Apology to Anna

What sort of ass would ask a woman to marry him while engaged to another woman and let an announcement in the paper be how she found out?  I am not exactly sure what kind of man he was, but I know him.  He was me.  

Only two women and their families know this story and until now I have not had the courage to admit it to others.  I began writing this blog in an effort to become more self-aware, especially of what I have to be grateful for.  Quite often I come to know thankfulness through revealing a misstep or mistake and finding a bit of resolution and peace.  In writing here today I am keeping my promise to dig down deep within and come face to face with my behavior in my past.  I don’t blame anyone who reads what I write here today and thinks less of me. However through telling this story I hope I can let go of some heavy regret and think a little better of myself. 

Talk about lost and confused, I was so baffled and bewildered in my early 20’s.  Today I find that to be a flimsy excuse however for hurting any one the way I did.  Wrong is wrong!  There is no changing that.  

Yes, I had a difficult childhood, but so did others who in spite of it grew up to behave better than I have at times.  In my younger years I meant no harm, but did a lot of it others anyway.  Thinking about disappointing someone or hurting another has always been near impossible for me to bear.  The thought of it is paralyzing, but was especially so years ago.  My inability to break up with a girl caused me to hurt her far more than I would have had I ended the relationship as I should have.  It is my hope that by writing here today I can finally get some reprieve for the burden of guilt and shame I have carried for over 30 years.  

I was 19 and living  in Colorado Springs when I met Anna at a concert a few days after I got out of the hospital for reasons that are another story for another time.  Anna was 17 and almost done with her junior year of high school when we met that spring.  After dating for a short while we moved into an exclusive relationship before she started her senior year.  By the time she graduated, we got engaged.  

Anna’s family welcomed me openly and treated me very well.  She was kind, caring and fun to be with.  For over a year I was her faithful and loyal fiancé, but as was so often the case in my past life, given time I strayed.  The person I met and started also seeing was the woman I ended up being married to for 20+ years.  I should have told Anna, but I just couldn’t.  I should have let her go, but was weak and did not.  To this day my actions, or rather lack of them, haunts me to the very core of my being.  

Also I was unfair to Bobbie, the “other” woman who married me.  When she and her family found out about what I had done it was very embarrassing for them.  She almost did not marry me.  She deserved better, but she got the “me I was then” instead.  We’ve been divorced for years now, but once in a while something with our son brings us together again.  One of those times when I can summon the courage, I will apologize to her.  

Recently I came an across a line of thinking that fits well why I am sharing what I am today. The passage goes something like “Good people end up living their life in hell because they can not forgive themselves”.  That type of hell on earth is well-known to me.  I am hopeful by my self admission here I can let go of a piece of self-induced torment I have lived with for so many years. 

Today I come here to publicly apologize to Anna and ask for her forgiveness although I doubt she will ever be aware I have written this (but I hope somehow she finds out).  I was completely and thoroughly wrong in how I conducted myself.   I very much regret the lack of respect and caring I showed her and her family.  Anna, I am deeply sorry I hurt you.    

From the song “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan
Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There’s always one reason
To feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight. 

Three words, eight letters, so difficult to say,
They’re stuck inside of me, they try and stay away.
But this is too important to let them have their way.
I need to do it now, I must do it today.
I am sorry.
Author Unknown

4 thoughts on “Apology to Anna

  1. I absolutely love today’s blog. You are so right, good people often do live in hell. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought God is punishing me for reasons unknown…that there is a heaven and hell is here, on earth. If we can make it through this life…live it the best we can…help others and ourselves…love our family and children…love other people…do more good than harm…we will see those pearly gates and walk the streets of gold when we take our last breath and we will find peace beyond our imagination. Like you, I have worked hard over the past few years to improve my knowledge of self…I have apologized to a lot of people for my past actions. I have struggled to forgive myself for past sins and to let go of childhood haunts. Sometimes I succeed, often I fail. When I hurt another person, it’s not on purpose…it’s the fear that still resides in me…the uncertainty and the feelings of being less than. My inability to fully control myself in stressful times or when I am hurting sometimes causes trouble…I am remorseful when all is said and done, but I have still hurt someone…often myself more than anyone. Today is the 8th anniversary of my brother’s death. A hard day no doubt. But here, in your writing, I find comfort…as I do each day. I do not think what happened with Anna is right, I can only say that you were just a child. A person in their teens or 20’s does a lot of silly things. But, without those silly things, we do not grow as people. All of your past actions have shaped the man you are today…and that’s a good thing. Examining the past, owning it, and putting it out there for people to see is brave and honorable. Actions of a mature man. Good for you…and good for us, your readers.

    The life which is unexamined is not worth living. ~Plato

  2. You are a great role model. Not because of the past but because of the present and what you’ve learned and shared of your past.

  3. That you have publicly shared your debacle is enough… You must forgive yourself for you are already forgiven by others… and I hope Anna found true love elsewhere. James, we all did stupid stuff in our youth and we changed as we matured. TY for sharing honestly. 🙂

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