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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Dreams (of your departed spouse) take us forward

“My departed spouse dwells in me and I dwell in her.” What are the implications? Let her presence come to the surface – let her be you and you be her. She lives – Love is stronger than Death.

When she appears to you in a dream as a very real presence, DO NOT wake up and try to touch her. Your awake mind drives her presence back into the maze of your daily thoughts and worries, back into the shadows of your mind.  Accept her presence. It is enough to accept her presence as you did when she entered a room when she was alive. Her earthly body is gone – she is now within you visiting from your heart. Listen to your heart; she is very real there. Without her earthly body and the decay of the sickness that took her, she is infinitely more alive and real – the very image of God.  She is assisting you to C. S. Lewis’ “God and US” – helping you on the journey to the divine.  Freed from her earthly body and earthly senses she has “improved”. She loves, she still has hope and sadness, joy and fear but these feelings are stronger and have been clarified by the love of Christ.

Let her be there in your mind and dream. Share what she sees and hears and says. Give her your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Let her speak the truths that she wants you to hear. Feel her very real presence and reach out with her for the ends of being and the love you both have. Feel and accept her and God within you. Remember you are still one with her and God. Love the moment, enjoy the peace it is by far more real than anything that has gone before.

You must try to calm yourself and hold onto her presence. Above all try to see through her eyes and hear through her ears – to be one with her. In the words of Psalm 131

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

You have to move beyond your own mind and merge with her mind, become one with her. Experience her presence as your own reality. Your mind to her mind; her mind to your mind; your mind is one mind. You have to break the tyranny of your earthly mind and logic. Empty “your” mind into her mind and experience the dream as your INTERNAL REALITY. Do NOT try to over think the dream presence; to intellectualize it; to dismiss it as a figment of your imagination. Fill yourself with her presence; go where she and the dream take you; experience the new her. Let the stream of the dream be her thoughts and let your own thoughts go. Love is forever.

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Christians NEVER say goodbye!

Christians NEVER say goodbye! For in eternity there will be “time enough”.   If we share Christ’s death we shall also share His resurrection – that is the whole point of the Eucharist.  My beloved Patricia is in the arms of Christ within me here and now. Our love is eternal. “For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. Neither shall they say: Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21 KJV. That means here and now. Pat is near me, she is with me waking and in dreams and in that deep emptiness in my heart. She is telling me to keep the faith; she is leading me to God and US. God is love, and Death is the door to that eternal joy all true lovers are seeking. I believe that on that first date- November 15, 1968 – God gave us that special intimacy and spiritual awareness of each other that was and is to continue beyond the grave.  We were destined for eternal marriage, we were soulmates.

In 1970 on Valentines Day I wrote the following Poem to Pat

Late in last winter thou didst say to me, Love

I choose you, you, only you.

A year ago, this Valentines day

I danced upon these words

And made you my engaged.

I was so honoured with your gold

Of love and love and still again

More love!

The years curve to two now

And thou dost say to me still

I choose you, you, and only you.

I replied then as now

I love you, you, only you.

“Thine will be done” means we are to accept God’s will in all things. Our marriage was His will and we accepted being made one forever. No matter how much we want to believe something –  my beloved Patricia dwells in me and we will be reunited as a resurrection body in that new earth which is in Heaven – doesn’t make it true. There is always that niggling doubt even with our belief in God.  Could it be that in wanting it to be true so badly I am deluding myself? Maybe it is a compulsion of the mind – I must believe to stay sane. Does such unbelief really matter if it is true or not? If I mostly believe it to be true, then it is the truth for me. It is reality for me and for me it is the Truth. In following “Thine will be done.” I live as if it is the TRUTH.

It is enough to believe “…the … possibility exits — of making the leap to a direct and ongoing sharing of hearts and lives in the body of hope. Death does not have to mean the end of relationship and the slow receding of love. Henri Nouwen wrote shortly before his own death, “When one has loved deeply, that love can actually grow stronger after death.” To discover how this is actually so is the fascinating and miraculous invitation open in this life to those who have loved deeply and are willing to keep walking toward that love. –Cynthia Bourgeault “LOVE is stronger than DEATH”

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My Departed Spouse is within me here and now!

Had one of those dreams so real that you feel your departed spouse and you are actually together in a heavenly Eden. Once again it was along a rocky shore like the shore around White Point Beach N.S. that Pat loved so much. Both Pat’s and my parents were there – sort of like a family gathering.  But it was my encounter with Pat that was so real and moving. She was dressed as she was that day we went to the hospital – she had on that faded blue jean jacket she often wore (see photo below).  That space in my chest that used to feel empty now felt full – it still feels full. It was filled with my beloved Pat.  We are united and she and God were comforting me after the day I had yesterday. Sunday, I was feeling abandoned, empty, lonely and depressed and unloved. Even Church and the mass didn’t help. This dream did.Pat late summer 2016 with Pooka

Then the scene changed, and we were at Joey’s Seafood Restaurant with my son, his wife and our granddaughters. We were enjoying our seafood supper and the company. The scene was one of love. We were all very happy and contented. I remember how clearly, I saw Pat – she was so alive and three dimensional and beautiful I felt I could touch her. I am surer than ever that she loves me still: I am her beloved Eric and she is my beloved Patricia. I am also surer than ever that God answers our prayers if we ask for the right things. I needed this dream or vision. God answered with what I needed most. God’s will be done.
There is no waiting for the final judgement to meet again; as St.Paul said at death we are resurrected to join Christ. As Sunday’s Forward Day by Day stated: “In the Apostles’ Creed, we profess our belief in the communion of saints. Those whose earthly pilgrimage ends go on to a life more real than the one we enjoy here. They live just over the horizon of our finite sight. In Jesus, we remain connected with those we love but see no longer. Our love for them gives us a foretaste of eternal life. And it is in Christ’s love for both the living and the dead that my hope for an eternal reunion rests and will rise.”

by Patricia A. Bow Easter 1975

I love you little more than I love air
for every time I draw a breath
a puff withstands the void of death:
I love you little more than I love air.

I love you little more than I love water.
It sends the new green springing high,
without it I would surely die;
I love you little more than I love water.

I love you little more than I love bread.
It binds the muscle to the bone,
it sends the heartbeat throbbing on;
I love you little more than I love bread.

To which poem I add my own:

I love you little more than I love life
It made us man and wife
In unity for all eternity.
I love you little more than I love life

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In the beginning there was LOVE!

1 John 4:7-9: “7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

“Love”, English has it right with its single word for Love. The Greek of the Bible uses mainly four words for “love” – Eros, Phileo, Agape, Storge. I believe Christ was telling us God is the total of all the Greek words for love and then some. I believe we are to love our spouse in the same way we love God. Of course, God is the one who should have first place in our life; God has made husband and wife one and we love our spouse best when we serve him first. We must grow into C. S. Lewis’ “God and Us” – love is forever, and “God and Us” will come after Sheldon Vanauken’s “severe mercy”.

We love with our whole being – physical, spiritual and intellectual – a trinity of Love in the image of God. When we marry, we are united in love that is also a trinity – mind, body and soul in one entity. When you marry, you become one with God and your beloved. The universe begins to knit itself around you. Love is forever. You worship God when you love and sacrifice for your spouse. That brings pleasure to God, and any time you give pleasure to God, you’re worshiping him. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Jesus asks: “Who do you say I am?” We answer “Love” the Son of God is Love personified. Through Him God brought true love, complete love and Himself into the world. Christ is within our hearts – you know Christ from within yourself – you become one with him from within yourself through the Holy Spirit He send to be within you. “The knowledge of Jesus Christ is a unitive knowledge: it is the luminosity of my own true and eternal being. … In him I possess the secret knowledge of this unity and of this dynamism, which is history. I cannot capture in words the gravitational pull of this solar Christ, moving in the depths of my being.” Father Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam. 1931-2015. “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” Psalm 38:9 KJV.

Christ had to die so that we might live. God was showing us His love. He tested Abraham and Abraham loved God so much he was willing to kill his own son. God spared Abraham’s son, but he did not spare his own son – Christ had to go through the agony of Death (“Eli Eli lama sabachthani?”) on the cross – He trusted His Father and that was His victory and His rising again. How much more should we, when our time comes trust that we will be taken up into the arms of Christ. Love is stronger than death and our beloved departed spouse is both within us and in Heaven.

Pat and I loved such a love. Surely, we are dwelling in each other and in the house of the Lord where we well dwell forever. Pat says to me every night: “So with you. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22 and it will be with great joy when I reunite with Patricia my beloved forever, in our place in heaven! Our love is forever!

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Assuring friends and family that I have chosen life and love.

Family and friends thank you for the concern. Please be assured I do not intend to take my own life. Pat crocked her finger at me before she died and said “don’t you dare even think about following me by your own hand.” Pat dwells within me and I feel her there within. Patricia was/is my love, my best friend, my soulmate, my spouse, my everything. She now dances in my chest where no one can see her; she dwells in me and I dwell in her forever. Love truly is stronger than Death. God is LOVE. Oh, I still miss her physical presence terribly, but killing myself would not help with that; though the rapture of Christ would bring the peace that passes all understanding.
I am having trouble communicating with the spiritual Pat these days. Gone are the easy visions of her writing in a running letter to me answering my questions and the visions of her in our lilac grove place in heaven and her REAL presence. Now I meditate calling on her and I get nothing but a vision of the dark just before dawn and a peace despite the loneliness. [Death is the putting out of the candle because dawn has come.] I may have passed into another stage in my journey to God and Pat. I am learning how to love Pat in heaven. Pat seem to be still dancing in that deep place beside my heart that is grieving for her. She still dwells in me and I still dwell in her. She is me and I am her. God truly made us one forever. Yes she is constantly in my mind – “my mind to your mind; your mind to my mind; our mind is one.” – the Vulcan mind meld. I still miss her very much despite her spiritual presence and I end up hurting oh so much. I find myself crying out her name and wanting to see, touch and hear the physical her or at least visions of her – her REAL presence. Yes I still pray “Oh God shall my release by soon?” But I’m not about to do anything that might endanger my chances of going to heaven to truly reunite with her.
I have to thank my niece Ruth McLelland for the comment below on my second guessing and despair about Pat’s march to her death. It sure applies to anyone on the grief journey particularly the caregiver wishing he had done something, anything, differently to have helped.
“The desperate wish that we could somehow have foreseen and prevented the dying that has left us bereft is one of the hardest things that will stab at you and cut you to ribbons. We so want them back, and wish we could have noticed, prevented, intervened, – done anything really – to prevent what happened. I get it. Hugs for your heart 💓 and I know she is with you.”  I’ve got to stop reading over the past three months of Pat’s 2016 diary. Ruth’s comment helps me and yes this second guessing really does cut you to ribbons. Hope her comment helps others.
When you read John of the Cross or Teresa of Ávila, you get a sense that their words are coming through them, from a deeper place in them to a deeper place in us. When we experience a dark night of the soul, [nothing darker than the loss of a spouse] “we come to know that no idea of God is God. We are also weaned from our ideas about our self as being a finite, separate self apart from God. All things are unexplainably, indivisibly one in endless diversity forever.” Yes I read a lot about the grief journey and benefit from it. I believe God united us as one forever and Pat and I are forever on a journey to God and us united – the marriage trinity of God, Pat and I. I am never going to “get over it” That journey was meant to be.
“The fact that there exists beyond ourselves and our conscious will a powerful force that nurtures our growth and evolution is enough to turn our notions of self-insignificance Topsy-turvy. For the existence of this force (once we perceive it) indicates with incontrovertible certainty that our human spiritual growth is of the utmost importance to something greater than ourselves. This something we call God. The existence of Grace is prima facie evidence not only of the reality of God but also the reality that God’s will is devoted to the growth of the individual human spirit. What once seemed to be a fairy tale turns out to be the reality. We live our lives in the eye of God, and not at the periphery but at the centre of His vision.”
My love of Pat and God’s love for me, sustains me through all things—pain, confusion, and sadness—with no strings attached. I pray and meditate with my breath, to inhale Infinite Love and exhale myself into God’s grace. We all handle grief differently and this is my way of handling my grief. This is not to say I don’t have those moments of insanity. It is very hard to live without my beloved Pat at my side holding my hand. I still want her presence here and now.
In Pat’s light I learned how to love. In her beauty, how to make poems. She dances inside my chest where no-one sees her, but sometimes I do, and that sight keeps the madness away. It helps me focus. Yes it will go on like this until I die but there is no way I’m going to disobey God and Pat with her crooked finger and die by my own hand. Please read Under the mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. With eloquent, moving prose, he tells about those years after the death of his beloved wife, of how he moved step-by-step through the darkness of his grief into the light of God’s love – he grieved for a quarter century. A close friend thought the story of Vanauken’s love and marriage was very much like Pat and me. ( I’ve also read his Severe Mercy the book Under the Mercy is a sequel to. And yes Sheldon and his wife were very much like Pat and I.) The Grief is getting easier to bear even though the loneliness isn’t.
A special thank you to my son and to Pat’s siblings. James understands me almost as well as Pat did. He often attends Church with me and we take flowers to Pat’s grave every second Sunday. I find James’ frequent visits very helpful (he comes over a few evenings each week and we watch TV together. Also every Saturday morning we go out with my granddaughters for breakfast. These visits are a big help as are calls from Pat’s family. I must remember that they are also grieving for Pat and hurting as much as me. I certainly am not alone in my grief journey.
Pat is the sum total of her 48 years married to me just as I am the sum total of my 48 years married to her. Our lives and memories merge into one and are who we are. That is why Pat is me and I am Pat. She dwells in me and I dwell in her. We love each other forever. We are soulmates and will be together again in Heaven in the arms of Christ. The fragment of a poem below is from Pat’s 1981 poem.
Far apart upon the lawn,
two tall trees confront each other
never to touch, ever alone:
yet beneath the grass and stone
intertwined their roots have grown,
so intimately webbed together,
neither one can tell his own.
So with us: which flatly proves
futility of arguments
On which is which, and whose is whose.

Thank you all for your concern. My hurt is still there but I don’t ever want to lose it – it is Pat with in me.  Here she is in her home town Ottawa in 2014 beside the Rideau.

Pat 20111011.JPG

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