The Story of Bart

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.



I like to think that I’m not in transition anymore, that I’m stable. But that’s just not the case. This past week showed me that – I found myself revisiting a book that I’ve had to re-read many times now, that helped me through understanding my divorce process. It’s called “Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends” and they make the very good point that as people progress through other relationships after the “primary love relationship,” they go through these different stages, sometimes many times over. Or not. Because you can get stuck.

So many people get stuck in the Anger stage. I remember a man I briefly dated who still referred to his ex-wife of eight years past in the most angry, bitter terms possible…but he was the one who had decided the marriage wasn’t working and had left her. No affairs, no major unforgiveable offense – he was just stuck in being angry, had never resolved those issues.

Me, I’m still stuck in the “growth relationships” stage. But I guess that’s natural, considering my personality type (Idealist/INFJ for fellow Myers-Briggs afficianados) loves growth relationships and in fact, needs that in any long-term relationship I have. If we don’t grow, then what’s the point? But when you’re always growing and evolving and changing into someone new, you’re not the same person from one day to the next. You look back and who you were a year, a month, perhaps even a week ago, and realize that the choices you have made have fundamentally changed. Again.

It’s exhausting, all this growing. I’d rather have my choices made, to a large extent, my path and my companions on it set. It gives the people around me whiplash, sometimes. And I’m not immune from getting whiplash myself, from the people in transition around me. When they change and cut me out of their lives, for whatever reason, it hurts deeply. But they sometimes feel the need to evolve without me, so I have to respect that.

Back to my own journeys and transitions – I’m coming up on what can only be described as a Journey. Capital J. Starting tomorrow night, for one week, I’m taking a break from my real life, from my home, from my career, and recharging my batteries on a beach in Cabo San Lucas. At the end of that week, I’m sure I’ll be brimming with new energy and new possibilities.

And the next day, I’ll get a plane and fly to Israel. Jerusalem, in fact. This three year transition of mine, begun when I moved to Los Angeles and found myself immersed in the Jewish community here, will find some kind of ending, there.

It’s my first overseas trip, and it just feels…momentous. I imagined I would be taking this trip with a temple group, with my parents, with my children, perhaps even with a new husband on a honeymoon. I never thought I’d be single this long, or comfortable travelling on my own. Which I am – this trip is just me, going there to present at an academic conference, representing my research center. It’s me as my professional self, taking a step up the recognition ladder.

But it’s also me as a woman, as a priestess in the ancient sense, as a student of Torah, as a poet and prophet, as a believer in old souls and past lives and eternal truths. I’m not sure I’m ready for this Journey, and I’m not sure who I’ll be when I come back.

But it’s time to go, taking all the love I have with me now, on my way.