Friday, July 17, 2009


In this story, we view a man’s life from when he discovers his earliest childhood passions, meets his soul mate, and forges a wonderful life with her through joys and sorrows – until she dies. The man is deeply saddened by her absence as well as by unfulfilled promises and dreams. But an opportunity to keep those promises, see those dreams come true, and pursue new ones, comes his way unexpectedly. He goes along reluctantly and begrudgingly until he realizes that pursuing his new life and keeping his old promises might be one and the same. He becomes renewed and thrives again.

Patrick suggested we see this movie last Saturday night. He had seen it before, so I suspect he already knew that its similarities to my own life would not go unnoticed. This might even be a way for him to deal with his own grieving process – by intersecting his and mine with shared events. The movie was a poignant experience – as well as funny and creative. For example, if you know anything at all about stereotypical dog behavior you’ll have some good belly laughs. It’s a fine film and I recommend it.

I have had many other poignant reminders lately. The youngest son of some special friends got married last Friday. The wedding (in a beautiful, outdoor, mountain setting) underscored the passage of time, the physical absence (but also the spiritual presence) of Susan, and the timeless rituals of life. It was also my first wedding as a widower – which was a little weird.

I don’t often need to identify myself as a widower. But twice this past week I found myself explaining that Susan had died. Once was to notify the office of one of her specialists who had called to suggest it was time for her to be seen again. The other was someone at work whom I had not seen in a while and who inquired about her.

The daily meditation for July 13 (from “Healing After Loss” which I mention in the book list below) quotes John Hassler: “He’d begun to wake up in the morning with something besides dread in his heart. Not happiness exactly, not eagerness for the new day, but a kind of urge to be eager, a longing to be happy.” The author of these meditations, Martha Whitmore Hickman reflects, “Then one day we may think to ourselves, ‘Wait a minute. This feels different!’ . . . we realize we inhabit a new land where we are happy and content more of the time than not.”

This feels like an accurate description of where I am on this path – and where I’ve been for a couple of months. I still have moments when I have trouble believing that all this has really happened. I still have moments when I miss Susan terribly. It still feels like grieving, and it still looks like I have a long way to go. But I’m much more aware of how far I’ve come. I am more cognizant of the “circle of life” – being born, living, dying, and being reborn – than I have ever been before. It’s the fundamental commonality of all religious traditions. It’s beautiful, sad, inspiring, and awesome all at once.

Life is good. Everything is as it should be in the Universe. Things are looking “Up”.

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