There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole
while learning to sing.
I find myself in this odd muted zone between grief and not-grief these days. It was the same seven days ago on February 1st, which was the 3rd anniversary of our finding out that Laureen had cancer. And now here it is, our 3rd wedding anniversary already and I have been missing her, and grieving for her, these past two years now. And of course, on February 14th a confluence of events will occur – my mom’s birthday, my parent’s anniversary, and not the least, the anniversary of the day I finally proposed to Laureen. That was back on February 14, 2010 – wow, almost six years ago now. I remember sitting on the couch that night with her in our sitting room. We had waited until late in the night to open our cards and gifts to each other and the very last thing Laureen had opened, sometime around 11:30 PM or so, had been her engagement ring. And I had asked, rather simply and somewhat nervously, because I wasn’t sure if she was ready for it, if she would marry me. And she finally said yes!
Last year Debbie had sent an email to me around our engagement anniversary and she had included the following snippet of information –
I had forgotten you and Laureen were engaged for five years …I do know she was super happy to be married to you and I recall our conversation when I asked her if she felt different now that she was married to you . She had said yes that being married really made a difference to her [and] how she felt; she was really happy and wished now that she could have had a family. I was so happy to hear her say this as I knew her change in wanting a family was huge. She probably already told you this but thought I would share it with you in case she did not.
I think about that sometimes now. What it would have been like if Laureen and I had had children and I still had our children around us – perhaps a daughter with Laureen’s same fiery, stubborn determination to face the world her way. And a son too. Maybe even three or four children. It is all only dreams now, and possibilities that didn’t happen for us in this lifetime. Perhaps somewhere in a parallel universe Laureen and I are leading a happy life, filled with the laughter of our children and the heartaches too. No matter the locale, this universe or another one, I believe that heartache is always as much a part of life as joy is.
And having been through both, such great joy, and such deep heartache, it seems to me that it is meant to be that way. You cannot fully live, or appreciate the richness and depth of life, without having experiences in both realms – blissful heart-bursting joy and deep heart-rending sadness. It is the nature of our existence that we are meant to experience both aspects – the Yin and the Yang of life. During my first mediumship class last week, as we were engaged in our encounters with our first entities – the ones meant for us – we were instructed, through the guided meditation, to ask our guest for a symbol and for a brief moment nothing presented itself. And then I saw the Yin-Yang symbol and it was perfect. It was not something that my mind made up – for a moment there was simply nothing there because I had no expectations of anything, nor much thought at all for that matter, and then I saw the Yin-Yang symbol – it simply appeared and was present.
I like this interpretation of the symbol. When it was presented to me by Laureen during the meditation, I saw its Truth. It is the ultimate symbol of who and what we were, and remain – two parts of a whole, perfectly united. We always commented to each other when we hugged or cuddled that we fit each other perfectly. Every nook and cranny of our bodies just folded into the other – no separation, no gap. And in each of us we always carried a spark of the other such that we did not exist absolutely in a vacuum. And somehow in the midst of the maelstrom that became our life, we found our Wu Ji – that still-point where we accepted our path and let it unfold as it was meant to in the greater scheme that is the natural cycle of all things.
I believe that I still exist at the Wu Ji. I allow my grief to find its expression because that is its purpose. Were I to bury it deep inside and try to ignore its presence I would plant a seed detrimental to my own well-being and deny an experience that was meant to deepen my appreciation for this gift of life that we have all been given. At the same time, I allow myself to continue to walk my path. . . to find beauty and joy in the world, to express my creativity, my curiosity, and to cultivate new friendships and navigate new adventures.
And I have been so richly blessed to have had many amazing experiences over these past two years of my life; some of them even life-changing experiences. And I have met more amazing people then I think I can even count now. It would appear that Life rewards those who are willing to take risks and those who stand back up after being knocked down and say, “I am not done yet.”