Thy Will be Done

I sometimes feel like I’m being punished for some sin I committed against God; especially when I can feel neither God nor Patricia within me – just the deep empty loneliness. Could it be I am being punished for loving my beloved Patricia more than I love God? After all our Lord Jesus Christ said: Hear O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment.
Well I am guilty of loving Patricia more than I Love myself and I believe that the love of one’s spouse is the same as one’s love for God. When Pat was alive I did love her more than I loved God: we were “Us and God” not “God and Us”. When now I am lonely and missing her very much it is so easy to slip back into “Us and God”. It is like when I doubt my God and cry “O God I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
Pat wanted us to repeat our 2003 anniversary holiday in Nova Scotia; we enjoyed it so much and she fell in love with the south shore of the province. She worked on it so hard – the files and plans are still on her computer. When she retired, and both our pensions were coming in we made reservations and plans just after I recovered from my quintuple bypass – even bought round trip tickets on Via’s The Ocean. Her diaries from 2014 are full of her happiness about our plans to return for our 48th anniversary to White Point Beach. They also contain prayers that both her and I would remain healthy enough to enjoy that anniversary trip. All prayers ended with the same ending she prayed when I went into the operating theatre for my quintuple by-pass: “God, please, please, please, please. Amen.”
Well that was a prayer God answered with a NO – a resounding NO! Pat died with tears in her eyes but accepted God’s well. She is a much better Christian than me. It just wasn’t to be. I felt her death as punishment for me not accepting His will. I wanted Pat to be happy – always happy. This is why I wonder if I am being punished for loving her more than I loved God. Please God forgive me and teach me to accept thy will with grace. God answered her pray to die without pain. Thank you God for that.
As C. S. Lewis said, God gives us the death of our beloved to get us back on the path to him; this is a harsh thing that God does because He loves us. You can not have resurrection without death. The pain of the present is part of the happiness of the past. You can’t separate Crucifixion and resurrection. The answer to my pain is within the pain. We must accept that or remain broken.
We love still, we have hope, and sadness, joy and fear. These feelings strengthen us in the love of Christ. Love is stronger than Death and we love forever.
Lord I am not high-minded: I have no proud looks.
2. I do not exercise myself in great matters, which are too high for me.
3. But I calm my soul and keep it quiet, like a weaned child with his mother; yea, my soul is even as a weaned child.
4. O Israel, trust in the Lord, from this time forth for evermore. Psalm 131

Yes, I still love Patricia, honour and keep her in my heart; and, forsaking all other, keep myself unto her, forever. God, Thy will be done, thy love be done and may Pat and I dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Amen.

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Memory of things past or of things to come

Carl Jung said: “The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.” It follows that Patricia’s soul and mine, united in marriage and as soulmates, have deep memories of times of our joy together before either of us were born and far into eternity. We found each other within each other. We loved with heart and soul; for us, there is no such thing as separation. LOVE is stronger than DEATH. We now live our life in our dreams and memories. Our love (agape), is the unconditionality of true acceptance of God and us, the devotion associated with seeking truth in life, and the beauty of human nature, while transcending time, countries, religions and languages.

I had a dream last night that was so real it was like living a Jane Austin movie.  Pat and I were dressed like 19th century gentry.  Pat was gorgeous – full length yellow dress with high waist, her hair done in a French twist. We owned a new winery in wine country but were new to wine making; our first crop was ready for bottling. There was not enough wine from the oak barrels to fill the bottles, but the cooper told us not to worry, blessed our endeavour and to just keep filling the bottles. There was more than enough. The bottles ran out before the barrels. The grounds were lovely, and we were alone together (Pat’s hermit couple) there. We thought about setting up a winery restaurant. When that first batch was ready we took it into town to enter the wine tasting. It was superb, and we won first prize. Won enough for the winery restaurant. Can’t help but think the dream was fulfilling both our dreams – 19th century winery estate, hermit couple and a restaurant. Memory of things past or of things to come?  “Do you have memory of the day we met, when the halo of your spirit surrounded us, and the angels of love floated about, singing the praise of the soul’s deed?” — Khalil Gibran

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Love is everything! I will love Patricia forever!

Like both Sheldon Vanauken and C. S. Lewis I can’t imagine Agape or Eros coming twice. I’m still very much married to Patricia and still very much in love with her. I shall be forever. Patricia and I were lucky enough to discover that quiet, intense love that is basic to life itself. Yes, Eros or Romantic love – the love of Chick films – brought us together. Cupid’s arrow made us interested in each other and that November 15th, 1968 we were both ready and looking for a relationship. We wanted each other in the Biblical sense.
Pat wrote just before Christmas 1968: “As a male, you attract me. The physical side of our relationship strikes me as complete, satisfying and contenting. This is a valuable thing, and not everybody achieves it.” Eros is emotion, sexual passion and very intense and yes, unstable. It is of the body. Okay, young lovers think it is forever but, to be of the soul it needs to be tempered and purified in the furnace of the soul like fine steel. The soul and God in Marriage makes you soulmates by refining and purifying the self and soul – folding the egos together, folding them into each other over and over again. The soulmates become one “they” becomes “we”. They are tied together by the red string of Fate and God in marriage refines the “we” in the heat and passion and in their joining in the heat of creation. At the death of one, the departed beloved soul shelters the surviving soul and works with it to continue their bond of agape love. Death is truly giving the body for the other. The final Love and majesty will come with the death of the surviving partner.
The true signs of soulmates are:
• a conscious decision to become “one”;
• facing the world as one;
• communicating soul to soul without speaking;
• a searching for God and US;
• an innate emotional trust in each other;
• unconditional love of each other;
• commitment to each other’s interests and good.
Sex becomes Eucharistic. “This is my body given for you, a drawing near to the other with all that one has and is; in conscious love; to give the inner most gift of oneself in the most intimate foretaste of divine union that can be known in human flesh “– Cynthia Bourgeault.
“LOVE AND DEATH HAVE A COMMON ROOT,” says Ladislaus Boros. “The best love stories end in death, and this is no accident. Love is, of course, and remains the triumph over death, but that is not because it abolishes death but because it is itself death. Only in death is the total surrender that is love’s possible, for only in death can we be exposed completely and without reserve. That is why lovers go so simply and unconcernedly to their death, for they are not entering a strange country; they are going into the inner chamber of love.” — From Love is stronger than Death by Cynthia Bourgeault.
Yes, our love continues beyond the grave after all we gave before God a pledge of pure and endless love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then the Priest said:
“O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life: Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our Love did not die with her; it survives in both of us – it sustains me in my grief, in our grief. She dwells within me and is constantly with me in my dreams. I walk with her daily and I always will.  Patricia holds my hand and guides me to our place in Heaven. When my light returns with the dawn she will take me in her arms and wake me with a gentle kiss.



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Love and Death: to Patricia my beloved


Pat, this whole year is as if I have been living our last year physically together tear by tear, over again. All the special days and anniversaries were times of vivid memories relived and tears. Well now I am in the final six weeks of your earthly life and it is hurting a lot more than I remember. Then I was too busy to think much of death but now it is nearing the end of your journey to departure and there is no hope of recovery or remission and no personal care to give. No final visits of friends and family bringing comfort. It is all adjusting to the new reality of being without the physical you. God and love sure intensely fused us into one. Yes, the candle has gone out, your vitality and brightness here on earth has dimmed but, for you at least, the dawn has come – you are in heaven in the arms of Christ. I, though still in darkness, sometimes in dreams and visitations by your presence, see your brightness. Yesterday during the mass, I looked up at the central window over the alter and Mary at the cross became you – hope this is not blasphemy. The sun was directly behind your face and so bright I could not see anything else. I was truly blinded by the light. Death now appears in a new light; it is where we totally surrender in love to each other and God. We both now know the fullness of our love and that LOVE is stronger than death. We have entered the inner chamber of love. We are together dwelling in each other forever.

“LOVE AND DEATH HAVE A COMMON ROOT,” says Ladislaus Boros  “The best love-stories end in death, and this is no accident. Love is, of course, and remains the triumph over death, but that is not because it abolishes death but because it is itself death. Only in death is the total surrender that is love’s possible, for only in death can we be exposed completely and without reserve. That is why lovers go so simply and unconcernedly to their death, for they are not entering a strange country; they are going into the inner chamber of love. ”  page 145 “LOVE is stronger than DEATH” by Cynthia Bourgeault.

As Cynthia says, “Once that surrender has been fully made, death has served its purpose and drops away to reveal the fullness of love.” Cynthia gives the best advice for the Grief Journey, ” …Love beyond the grave has something to do with “working in the wonders” — continuing to grow the soul by healing the dark parts and bring to birth the untapped gifts.”  Patricia and I are soulmates and we continue to grow in love forever.

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December 1, 2016 to January 7, 2017 was the worst time in my life!

Quiet Love: … eyes to see and words to tell the truths that are most true. by Patricia A. Bow & Eric C. Bow  (    Pages 203 to 209 :

Thursday December 1 2016 Advent
Another so – so night. Woke about 3 am with headache took Tylenol, waited to about 6 am for easing.
Now, at about 10 am, I am still dead tired and have a trace of headache. wish I knew why the headaches. also a slight trace of nausea. Took Ginger tea – little help. Dread the general horribleness that might come.
Phoned Dr Eskander -no word yet on oncologist appointment.
Got a reply from Shetland Spindrift people. Think I can do this. Had planned to go to the new Nougat with Dani and Bette today but was not up to it.

She had a stroke and was back in GRH. She tried to keep up her journal but it is barely readable. This is the best I can get.
Sat Dec 4 (I think)
Back in GRH felt sickish found myself on BR floor me going to. (ER) in Ambulance – landed on Floor 6 surgery, I have been here for 2 days. My handwriting is terrible can’t see much of letters without eyeglasses on — no idea what’s going on Stroke?

The rest is me filling in for her a month after she passed away:
Friday December 2 2016 to Sunday December 4 2016
In the morning after breakfast Pat felt nausious and dizzy while getting dressed. I told her to go to the bathroom. She got there and didn’t know what to do with the door. I told her to open it. Then she got to the toilet and again asked what to do. I told her to lift the lid. That’s when she colapsed on to the floor. I got her out to the landing. Phoned James. He told me to phone 911 and he rushed over. When Pat heard that an ambulance was on the way she told me to cancel it. I told her they were on the way and I couldn’t cancel. 911 arrived at the same time as James. Firemen examined her then the ambulance came and the medics took over. They determined she had had a stroke. At the hospital we learned that while she was in a ward on the 8th floor the previous week she “might” have come in contact with a super bug. She was put in isolation. Spent the whole weekend in GRH . Various tests were done. Visitors had to wear gloves and gown (Nora wouldn’t and stayed in the hall) which Vivi did and came in the room to see and kiss her grandmother. They kept her in for tests which they couldn’t do until Monday morning.

Monday December 5 2016
After the CT Scan in the early morning Pat was allowed to go home. They found scarring from many small silent strokes and of course the stroke on Thursday. The strokes are attributable to the Pancreatic cancer causing blood clots.
When home in the late morning. We had a busy day finishing up some things for Christmas. Pat seemed fine and had returned to normal though she had trouble reading and writing. Signed all our Christmas cards though.
In the evening she wanted to get down the small slow cooker and timer we had promised to give to Erin for cooking steel cut oats over night. It was in the cabinet over the refrigerator. She began pushing a chair over to the fridge. There was no way I was going to let her get up on a chair; so I climbed up to get the cooker while she dried dishes by the sink.
I noticed her stagger; got down quickly as possible; just in time to catch her but I was off balance and we both ended up on the floor – her on top of me.
She was incoherent but wouldn’t let me phone 911. I phoned James and Erin and when they got there we all tried to convince her to allow us to phone an ambulance. She firmly refused scrawling on a pad “No Ambulance.”
She was insisting it was not a stroke though her left side was paralyzed and she was drooling from the left side of her mouth and her writing was barely legible when she could find the words.
Erin, James and I talked it over, asking what the hospital could do for her; she was already taking the strongest blood thinner available, it was late and she had an appointment with Dr. Eskander Wednesday early Wednesday morning. [We now know this was a mistake because the stroke could in the early stages have been treated to speed recover later].

Tuesday December 6 2016
Pat spent all day in bed. In the morning she fell trying to get out of bed herself to go to the bathroom. I was downstairs making breakfast.

Wednesday December 7 2016
Early Wednesday James came over to help get Pat to Dr. Eskander’s office. Pat insisted I give her a bath; got her in tube, got in with her and washed her down. Got her out dried and dressed and downstairs to the living room. Bruised her in several places doing it. Her legs got wedged in the tub and also showed bruising. Got her to Dr. Eskander. He took one look at her and told us we should have called 911 Monday night. Asked us if we wanted an ambulance now. We declined and got her to GRH ourselves – another mistake you get through ER a lot sooner if an ambulance brings you in.

December 7th to 14th
The next week was full of tests, visits from therapists and the beginning of some therapy. Conclusions of the examinations, test, consultations and therapist visits were
• the cancers pancreatic and liver were inoperable;
• can’t use either radiation or chemo therapy because the strokes had left her too weak and either would rush her death and be very painful – the oncologist concurred;
• there could be some benefit from intensive stroke therapy in Freeport but by the time they got results she would be too week from the cancer to enjoy them and also wouldn’t have much time left.

Pat wanted to die at home though she would have liked some intensive to try and get some of her independence and words back, but there was the promise of home visits by the therapists.
After discussions between us and the palliative care doctor we chose some less intensive stroke therapy at home and also signed a “no heroic measures” document. Her siblings concurred. We had opted for home care – me being the primary care giver.
CCAS had an hospital bed completely equipped, a wheel chair and a bed desk delivered to our home and set up schedules for home visits by a nurse, speech therapist and occupational therapist and three visits a day by person service workers.
Pat was brought home by ambulance on December 14 2016

December 14th 2016 to January 5th 2017
Things gradually improved at home for a while. We got into a routine and the therapists trained me. I had Pat do the exercises and I learned to use the bed to help lift her. She sat in the wheel chair in front of the living room TV to eat lunch and sometimes supper. I even got her onto the commode. Also she seemed to be gaining some strength back as a result of her exercises. We had an enjoyable Christmas Eve with her sisters Deanna and Bette. They brought over a feast and Pat was actually able to eat some and seemed quite happy and comfortable. Thank you Dani and Bette that more than made up for an unpleasant Christmas Day.
Christmas Day was not so good. Pat was never good with a large group of people – she reacts best to at most 3 to 5 people and she does not like being the centre of attention or people trying to bond with her. Also Christmas day she was feeling tired from the night before. And by Christmas, after a few headaches (I still think they were silent strokes) she had lost more of her words. Well on Christmas day, James, Erin, the Granddaughters, Michael and Rosemarie all came over bringing presents and to open our presents to them. Pat was in her wheel chair and the adults trying to show sympathy sat real close to Pat touching her hands at times. It was a bad day for Pat especially as she never did like being touched by anybody but her nearest and dearest – Vivian, Nora and me, and hugs from siblings and James and Erin. I could see her flinch and especially the tears in her eyes – she was crying on Christmas Day. It made me very sad as this was likely her last Christmas and I so wanted it to go well. Pat please forgive me!

For the next two weeks we settled into a routine of me feeding her oatmeal for breakfast and pureed meals for lunch and dinner and thickened water and juices as needed. I gave her her medications including her Fragmin shots and helped her to the commode. Also cleaned and changed her when we didn’t make it to the commode. Pat hated strangers looking after her bathroom needs and actually preferred me to ANYBODY else. James came every night to read her to sleep. Deanna and Erin both came regularly to read to Pat. Reading was a passion of Pat’s and I’m sure she loved this – especially as the silent strokes left her very little sight. Thank you James, Erin and Deanna. Pat was in very little pain – the headaches were the worse. Tylenol regular every 4 hours were all she needed. God certainly answered her prayer to spare her pain.

Must tell this little scare I had:
One morning I came down and didn’t see her in her bed. There was this pile of blankets on the floor (including the “poppa” quilt she had made out of my old flannel shirts) but NO Pat. Where was she? I was in quite a state. Then I saw the pile of blankets move. She had had to go early in the morning and had tried to get to the bathroom by herself. She had fallen to the floor and had the sense to pull the quilt and blankets down with her to keep her warm.
The days after New Year, Pat lost her words completely and communicated by grunting and pointing. – to her mouth when she wanted water, to her grown when she needed the commode.

January 5th to 7th 2017
From January 5th to 7th Pat was not responsive to any stimuli at all. We were unsure if she even recognized us or saw anything. Her right arm had lost most of its strength and the left lost all its gains. She needed a stronger pain killer so, the nurse suggested I start the Percocet once a day before bed. Then she lost the ability to swallow and the nurse put in a vein tap for morphine again only once a day before bed and showed me how to use it.
Her sister, Deanna was her last visitor; Dani read to Pat until about 5 that day. the PSW was due at 5:45. When Dani left Pat was still breathing but it sounded laboured. She seemed peaceful. I went up stairs to answer some e-mails then started down to prepare for the PSW’s arrival at 5:45. The phone rang, it was the PSW, she had just gotten off the bus could see #100 Krug and said 99 must be next door. It took me time to explain how we number houses in Canada – she had been here less than two years. Well I had to turn on my porch light and actually go out and get her. Got back about 5:55 and went to wake Pat. I noticed she wasn’t breathing. I took her pulse (skin was still warm) but there was no pulse. The PSW wanted to phone 911 but I stopped her and phoned the CCAS nurse as instructed. The nurse came in less than 30 minutes. She took over and told me to phone the funeral home to come take the body. James Erin and Deanna were here to say their last farewell Impressed with Erin who gave a last kiss and hug (as I had done earlier) James sort of blessed her.

You’d think that was all but then this:
Just when you think it cannot get any worse you have to put down your beloved pet. Pooka spent the last two weeks either on the hospital bed with Pat or sleeping under it. She was okay when we left for Church this morning, January 8, 2017, and after we got home; but, after we got home from making the funeral arrangements she was at the top of the stairs crying in pain. We noticed she couldn’t put any weight on her rear left leg. Took her to emergency services and were told after an x-ray she need orthopedic surgery and her weak bones (she was over 19 years old) would not recover well at all. They recommended we put her down rather than send her to Guelph for the $6,000 surgery. Boy the world stinks just now.

Pat late summer 2016 with Pooka

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Jealous of God!

Sometimes a dream can speak to one of your innermost truths. My dream last night was one of those dreams. Both C.S. Lewis and Sheldon Vanauken write about the surviving spouse of a Devoted Christian becoming jealous of God. It is not that your departed spouse loves you less – it is that she loves God more. Well last night I discovered I’m jealous of God. My beloved Pat, in the arms of Christ has found C. S. Lewis’ God and Us.
The dream started with Patricia voicing her love for a new fellow. She wanted me to move out of our bedroom, so he could move in with her – I could have the guest bedroom. Pat said she still loved me but loved this new fellow more. I was extremely jealous and broke into our bedroom and saw him in the dishevelled bed. Then he turned to face me, and I realized he was Christ. How could she not love him more than I. I remembered a stanza in her poem to me on our anniversary in 1970:
And this long miracle is to discover
the inmost me and you,
to nurse no longing for another,
to forge the soul and its desire together
gently, openly and forever.
Then C. S. Lewis advising Vanauken came to mind, that his departed wife was further along on the road to God and Us and could help Sheldon find the oneness with God that all Christians seek. C. S. Lewis wrote to Vanauken, “That is, I think the union between the risen spouses will be as close as that between the soul and its own risen body. But (and this, as you see, is the snag) the risen body is the body that has died. (‘If we share this death, we shall also share this resurrection’) And so – as you say in one of your postscripts – your love for Jean must in one sense, be ‘killed’ and God must do it.’ …. But of course, it’s all in the text ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom . . . and all these other things shall be added unto you.’ “Okay this situation was necessary on the Grief journey and is harking back to the beginning of our love. Our love is eternal and we both shall love God more.
In life Pat and I were so united our lives were one. We wanted the same things, planned for the same things, liked the same things, wanted to go to the same places, had the same goals and objectives, loved each other and believed the same things. Of course, God would be that other.
There is no being called; God does NOT take us; He accepts us. Give up this idea that there is NO place for you in Heaven. Pat is in Christ’s arms preparing our place in Heaven. As she wrote:
“You love me royally, as I love you,
seated together in our garden Kingdom,
keeping up our silent conversation,
clothed in robes of joy of every hue.”
Yes, our love was unique and rare. God sees all. He sees how the three of us – Pat, me, and our quiet love – became the one triune entity we were meant to be. Garden Kingdom, Garden of Eden, Heaven, all three are one; we were headed there from the first.
“For us, our royal love has had no parallel:
It rooted, grew, and like a miracle
spread to the garden where in now we sit,
Clothed in the fragrance of fulfillment.”
We are still on that journey to discover the inner self in each other. No there is no one who knows me or Pat better than ourselves and each other. This dream was one of those “silent conversations,” our quiet love and our always being together saw to that.
We will be reunited into the one that our marriage made us; marriage in heaven is a unity of souls in the image of the Divine Trinity. It is Christ Himself not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. And after all He is in Heaven and married – to the Church. So, there is marriage in Heaven and Christ Himself is part of the Trinity of marriage. I am sure I can live contentedly through any crisis that might come, as long as I know I can depend on Pat’s presence in me. Pat was and is the only woman for me, and without her I would be all disorganized fragments of grief. Love is stronger than Death. Christ makes it so.

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The Best of times the worst of times

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 was the forty-ninth anniversary of Pat and my first date and the first anniversary of that dreadful diagnosis. It was the best of times and the worst of times.
On Friday, November 15, 1968, Pat was a fellow student’s date at the Red Lion on our FLIS weekly pub crawl. I was attracted to her and sat beside her. When her date left her alone to talk to some of his buddies, I was alone there beside her and since it was by now late afternoon, I asked her to supper. She said yes. She went home to Rochdale to change and I picked her up there. We went to Hungarian Village on Bay Street. After Hungarian Village, we went to hear Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry at the Riverboat in Yorkville where we had pastries and coffees. The date was not over yet, though it was past midnight. We went to Plaka, a Greek nightclub on Queen Street where we listened to Basuki players from Athens and threw dishes. Got her back to Rochdale early Saturday morning and, after getting to know each other (talked until dawn – I promised never to lie to this woman and no lines), I proposed to her. She said “no.” Didn’t get much sleep before having to head off to my Saturday job at the undergraduate library at U of T. After work, I dropped by her place to ask her to Church on Sunday morning. Pat accepted, and came to the Church of the Redeemer with me on Sunday; this confirmed that Pat was the girl for me. I used to pray nightly that the first girl that attended Church with me would be the girl I married. It took two more askings but on February 9th (4 days after my birthday), she said she loved me and would marry me. On Valentine’s Day, we went together to buy her engagement ring. Her finger was so slim the jeweller had to cut down a size 4. We were married at St. Stephen’s-in-the-Fields on June 21, 1969.
It has occurred to me that while our first date on November 15, 1968 showed our interest in each other it was not as important as our going to Church together two days later November 17, 1968. The Friday was Eros, the Sunday was Agape. Cupid shot us with his arrow of erotic love on the Friday while on the Sunday our souls touched. Love at first sight is passionate but selfless love needs time and trust. Pat needed time and wrote just after Christmas “On top of this I feel an elusive fondness for you that can’t be classified; its too strong for Friendship and not strong enough for love.” I believe she was waiting for Agape before saying “I love you” on February 9, 1969. A marriage based solely on passionate romantic love can end in disaster; glad we waited for Agape. God and Agape made us soulmates forever.
I am NOT alone! My beloved Patricia is forever within me. I will experience her Presence through the tears, every more deeply each day. Pat dwells within me and I dwell within her. We are present in each other and both experience the Presence. That place in my heart is my special place for remembering. I believe this is possible for all soulmates; it is part of soulmates being united in marriage by God to be one. You need merely to believe! Love makes all things possible. We shall love forever.


Patricia A. Bow July 20, 1946 – January 7, 2017

Pooka September 17, 1987 – January 8, 2017

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