|Sunrise over Bay Bridge, San Francisco, CA|
As most of you know, Flip is the love of my life and he suffers from a dreadful disease which has stolen him from himself, and from me. I visit him every day to honor who he was and the beautiful relationship we shared, and to offer him such comfort as I can. But I am still fully alive and able to enjoy all the things that gave me pleasure before I knew Flip and when we lived together. He would not want me to lose my own capacity for joy, to spend all my energy mourning his fate. Of course I do mourn it. Terribly. But I am also grateful for every smile that comes my way, for people who make me laugh, for the kindness of both strangers and loved ones. (Sometimes they are the same people.)
When I was a child I read a book called "The Story of 100 Operas." Aida was my favorite. I thought it terribly romantic that as the heroine's lover, Radamès, is sealed in his tomb, she leaps in at the last possible moment to die with him. I was eleven. My ideas of romance have evolved since then, and if I were to relinquish the things that bring me happiness, it would be like leaping into a tomb alive.
I am not a religious person but I am spiritual enough to believe there are still things for me to do for others and myself. Otherwise, I would not still be healthy and capable. As a child I didn't think I had any value, so perhaps that is why I was so willing to throw myself into another's grave in the name of love. Life has taught me that love involves helping others and that my life, like everyone's, is special and deserves to be honored by living it as fully as I can. This will not involve dancing on tables in bars (for those who wondered) but simply being fully present in every moment and trusting that even though I can't control most things, life works out as it should. For each of us. So as long as the possibility of surprise exists, I'm in.
"The joys of love are but a moment long,
The pain of love endures a whole life long."