Hey readers! I’m filling in for Mike today, as he had something come up and was unable to write. He’ll be back with us next Tuesday, so until then, I’m here to wander through some of my own thoughts of late and see what bubbles up...
Mike and I have spent the past few months moving all my things to his place, as many of you know. After a decade of living alone, finally, I’ve taken the plunge into this next level of partnership. A level in fact that I never even made it to with Drew, my late-fiance, because he died before we were able to get there.
We would have moved in together that same year he died, and married the next. But neither of those things happened. Instead, I gained new fears which have come with me into my relationship with Mike. Although there is no serious talk of it yet, we do have plans and hopes to get married one day. As this commitment begins to enter my mind more, new fears arise. Fears about being on the cusp of a new beginning and having it all taken away. Fears of moving in together and marrying because “what if he dies before we ever get there. Or the day after. Or three months into marriage...” What if, what if, what if. As I face these phases of my life for the first time since Drew and I were in a similar place, I find the fears quite loud.
Nearly every night in fact when we go to bed, these thoughts have started to run wild in my mind the past few weeks. Not to the point of serious upset, but certainly to the point of stress. Because I now realize what is possible. I now realize he could die tomorrow, and then what? This is certainly something I never faced with Drew. I was never even wondering what would happen, because I wasn’t thinking about him dying. Furthermore, I had a full-time and could support myself, and there was no child in the equation to care for. It all feels so risky when you’ve known death before.
Regardless of how scary all of this is, I can’t stop loving this person or pursuing this life any more than the grass can stop growing. Or at least, I refuse to stop growing. With the same stubbornness as nature, I will continue to sprout even in the hardest of winters. Like the morning glories on our back porch, I will continue to grow lush. I will climb towards the sun and I will go to the places where I will flourish most.
I can’t prevent this person from dying any more than I can keep the leaves from dying off the trees in winter. My only control then, is my love. And growing from a place of love. Not with a faith that death will not visit again, because it could at any time, and that I know. Instead, with the faith that - if death should come... if that dark, biting winter should indeed return - I will once again bloom through it.
I think to grow into a new partnership after the death of your person is to find your own place of peace with this new knowing. To find your own agreement with death. To acknowledge the dangers, take responsibility for the risks, and still choose the inevitability of pain for the chance to love again. It is incredibly hard and scary, but worthwhile. I think that is when the fear begins to lose its power some. When you accept that whether it’s next week or 50 years from now, you know in an intimate way that death will come again.
I’ll admit, every day since moving in here I have at least the smallest sigh of relief that on that day, he didn't die. Even as a write this, there is a small amount of fear in my fingers, because I still don’t know if today could be that day. And for all the days after. But I do know, that today is a day I get to love. And that's the part that I try to spend the rest of the day focusing on.
In some ways, this agreement keeps me on my toes. It keeps me remembering to embrace what is here today. It reminds me to hold close what is important to me. It keeps me fighting for my joy, and determined to have a life of beauty no matter what comes my way.