The thing about losing Pat after 48 years of marriage is that every feeling, thought and moment has been intertwined for so long that I no longer remember who I was before marrying her. I know I was a lonely and a melancholy young man. I had my parents but though I loved them our minds did not touch. It’s also a very different type of love. Pat was my soulmate; she was the missing piece of the puzzle I didn’t even know was missing. She was the person I was going to grow old with. Because she loved me I felt I had to also love me – there was something worthwhile in me that she loved. Her dying left a big hole in my heart. It was like losing an essential part of myself. We were so entwined that I can’t name what part of me except to say it was the best of me. I lost my best friend, my lover, my companion, my everything. C. S. Lewis wrote that losing his wife, Joy, was like having a leg amputated. He was right; a spouse is your support and without her you are going to limp for the rest of your life. My whole world has changed. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after your spouse dies and I treasure them. But even they are not complete; while Pat was alive we shared most of our memories each reinforcing the other’s memories reliving and making them clearer. The puzzle piece has gone missing again. Okay I feel comforted knowing that Pat’s soul and identity is still with me and that she is in Christ’s arms. Church is a sacred place and it is where I am closest to my beloved Patricia. When I pray, I am in a meditative state which makes communion with Pat easier. I also have dreams of Pat that are so vivid that I feel they are real. I believe they are real – Pat is visiting me. But this presence does not help because though I feel her love and presence I can’t get to her- I want to hold her hand but can’t, I want to kiss her but can’t. Yes her spiritual presence doesn’t help with the deep longing for her actual physical presence.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Essentially, from a wisdom perspective, this second beatitude is talking about vulnerability and flow. When we mourn (not complaining or self-pity) we are in a state of free-fall, our heart reaching out toward what we have seemingly lost but cannot help loving anyway. To mourn is by definition to live between the realms. “Practice the wound of love,” writes Ken Wilber in Grace and Grit, his gripping personal story of loss and transformation. “Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and open; real love will take you far beyond yourself; and therefore real love will devastate you.” Mourning is indeed a brutal form of emptiness. But in this emptiness, if we can remain open, we discover that a mysterious “something” does indeed reach back to comfort us; the tendrils of our grief trailing out into the unknown become intertwined in greater love that holds all things together. To mourn is to touch directly the substance of divine compassion. And just as ice must melt before it can begin to flow, we, too, must become liquid before we can flow into the larger mind. Tears have been a classic spiritual way of doing this. — p 43 The wisdom Jesus: transforming heart and mind: a new perspective on Christ and his message / Cynthia Bourgeault.
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