It's been an odd summer for me. Begun with such a visceral rampage of emotions, chasms so deep and dark, skies painted with the prism of fragile faith, paralyzing anguish and livid relief. I think, in a way, I overdosed on introspection. Facing some of my most unspoken fears forced an excavation of the soul; broken bits and lost bits and forgotten ones were found. In these moments, we discover much about ourselves. I curl in. Disengage. I'm not one to ask for help even on the best of days and this was so acutely displayed these last few months as to be painful to my friends and family. My sincerest apologies for this. Communication was impossible for me....hell, even the thoughts within my own skull were agony.
Recently I've watched in surprise as someone I know has gone through a similar season and yet, in complete juxtaposition of me, has publically announced every step of her journey; fears and hopes, updates and disappointments, all published via social media to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I'm awed... amazed...terrified. That level of intimacy with so many is unthinkable for me. And yet a great deal of my life has been spent in a quest for intimacy; an attempt to fill a cavern so vast that held only shadows. Some might hazard this was a result of a rather isolated childhood and a family that I was never close to until ten years ago; but frankly the Why is so much less important than the Now. The Here is more relevant than the How. Forty years on this planet has taught me that one of our greatest mistakes is getting caught up, trapped within the Why and How, missing out on the gift of choice, forgiveness, and potential that is Now.
But it is true that my Now had a beginning. Everyone's does. In that quest for a soul mate I lunged toward the nearest hand offered--and thus the tragedy of my first marriage commenced. A man that would order me not to breathe on him, that didn't like touching. I was a fish thrashing about in a desiccated death valley of a relationship. Which brings me to the story of my second husband of six years now. His How is something that twists my soul every time I think of it. Oh, to be grateful for such heartache is a terrible thing...yet our Now is chiseled and sculpted by our Hows and Whys, is it not? This is his story, which has become my own.
Four and a half decades and our medicine has advanced in a miraculous way. But there was a day back then, when a young mother was told at eight and a half months pregnant, that her unborn baby had perished. There was no heartbeat to be found. She would have to carry the stillborn to term and endure labor while planning a funeral that included an eighteen inch coffin...she nearly shattered. Returning to the doctor, she insisted she could still feel movement and was assured this was merely a manifestation of her grief, and thus she wept and fragmented until the contractions began. Hours later a beautiful lifeless boy was born....and fifteen minutes after that, my husband Jason was also.
Can you imagine the sorrow and the joy of that moment? An excruciating combination that stained everyone in the room with the colors of despair and wonder. The world turned and life happened and Jason didn't discover he was a twin until he was fifteen years old. This suddenly explained his feelings of perpetual aloneness, an internal 'missing' that never ebbed, no matter the company. He dreamt, almost nightly, of sleeping wrapped around another. Entwined. His first marriage also, was full of echoes and emptiness.
And then we found each other.
I know few who sleep as we do; a knot of limbs, flesh against flesh, where one ends and the other begins unknowable. His face on my neck, my lips against his arm, our breathing syncs and we slumber. Intimacy beyond my understanding at times.