“Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
(#2) Dear New Man,
I’m sorry to tell you, but whatever you do, you’ll fall short. Not because there’s anything less about you, but because my broken heart insists on comparing you to my deceased beloved.
With him, sacred love sweetened my everyday into ecstasy and then, in a blink, I was brought back to normalcy.
To you, Kevin is a name, a man who loved me, someone who died and left his mark on my life.
To me, he’s everything. Still. It’s unfair. It’s wrong.
He was the most right thing in my entire life—not just in hindsight, but while we lived our love and relished each other.
He proved the reward for my fortitude. He ignited my authenticity, welcomed my weirdness, and still encourages my joy, happiness and success, wherever I may find it.
I can’t stop looking in the rearview mirror. I ache for yesterday.
I strive to move forward with you, New Man. I see your character and kindness. I’m awed by your congruency.
I yearn to feel with you the way I felt with him. I only know I can’t force it.
Damn, if it doesn’t hurt that you’re like a desert after a delightful meal, but I can’t taste a thing.
I have a friend whose taste buds have gone awry after her sister’s death. Maybe my feel buds have gone numb.
I try to put myself in your position and imagine how you feel. I think I’d be gone. Part of me wants to say it’s your own damn fault if you stay, but please don’t go.
It’s not fair, it’s not right, what I offer you. Only truth. It’s all I have.
The truth is I don’t trust my feelings and sometimes what I feel is nothing.
I see you. You’re here. I’d like to celebrate. Lucky me.
Instead, I contemplate. I try to remember my resistance to Kevin in the early days, but our early days came decades into our friendship after dozens of phone calls and a history of conversations.
When he called to tell me his mother died, he cried his vulnerability into me and I drank it full.
I called him on road trips. There were many between the time I left my ex-husband and after I landed in Ohio to live with my sister. Kevin and I talked about divorce and death, his ex-wife and current girlfriend, the guy I was seeing at that time, and how our lives had changed since the early days back in Champaign, IL when our friendship formed, in spite of me.
I took Kevin for granted for 20 years. I don’t want to do that again—to anyone.
However, as I did then, I must trust my gut. I only know that I’ll know when I know. Right now, I don’t know much.
Maybe the resistance isn’t about my deceased boyfriend, any more than it was about my sister or the distance with Kevin.
Maybe it’s just my nature. Maybe you and I don’t have a future. Maybe we do.
Right now, all I know is you’re the new man and I’m still undeniably in love with the old one.
He may have died, but my love for him didn’t. People tell me to stop looking back, but that’s like telling a girl at the beach to stop watching the waves.
Yesterday blocks my view. Yesterday also taught me we can’t imagine the packages love will arrive in.
So, I remain open to surprise. I’ve always found it by feeling my way.
If you choose to go on yours, I get it. This is new to you, too—building a relationship with a woman who’s in love with another man, a dead one.
Oh, New Man, I feel for you. That’s compassion. I care for you. That’s appreciation and gratitude.
Still, every time I go to unfold the map to my heart, it points to yesterday. Where there lies a sacred love that was blown out like a candle in the dark.
The only thing I can swear is I’m looking for light.