This is a letter I've been meaning to write to myself, to Luissanna, to the baby... I feel as if it's necessary to send this message, and I think it's only fitting that you are its recipient:
I would first like to start off by apologizing. I am deeply sorry for all of those very high expectations that crushed your fragile heart.
And I am truly sorry for being so lost for so very, very long. And when I gave away your trust I did so haphazardly, without any criteria or discernment. I didn’t know that it was a gift to be treasured…that was a mistake, and you deserved so much more.
And I am so, so sorry for Rebecca, Iraq, what you did to her, and what she did to you. It was a horrible mistake, all of it, and she scarred you so deep that you lost your heart. And without your heart, what were you?
You confused selfishness for emotion, and emotion for selfishness. You lost so much, so fast, and when you came closest to having everything you dreamed of...you didn’t know what to do, and you just let Gabriel #2 walk away from you.
Without a heart you didn't know how to trust anyone...so you made some very poor decisions, decisions that led you to make some of the most naive mistakes of your life. Those mistakes—that defining stupidity that reminds you, “You should have always been smarter.”
You were never 'that' stupid. And in your hubris you convinced yourself it was the best possible choice, but you were wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong...
…Your history…a humbling reminder of your tragic pride and ignorance. Idiocy so profound it should be criminal. Never forget. Never ever forgive yourself.
And you are smarter now, but…
You never had to take so much to be happy—never had to lose so much to be wise. But you are very. Wise. Now. Aren't you?
You had a plan that began over eight years ago—to help others. That if you had more than you needed, you would give it away. You tried and failed along the way, giving it to the unworthy. It started in the army. You knew you could lead others, but you chose to be led…even in love. But this paved the foundation, and you are not here by accident. No. It is no mistake that you have the means and the talent to draw in others and provide for them. Now, you are surrounded by friends—family. And look at what have you created?
What have you become?
I know you wished for better. I know you wished for a "happy ending." I know you wanted to love, and a daughter. I know you wanted your soulmate more than anything, but I'm sorry Gabriel...so sorry.
I’m sorry, but that's no longer what's most important.
A friend of mine was asked: "What do you want in life?"
He responded with, "To be happy."
I thought about my answer, and I know enough to be certain that the best and most difficult choices in life won't always work out in my favor. And the meaning I find, or the things that I value won't always coincide with what makes me happiest, and that's why my answer will always be—for myself, for everyone in my life—"To do the right thing."
So, who are you now?
I will tell you who I am.
In effort to improve myself I studied, I trained, I struggled to embody excellence in every capacity—this was my direction, but I did not understand that to even take on this task would mean that I already had to posses a certain quality of excellence.
She said you’d be great, didn’t she? She said, “One day…” and you never understood. You never understood, until now…
It is impossible to describe myself without referencing the people in my life and the greatness they possess, and it takes someone truly amazing to bring all of this together…
I see this, now.
I have a history of surrounding myself with modern princes and princesses. One day, it will be their turn. One day, they will lead, and I see greatness in them. The same greatness I know I possess. I see…I am unparalleled in talent and intellect, but it’s not because of the knowledge I possess, but because of my constant efforts to be better for everyone that comes into my life, an honest, genuine effort to be more understanding and less judgmental.
And I struggled. And I fail again and again. I fail so much, but I keep trying…keep aspiring for greatness, and that makes me great.
The struggle that defines me makes me soar.
And I lost so much…but it was exactly the right amount. I had to lose so much to know—to be who I am. To understand the depths of pain that burden others, and in order to help carry it.
I used to think about the man that I would have been had I never lost that child. I would have known what it meant to love and to ‘need’ without the pain, without knowing this piece of Hell inside of me. “What a magnificent man,” I fantasized. What a beautiful person…a beautiful father. Gabriel was my child’s name. I guess that makes him Gabriel #3. I think it would have been a boy, that's what Luissanna kept saying.
I think about that beautiful, perfect life, but it’s only perfect because it was with her. There are few people that 'it' would work with, but it worked…'because' it was her. And I struggled so long, I hurt so long because I didn’t want to believe that the ‘right’ thing to do was to hold on to something, to love something with all of myself that I could never possess, that would never bring me happiness—but to give myself over to this never-ending pain, and to love and remember it every second of every day with all of myself.
That’s when I changed, my dear…that’s when I understood that God was an analogy of this frightening, killing love, and I could believe in something that I could never touch, or feel, or hold on to…I could love it, and hold on...forever.
I think about the other Gabriel, the Gabriel that had the baby, that loved the baby, that thanked God for that baby…I will never get to be him, and I don’t want to.
I am this Gabriel. There is Hell inside of me, but that is what makes me great.
I can still be that perfect person. No. I can be better. I know the price of selfishness, and ignorance, and arrogance and it compels me to strive for better…to keep moving in this direction
In this direction I am…
I am a leader.
I am a father.
I am a King.