LOVE AFTER LOSS: Beecoming Whole
(This piece is continued from "On Love Before Loss") For six years, I had the unconditional love of an amazing man at my side. Burt and I were the closest of confidants and we spent most of our time together, especially since he worked from home. We raised a baby into a little boy and spent our time enjoying just being alive, with long walks along the beach and by sustaining community in the suburban home we rented where Burt would regularly speak aloud about Love during our many gatherings. Our relationship and life weren’t perfect, by any means. We fought and had our issues and, in a lot of ways, we weren’t on the same page about a lot of things. However, we were always able to communicate clearly with each other and come back to LOVE. Which is:
a listening, generous heart;
a willingness to compromise and meet others where they are at;
and a desire to keep moving forward, together.
he got cancer. A warrior, he not just managed to survive through 6 sessions of chemotherapy and 48 sessions of targeted proton radiation to his upper head and neck, but he also did it without losing his bright smile and shining eyes. He would even still come out to play with his young child and I in order to toss balls at the baseball bat our son was holding or to launch model rockets at the playground.
With remission, we packed up and downsized our southern California life. We headed south of the border to make memories that will last for a lifetime and to check items off of our family bucket list. We swam with whale sharks in Cancun, Mexico; lived in a worldschool village with half a dozen other families in the Mayan Yucatan; visited ancient temples and ruins, like Chichen Itza; bused it through Mexico and into Belize; wandered around the banks of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala; and then landed in southern Ecuador to thrive for a few months. Then,
he died. And our whole world crashed into a dystopian novel.
My learning how to Love amidst Loss has been my life’s greatest work over the past year. Meanwhile, I - and everyone else - have also been dealing with a global pandemic, national outrage and environmental calamity. Thus, Burt's death has been an invitation for me to feel all of it - along with my grief and my rage, my pain and my numbness. In order to be present for my son, I have had to become real honest with myself, real quick. Like about how I need to:
center my mental health;
stop projecting my frustrations onto my child;
and change some of my own behaviors so that my son and I thrive together. Along the way, I have been discovering greater integrity, empathy and self-respect.
One year later, and I am a 44-year old widow and a lone Mother to a six-year old. I now navigate around a planet besieged by disease and deathly fearful of loss. Somehow, I have managed to both survive and root deeper into my own sense of Self Love.
On Valentine's Day 2021, I found myself embodying Self Love, as I have come to see and value Me. I like who I am. I like how I engage with the world, and who I consistently show up to bee. And I don't need anyone else to validate my experience(s).
Likewise, it doesn't matter how anyone responds to, or thinks about, Me.
I have beecome
(Need support in your beecoming whole.? Reach out!) (To read the last installment of this writing, go here>> "CHOOSE LOVE")