In honor of Kaz’s passing two years ago May 3, 2011, and since I won’t be online tomorrow, I’m reposting Mountaintop, copied below. One love.
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As I continue to heal from a state of heartbrokenness, I am reminded of the phrase stated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last speech: “I’ve been to the mountaintop.”
In the context of my life this phrase means, I have known, loved, and been loved by a Good Man.
I lost this man 3 years into our relationship (before we had worked all the kinks out), 11 days after our wedding, to a horrible disease which, coupled with a devastating motorcycle accident, was simply too much to overcome.
Shortly after he passed a girlfriend said to me, “Well, at least you’ve known love.” At the time, the pain was still so fresh I couldn’t find much relief in those words. But even on my darkest days I knew on some instinctual level that she was right.
I had experienced something few people do in a lifetime, the kind of love that makes you walk on hot coals to try and save the other, the kind of love that you read about in novels, the kind of love that makes you write love letters for a year after the other dies.
For a long time, and a variety of reasons, I didn’t always feel that I deserved this love. There had been moments when I doubted or disrespected it due to immaturity and insecurity. Just as the relationship was hitting its stride, he got diagnosed with a terminal illness and everything changed overnight. As things progressed at a deliriously fast pace, a part of me began to awaken, while another part began to shut down in order for the rest of me to keep functioning.
Once he was gone, I had a volcanic eruption of heartbreak and guilt, not uncommon for the surviving spouse/caregiver/less-than-perfect partner. Though my husband had forgiven my shortcomings, I found it difficult to forgive myself. Every time I thought of a good memory, a painful one reared up in front of it, like an eclipse blocking out the sun. It took every ounce of strength to not follow him to the other side.
Another friend told me, “Just hang in there and keep breathing.” Others reassured me that one day I would feel more grateful than devastated, more happy than sad. I couldn’t imagine it, but I also didn’t give up. He never did and wouldn’t want me to.
Now it’s been 1 year, 6 months and 9 days since I watched him take his last breath, and I can say with cautious optimism that things are better.
I am still heartbroken. I still cry. I still talk to him, write to him, ache and reach out for him. But instead of feeling like my soul has been crushed, it more often feels lifted. Instead of dwelling on all that was lost, I think more often on how to rebuild. Instead of feeling guilty for not knowing better then, I focus on being better now.
Part of this transformation is simply Time. Part of it is all the writing and healing-work I’ve been doing this past year and a half. Part of it is the continued love and support of my family and all of our friends. Part of it is Ruby, my new puppy, who literally re-awakens and strengthens my heart every day.
So, I have been to the mountaintop. And I have seen the Promised Land. I couldn’t get there with my husband, but I have looked over and know that it exists. And in the knowing is the transformation.
May 3, 2013 at 12:36 am
That was a wonderful tribute to Kaz. Thank you for sharing. He has a great smile and looks like a warm and humorous man. Yes, you are lucky to have had this man, and I’m glad you have reached the point where you can look back and see how far you’ve come. I’m sure he’d be proud of you for hanging in there. Take care.
May 3, 2013 at 1:12 am
Beautiful. There is a sorrow in knowing that Kaz won’t get to the promised land with you, but that is part of the acceptance and knowing, which is where the transformation takes place.
Dogs are such a gift, they fill our lives with joy and provide a kind of piece that humans just do not.
May 3, 2013 at 2:06 am
Hi, you were one of the first 15 people to speak to me when I joined Word Press.
I hope you are keeping well, and please accept this award below:
Very Inspiring Blogger Award
May 3, 2013 at 11:07 am
…he would be very proud of you today. Your words reach out and touch so many; and especially touch me. Thank you for sharing them.
May 3, 2013 at 11:33 pm
How lovely. Thank you for sharing your grief. And, thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you enjoyed the story.
May 6, 2013 at 2:08 am
I am sorry for your loss. I really understand that feeling you don’t deserve that sort of love, too. You did.
May 7, 2013 at 12:12 am
a truly beautiful tribute.