I was an only child. When I turned 40, I felt an urge within me that I’ve often heard women talk of. I wanted a family. I wanted to be a dad, rather than the uncle I’d become to a hearty tribe of young people. And time was running out. I began to bug Kate. After a few months, it was clear that she was just not on board.
I could not let go. I could see my desires threatening and entrapping her need for freedom and her devotion to her career. I knew, deep in my heart, that true love is about letting someone go if they would be better off without you.
Then, my next wife showed up one day in my studio. We hit it off. She had a two-year-old and had been widowed since the baby’s birth. It was as if some universal angel had interfered. We are still together.”
“The hard part wasn’t breaking up. The hard part is forcing myself to fall out of love with you.” – Dominic Riccitello
Julia and Sean
“We met on a college trip to Uganda. Julia was full of hope for the world and open to everyone and everything that came her way. She was a true adventurer, like a jigsaw puzzle without edges. Every moment we spent together, I felt that I was expanding my world views and learning things I would never have seen without her.
I may have been overwhelmed at times, but I was never bored. She filled my head, my heart, and my soul, with ever-changing dreams and possibilities. I never would have lived a life anywhere near what we had without her constant and amazing eye for the next meaningful adventure.
We had agreed that one day, we would have a family but that it would not stop our way of life. We’d have double backpacks, carrying our two children around the world as we continued our adventures.
The kids came, and for a while, everything worked like magic. We stayed with our folks when we weren’t traveling and with the many friends along the way when we were. When Julia wasn’t spurring a cause, she’d find work in whatever country we were in and we managed to survive. Those years before the kids and the following were the most beautiful of my life.
We didn’t prepare for the fact that kids are better off settled in one place once they start school. I could work from anywhere, so my career was unaffected. Julia had to find a non-profit that shared her dreams and could utilize her multiplicity of talents. She applied everywhere. Nothing came up that could meet her needs.
Being her unstoppable self, she tried over and over to start programs that might further the causes of those in our area who were less fortunate. People would rally, and then drop out. She became disillusioned and then gave in, joining the other moms. She’d often tell me, ‘I feel like there is a phone growing out of my ear, and I listen to most conversations in a trance. I just don’t know if I can do this, Sean.’
I listened and comforted but just didn’t see it coming. One day she said to me, ‘You are a great dad. The kids are happy with you. I feel as if I’m smothering to death and you seem okay. I just got offered an amazing job overseas. It’s for a year. Sean, please understand. I have to go, or I will not be able to intellectually or emotionally survive.’
I looked at her and realized that the adventure that was us no longer filled her hunger to make a bigger difference in the world. And I knew she would not be back.”
“Maybe one day you’ll understand that hearts don’t intend to break other hearts.” – Marisa Donnelly
“I truly meant it when I said ‘forever.’ We were the most perfect team I’d ever known, totally and completely compatible in every way. Those first years were like a fantasy. Sean was up for anything I wanted to do.