By Cathy McNally
Last evening, I asked two loving beings to hold me … and I sobbed myself empty.
Today I sit at home in awe of this magnificent gift – and how unusual it is for me to ask, how easy it was to do, and how whole and peaceful I feel today.
My context: In three days it will be the 20th anniversary of the moment I met the man who was to become my soulmate, the partner I had dared to dream of, the light of my life. Over the past two days, I have been doing work that he and I used to do together as a team – sharing our stories and my memories with wonderful groups of people interested in strengthening their relationships. 30 months ago (almost to the day) my love died in my arms from a brain tumour – and I have missed him each day since.
I am learning to live alone … and there are definitely times I do not like it! Which is usually when the ache of my missing him is SO huge and I feel so very lonely.
This is what I emptied last evening. An accumulated welling of my missing and loving, my pain and joy. All of these swirling feelings … a very mixed bag of emotions. Oh my!
And WHAT A GIFT to be cradled by my loving friends, and accompanied on my journey through the wails, sighs, chuckles, smiles, and tears. I am so blessed!
Travelling home today, I saw a documentary featuring psychotherapist Irvin Yalom. Such wise words. In amongst his message he comments that in the fresh deliciousness of falling in love – we don’t actually want to shine a bright light and do any ‘inner reflecting.’ Rather we are reveling in and celebrating the mystery of each other … (turn that piercing bright light off!). At the same time, in moving from the lonely “I” into the joy of becoming “we”… there is a risk we can lose our ‘self.’
I do believe Yalom’s words are true. And maybe this is part of the reason for the enormity of my sense of loss. I believe that my love and I embraced the “we” and worked hard not to abandon our “I” selves. He and I each stood steady, and separately, on our own two feet … while cherishing and benefiting profoundly from our close, loving partnership.
The net effect of doing this is that our loving was not based in fear; fear of abandonment or losing the other, not being loved, etc. This freedom and wholeness gifted us with a wide range in life: ease and effort, laughter and grumpy, happy and sad, … all in the company of my very best friend, who was always honest with me. Such bounty!
I think last evening was a taste of this bounty again. I felt shy as I asked – yet it was honest, and I was genuinely fine to hear a “no.” Each of my friends was surprised … and touched to be asked; felt no ‘burden,’ and stretched their loving arms out to me.
The exquisite, calm quiet after my (our) emotional release felt ‘sacred’ to all three of us.
Arriving home, I found myself moved to write. I think my message is to invite myself, and you who are reading this, to be brave. To ask – even when I am shy. To reach out – when I am feeling awkward and have no idea ‘how to do this’. To be my messy human self – with others. To open to being loved … and loving.
Which reminds me, as I sit in my gratitude … Happy Thanksgiving!
October 3rd, 2016