|-- Tulips Every Spring Remind Us That New LIfe Always Follows Winter --|
~ Mending Broken Cords ~
Lives long lived in intimate proximity, shape each other for better or for worse. Thankfully, ours was abundantly for better.
During many years together, our ways rubbed off onto each other. Each of our unique manners of being, tempered the other. Moreover, in our mutual love and respect we molded ourselves to accommodate our differences - to better fit together. In many ways we held each other up. In some small ways, I suppose, in accepting each other’s foibles, we held each other back.
By the time we began to reach our 80s, many strands were interwoven within that protective shell encasing us. So many nurturing veins ran between and through the two of us that when John was unexpectedly taken, it felt akin to a ruthless ripping apart of con-joined twins. Like an earthquake tearing woven strands asunder. Suddenly it was over. The harmony of this intricate duet has gone quiet.
When one half of a couple dies, disappears into the mystery of eternity, numerous cords are left dangling and disconnected. The shell which nurtured two, shatters when one is taken. yet the one remaining faces a new journey as well. Paths full of lessons on how to carefully gather the dangling ends and somehow find a way to weave the broken parts together and go on- now without the familiar support and companionship of her other half. To find her balance and a purpose for each day. To find out who she is in this new reality.
Who will she now be? How to figure out just who you are when half of you is missing? Clearly you are not the girl you were before you married. You have changed and adapted to blend into the harmony you loved. Gradually you notice a quiet chipping taking place. A gentle reshaping. A stiffening of backbone over here, A quiet confidence seeping in. New interests surface. A new resolve for decisions that did not quite fit into the scheme of things before begins to emerge. Each small accomplishment of something new builds on another as slowly you discover who you are - and are becoming.
All this brings to mind that once before, long ago, I was aware of a new beginning. The summer before seventh grade, our family moved across the country. On the one hand it was awful to leave everyone and everything I knew behind. On the other hand, there was no choice, so when my older sister decided to use the move as an opportunity for a new start in life, I was the perfect copy cat. This was our chance to shed all bad habits and turn over an fresh page. To put our best foot forward.
We would start by changing our names. Genevieve Arlene would now be Arlene. She was in high school, older and wiser and able to accomplish her goal. She is Arlene to this day. Josephine Mae, younger and less sure of herself, didn’t do so well. At home I’d always been JoMae. At our new library in Northern Minnesota I signed up as Mae. At school, my parents registered me as Josephine. Elsewhere I was Jo and often simply, JoMae. Mostly I was horribly mixed up. Unable to remember who I was where. Terribly embarrassed at the library one day, when they couldn’t find me under the ‘J’s, I gave the whole thing up. Walking home in tears, I vowed to never let that happen again and have happily been JoMae ever since.
Now, once again, I must discover who I am. Blessed by the support of friends and family and surrounded by our home full of the many reminders of the love we grew here, I have had the gift of time to process what has happened, to ponder the meaning of it all and to get over the shock. Most important, I have been held together by the firm and loving hands of Godde. Through the whole of this experience, I’ve been shielded from falling into the pit of despair I first expected. And with Godde’s help am discovering who I am; who I will be. Even, unexpectedly, coming to anticipate the journey. I am learning many lessons. Perhaps I will find ways to share some of them.