Four years ago today I lost my wife Margot to death, I still miss her every single day. I’m still reminded of her hundreds of times every single day. Margot was and still is the greatest gift of my life, she was my greatest teacher and unfortunately my greatest loss.
She gave so much of herself to me, she taught me so much about life and love. Margot loved life more than anyone I have ever known, whether it was just a Sunday morning visit to Peet’s coffee or a 3 week adventure in India, every moment she lived was filled with such enthusiasm, excitement, and most importantly love.
To me the word Love and Margot will always be synonymous. Plato taught that we are one soul, cut in half, and then we spend many lifetimes looking for the other half, desperately searching for our other half, to feel whole again. He called these two half’s “Twin Flames.” Margot was my “Twin Flame.”
Besides teaching me about love, how to both give and receive love, her life and love transformed my life. In addition to teaching me about love, she taught me the true meaning of courage by exhibiting it every day of her life. What is courage? Courage is living without fear, or acting courageous in the face of fear. She taught me that although the physical body will one day cease to function we can never die, and when we get this truth, really get it, we are truly set free, free of fear, this is real freedom that can never be taken away. We are then free to become and to do what we came here to become and to do, to fulfill our destiny.
Her most difficult challenge was teaching me about conviction, again by being a living example, what is conviction? Being true to yourself no matter what, regardless of the opinion of others or the subsequent pain of judgement of the world, be true to your heart, be true to yourself, and follow your God given intuition!
But the greatest lesson she taught me came through her death, in her death she taught me the true meaning of love which is compassion and forgiveness, for what is love? It is compassion and forgiveness in action. It’s easy to say you love something or someone, but forgiving someone who hurt you, or showing compassion for another living thing that is love in action, not mere words. It took me so much pain, suffering and tears to finally accept this final gift that my beautiful Margot had for me. But this was the greatest teaching and gift that she gave to me.
Life is about loss, from the loss of our first tooth, our first love, and eventually our very own physical death, life is about learning to accept loss as the only constant, and then realizing that love can never be lost, love can never die, and that we, at our very core, at our essence, we are love, and love is all there really is, the rest is just a story.
This lesson is not easily learned, for anyone in the midst of great loss right now I want to share with you that there is hope that you will survive, love is still alive and waiting for you. I have good news and I have bad news, the bad news is that you and your life will never be the same again, the good news is that you and your life will never be the same again.
What follows is what I learned, and am still learning about surviving a great loss, I write this for those that know about great loss or will one day know and experience a great loss:
1. At first you go into shock and the world becomes surreal. You are shocked that the sun still rises, that people still get up and go to work, the entire world, you believe, has ended, and yet as you look outside nothing has changed, no one has noticed, noticed that your loved one has died, that a part of you has died or been violently ripped out of your heart and soul.
2. The next phase, no one or nothing can ever prepare you for, an overwhelming sorrow and sadness that penetrates all 60 trillion of your cells, you can’t wait for the sun to set so that you can crawl back under the covers, self-medicate yourself to sleep, and pray that tomorrow never comes. This is by far is the darkest of days, how long you stay in this place and how you survive it you won’t know until you do, I believe that this part of the journey is unique to each of us, like death itself, we must navigate this territory alone. This part feels like it will never end, and for some it doesn’t, they die with a broken heart, I can understand wanting to do that. But my teacher, my wife, she taught me to fight, she never quit, so I wasn’t going to quit either, as much as I wanted to. I resolved to fight my way out of these most difficult days, what many refer to “as the dark night of the soul.”
3. Tears, thank God for the gift of tears, I read books on grief, and I cried. I walked around my neighborhood listening to books on my IPod, and I cried. I went to counselors, and I cried, I would eventually open up to close friends or family, and I cried. There were days I cried over one hundred different times in a single day, I didn’t know it then but I know it now, each tear, each and every single tear, brought me closer to healing this gigantic hole in my heart and soul. Each tear was forming the scar tissue of love that would slowly fill up this enormous missing part of me. Thank God for the gift of tears, the gift of crying and sobbing.
4. The crazy days, wanting to save the world, making myself so busy that I didn’t have time to feel, time to cry, time to feel sad. For those of you that endured these days with me, I truly apologize, so many crazy raging emotions, unresolved, sometimes the rage wouldexplode in such ferocious anger, so intense I wouldn’t recognize myself. Or the insane crazy things I would do, of course I didn’t know it at the time, but I was learning to survive as a new being, with a new heart, and for the first time finding out who I really was and why I was here, and that can be very scary and confusing, for nothing is really what they teach us, nothing is really what we think, we are so much more real and powerful than what we are taught or told, there really is a true and mighty God, and we really are made in his or her image.
5. And finally you get to the realization that life will never ever be the same. Ice cream will never taste the same, going to a movie will be totally different experience, and nothing will ever be the same. Certain things I still cannot do, they just remind me too much how I still really miss her and when I go there, to that memory, the tears come flooding back, flowing uncontrollably. You get used to not hurting, you want to stay in that space of little to no pain, afraid to revisit those darkest of days. But, I still allow myself to go back to that pain once in a while, it hurts in a different way now, a mixture of sadness and gratitude, difficult to explain. Yes this is the bad news, life will never be the same. But the good news is I will never be the same, I am stronger yet softer, I am less bullshit and more authentic, I am open and transparent as opposed to scared and frightened. I am a much better man.
And I am grateful, so very grateful that I am whole, far from perfect, but I am complete in my humanness and my soul is complete, I’m trying to live with God while my body is stuck in this crazy world where we intentionally hurt one another and ignore the cries of suffering that scream out from the four corners of the earth, I am learning to accept this reality and to do what I can to help. I am grateful that the Universe, God, and I believe Margot has sent me another love, this love comes in a different package, has a different culture, a different name, it’s gentler, calmer, it’s different because I’m different, I’m different because Margot, in life and in death taught me the true meaning of love, which is compassion and forgiveness.
In closing, if someone in your life is suffering from a great loss, encourage them to cry, cry a lot, they can’t cry too much. Encourage them to talk about their loss and especially about the one they lost, my happiest moments are when I get to tell someone about Margot, about how much she loved me and how much I loved her, and if they are really good listeners, and I think they will understand, I tell them about how much I miss her even though she has never left me, how she still lives on in my heart and my soul guiding me every day and loving me even deeper. I tell them that love can never ever die, it’s impossible. And if they let me talk this long, I abruptly stop, because I can feel the tears starting to leak from the corner of my eyes and I don’t want them to feel my sadness, just my love.