“Found a letter with ‘Read Me’ written on it at San Francisco International Airport on an empty chair.”

Via Emily Bartran
on Jun 3, 2014
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Found a letter with “Read Me” written on it at San Francisco International Airport on an empty chair.

Sometimes, messages from strangers are the most powerful—especially when they remind us that we are not alone.

“I recently left an emotionally abusive relationship. After months of insults I won’t repeat, false accusations, lies, delusions, broken mirrors, nightly battles…I left. I knew that I was being poisoned by each day that I stayed. So with a heavy heart, I left my love of three years, knowing that I had already put it off too long. At first he begged, then he cursed, but eventually he packed his bags and faded out of my life like a bad dream.

For the first few weeks, my body seemed to reject this. For three years I had seen the world through him & colored glasses. I didn’t know who I was without him. Despite the kindness of friends and even strangers, I could not help feeling utterly alone.

But it was this sense of aloneness that set me free. Somewhere along the way, I let go. I released all of the painful memories, the names he had called me, the shards of him buried deep in my brain. I stopped believing the things he had made me think about myself. I began to see how extraordinarily, breathtakingly beautiful life is. I meditated, drank too much coffee, talked to strangers, laughed at nothing. I wrote poetry and stopped to smell and photograph every flower. Once I discovered that my happiness depended only on myself, nothing could hurt me anymore.

I have found—and continue to find—peace. Each day I am closer to it than I was yesterday. I am a work in progress but I am full to the brim with gratitude and joy.

And so, since I have opened a new chapter in my life, I want to peacefully part with the contents of the last chapter. The end of my relationship was the catalyst for a wealth of positive changes in my life. It was a symbol. Most importantly, it was an act of self-love. It was a realization […] do not help me grow, I am letting go of a relic from the painful past.

I wore this necklace—a gift from him—every day for over two years. To me, letting go is a joyous declaration that I am moving forward with strength and grace and deep, lasting peace.

Please accept this gift as a reminder that we all deserve happiness. Whoever you are, and whatever pain you have faced, I hope you find peace.





How to come back to the present moment:

Letter From My Husband: We Have 15 Years to Live. 


“Students wrote to their favorite authors asking them to visit. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one who responded, writing this beautiful & humorous letter.”


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Imgur.com, Reddit


About Emily Bartran

Emily Bartran has been an editor for Elephant Journal for just over two years. She is also working on a master's in English Literature at University of Edinburgh, and she occasionally writes down her thoughts for the whole world to see.


13 Responses to ““Found a letter with ‘Read Me’ written on it at San Francisco International Airport on an empty chair.””

  1. mylie says:


  2. hevanss says:

    What a strong woman. Thank you for sharing her story.

  3. Jackie says:

    Yes, yes and yes!

  4. Val says:

    This story by … is huge for me. Although my situation was not with physical abuse, nor did it last this long, it was heading into a dark quagmire where I did not intend on dwelling. The rest of her story rings painfully true. The inability to believe in my Love for him, the extreme changes in personality, the 'keeping' my 'backups' for when I would inevitably leave him, verbal and emotional battering, and after I left, the killing withdrawal from the physical affection, which up until I left was plentiful and, oddly enough, very Loving. Then for a few years after, the haunting names and accusations, the seeing the world through his eyes. His random communications throughout the following 4 years wrought with pain, anger, yearning, and spattered occasionally with a cruel indifference. Seeing my own failings – past and present – through his eyes. The debilitating guilt that I did not know where his demons came from, until well after I left. That I could have or should have, as he requested, remained in his life. Having great doubt of his ability to sustain a relationship it would have required me to sacrifice myself to help him through. I did not even know 'what' I would be helping him through since his ability to trust and communicate was so stunted. But after leaving Colorado I dug deep to understand. Even so, after knowing him, I truly began to wonder if demonic possession and transference were possible. Crazy, huh?

    Wow…. I am letting you go, my Darlin. I am so sorry that you could not be present for me for I Loved you so there in the 4 corners of Colorado. I will be sending those 'demons' back to hell. If you did not pass them all to me then I hope you send the ones you kept back to whence they came and find your center of peace.

    'Love story horror' over.

    Thank you, Emily. I needed this.

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  6. Kristen says:

    Beauty is all around us. 🙂

    I hope this helps, I was able to make out the part of the letter that was covered up by the chain of the necklace. Here is that part: "It was a realization that I deserved to be happy and I could choose to be. And so, in an effort to leave behind the things that do not help me grow, I am letting go of a relic from the painful past."

  7. jonathan says:

    this made me feel. thank you~

  8. I share with you in your depiction of a time in you life. I too have found myself asleep in the same situation. I describe it as that, in that I was not aware of what was happening to me. Your gratitude comes from being awakened from that state of being. I too have found my way there…I think we all do in our growth and realization of well-being. Embrace all that you have all that you are and all that you are becoming! Even if you think you are there…there is so much more to come. Don't hesitate anymore….that stage of your life was a hesitation but necessary for you to learn and grow 🙂 Bless the life you have seen, relish in the joy of your life now and break free of the life that is yet to come………it's a beautiful, beautiful life!! xoxo

  9. Aditya says:

    Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  10. Marinía says:

    Amazing, as a survivor of a similar experience I can tell you that this is exactly how it feels the moment you finally wake up from the nightmare of abuse. Thank you for sharing and I hope this helps more people.

  11. Ksk says:

    Being a Man, I don’t have the guts to ‘free’
    myself. My Wife (we’re wedded for 15yrs now
    and that too a love marriage) has been cheating on me for the last 7yrs – she has an illicit relationship with a colleague (10yrs younger than her) that included multiple pregnancies/abortions (4 in specific in the 7yrs illicit relationship). I recently discovered this and upon confrontation, she tells me that her paramour is her life and she doesn’t care for the world and social circuit. When I brought this up with her parents, all that they uttered is “so what”. Such a value-less creatures just addition to the population count (sic).
    Mind you, we are an Indian couple(sic) who the world thinks otherwise (unlike the West). All I am continuing in this relationship is for my only Daughter who is aware of the whole situation and is not vocal given her young age and she conveniently takes the side of her Mom. I don’t blame my Daughter though. She is too young to understand what’s love, cheating, illicit relationships, and unlawful pregnancies).
    My soul shatters every second. All that I pray everyday is that God will deliver some justice to me which seems to be rather elusive.
    I want to set myself free.
    Do you know what it takes to live a life – unable to die (because death won’t embrace me so easily) and at the same time, unable to live as well. It’s hell I am living right in this birth.
    My dear Dad always brought me up with two morals – Never lie and Never cheat. Wiseman he was, for imparting values at the very childhood.
    When character is lost, all you got is just draping your clothes on your body. That’s all.
    May be, the day you realise Wife, that day will emerge cleaner from a conscientious purview. But by then, I won’t be next to you, to protect you from shame…….
    Life is simpler….We complicate it ourselves. But relationships are like that and true love is like that. I still believe in commitment. I am from old school – morals, values, blah blah.

  12. Angie says:

    It hurts my heart to read your story. I truly cannot imagine the devastation you experience with every single breath you take. I am sorry for you as I am sorry for myself. The world is full of broken people with broken hearts and sad stories it seems like only evil people are truly happy and that because they have no consience no soul. These enemies of God prance among us happily doing the devils work and enjoy there reward. I too have a story that is sad sickening and pathetic. I married a man 2 years ago who has somehow got me ( a very happy person with life love and energy) ready to blow my brains out. I dwell instead of live. I am trapped. No one can see that I want to die no one would even guess my shame. He has made me chemical dependent and stuck. The only way out is sickness and humiliation. Then he decides to reveal his secret! ! He is bisexual. I am Christian. This is not natural it is not sexy or loving it is a trick!! I tell you my secret because you told me yours. I donnot wish to service him this way but I have no choice. I couldn't tell a soul about this in my world. I hope my message does not offend you, I am not trying to belittle your situation I just wanted to let you know you are not alone……. broken hearts swim in the same sea.

  13. KAV says:

    myself an Indian woman,married for25 years( Love marriage with consent of both families) and have a 21 year old. My husband has been in relation withdifferent girls, half his age for last many years and whole family is aware of it (while he thinks he is able to fool the family with his daily excuses of different sort for always being unavailabe for family). . He is usully indifferent to me and my son but helps if he feels that we can not handle a particular situation alone. I am financially independent and have thought of leaving him many times but as per Indian values when I married him I formed a bond not only with him but with his family also. Today his parents, in their nineties need care which he is not giving them. In the long 25 years I have spent more of my life with my in laws than with my own parents and that makes a bond which I am can not to break.He is not my whole world and my son does need his father and has to learn the family values.We do not have intimate relation but do care for each other and he acknowledes that his home can not run without me . sometimes I think if I am being used as a servent who insted of taking salary , runs the home financially also. But to marry him was my desicion,. I have taken it as a challenge and am enjoying it . no regretts because I know and he also knows that all those short lived relations are for the money he provides them They wont last long and I am going to have a good last laugh when he is no more handsome and not able to shower them with money any more. My son is ready to hold his hand that day because he is going to feel horrible that day. In the end I love him . whole family love him and pray for his dis illusionment. You may call it blind love or stupidity but I seriously am no old fasioned women . I am highly educated and am enjoying every moment of it. And no , I never wish any harm to him and just pity the girls who think they can break our marriage and own him.