Can you offer yourself kindness, can and how do you offer yourself love?
My days, and especially my nights, have been so cold. Even wrapped with several blankets, the cold stays and seems to come from within. I am now a silhouetted tree without its leaves, and a night sky of starless inky-blue hovers in the background. There is no dawn, only hours of everlasting dark, mottled space.
There is a small speck of light, a dwindling ember, left from what once was a raging bonfire, it is deep in the chambers of my heart. The remains of this fire, smoke lingering, sit still inside of me. It was nearly extinguished after he died. This fire is love and desire in their purest forms. They need room to breathe, kindling to grow, and company to enjoy its light and warmth. This ember has none of these things now.
I love myself enough to know I can’t let this fire go out completely. I’m fighting for that one red spark to stay lit. It merely smolders in me now, and if it does goes out, I feel I will die. Family and friends cannot help me, the life of this fire is mine alone to kindle. They are the sand as I walk along the shore, providing warmth under my feet when the sun shines, and they support me when the waves crash and roll below at my ankles. As I walk along, the wind whips my hair against my face and I stare into the distance. The sun’s reflection has caused tiny heat-wave ripples to emanate from the sand. I see someone, a dark form, is approaching, but the distance is too great at the moment to see any detail. I continue to walk on, the familiar sound of a lone seagull calling for its mate rings out and gets lost in sounds of wind and waves.~Paula
His life may have stopped, but the love I have for him continues on. The love he gave to me is in the form of a cat’s eye shooter marble now wrapped in a soft-spun, silk ball of all the love I have for him. I can’t let any of this love out. It is being kept safe, but not where my heart is though, it hurts too much. It is somewhere in the library of my mind. It is in a special glass display case. I visit to look at it. When I place my fingertips on the glass and lean in for a closer view, I feel zingy electric pulses through my hands. There is so much energy in there, and I see and feel a warm aura that has a gossamer shimmer to it. It is overwhelming to think about actually opening this case and holding love in my hands again and pressing it to my heart. Even more daunting, making what is bound, unbound, and somehow giving all of this love to someone new. But yet, I find myself unashamed in thinking about that, and being hopeful that I will find a someone, somewhere again.
There are three places and times in my life where I had felt most like myself: my college days, the first few years together with Jon in Chicago, and then our two years in Minnesota with our kids. At each of these times, I was so happy because I was being social and had many friends, I felt healthy and was exercising, and I had the most open-minded thinking about possibilities. As I try to wrap by head around being in this aloneness I face, I draw on these times to motivate me to go forward in to my unknown future with these same attitudes. I just have to believe that if I’m doing what I love to do and “living out loud”, that life will continue in positive ways and good things must come from it. I have to go on and “just be.”
The plain truth is, I owe it to myself and to the legacy of the love I shared with Jon, to be as open as possible to the next firsts and chapters in my life. I will not hold back my feelings, I will be my true self, and I will continue my life despite its having been halted with the tragedy of death and loss. The problem with my efforts to restart and go forward, is that my openness is met with a sense that I am interrupting others’ lives in progress, I don’t feel I fit in, and I am having to learn new social graces. I am not a patient person. The frustration of waiting for people to catch up with me or for me to go along is something I work on every day. You could call it my struggle with being in the moment, oppositional defiance, or just needing to escape the present. I often have to remind myself that “the reed that does not bend, will break.” My mind wanders and wants to have a future figured out already. I’m relying on people who care for me to pull me in and not push me away as I sort these things out.
I have figured out that grief is at my side, and not to be put-aside or patched up and fixed as I once thought possible. And in that spirit, I consider myself to be in a version of an “open relationship” from here on. Jon will always be with me, and the kids and I will always include him in conversation. Any new friend or partner, will be added to our little group. I also think of myself as a “whole person”, not a half-in halfsies kind of anything. And I think of finding another whole person to make a larger whole. I also am not “looking” for love, but I have to think it will find me. That said, I protest this decision, as I have to constantly remind myself of this when I’ve met people who light that spark. It’s just so hard for me to control that love from leaking out too soon.
I was lucky enough to experience true love with my husband and partner. In our relationship, I did some things right, other things wrong. I have learned tough life lessons about what is really important. What I miss most about Jon, is our being fun and crazy together, I try to remember these things that I forgot when he was so sick. I always wanted to get back to our true happiness together, but he did not survive his cancer. It makes me so sad. I have a deep longing for that kind of relationship and getting a crazy deep love back in my life. Not to replace him, but to have something new, something different. If someone truly loves me, needs me, can’t live without me, they will be knocking down my door to be with me. That person will want no space between us, the air itself will need to be brushed aside so we can be connected. Love has two parts, first is the desire, the craving to have it, and then the actions, the requirement for it to be shown and expressed. I need both. I keep my heart open, and hope that in time this will come to me in some form, like the figure in the distance walking toward me on the shore, coming in to clear view. ~Paula