He, who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe;
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less to others paying
Than by self offences weighing.
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!

~ Shakespeare, The Tempest (Act III, Scene II, Line 112-119)

I recently returned to the USA from a trip to Scotland and as is the case on such occasions there is always time to think on the airplane flight. And so it was that it occurred to me it was exactly a year to the day that I received a rather bizarre letter from my ex-girlfriend, who I will refer to as R. I must set up the scenario of events leading to this first. It was around September 2011 and I had not had any communication with R in maybe six months, and longer since I had seen her, maybe a year and a half. Well, there was this hurricane, Irene, that swept through Virginia in late August 2011. It did some damage here. I was worried because I planned to go to Africa for Safari in early September. We lost power for a day or two, and there was some cleanup, but not too severe. Anyway, a day or two before I left for my Africa adventure I got a call early in the morning from R’s mother, Omi, who lives in Germany. She was worried about R because she had not heard from her since the hurricane and it was many days later. She couldn’t get in touch with her by telephone and asked if I could help to find out if she was ok. I didn’t really want to get involved, but R’s parents, Omi & Opi,  are really nice people. They were quite kind to me when I visited with R to Germany in 2007, shortly after my mother died. I paid a visit to them by myself in 2010 when I was in Germany on travel. Despite that R and I were separated, they opened their home to me and even invited me out with the family to celebrate Opi’s birthday. I just happened to show up that day. They have 5 children, including R, and I refer to them as the Obermeier 5, but consider myself the 6th Obermeier, in a self adopted way I suppose but they don’t seem to mind. I have a sense they care for me too and so it was Omi felt she could rely on me to help, and said as much, since she was very worried about R after the hurricane. I told her I would do everything I could to try to contact R. Omi was very grateful and I told her I would call back with some information.

Me & Omi - Fun in Germany

Me & Omi – Life imitating art and having fun in Germany

If you are still reading at this point, bear with me because the setup story is important. I phoned R’s home, and the there was no answer. So, I tried her place of work. I was told she was not at her desk, but it was uncertain she was in the office that day. I informed that R’s mother was trying to contact her and was concerned she had not heard from her since the hurricane. I was asked to hold while inquiries were made. As it turned out R had taken leave until the following week. Dead end there. What next? I still had the cell number of Alex, her son. It was a long while since I had talked to him, but gave it a try. A sleepy voice answered, ‘hellooo’. I related the story about Omi trying to get in touch with R and did he know anything. He thought she went to a dance festival or something. Well, we talked for a bit and I told him I was going to give his cell number to Omi so they could talk directly and sort out what had become of R and maybe get in touch with her. It was the best I could do and called Omi back after talking to Alex, gave her the number, expressed my best wishes, and sentiments that all was ok. She was ever so thankful and happy she could rely on me. I felt really good I could help as I am dearly fond of Omi & Opi and the Obermeier 5. I felt like the 6th Obermeier in family ways. I went off to Africa, sent some postcards to Omi & Opi, and even one to R. I figured, why not, it was near her birthday too, and I was just feeling good and being nice.

R's registered letter (09/29/2011)

R’s registered letter (09/29/2011)

Now I come to the bizarre letter. About 10 days after returning (having been gone for 2 weeks) a notice for a certified letter arrived. I tossed it aside for a few days, knowing it was from R by the zip code, and figuring it must contain something off the wall as it’s not like R to send something like that unless it’s all about her – she would never make that kind of effort for me. I picked it up after a few days and was really quite astonished by the contents. Never in my life have I ever encountered a greater act of ungratefulness & selfishness than this. After what I did in concern and care for the situation, this was the thanks I got from R (See letter above). I did it for Omi anyway, and R’s manners matter not, because what she said is not important and I don’t listen to her words said in spite, anger, or arrogance. I departed that train from Peyton Place long ago with her drama queen ways and assault on my being as a person. It does hurt my sense of having shared something special at one time, but I was disrespected too many times to have it bother me now. I think there is something wrong in a psyche that cultivates an atmosphere of animosity. I suppose my writings could be construed that way too, but I wish the very best for R. I just could never send a certified letter like that to someone I once loved after and being the beneficiary of an extended act of kindness. It’s still hard for me to believe a person who said she once loved me could send such a letter. Sometimes I feel like I could have been anybody, and I was just there at the time to fill the space and make company so she was not alone. I don’t know…

Well this is my Postmortem, finally, and I may as well say how I feel about the autopsy. I thought R was wise in Relationship ways, and she was, but seldom listened to herself or me for that matter. She was married three times before, and yet I think she learned the lessons from that, but could not implement them for some reason. I believe our relationship failed for the same reason her marriages did. Being overbearing, too quick to temper, unleashing anger uncontrolled, instigating drama, holding grudges with inability to let things go, and a neediness that in other circumstances would be endearing, but in these conditions feels in-your-face. The worst part & darkest side was a streak of cruelty in words sometimes I was often unprepared to deal with. It bordered on verbal abuse sometimes, and maybe I just pretended she really didn’t mean the things she said. It’s amazing how much leash you are willing to give someone, but they only hang themselves up eventually.

I FELT a cleavage in my mind    
  As if my brain had split;    
I tried to match it, seam by seam,    
  But could not make them fit.    
The thought behind I strove to join
  Unto the thought before,    
But sequence ravelled out of reach    
  Like balls upon a floor.

~ Emily Dickinson

It’s hard for me to comprehend it all really. R terminated a perfectly good friendship with her best friend Sheila, which I wrote about in a previous blog called Blogotherapy, over something that was not that significant, seemed to have no end to taking me to task for every thing I did wrong, even years after the fact such that it disturbed even the way I responded to her when she was affectionate and nice to me. I never felt I could let my guard down because the next blow was around the corner. In the end she even influenced her son to delete me as a Facebook friend. Alex would never have done this on his own, and his reasoning (as I asked him about it) was that he did it for his Mom and it was nothing personal, he just didn’t want to be involved and the best way was to take himself out of it. I don’t blame him and R can be annoying when she wants what she wants to the point of bullying people. For me the certified letter was the final blow. I have not spoken to her since and don’t intend to. I don’t wish her anything bad, I still adore her parents, and hope she finds some happiness and peace in life, but I just don’t like being treated as a bad guy. I’ve got my faults for sure too, doesn’t everyone. That doesn’t mean you dismiss people at your whim and treat them like an annoyance.

Well, that’s my Postmortem, and such things are never pleasant. I don’t believe you are only as good as the last thing you did and believe you are always as good as the best thing you ever did. The staying power of those things we do for one another has substance and lasting strength in our lives and should not be so easily dismissed or forgotten. I am grateful to R and her family, Omi & Opi and the Obermeier’s for a lifetime in how they welcomed me into the family when I was at the very lowest part of my life following my Mother’s death. I show it as I can, not to R anymore, but still to Omi & Opi. Sometimes I think R will try to spoil that for me too, like she did with her son Alex. She likes to bully people to her way. I don’t say all this to be unkind, and that is not my intent, it is just an autopsy and I’m reporting what I found. It doesn’t mean any of it is correct – my analysis and conjecture is what it is, based on my perspective.

The Gamesters of Triskelion

One day we all pass away and I don’t wish to leave anything unsaid or undone. There was a conversation on New Years Eve back in 2006 about German directness, three couples, the women sided on directness (two of which were born in Germany, the other of German ancestry) and all the men (myself included) were American. It’s a great concept, but if you dish it out (directness), be prepared to take it too one day. It is said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. I believe that to be true, but it does require one to self-reflect on the mistakes rather than just rejoice in the successes. To learn something in life requires not just being self-aware, but self-correcting too. Evolution, emotional and behavioral adaptation plays a role in well being, success and a happy life for oneself and the dimensions of family & friendship ways. There is a thing called “The Simulation Theory” which postulates we are all just brains in a jar experiencing simulated reality. The meaning of life is intangible, but it matter not what our reality is, it’s the perspective that matters. Not to go too far afield, but that’s the great lesson in existence, and everything experiential depends on your viewpoint. So, it is apropos for my blog to end this way with a thought – Cogito Ergo…

Oh, sure, you may be wondering how I responded to the certified letter from R. Well, here it is – I didn’t even have it certified:

My Response to Regine's certified letter

This celebrates my 75th post – How ’bout that!