Tomorrow would have been our 48th wedding anniversary. We always added on to the anniversary date the extra year and a half of our actual partnership, making it 49 ½ years in September. I was sure we would make it at least to our 60th, having been married so young. ‘Twas not to be. I do not consciously seek out memories that only trigger sorrow. Rather tears arise in more occasional gusts of memories that can be touched off by anything at all- someone’s kind touch on my arm, a smell of certain foods, a song, a story told by another- anything that summons memories of almost 50 years of living together.
The acute pain of the loss of my best friend/lover/creative muse/business partner/father of our children actually fades over time, like a photograph left too long in the sun. I cherish my old friends who knew us as a couple and as individuals. I also am slowly making new friends who have no idea of who he was or how we evolved over time. They only are coming to know me as the woman who has been so shaped by Richard’s former presence in my life.
In Kronos or chronological time, I have all of those years as a reference point for my loss. I am a widow, a title that indicates the history of a lost husband. In Kairos time, or the eternal Now, I have glimpses of being neither a woman, single or otherwise, or of any gender or age, or even having a specific body. I only taste quiet unperturbed knowing. It is a comfort to just Be. There is not the slightest straining to move towards anything. When I come back to body awareness, either after meditation or upon my first morning awakening, I notice a familiar tension behind my eyes settle into place. It is as if I am always looking forward to the next thing- always just past this moment. It isn’t enough to ‘relax my eyes’ muscularly. What is required is noticing where it is that I place my attention; whether it is on that spacious reality or on deciding to get entrained by ‘what’s next’.
I believe there is a way to efficiently accomplish things right here in everyday Time and Space without losing that deep background of Being. It is still very much in my mind to reinforce the habits of a life time that insist on ‘doing Judi-ness’ at all times. The revelation of becoming more aware of Being is as imperceptible as saying, “There! Now it is officially dawn.” using only your eyes to demarcate the shift of light. It is that slow and subtle and quietly entrancing.
People ask me if I am ‘settling in’ here at Kendal. I heard myself answer to someone yesterday, “Without noticing, this is becoming my home. I am still learning my way around the physical plant, still learning how the systems work, still searching out the right people for the right information. But at the end of a day, I say to myself, now it’s time to go home- meaning my room.” When I haven’t been looking out for ways to make myself at home, it is happening anyway.
The gradual transformation of grieving also silently transforms my entire emotional being. My heart is softer. I am less volatile My body is still greatly affected and is a more visceral reminder of all that my recent history entails. Kronos and Kairos, time/no time, go hand in hand in my experience. Happy 48th wedding anniversary to that couple, that dear couple that was.