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You take the best parts with you

I live alone. I recognize that other people who live alone are often lonely, but I am not. I engage easily enough with others, I am certainly comfortable in the presence of others, and some might even tell you that I am quite adept at interacting with others. And still, as long as I can remember, solitude has been a place of solace for me and continues to be.  I believe that one of the reasons why my marriage to Linda was so good, was because neither of us lost anything to each other or to the very idea of being married.  We brought the fullness of ourselves to our relationship and we were comfortable with each other in that sense. 

Now, it is two years that I have been without her.  Shortly after her passing, my grief was tempered by the freedom that I felt in shedding the skin of caregiving after 8 incredibly difficult and painful years.  During my profound sense of loss, I was able to find some footing by learning how to explore my life again. It was as if I had been locked inside for years, and was slowly emerging from the darkness with my eyes squinting and my hands feeling the walls until the light was bright enough to lessen the shadows on my path. As these two years have assured me the stamina and surefootedness that comes with the healing that follows the death of a spouse, I have been able, finally to look back and see the journey with a clarity that I had lacked previously.

What I know now, is that my circumstances were certainly not extraordinary.  Death comes to us all, and often at a time that is rather inconvenient.  To accept that is actually to embrace life and to surrender to the perfection of its unfoldment. It doesn’t mean that it is easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we should not cultivate strategies and perspective to be more fully present and conscious of the process as it unfolds.  It simply means that Linda’s served her tenure on this earthly plane until it was completed.  She did it with extraordinary grace, beauty, kindness, compassion, and love and that means everything.  To live is to be provided with an opportunity to connect deeply with the most sacred pulse of that which is bigger than all of us and includes all of us.  She has always inspired me and continues to do so. 

I live on 125 acres in upstate New York, surrounded by the beauty and the intensity of the natural world.  I am incapable of being bored and I derive my inspiration from all that surrounds me.  My life with Linda, and my life learning to grow and heal beyond her passing as afforded me the challenge of re-inventing myself.  I have come to understand that re-invention is about leaving the gravitational pull of my own self-perception. Who I thought I was for so many years has been decimated by the experience of being a caregiver and moving through the grief of losing my wife. Sometimes it feels as if there is enough room inside of me for countless possibilities and unlimited growth.  Caregiving gives far more than it takes.  It has re-cast me in the role of an explorer, standing on the precipice of anything and everything, where all things are within view.  Linda continues to breathe life into my life, as she is no longer limited to the physical realm. And I continue to be open to her breath as I am to my own because I am no longer limited to the restrictions to that which I can only see with my eyes.

I live alone. But I am never alone. I am filled with the pulsing rhythm of vast and rich experience that is where dreams begin. I stumble, I cry, I run, I laugh. I live my life, my very short life, with the recognition that this is it. This is the moment. This is the place. This is the possibility.

Life brought Linda and me together.  Life separated us. Life has brought new and wonderful people into my life.  There is love after love; there is new life after old life; That is the way it has always been and will always be.

Yours in Life and Health,

Dr. D


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