of no return. My wife still believed, for her own reasons, that we could regain whatever we had. Maybe I--maybe we--didn't try hard enough. Maybe we never had enough. Maybe, sadly, we never could.

I have failed, but Time and Life offer the chance for redemption. As my wife points out, we are forever united through Kaleb. Of that I have no doubt and no compunction. Maybe from our separate lives we can forge a unity that eases the shadow that all too often clouds Kaleb's eyes. Maybe one day he can see his parents sharing a moment of casual friendship that warms the aching emptiness in his chest. If not abiding love between his parents, I hope he will someday see, at least, everlasting friendship.

Friendship: The solitary need not be alone. In this time of sadness, I can count on the support of my family, not as defense, but as acceptance. Far beyond that is the support I am receiving from friends. It isn't easy to share such intimate fare, and if I've been successful in doing so, it's been because so many wonderful people have chosen to share with me.

My spiritual sisters--Carol, Diana and Zoila--have listened without judgement, acknowledged my faults and virtues and led me to brighter places. Without them, I would still be wandering my inner world wrapped in misery.

Ironically for a self-confessed failed husband, women have been my best friends for all my adult life. And yet, I am blessed with the presence of men who not only work with me, but extend their hand in support. Whatever I have achieved this past year, and whatever I might achieve in a foreseeable future, is thanks to Roberto, Iván, José, Kevin, Francisco, Luis and Ramón. Some of them have previously walked a similar path to mine: their insights into those paths have helped me immensely. And to a man, their support has been offered with quiet grace, never against women, but for me.

Failure and friendships now; hopefully friendships preserved and new ones forged in the future. Though much pain is shared by my wife, Kaleb and me, I speak now for myself: I am sad. I am disappointed. And yet, I am blessed.


Anonymous said...

I'm very surpised of what I've heard, but marriage sometimes doesn't function even when two people love each other and are the best people on earth. "Marriage is a lottery". You have to "play" all the numbers ir order to "win" it, and that means survive. Sometimes the flame simply disappear and we don't know why. I know that marriage is not easy, but better days will come. My advice: "don't divorce your kid", and I know that you NEVER will.


James said...

I'm so sorry, Gil. Keep your chin up, we don't hang out as much as back in the dot-com days, but you're still close in thought. We will be thinking about you and Kaleb.


Gilbert Palau said...


Old friends that have been long gone, show up in the moments when they are needed the most. For whatever good I may be, let me know if I can be of help. Like the guy above me just said, "Chin up.. The only reason we fall, is to learn to get up..." Coming to think now, Alfred told that to Batman so many times... ;)