In honor of, and in the true spirit of trail magic, I am posting this letter here, with the hope that the person to whom it is for will discover it almost by accident.
Dear Trail Magic,
Thank you so much for your kind note. With your time at trail speed, I thought you might like a reply in my version of some light reading. Keep this to yourself, or share with others, that is completely up to you. This comes to you with well wishes of continued trail magic to you, as you continue your journey. I am giving you the Buddha’s smile: one which is given by expressing the entirety of one’s face. To receive it, all you have to do is smile back with the same intensity and wholeness. I want nothing in return, but these things I would like you to know. Hugs.
(Sorry my gift of writing is so long, you and he can laugh about that, I am never short on the writing when it comes from my heart.)
I can name on one hand the people who have had a special influence in my life. He is now one of those people. Why him? You know him in intimate ways that I never will. You are a second mother to his children whom I probably won’t ever have the privilege of meeting. I have such respect for you and love for you, especially for loving him and his wonderful kids. I see you as his bridge between his utter desolation of having a dying wife and partner at a time that he wanted to be his best self. He now continues that desire and is able to fulfill it because of you. You kept each other afloat in the most challenging of times. Beautiful you, who have had your own unique journey to this point, you have had loss too. I am sorry for your losses. You are his special mojo, the person that connects him to all aspects of what is to be enjoyed and celebrated in yourselves and with others.
I reached out to him this past March, it was at one of my lowest points for me. I was fighting against letting grief in my life, every day had new loss, and I desperately wanted to learn how others managed. I did a search for widows and widowers on social media, and there he was. I followed him, and I sent him a note that literally said, “I’m not hitting on you,” and that I wanted to ask him questions about his grief. He responded and understood my situation instantly and offered to talk, and I was so grateful. All this from him as he was still dealing with his own highs and lows. What he did for me was ignite a fire that had near been extinguished. He was my unexpected, a heart stone, and I found myself wanting to share with him what I could through my phone. My thoughts and emotions had been bottled up for so long, and he opened up my mind and tapped in to the “real Paula” through our texting.
This was such a gift to me from him, given selflessly and freely. I don’t really know if he even realizes this, he was just being himself. I sent him my extended diatribes about grief things, and I enjoyed sending him my pictures. It helped me, and I think it helped him, too. I am writing nonstop now because of him and his inspiration, and I am taking a grief writing course. I am no longer fighting grief, it is by my side. I am practicing living a public life that once was so cautiously private. If you are reading my new Glog, please go back to the first entries. The 3-part posts are what I had texted to him. Please read them, you were thought about in writing some of them.
I realized during my April NYC trip that you are the one he is meant to be with. It was not my place in his life, but he had a special place in mine. At that point, I turned to supporting him through my writing in silently beckoning him to “find” that he needed you completely. When he texted me that he was in love with you, it was like a fever had finally broke. I was at first relieved (finally, he’s ready!) then absolutely overjoyed that two deserving people had found each other. I think of myself in all this too, of course, and your love story you share with him gives me pure hope that after losing my husband and partner, a new partner will eventually emerge and “find me” and I may fall “in love.” Until then, I am concentrating on my family and staying on the path of becoming “me.”
You are a kind friend, and I see you taking big risks and being so open to life’s journey. I really admire you for that. Your taking the journey you are on has inspired me to take some risks of my own. I am finding my community in cycling. Biking, mountain biking and exercise were activities I enjoyed way before I was even married, it is in the “essence of me” so to speak. Also in my essence, is the joy of giving to others. It makes me happy when I can make others happy, I hope in some small way, I have made you smile. I have whole-heartedly been touched by watching your affection for one another unfold, and I have done my best to support you both along the way. You make a perfect pair! I hope we can all continue to be friends and offer each other support, it means a lot to me. I am always here to give you encouragement, and I hope you now know why I wish to call you a friend.