What a difference a year makes

I was feeling pensive this evening. I guess it was the approaching holidays. I went back and re-read my blog posts from around this time last year.

I was still deeply grieving for Kurt, but I was beginning to look around and ask “what now?” I was simultaneously dreading and looking forward to going down to Palm Springs for the winter. How would I manage down there all alone? How did I want to choose to live my life from that point on? Could I ever dare to love again? Might I be so lucky as to love again? Who was I, and who was I becoming now that I was no longer Kurt’s wife, his partner, his caregiver?

What I didn’t share at the time was that I had just met CFL. We met, through friends of friends, two weeks before I packed up and moved south for the winter. We barely had time to begin to get to know one another, but he helped me finish packing and stood in my driveway looking sad when I drove away the day after Thanksgiving.

I was so torn. I kicked myself for leaving but I knew that I had things to do on my own, and that I needed to go.

Then followed hundreds of text messages and hours of phone calls. It wan’t anything like the courtships of my previous experience!

But I think the timing of our meeting and immediate separation worked in my favor — the separation and my loneliness gave me the time and space to figure out what I actually did want to do and who I wanted to become. It allowed me to focus on my job… which helped me to see that there really wasn’t anything left of my job worth focusing on, and that my talents and energy would be better spent elsewhere. The separation from both CFL and the Pacific Northwest helped me to see that I didn’t want to be bi-platial… that friends and community are things that I truly value. I deeply want to be rooted, grounded, at home, in place.

So there I was, deeply engaged in thinking through the issues that I needed to resolve and the decisions that I had to make in order to move on with my life. Meanwhile, I was being wooed. It was an honor, a thrill, and an utterly rejuvenating experience to be wooed.

Re-reading my posts from those months, I see my mixed emotions — confusion, joy, optimism, fear, relief when I made the big decisions to sell the condo and quit my job, resolutions of “I shall have fun,” and wide-eyed speculation about the future.

What a difference a year makes.

I wish I could convey adequately to Kurt’s daughter and his closest friends that there will never be another Kurt in my life. I will grieve for him and miss him until the day I die.

But love is a many-splendored thing. It is beautiful. It is rare. My relationship with CFL may or may not be forever, but it is real. We’re both taking it one day at a time, both of us sharply aware that life is short and moments are all we have. I know that we have enriched one another’s lives immeasurably. As I look back tonight and remember the person that I was and the person that he was a year ago, I am grateful that both of us have had this second chance at love in our lives.

And on this holiday, I am grateful for loved ones and for being in love, both past and present. I am cherishing the memories and looking to the future.

One step at a time.

Posted on November 21, 2012, in grief, Learning, LIfe_goes_on and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Both weird and oh so true that grief and love are related emotions. And timing just is what it is. In my observations, those who truly love often soon love again, however incongruous that may seem from the outside. Only you can know the circumstances of and reasons for taking that step. So, since I know you’re not a big Xmas song fan, here’s a related one that’s just ‘seasonal’:

    Love knows no season, love knows no clime
    Romance can blossom any old time
    Here in the open
    We’re walkin’ and hopin’ together

    Sleigh bells ring, are you list’nin?
    In the lane, snow is glist’nin’
    A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight
    Walkin’ in a winter wonderland

    • Colleen, thanks for your sweet thought and for the song that will now be playing in my head all day! I’m actually not dreading the holidays quite so much this year, which is a really weird thing for me to experience. Seeing things through/with new eyes, as it were.

  2. Your man must, indeed, be very special. He sees and loves the great qualities we have known for years. You’re a unique and special person, my friend.

  3. yes, what a difference a year can make…and so glad that you are taking time to rediscover who you are, who you want to be and who you want to spend time with. I am reading Randy Pausch’ “The Last Lecture” and even with his public passing, his wife and family have rightfully chosen to continue to live fully, even with their loss. Hope that this next month passes with good feelings and here’s to 2013! Hugs, Geri

    • Geri, it’s been a wild and wonderful year for me, with a lot of ground under my feet. I do find that there are new learnings to be had every day, every step along the way. I have every confidence that 2013 will bring more in the same vein. If we’re not learning, we’re not growing! Here’s to a great holiday season for you and yours, as well.

  4. I’ve been offline and decided to scroll backwards…am I glad I didn’t miss this, Lori! I get a little thrill reading about your relationship with CFL, because although you surely didn’t tip your hand even slightly last year about having another relationship brewing, or maybe it was waiting, the heaviness of your grief was very apparent. It was obviously a very hard time making so many decisions, addressing your options and coming to terms with what you needed for your ability to move forward even a little bit. There’s renewal in the things you share, and I think all of us who have a husband or wife, a loving partner, or even extremely significant friendship do wonder what we will do, or who we will be, if we are separated–death or otherwise.

    Your ability to love again doesn’t imply moving away from Kurt, but reaching for life. It’s a wonderful story of renewal. I’m really amazingly happy for you. Blogging is a funny medium. I have never met you, yet I really care. I’m delighted you shared such a personal part of a very special story! oxo

    • Debra,
      As always, your reflection on my thoughts and words makes my experience all the richer for me. My story doesn’t feel quite so inspiring anymore — at least to me — because it’s “just my story,” just “more of the same” of who I am and a part of my new day-to-day life. Thank you for reminding me of how far I have come and the possibility of my sharing my story more widely. I do keep mulling over those books I am threatening to write.
      I do feel the same way about you, having come to know you through your blog posts and our exchanges. We really should try to meet the next time I’m in Southern California… which, as it happens, will be within the next couple of months. We should talk.

      • So sorry it took me so long to respond to your wonderful thought We were on the run today! I would really enjoy spending any amount of time you’d have available, Lori! When you begin to make your plans, just let me know and we’ll go from there. I can be very flexible with my schedule. It would be lovely to meet you. I will look forward to it! oxo

      • Debra, it will be sometime in early January. It will be fun to meet you!

  5. Lori, this post brought tears to my eyes. You express your thoughts so beautifully. I am so happy for the joy that CFL has brought to your life.

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