Last year, my husband’s uncle died unexpectedly. Sudden heart attack and he was gone, while on vacation in a desert paradise. He hadn’t been at our wedding years before, because he had been cast out of the family. For lying to and betraying them.
The rift didn’t happen when he cast aspersions at them all because they were Catholic and he was now born-again Christian. It wasn’t when he left his newfound religion and his wife and children and declared that he had discovered he was gay. It wasn’t when he began dating a man and became involved in a serious relationship. It wasn’t when he left his lifetime businesses behind and became a flight attendant – a somewhat silly, he thought, dream but one worth pursuing to be true to his soul.
No, the betrayal and lying came about over money. Simple loans that became complicated and tore a family apart for years. Until they were forgiven, and he was back in the Family fold again, to share his now fabulous life with them all.
And then he died, just a few months after reconciliation. So young. So unexpected. But at the very least, the word “after” applied.
He died after living true to himself. After showing the world who he really loved. After following that dream that had little to do with making a living, and a lot to do with just living the dream. And those who loved him, his true family and friends (including the ex-wife, the children, the siblings) who loved him unconditionally – they stayed by his side for the ride of his lifetime.
It’s crowded in here, my head full of too many people, too many voices. Too many feelings, snippets of lives moving in and out of my consciousness, or sometimes just in, to set up camp in my head and stay a while. These souls haunt me still, these people I knew once and think, maybe again someday, because I still feel them, I still send them light and love and hope when they pass through. We have conversations, communions, spiritual therapy sessions of sorts, untangling knots.
Always their knots, not mine. I don’t know who can help me untangle anymore. My husband is supportive, audacious, enterprising and exciting, but not a therapist. I suppose I have to hire yet another one, the what, fifth? sixth? Depends on who you count, I guess – I go through them eventually, reach the end of their usefulness or insights. Outgrow them as they tell me I could be a therapist, I should be one.
And am left on my own again with the voices of the past, broken records playing, once more with feeling. So this is my therapy, finding my own voice among the din.
There’s a bridge in South Africa, as everyone on the planet with Windows 10 who likes nature scenes found out yesterday. So I’m not alone in this knowledge. But I feel like it’s meant for me, this picture chosen to appear on my screen. The bridge in South Africa, a land tied inextricably to the mixture of black and white, a land of unspeakable pain and breathtaking forgiveness – the bridge that crosses.
A river runs below, but that’s almost incidental. It’s the trees above and the ropes that surround and the wood plank support that pulls me in. I feel my feet on the bridge, the warmth of the sunlight through emerald leaves, and my hands on the ropes.
The intricate, looping, arched ropes. Even if I wanted to jump from the bridge, I wouldn’t be able to – beautiful, strong, solid thick ropes block my fall, curved patterns that stretch along the length of the bridge.
There’s no jumping off then. No going backwards, either. My only choice is to breathe in leaf-tinged sunlight,
I am here, about to receive my new keys to my new kingdom. And the power they have invested in me is humbling. I have discretion, they say. I hold the possibility of a brighter future in my hands for hundreds of lives that I will touch, who will come to me for guidance. And if I just believe in them, maybe, just maybe, they might continue on in confidence and pride to do amazing things with their lives. On this first day, I feel the responsibility. And I am beyond thrilled to be here at last.
I end this year wiser, having learned much more about myself and what the reality of my dreams looks like, feels like. It’s the feels like that’s what’s important. Who cares what it looks like? Only I know what it feels like when I know I’m following my path. Only I know the joy of watching my now-sober husband, a man so different from me, be so perfect for filling the hole in my children’s lives. Only I know the pride in watching them thrive. Keeping my eyes on the prize and they are the prize…may I keep my sight clear this year.
I miss my husband, the man who used to loll happily on the couch with me, discussing the day’s events. I miss the man who knew more news than me, who was connected to the universe. I miss his easy smile, his gleeful insistence that yes, he could do that amazing stunt we just saw or eat that disgusting thing in one bite. I miss his surety that he would succeed, if he just kept trying. I miss him stepping outside for a one hour conference call, at 10 pm or 10 am, didn’t matter. I miss him reaching for me in the dark, holding me close.
I hope that man comes back to me someday, after a long road and a hard journey. I’ll try to hold on to that hope through this long, lonely night.
Goodbye, 2013. You will be remembered as the year of new beginnings and revelations. The year I claimed my work as my own. The year I claimed my own power. The year I got what I thought I wanted, and it ripped my heart into pieces. The year I learned how to protect my own heart. The year I learned what true love looks like. The year my love came to me, because I listened to my instincts and followed my own twisty path.
Time for 2014 to begin. The year of fertility and fecundity, of prosperity and perception. The year of new threads added to the tapestry of our lives. The year of intertwining.
I don’t feel broken anymore. I feel ready to conquer the world. I feel like the best me I can possibly be. And thank God for that, and for the blessings of this year.
May all your dreams and wishes come true in 2014!