Losing a cherished adored loved one, with whom you have been living with and sharing a intimate life for over 27 years seems daunting. And it is.
I know personally, for that’s what my life path has involved. Losing my spouse and best friend, my champion, my playmate, my unique love and lover, to disease. And losing “us”. The family losing her, and friends too. The planet losing a vibrant courageous loving soul.
Long months of fighting to beat it. Immeasurable courage amidst unbearable pain. Confusion and hard decisions, doubts amidst moment by moment renewed belief, and miraculous faith. Mostly a discrete epic battle, sharing with very few.
And in the very saddening end, surrender and succumbing, acceptance to what is. While all the while, to the very end, a masterclass in dignity, humility and sheer human strength – psychological and emotional, in face of your own demise. And the realization by others of the countdown clock ticking “ticktock-ticktock”.
While the most life-draining period of my life. Uncountable times I found myself alone at home while she was in hospital asking myself in tears “why this (way), why now, why her, why me, why us? why can’t we beat this?”
I took care as nobly and respectfully of her, her faith, our family and friends through all the ceremonial, emotional aftermath, and it’s necessary grieving. With everyone facing it in their own way, on their own timing and severity. Seeking to offer as many forms of closure possible for everyone, to each loving caring soul who loved and cared for my beloved, and who she loved and cared for.
And, in turn, receiving so much love, so very much love that it was almost unbearable to receive. Not being one to overly ask for emotional support, while being very well surrounded, I navigated my soul’s aching as meaningfully while healthily as possible, so I could bear the weight of this marathon of decline…resiliently. Trying day, by trying day.
The beautiful ceremony for my adored featured her favorite song, the one she always had joked about wanting to be sung by one of her nieces. “Amazing Grace” by John Newton ends in sensorial splendor:
“I once was lost but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
Was blind, but now I see.”
While her favorite Saint-Paul’s letter about Love was read (1 Corinthiens, Chapitre 13:4-8), This being his first letter to the Corinthians, and a well-known teaching on love. Regardless of one’s faith, religious or spiritual beliefs, the letter eloquently inspires us in our own quest to appreciate and value love and to be loving, and loved:
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
A few months after her passing, I needed to escape myself….to reconnect with my core being,
in order to restore my vibrant well-being, self-love and love of other. To give my life a new purpose, to forgive life, and not live with any “useless” baggage of stress. Knowing in my heart and soul, spirit and body that she would not accept anything less from me, than to metamorphosize. To reconnect with the lover of life, that is me.
And as life would have it, I found myself at my first Burning Man transformational festival in the Nevada desert.
The timing couldn’t have been more divine, more useful for my life’s path. The year’s theme being “Metamorphoses”. Like you could not have invented something more meaningful for me than that theme!!
At the end of the 10-day festival with 70,000+ people, the organization burns down the “Burning Man” statue, an original, massively high mostly wood structured statue on the Saturday night. It’s a celebratory moment, howls and screams of joy, dancing and prancing with ethereal delight and awe, in the playful dark night, gigantic flames roaring. Everyone savoring the 20 minutes of The Man burning down to the ground, with it’s symbolic ephemeral nature and powerful messages.
The night after, Sunday, the Temple is burned down. While the nature of this evening is one of absolute silence and respect, remembrance and honoring of loved ones passed. Amidst the silence, beyond my own sniffling, felt like an ocean of tears. Sounds of crying and aching hearts, cracking inferno 50 meter high flames engulfing our momentos, photos, trinkets, notes, gifts…
I felt a deep feeling of collective love in reverence for whatever this passage means for each person, in the light of the one they are sending off with all their affection and connection to them. Everyone holding the space for everyone else, to feel a final goodbye, amidst witnessing possibly the grandest bonfire of love on the planet. And people insisting that no one capture this intimate moment with their cameras, but to be fully giving and present to it.
Right after my experience at Burning Man, I was profoundly inspired to write a story, an allegory about what this epic love of mine had taught me about life. And so that I could forever be reminded of the essential fundamental essence of living and loving. The impermanence of it all, and the uncertainty of what life holds for each of, no matter who we are, or where we live.
“Dance of the Love Caterpillars” : An Inspirational Romantic Tale of the Adventure of Loving and Trusting Life was born out of this life experience, one I desired to encapsulate in a timeless tale for romantics and lovers (of life!) of all ages. A transformational evergreen story of two colorful Monarch caterpillars serendipitously meeting after an unexpected event.
This nuanced multi-layered story, with it’s 30 beautiful original illustrations by Sheryl VanderPol, is an experience of deep intimate peaceful moments with oneself, and with others.
Humbly, I had aspired to write something that would touch peoples hearts in a gentle while meaningful, beautiful and playful fashion. At times poetic. While fundamentally simple. Universal.
With the hopes that others too, would feel the healing of loving life again. Trusting life again.
And overall, savoring the moments. ALWAYS savoring the moments. No matter what.
Dreaming somehow, as ludricrous or even absurd that this may sound, to write something deliciously and meaningfully simple, while vibrantly ALIVE, in the spirit of Albert Einstein:
“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”
And why not! Why not aim for being such a loving messenger?!
I may not be Pablo Picasso who suggested “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” while I’m doing my best.
And to love that everyday life, my art of living and loving, again and again.
Again and again.
You may experience “Dance of the Love Caterpillars” on Amazon
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