I’ve been alone; well, living alone since 2004-2005 when I lived with my boyfriend Steve, 22 years my junior. Since then I sustain myself with only one true friendship.
And what does that mean anymore? During four marriages and several lovers, I’ve cultivated 4 long term girlfriend relationships of 20 or more years endurance. Susanne, was first to reject me…a psychiatric RN who learned to share primal feelings with me from 1998-2006, usually weekly. By this time, I shared tears as easily as saying “good morning.” Sometimes, rageful tears erupted from Susanne that slowly dissipated some of her anxiety. We supported each other with the vulnerability only children feel free to expose. Sadly, in 2015, nine years after rejecting me, Susanne committed suicide, despite living just down the road from her supportive daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren that she adored.
Tanya, a nurse practitioner, also shared primal feelings of fear and loss with me; until her unhappy marriage trapped her with the tight grip of helplessness. She told me, “I feel more of my unhappiness when I’m in the presence of your happiness.” Freedom. She began avoiding my phone calls. Finally, I had to show up unannounced in order to reassure her that I would never abandon her. Several times a year, I continue to leave voice mails saying, I love you. Silence is her only response.
Sue, a social worker in private practice abandoned me after sharing many hikes, dances, and vulnerable tears by first saying: I need time for myself. I understood. Yet, the week before her birthday in 2010 she wanted to dig up Forget-Me-Nots from my overabundance to plant in her yard, then never spoke to me for months by avoiding my infrequent phone calls of loving-kindness, so that I finally had to show up in her driveway to ask “why.”
“Do you have to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer?” she asks.
“No, just tell me why the months of silence; communicate with me,” as tears squiggled down my cheeks.
With tears welling in her eyes, “I don’t want to be friends anymore: you’re controlling, narcissistic and manipulative” …I was truly dumb-founded! Since she was on her way to an appointment she didn’t have time to give me examples. We left each other with loving well wishes.
A few days later, I wrote a loving kindness letter asking for examples to which Sue never replied. When I occasionally see Sue on the street I wave a friendly hello, to which she slowly responds in kind.
I do keep in yearly birthday contact by phone call with my childhood friend, Mary, who recently initiated a visit to my home in New York, she living in Michigan. We had not seen one another for three years, yet feel the ease of decades of sharing supported through yearly holiday letters. Occasional emails remind us of our connection of growing up love, but we choose not to be close.
For the past 5-6 years I have developed a deep friendship with Gayle, a retired social worker who also has shared with me primal feelings rooted in childhood pain, and she was the one to foster our friendship after reading my first book, TEARS ARE TRUTH…waiting to be spoken. There is nothing we are too afraid to share with one another. She tells me, “You’re the only one I can tell everything,” although she has several close friends and a significant other for 8 years. We hike most weeks to waterfalls in the central New York region – echoing the natural flow of our waterfall-tears whenever they appear.
On Halloween 2016, while hiking, I’m telling Gaylee how much I enjoy pulling the wild grape vines off the lilac bushes, where some branches had been smothered to death, literally. Also, how I pulled more wild grape vines off an abandoned hidden garden of Myrtle and Tiger lilies; and even some that had glommed onto a tall maple tree.
I throw my arms up in the air, and as I shout “freedom!” tears smother my cheeks with love; Gaylee’s arms immediately surrounding my shoulders.
“Now I understand!! I give these plants and flowers their life back – like I am the child inside me whose feelings were smothered by an indoctrinated religion forced upon my growing up,” I shout with the boldness of a child’s uninhibited voice, as we continue our walk along the gorge where water flows freely. Amidst the trees. Scudding the leaves.
Later, that same Halloween day, my son-in-law, Kevin, comes to my home to retrieve his house keys. He’s not yet been inside my ‘new’ apartment of two months, which is a 1840s home divided into four apartments. When he reaches my bedroom in the back, his arms fly into the air, along with a yelp, “Oh my god!” his mouth in the shape of a big eclipse, his eyes wide as a full moon. “This is spectacular!”
The large window claims my dream view of a pond centered in an expansive valley of fields and tree-filled hills, fall orange and yellow colors still a delight.
After Kevin glances fervently over my flower pots and garden and an old Jade plant, which was sporting 20 or more new buds that will flower many many dainty white blossoms by Thanksgiving, Kevin says, smilingly, “Flowers dream about being reincarnated into your garden. They know how much they are appreciated and cared for – it brings them long life.”
“Truly a Lifegasm,” he adds wistfully.
I smile broadly as my heart holds my words, “a Lovegasm.”