The last shall be first, and the first shall be last…
So goes the familiar pronouncement on the rewards of humility and simplicity.
This is a brief description of how I started this whole relighting process in the first place. I began immediately after my partner’s departure, by not giving up on my connecting with my her.
It was our custom at the end of each day, to share our thoughts and daily happenings over a pre-dinner cocktail. In Jean’s last remaining years, she was steadily declining in her ability to participate in the world. More and more she relied on me to bring her up to date on what was going on. Our conversations were, thus, becoming more and more one sided, as I was the only one having new experiences to add to our conversation.
When she left, I decided to continue the process and do it in a way that we did early in our life together. For a period of about three years I struggled to establish a career in sales. The field I chose involved a lot of out of town travel. Weeks at a time, sometimes. Very hard to start a shared life under those circumstances, but we managed to keep our conversations going over the telephone (relatively much more expensive than today).
In my mind, I went back to my memories of those long distance phone conversations, and recreated a version that represented me talking to her where she was in an inaccessible place. I started writing, in simple, almost journalistic form, what was going on in my life, and in that way, mentally telephoning it to her. I could visualize her at the other end soaking up all the important details of my daily experiences. Those that I deemed of interest to her.
The actual writing of these conversations did not require any kind of literary style. Just straight listing as one might write in a diary or journal. So the simplicity component of that method made the process easy and familiar. The time element when I would be returning home had to be modified in my mind in a way that I could find acceptable.
In my family, my favorite Aunt was my “Auntie Jack” (her name was actually Jacqueline, but we all called her Auntie Jack). She actually lived in three centuries. Three months in the 19th. 100 years in the 20th, and 9 months in the 21st. When she was 84, my Uncle Bill died and she missed him dearly. Her last 17 years as a widow were difficult, but she found a way to keep his memories alive. She devoted her last 17 years on the planet to organizing and masterminding family reunions. It energized her. It gave her challenges. It allowed her to share herself with her large immediate family, and all the families of her 8 brothers and sisters. The combined total was well into the 100`s. She kept at it, and kept herself physically fit, all at the same time.
I remember visiting her when she was 100 years old, and her proudly rolling up her sleeve and showing me her healthy biceps. They were indeed impressive. Anyway, I took my cue from her. I work out three days a week, and walk for 30 minutes as many days as I am able. Usually, no less than 5 days a week. But the most important thing I do is to have the same faith that she had in knowing I will soon enough be reunited with my partner, and will have lots to report in that reunion.
I am including a small excerpt from a conversation I wrote to Jean on the first anniversary of her departure, and am including it at the end of this story. You will see that it is simple and easy writing. Anyone can do it. After the excerpt. I have included the picture of Jean that I include with those writings. She is on the other end of the phone conversation.
Here is the “conversation” below.
Conversations With Jean
February 25, 2014
“Bring me up to date”
“OK, so before I bring you up to date on what happened over the past 2-1/2 weeks, I want to show you the Valentine’s Day card I bought you last year. When the day actually came around you were not in condition for anything like that, and so it just sat around in a drawer for a whole year. When Valentine’s Day came around this year, I remembered it. I looked for it, and found it. So, here it is. ‘Happy, Happy, Valentines Day!’
I miss you. But, I have comfort in my deep belief that you, though not here in the flesh, are still here with me. That your spirit resides in God, and when I talk to Him, you are there. He comes to me every morning, real early. He fills my mind with thoughts and dreams that teach lessons, if you know where to look. You, amazingly, are in a lot of them. So my connection is complete. The completion occurs when I realize why we were put together in the first place. It was in his plan all along. The lessons I learned from you, came from Him, and now that you are not here to show and keep me on the right path, He has taken over directly. So, don’t worry, I will be alright
As you know, sometimes with painful memories, that I love projects and can really get worked up over doing them. That I have, since you rejoined yourself with Him, embarked on a final task in my journey. Actually I started it when you were still here, and I needed to keep myself from being overwhelmed by my role as your helper. In that connection, I actually was grateful that He gave me that chance to return some of the support you gave me when I was messing up our lives, and chasing unworthy rainbows.
Our last years, until you took a downturn, were the greatest fulfillment of any dreams a person could have. We worked and had fun, together, all at the same time. Laughter and Enjoyment are on our grave marker. It sums it up…
So, what I’m doing now is continuing with recording our life (and mine before I met you) in ways that might be more readable and palatable than just a litany of what we did. I joined a writing class for old people at RIT to better my abilities to do just that. It seems to be working. I enjoy it. It has almost become an addiction. I can’t keep away from the laptop. It has become a magnet…
I crack them up in the class with a lot of those Jewish jokes we used to hear when we were on the road. You loved to hear and tell jokes. I even stole your letter to Otto, and revised it slightly for my class. They loved it. This is my way to keep reliving the fun we used to have. Such happy days
Jokes aside, there are deeper reasons for all this writing. In a nutshell, to pass along to those behind us, our kids, their kids, and whoever else might care to listen, the deep truths one learns if he can shut his mouth long enough to listen, and write well enough to pass it along. It has taken me over 88 years to even begin, but I am learning to express metaphorically some of those very truths. Metaphorically, because I sincerely believe that they are reality. The substance of this material world is illusionary and perishable. The metaphor never changes, therefore, it is the real, reality. We can take its lessons with us when we leave this world. Those are the true everlasting treasures. So, if I can structure what I have learned in a palatable fashion, it is my wish that those who follow will be encouraged to read it and become more insightful. To achieve the Amazing Grace of true sight.
Talk to you later…”
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