I have been a hairdresser for 36 years. In that time I have had many people sit in my chair who were in very similar situations as the one I presently find myself. Regardless of how similar one situation has been to another, or how different, I have always been amazed at how differently each person responded to their situation. I have stood in awe at what seemed like amazing resilience and shed tears for those who just simply could not rally the strength to move forward. I've seen people remarry in 2 months and others never get over the loss of their soul mate. I've seen people cower in the corner at all the people offering aid while others seem to relish the attention so much that their delayed healing seemed almost intentional for fear of losing the sympathetic limelight. I've seen people change and grow into their new normal like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon.
One friend in particular, had never been alone. In the beginning she was frightened and lonely. As time passed, she learned how to cope. She learned how to mow grass, change a tire and install a dimmer switch. She didn't want to but she did it. With each new skill she gained a little more confidence. At the same time, another friend admitted that while she probably could learn to do some things she hadn't done before, she preferred to allow her kids and church family to help her. It kept her from being lonely.
A very common thought among the lost and lonely is that they nearly always wish they had done something differently. They wish they hadn't been so grumpy. They wish they had spent more time together; proclaimed their love; taken more vacations; played. They lamented words unsaid, fights over things that didn't matter, that they stayed too long or gave up too soon. This seems like such a sad way to live. Wanting for more, lacking in motivation to do anything about it.
When Mr. Scribbler, (aka Lovey), and I got married, we made several promises to each other. I am VERY careful about the promises I make as I do not break them. Once I agree to something, it is engraved in stone. At the end of the day, I need to be able to look myself in the mirror without shame or regret. This is extremely important to me. I have never allowed other people's choices to dictate my own. So, even if you break your promise to me, I will still keep mine to you. We promised to always put the each other first. The idea being, that if we did, there was no storm we couldn't weather. We promised to be honest with each other about our needs. We promised to respect each other, even on those days when we may not like each other much, and we promised to fight fair. No eye gouging, food throwing, name calling or character assassinations were allowed. Anger was fine but choose our battles and our words wisely. If we did these things to the best of our abilities, when the night came that our eyes closed for the last time - we would have no regrets. We would know in our heart of hearts, that even though we weren't perfect, our strivings were. We could sleep well, without regret, remorse or guilt because we loved our best and unconditionally. And even if we sometimes disappointed each other, we had not broken our vows to be good to each other. What a gift that was to me.
Mr. Scribbler gave me another gift. Whenever one of our family or friends passed, or we saw some tragedy on the news, we would talk about what we would do should we suddenly find ourselves torn apart, leaving the other alone. He told me what he wanted for me...
He wanted me to continue to be me. To continue to live joyously and in service of others. He wanted me to continue dancing to commercials, singing in the shower, taking photos and drawing smiley faces on my fingertips to touch to noses of unsuspecting grandchildren; to look for beauty under rocks and always remember to look up. He wanted me to keep playing on escalators, smiling through poker games and singing along to the music at the grocery store. He made me promise to never lose my sense of adventure, my sense of humor and my sense of decency. He wanted me to continue to love.
What a sweet and gentle gift my split apart gave to me. And while I am not quite fulfilling my promises just yet, and I am truly missing my SELF and weary of the sadness that overshadows me at the moment, I know that I will be ok. I know that I will rally and I will once again continue to be me. Time will ease me into a new normal and memories of an epic love story worthy of telling will continue to carry me and encourage me. To teach me to be better today than I was yesterday. I lived to love my split apart and best friend. Now I live to honor his memory by striving to be what he believed me to be. I am better because of him.
Aristophanes, (in one, and my preferred version of the story) in quoting Plato told of how Humans used to be connected; Lovers, soul mates, were one being. And the world was a wondrous, loving and gracious place. But the vengeful Gods saw how happy humans were and envied them; they were jealous and dark hearted. They separated the two souls inhabiting a single form and scattered them about. Ever since, as the story goes, humans have wandered searching for their soul mate; their split apart.
I promise to be loyal, faithful, honest, yours
I promise to love you without condition, wholly, from the inside out
I promise to be worthy of your trust; to uphold you; to be your constant
I promise to provide you a safe haven from the insanity that is the world
I promise to overlook trivialities, focus on the pertinent
I promise to listen, to hear, to act, to defend
I promise to avoid that which would destroy us
I promise to strive to be what you believe me to be
I promise to see in you your potential, appreciate your strengths
I promise to forgive you, to ask your forgiveness
I promise to put you first; before my own desires, before the vanities of the world
I promise to be only yours, to protect your heart as though it were my own
I promise to laugh, to cry, to explore, and to grow with you
And should the world threaten to destroy us; to separate us; to scatter us about,
I promise to hold on