When I saw my husband the first time, I recognized him. I didn’t have the feeling that we had met somewhere before or that it was some sort of love at first sight interaction. I thought he was nice looking and well dressed in a crisp, soft yellow oxford and pressed stone colored khakis. It wasn’t just attraction. It was just that my heart recognized him.
It wasn’t until many months later that we spoke. I was married and “very” pregnant with my second child. Again there was no romance brewing, just a simple exchange of words. After the birth of my daughter, Sonia, I saw him by “chance” and would feel genuinely happy to see him and eventually, I found myself hoping to see him. Needless to say, my first marriage came to an end and in due course Andrew and I became an “item”.
I have never doubted that some sort of synchronicity occurred for me. Whether it is my interest in eastern philosophies or simply a romantic notion, I believe that there are people in our lives that are there because they are supposed to be. My love for Andrew goes beyond this life and there are others, my brothers, select friends, my children…. I feel convinced that we have been together before and that we have some pre-life agreement to fulfill in this life. Perhaps the “thing” that seals it for me is the time that my daughter Olivia who was no more than 2 years old said, “Remember Mommy, when you were my mother before”. She then began to discuss historical facts that a two year old simply has no knowledge.
Last Thursday our family and friends from near and far, gathered together to memorialize the life of my mother in law. I often tell Andrew that I married him for his family. Of course I am joking but they are a great part of the package. I didn’t realize it at the time but Andrew’s mother, Dorace, came into my life at a time when I desperately needed it. She demonstrated elements of being a woman, a mother and a wife that I was lacking. She was an example of grace and unconditional love that I can only hope to emulate. She provided me and my two children with the holiday tradition and sense of family that we didn’t even know we were lacking. Having Dorace in my life helped me to find my place in the world.
Dorace had been married to her husband, Logan 63 years when he passed and two years later her oldest son passed very unexpectedly. She never seemed to have been able to gain her footing again. The fragility of life is a monumental issue for me. I have an acute awareness that each time I say goodbye to a loved one, it could be the last. I’ve not learned to put that part of life in perspective. When my husband travels for work I experience nothing short of panic. If I travel with him I have the false impression that I can somehow control our destiny. From the moment my oldest son was placed in my arms I was introduced to a new obsessive fear, the fear of losing a child. I have never managed to harness these fears. On some level, I think that I am in tune to what Dorace felt when she lost her partner of 63 years and two years later lost her son. It was not only the void that exists where they once were in her life but the inability to control one’s environment, the fear that others can others can join that void and the surrender to that knowledge.
“Time” is yet another phenomenon that fills me with something akin to fear and wonder. I have learned that moments are precious. I’ve learned to inhale those seconds when my children are young and remember the smell of their skin. I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I am still the love of my nine year old son’s life and that I will soon be replaced. I have acquired the knowledge that the disappointments that my children experience today can be source of their strength tomorrow. I can even appreciate the “me” that time has presented over time. It is simply the speed with which time passes and the strange realization that with the progression of time comes those inevitable losses.
A few nights after the memorial we went to a bar with a group of cousins. These cousins of my husbands are yet another gift of my marriage. They are easily some of my favorite people. Together we drank, listened to live music and were simply comforted by the presence of the nearness of family. There seemed to be the poignant shared understanding that Dorace had brought and held us together but that it was up to each of us now to maintain that bond. I believe we were all aware that life, jobs, homes, children, geography and time would not strengthen our chances.
I want to believe in the synchronicity of life. I want to believe that all of the people that have touched this life of mine indelibly are part of an eternity of interactions that I will have in the form of lessons learned. I want to believe that each and every “goodbye” is just temporary.