I was loved, like a house on fire, in a relationship that lasted a quarter-century. My time as Mark’s girlfriend, and then Mark’s wife was blessed and special and holy. We had some great fights; we were proud that we knew how to fight. We had rough roads, sometimes for long stretches. Money was always tight. We got on each other’s nerves. We’d get too busy and grow apart, and then circle back around, look at each other and zing! the spark would re-light and we were stupid with honeymoon love.
The poem below is by my favorite contemporary poet, Mary Oliver. It’s used here without permission. I’d print just the link, but her words are what broke me open today, and allowed me to sit in stillness long enough to write. That hasn’t happened in a long, long while.
My path today is filled with constant distractions. I work too much. When I am not working, I find distractions to keep my mind busy because it’s in the pauses that it hits me. He’s gone. And I clench my jaw and push on, because that’s what I have to do, push on.
This pause is for Mark and me, the honeymooners, so lucky in love.
When Death Comes
By Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.