Dear Ezra and Lian,
On May 2, 2013, Alan Jackson sang at George Jones’ funeral. He sang a song that George Jones had made famous, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” On May 10, 2013 Mommy and I separated. No other song captures the sadness, love, and heartbreak of that day and most of the time since. I could write a long book about how incredibly difficult it has been to let your mom go. Thankfully, Lian, you will forget most of this and remember a happier father. Through it all, Ezra has been there taking on an emotional burden no child should ever have to. He will be able to tell you how far I how come.
3 years ago, I really thought I was going to be like the man in this song. It made me think about my Uncle Doug. He was my only close relative with red hair like me. So we had that ginger connection. When his marriage ended and he struggled with alcohol, he committed suicide when I was about 20 years old. I remember how after his first suicide attempt, me and everybody else it seemed had no idea what to say to Doug. Even though he stayed briefly with Grandpa and Grandma, and longer with your Great-Grandma, we had no real words to change Doug’s path and stop another attempt. I would like to think that now, I would. Nothing has ever humanized me like losing your mom. I’m a thousand times less judgmental and a hundred times more empathetic. Hundreds of doors have been opened, 1000s of conversations started and new friendships begun because of my divorce. I know it has hurt you both tremendously, but it is making me a better man. The story of my life includes painful chapters like this one.