Saturday, December 5, 2009


originally uploaded by nardell.

Today I am feeling melancholy, missing the feelings that come with romance. Michael was such a gentle spirit. On days like today, a Saturday, just lounging around the house, he would be sitting beside, or near me, working on his Sudoku. For a moment he would look up from his book, and give me one of his wonderful smiles. If I was busy getting a meal ready in the kitchen he would come up from behind and put his arms around me. There was really nothing better. I remember a few times when I would have music playing as I was cooking, he'd pull me away from the stove, and we would end up dancing around the kitchen. It was all so romantic, just slowly moving to the music, hearing him singing along to the CD.

I don't exactly know why I do this to myself...allow myself to remember such wonderfully fulfilling times. I know that I will pay such a hefty price for it by days end. These memories bring about such a deep longing, so deep that it reaches into the core of how I was transformed by receiving Michael's love.

In life we are hopefully fortunate enough to know love on many levels. There is the first lesson in love, that which is the love of our parents. As an infant we are completely dependent on our primary caretakers. They provide us with nourishment so that we can begin developing our sense of trust in this world. The parent teaches us to attach, to hopefully know that when we cry, our needs will be met. This is such a simple, yet vital, life lesson. If we miss out on this we can spend the rest of our life feeling detached from the world, and in turn have great difficulty trusting Love's offer.

As a parent I learned that love means unconditionally giving of yourself, and making some difficult choices along the way. In the parent-child relationship I found that the love I give can be like seeds planted, sprouting, flowering in various seasons. My children give me back their love in so many ways. They depend on me to provide them with security, safely creating boundaries which allow them room to grow, yet not so much space that they feel too vulnerable.

Romantic love has only visited me a couple of times in my life, and with a great many years in between. When I met my husband Michael, I had pretty much settled in my mind that the mature love that I longed for would likely not arrive. Perhaps it was my way of preparing myself to find happiness in other ways, ways that I might have more control over. And then, when I least expected him, there was Michael.

I knew from our meeting that I had met someone very special. I knew that he had the potential to give me what I had waited so long for. I also knew that I would end up loving this man. I don't want to give the impression that our love was a fairy tale. Our love involved growth, compromise, and understanding. Yet these are the qualities that create a love that is sustaining. I don't think we could have managed all that life threw at us without a willingness to do some work. Michael and I had only been together as a couple for 1 1/2 years when he was diagnosed with his brain tumor. We were both devastated. It was certainly a time of challenge and change in our relationship. When you are in the throws of early romantic love, it can be heavily driven by sexual desire and expression. As the relationship matures, Love's desire remains, but it is often transformed into something that is communicated in a more subtle and deeper way. For Michael and I this maturity of love had to be helped along. We saw that time was not necessarily on our side, and thus, not to be taken for granted. Our expression of love had to change. It had to grow.

During these past two years when I would think about our relationship, I would consider of our life together as having two parts. There was the time before cancer, and there was the two years after cancer. Each part was wonderful, each part was special. And although the first half was lived with more spontaneity and adventure, the second was lived with a deep and fulfilling sense of romance and devotion.

I now find myself struggling to understand this third part of my relationship to Michael.

For now I'll share with you one of my favorite romantic songs. It is one that has helped carry me through this new part of my journey.

It is Matt Alber's "End of the World." You can listen to it here.

Matt Alber - End Of The World

I don’t want to ride this roller coaster
I think I want to get off
But they buckled me down
Like it’s the end of the world
If you don’t want to have this conversation
Then you better get out
Cause we’re climbing to our death
At least that’s what they want you to think
Just in case we jump the track
I have a confession to make
It’s something like a cork screw

I don’t wanna fall, I don’t wanna fly
I don’t wanna be dangled over
The edge of a dying romance
But I don’t wanna stop
I don’t wanna lie
I don’t wanna believe it’s over
I just wanna stay with you tonight

I didn’t mean to scream out quite so loudly
When we screeched to a halt
I’m just never prepared
For the end of the ride
Maybe we should get on something simpler
Like a giant balloon
But I’ve got two tickets left, and so do you
Instead of giving them away to some stranger
Let’s make them count, come on
Let’s get back in line again and ride the big one

Don’t you want to fall, don’t you want to fly
Don’t you want to be dangled over
The edge of this aching romance
If it’s gonna end, then I wanna know
That we squeezed out every moment
But if there’s nothing left can you tell me why
That it is you’re holding onto me
Like it’s the end of the world


  1. when you share memories, such as the one in your kitchen with us, they are so real to me that I can see you both dancing <3

    Let me tell you that in a while, just a few months (well it was for me on my timeline) you will often smile when you remember these little things, instead of suffer from them. And you will say to yourself, every second of this pain was worth the time I had with you.

    But for now you are in darkness my friend. I know. But I promise you that one day you will again see the light that Michael is in your life.

    People say time heals. I don't think it does. For me, the pain today is the same as the pain on Day One ... but it is no longer accompanied by the bewilderment, guilt, anger, fear, denial, bargaining and all the other emotions that came with it initially. In place of those emotions is the seeding (that you place in your children) of learning how to live without him next to me.

    Be kind to yourself ... treat yourself as you do your own children. You too need to "safely create boundaries which allow you room to grow, yet not so much space that you feel too vulnerable."

    You are a special person to me and I will be here to hold your hand xxx

  2. your memories will nourish you. they will warm you and keep you safe. one day you might examine each moment. another day you might look at all your memories collectively. however they come, you realize that you were blessed.

    for all his rough edges, being a Marine and all, my Dragon was very well read and very poetic. he would often quote to me from a book he'd read, "every once in a while, life gives us a fairy tale." it's how he saw our love. you had that as well. and try to remember my favorite quote, "there are no happy endings because the story really never ends."

    you will see each other again just as i know my Dragon is waiting for me.

  3. I think it is good and very appropriate to reminisce and then post about that lovely moment you shared with your husband while dancing in the kitchen. You and I know that in the end it is the "dancing in the kitchen" moments that matter most. Maybe this posting will reach and touch someone who hasn't had this experience yet and it will result in their being more mindful of the little things that are so meaningful.

    I've really enjoyed the beautiful photos of you and Michael. I can see and feel the love between you and found then breathtaking. Somehow they spoke to me in a way that says love is enduring, it lasts forever and it will transcend all things.

  4. Thanks to each of you. You each clearly know the simple joys that love gifts us with. Remembering these moments does put a smile on my face. It's worth the tears to have them.

  5. Dear Daniel, It sounds like Michael was a caring and beautiful man and that you were lucky to have each other's love. Thank you for sharing this story. I'm so glad my song is helping you. That makes my heart sing! -Matt

  6. Matt, thank you for taking the time to leave me this message. It was very sweet.