Monday, July 23, 2007





I buried a friend in June.

I buried him on the anniversary of his first date with his true love, the one he had been searching for his entire life. And where I would love to say they had years together, they did not.

They had 363 days together. 363 days to love each other, 363 days to bask in each other.

Around the 200th day, Peter was told he had terminal cancer. he has told he had but weeks to live. He did not believe he would die. His entire being felt too much joy and love for him to be leaving so soon. He could not leave her just after he found her and in turn found the missing part of himself.

Peter in his true zeal for life, did not accept the death sentence. He would never utter aloud the possibility that he could be dying, but he knew he was. His body was betraying his heart.

Peter loved Joanne. He loved her forever and always. He wanted to announce it to God. He wanted to marry his one true love. He wanted to marry Joanne, with his children, his grandchildren and his friends to bare witness . He wanted to sing her voice to the heavens as he certainly had a grasp of what heaven could be.

There was a complication.

A complication of thirty years.

Peter was married. Married to someone else.

Peter was married. He had been married for 30 years.

He had been legally separated from his wife for 24 years, But on paper he was still married.

For twenty four years he had his own residence. For twenty four years he had his own independent life.

Peter did not leave his wife for another woman. He did not leave because of finances or because of drink.

He left because he did not love his wife and She never loved him. No spark ever flew their way to cause the 'friendship' to catch fire in his marriage, and he knew deep in his heart that it never would. He was told thirty years ago that he would fall in love with her through time. And in the six years of marriage, two children later, there was no love, laughter or song; just misery. He could not see the marriage getting better through time, even though he was told it would.

But Peter was a romantic. Peter dared to think and believe in loves' true desire. Peter believed that everyone had a love contrary to the doctrine of his parents. Peter bore witness to many people finding their true loves.He even witnessed and celebrated as his children found their true loves. Peter celebrated each wedding of souls, And Peter, in his heart, believed that there was someone out there for him and someday he would find her.

Belief and love are wonderful things to believe in, as in honour and being true to yourself and others. In such beliefs, I think I can safely sum the core of Peter's existence on our planet. And in the twenty years I knew him I can safely say the earth was a better place because he roamed it and spread his gallantry everywhere he went.

I will now fast forward to Peter's last year of roaming earth. The year in which he found happiness.

Peter went to a picnic held by friends. He was talking with his old friends when he heard a woman laugh. He heard the melody of her voice, and he looked to find the owner of the beautiful maker of merriment.
And there she was.
His sixty year old heart fluttered. His legs felt weak.
He just stared.
His friend 'Moose' asked him if he was okay as it looked as if Peter had seen a ghost.
And Peter truly could not talk for a moment.
His mouth was dry and words escaped him, he stammered, or so he told me.
He just stood and stared. He felt like a schoolboy, this hulking six foot five man, felt uncertain of his footing, he was trying to manuever his hulking body over to this wee, powerful woman with the most magnificient smile he had ever seen. He, in his sixty years of life had never felt so alive, so nervous,so scared or so uncertain of himself.

He awkwardly approached her, he had to talk with her...

And he did.

He swirled, he swooned,his universe was complete.

He met her. He tingled all over. He was giddy. He was absorbed. He was alive.

He met her and it all made sense. His choices and the road he travelled on finally lead to her door.

All embedded in laughter and the melody of a voice. The voice of his dreams.

And they talked.

And they laughed.

And then without a moment to lose he asked her on a 'date'.

And she accepted and they saw each other the following week.

And that date.; that date sealed fate. That date with a true loves first kiss, where Peter realized all in which he had been missing. He was not filled with dread or regret, just youthful anticipation, as this, this, is what he had been waiting for all his life.It was worth the wait. All in the kiss, his world became full.

The kiss must have caused the earth to shudder and tremble in anticipation and it alerted the heavens, and the universe must have felt the collision of these two souls.

They both knew in that kiss. She at the very young age of fifty seven had met her soulmate who was sixty.

They had waited and searched long enough to know.

And they began to have a list of firsts, little did they know it would also be filled with their lasts as well....

They bought their first home together, they had their first Christmas, first new Years,first Valentine's,their first, their first...

Joanne knew how much Peter loved cars, and she bought him a car for his first birthday with her..His first new car in twenty years. And he loved it. He loved that car. He boasted about his car,he felt he could just go about anywhere ion earth. And when he would call he would talk about it. He would talk about his new life and you could hear happiness dripping through the phoneline.

Peter had found true happiness, Peter had found his true love.

I was so very very happy for him, for them.

Peter called me, six months into his new life...

'Bright Eyes, (Did I mention Peter had nicknames for everyone? He was Stripes, to me)Life is so good...But I kinda have a hiccup in my path...'

Hiccup?

Yeah... Ahh...

'What sort of hiccup? ' I hate to say it, but I know the pause now , I know the pregnant pause,the gasp of air and of courage.I know when someone pauses, pauses while calling out of the blue, causes them to call to let you know they love you, and tries to make the word, the nasty horrible word,'okay' for you to hear. I know the dance of skirting around the word, the word which can causes hearts to break and bodies to crumble. I know the word which causes souls to bare up and take arms and grasp on to what they have.

Bright Eyes,I have cancer.

Where?

Ahh,now that's the question... I have it in my lungs and in my brain... A double whammy...

Stripes, Oh Stripes...

Oh,its treatable... I need to going for radiation and chemo... Day by day...It's going to be okay...

Now, it was not okay. I know this, Peter knows this.

Peter was sick and he was dying. He would never utter those words to say he may leave this planet. He would never give cancer that pleasure or that power over his fate. He would never utter those words that the cancer truly had a hold on him. Peter was strong, Peter was stubborn, Peter was an optomist and if anything Peter was a true and noble fighter.

But he felt the cancer was a time to put his affairs in order.

He loved his Joanne. He loved her with all his heart and he wanted to celebrate her. He wanted to celebrate and bask in his soulmate and share with all of us, his true happiness.Canccer could not take this away from him. He had indeed found heaven on earth.

He wanted to marry his Joanne.

He wanted his friends to bare witness.He wanted God to see, he wanted to sing her voice in a church,through vows of devotion,and the promising of souls, he wanted a wedding. A wedding and a true marriage which had alluded him until now.

All he needed to do was to divorce his first wife. He approached his first wife with the prospect of a divorce.

She could not believe her ears. He had found love? How foolish could Peter be?

And she with the doubt and scorn in her heart, she, refused to divorce Peter.

Twenty four years is a great deal of water and time under the bridge of regret. Apparently even though she agreed wholeheartedly with separation from Peter, as she too felt no love. She was not willing to believe that someone else could love him.

He was in disbelief.He was hurt.He was dumbfounded. He did not think this would be a fight.He did not think this fight was part of the plan. Cancer certainly was not part of the plan but this defiance, seemed much more hurtful and deliberate than his disease which was robbing him of time.

His wife had told him to lawyer up and that she was going to give him a fight.

Lawyer up? A fight?

Peter found it to be overwhelming. It broke his heart.He had no time to 'Lawyer up'. And in his heart he would never have the energy to 'Lawyer up'.He had no time to fight this futile battle. He knew he did not have years. He did not know if he even had months, and he knew he did not have the energy to go into fighting for the sake of fighting. And what would be what she was fighting for?

Everyone stood along Peter's side on this one. His children, his priest and even the Bishop was called in to try and reason with a woman who had a desire to try out the family judicial system.

She would not budge and she hired a lawyer as she fully intended to lawyer up.

Peter was never a wealthy man. Peter made do. There was no hidden monies in all of this. In the separation agreement Peter gave his wife the house, the car, paid support for the children while they were living in the house, paid for the children's university educations and he paid for the weddings.

His first wife was not bitter in the separation. She was fine with him living his life of solitude.

But now twenty four years later, with the prospect of Peter moving on she hung on to spite.

Peter was dumbfounded of what to do.

He had never experienced such hatred in his life. And to lack the compassion, for his plight was truly near an end left him heartbroken.

Peter's health began to falter. He was in inpallative care at home. And everyday, he would insist on leaving his bed, and going directly outside to the driveway where his magnificent car from Joanne was parked.
He would go to his car, sit in the driveway and look at his house, and there he would sit alone with maybe the radio for company. I imagine he wanted the image of his happy, fulfilled life to be truly embedded in his brain. I imagine he wanted to make up for all the moments he wished he had. I imagine he was making up for lost time, for time, he wished he could pull up to his home after a long day at the office and appreciate the moment of arriving home where his love would be in wait of him. He wanted to make up for the years of not finding the home filled with love in which he deeply desired.

When the cancer depleted him of his ability to walk he would insist to be carried out to continue his ritual. And when he had soaked in his happiness of his home and of his 'love car' and of his life, He would honk the horn, when he was done and would be carried back into his lovenest. He would be carried back to his home and into his true love's arms.

Peter was nearing the end. Peter was troubled. He could not leave her. He could not leave before doing what was right. He needed to do what was right. He needed to follow his heart. He needed to marry Joanne. But where could he turn, as certainly earth was letting him down.

He turned to the church. He would need help with his passage. And with this,the church listened and bore witness to what they saw before them. They saw true love.

And with this, Peter and his spiritual leaders, formed a plan, the church took compassion on Peter and his fair Joanne. They, the members of the church, felt that Peter and Joanne were true soulmates. The church took a stand, they felt it would be a sin not to marry them. They felt it would be a terrible injustice on earth. An injustice in which they, the members of the clergy could and would find a remedy.

The Priest and the Bishop came up with a solution to dodge the 'lawyering up', as law had nothing to do with the soul.

The Bishop married Peter and Joanne spiritually while his daughters, their husbands and Joanne's family of children and grandchildren were in attendence. They were not in a church, but in the house in which Peter and Joanne lived together. A house which bore witness to great love.The church married this young, old soul, couple. The church married the souls together. And a more beautiful couple you would be hard pressed to find.

They were married six weeks before Peter passed away from their home.

I know that it may sound strange, but I am happy for my friend. I am happy that he truly felt love's first kiss. I am truly happy that Peter found love. I guarantee he will hover over the house and stay in the driveway and look into his home for a while, and then his heart will carry him through the door. As he certainly, Peter did find his heaven on earth.

93 comments:

IzzyMom said...

God, what a sad but beautifully told story.

Mary-LUE said...

Such an amazing story... like Izzy said, sad but beautiful.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

boogiemum said...

Wow. I am sad, perplexed and happy all at the same time. So sad for such a terrible thing to happen to such a seemingly nice guy. Perplexed on how someone can hold onto anger for so long. Happy that "Stripes" found such happiness. Thank you for sharing this touching story with us.

Mamma said...

That was beautiful.

I'm so glad they found each other.

I can't believe the ex.

Oh, The Joys said...

Thank goodness for the spiritual wedding. I'm sorry he has left us.

Sarah said...

I imagine those 363 days were so precious to him. So great that he found his love at last.

~JJ! said...

Oh Peter!

You found true love. I am so happy for you.

I am so sorry you have left your friends...

Thank you for sharing.

mamatulip said...

I am speechless.

This story is sad and beautiful all in one.

Beth said...

A love story. A beautiful one.
Thank you for sharing.

Rock the Cradle said...

No wonder Stripes and his first wife separated. How can a woman who has lost a large chunk of her humanity know what it is to love?
What a pitiable creature.

I am so relieved that his clergy had the insight and wisdom to marry Stripes and his one true love. And I am so very happy for them. True love really isn't once in a life time. Many people never know it...ever.

That being said...my heart still hurts for them.

PunditMom said...

So sad, but I must say you are an amazing story teller. I am so happy that your friends were able to have some happiness, even if for a brief moment.

MamaLee said...

So happy and so sad.

Thanks for sharing this.

Andie D. said...

I want to cry. Cry for the many years before Peter found his soul mate. For the small amount of time they had together.

And I want to know the denomination of his enlightened church!

urban-urchin said...

what a beautiful story. What a bitter woman.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Love conquers all. We must believe it so... good comes to the good. I am glad they were married. Sometimes the law of the church is more powerful than the laws of the state. I'm glad they married.... I'm sorry his time was shortened.... The blessing of this life is to know of the life eternal....

Kim Ayres said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. You do him a great tribute with this writing.

Andrea said...

Lovely, if heartbreaking, story. Truly.

I wonder if Peter still honks the horn of his "love car" for his beloved Joanne now and then.

Andrea

Queen of Dysfunction said...

How do you write these things? They are just stunning!

This was an incredible story. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Dynamite said...

You are magical. Such a gift - you and your writing. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. Thank you for sharing him. (Blogher? Are you going?)

Kevin Charnas said...

and I am destroyed...

Oh Pend...

I'm speechless and full to the brim of tears.

Mama Drama Jenny said...

God. So beautiful. So terrible.

Such is life. So are we all.

You have such a gift for telling people's stories...for putting their lessons into words.

So poignant.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

What you write always makes me cry. You wrote this beautifully, a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.

Catch said...

What a truly beautiful story Pen. I am so glad he found a way for him and Joanne to be married. And it proves that Peters first wife was a cold unemotional woman who has probably never had a happy day in her life. Im glad he had such happiness and love in his last year of life. WOnderful story honey..and you tell it so well. Thank you for sharing.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I know a couple with a very similar story. Or should I say I know the man, but the woman (my mom) is no longer with us. Tragic, but at least they all found true love.

super des said...

Beautiful story. I want to find my true soulmate.

Sayre said...

There is a special place reserved in hell for that "ex" wife... I'm so glad Peter found his soul mate. So many people never do.

FENICLE said...

This was a beautifully sad story. Thank you for sharing your emotions. It's great to find that one person you're meant for.

Lisa said...

That was amazing. I'm so happy the church was able to marry them. And I'm baffled by his "wife's" behavior. No wonder he never loved her. Gesh.

I'm so sorry for your loss. My heart is with you. And your friend's soulmate.

Cheesy said...

True complete love always finds a way...and lives on in the hearts and minds that it touches. What a lovely heart wrenching tale of sweetness. Thank you for sharing this and my soul weeps for the loss of your friend.

JLee said...

What a beautiful, bittersweet love story. It is never too late to find true love and enjoy it even for a short time. Thanks Pen :)

Eryl Shields said...

A story both sad and uplifting. I'm so glad Peter got what he so desired before he died.

Elle said...

I'm so sorry your the loss of your friend. But I think you hit it on the head... he lived a life knowing unbelievable love. In the end, isn't that all we ever pray to be able to say at the end?

Karen Forest said...

So sad. What a reminder to live each day to its fullest and never accept mediocracy.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

What a touching tribute to your friend. I am so sorry for your loss. He sounded like an amazing man.

I am so glad you shared this with us.

Kanani said...

Oh.... that was incredibly beautiful.

You have a wonderful way of telling a story.

I'm glad the church blessed his union, that they two were married as one.

I'm sad that the wife never let go. Twenty-four years, what a waste! And sad because she doesn't believe in true love. What a lonely life she must lead.

*sniff* chocolate, anyone?

Mel said...

That was beautiful. Beautiful. And I am so glad that his spiritual leaders took the stand they did. I love this, Pendullum. I'm only sorry you had to lose your friend.
(((You)))

Kristin said...

You just capture feelings and emotions and sentiment so wonderfully... you make me happy for your friends too.

Kristin said...

But, I am so sad for his first wife... to be so small and cruel... it is unfathomable... not to mention soul destroying.

G said...

Thank you for the tears, a good love story is hard to find!

crazymumma said...

oh sweetie.

that was beautiful. May Joanne live a good long life here on earth filled with joy and bring to the great wherever and live out eternity with her one true love.

slouching mom said...

You are an amazing storyteller.

And what a beautiful and heartbreaking story.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

You really are a wonderful writer.

That is a very touching story.
Everyone deserves to love and be loved. Really, it's all any of us want in life... huh?

BeachMama said...

Thank you for sharing this story of Peter with us. And I am truly sorry for your loss. As I read this story, all I could think of was I wish I had met Peter, he seems like he was such a great man.

And sad but true there are women out there that just won't let go, shame on her.

Virtualsprite said...

Now I'm crying... but what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

hw said...

It's beautiful and heart wrenching. Crying for that loss. Because the loss of that soul love is shattering to the bone for the one that is left behind. And, it's joyous. Because there was love in death.

mcewen said...

Excellent.
Best wishes

Lawyer Mama said...

What a wonderful story. It's wonderful that the church understood and helped him do what his heart told him he must.

So sad and so sweet.

Jocelyn said...

You are an outrageously powerful writer.

I am left feeling pity for that bitter, lawyered-up, wife.

Gingers Mom said...

What a lovely, heartbreaking story. I'm so sorry you lost your friend. He sounds like an amazing man. It amazes me that someone could be so bitter, so mean, so selfish as his wife. She will have to live with what she has done, her last acto towards him as a vindictive one. But he was happy in his last days. I will pray for Joanna.

Christina_the_wench said...

Must you always make me cry? *sniffs*

Beautiful...

K said...

This story makes me very humbly thankful to have love. It's so nice when the church truly meets the needs of the people.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Mommy off the Record said...

It is so sad that they didn't have more time together, but wonderful that they did meet and were able to get married. Beautiful story.

allrileyedup said...

Perhaps one day Peter's first wife will experience true love and realize what a horrible thing it was for her to do. It's heartening to know that the church helped Peter realize his dream. Sometimes they can be such sticklers for protocol.

Mimi said...

What a sad and beautiful story. It stirred so many emotions and thoughts in me. Thanks for sharing Stripes story.

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

You have missed your calling..you should be a writer! That is a beautiful story. So wonderful that he could find his true love. Just really tragic that it came so late...but better than never to have loved at all, I think.

Pattie said...

I am glad that Peter got to experience true love with a soulmate before he died. What a shame that his "wife" had such hatred in her heart, to not allow him to move on. Shocking.
I am sorry about your friend.

Scribbit said...

It reminds me of a friend of ours where the two of them met as teenagers and fell in love. At about 22 they became engaged then she found out she had ovarian cancer. After a hysterectomy before her wedding and all thoughts of children disappearing they found out she'd been misdiagnosed and didn't have cancer at all. Then nine months later the doctors turned around and said that she had had cancer, and that it was now terminal. After being married about three months she was told she wouldn't make it to Christmas. Miraculously she survived for nine more months then passed away. There's just nothing to say to help out with that kind of pain.

Mama Drama Jenny said...

Where the hell are you?! I've been looking for you for days!

Sean said...

It seems somehow churlish to deflect attention from Stripes and his love, but your writing is astonishing.

Caro said...

How sad to find your true love and have so little time together. You told the story beautifully.

Catherine said...

I think Peter would be so grateful for your friendship, that you would honor him and his love this way by sharing his heart-wrenching, beautiful story. You're the absolute best, Pend.

Mandy said...

That was more beautiful and sad than any fairytale I've heard. I love that you told his story. I'm glad he found his love, and sorry it was for such a short time. Beautifully told....

kim said...

This has been a hard year for you Pen *hugs*
Im sorry your friend didnt have more time to be in love and so happy.

You are such an awesome story teller.. your friend will live forever in peoples minds, that is a great gift you have Pen :)

Christine said...

P--When and if you feel up to it, you should read Amy Hempel's short story "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" from her book Reasons to Live.

It's the most beautifully written heartbreaking story of a friend's death and I think you of all people, being the writer/human that you are, would hold this story and be grateful.

Take care. I send a hug.

--C

Slackermommy said...

What a touching story and what a gift you are to your friend to tell it so beautifully.

ablondeblogger said...

"lung cancer"

I can't see that word without having a litle PTSD. :(

I'm so sorry for Peter. So sorry for Joanne. And so sorry for you.

I just wrote a post not long ago about how I keep losing loved ones to cancer and it just seems to be all around me.

I will remember you in my prayers as I know the pain you're going through all too well.

(((((HUGS))))) my friend.

Lisa said...

what a story. I am very touched.

madamspud169 said...

I'm guessing that although the ex wife didn't love him she didn't want anyone else to either or maybe she was so unhappy with her life that she couldn't bear the thought of him being happy.
She will have to live with her actions for the rest of her life & will in the end have to admit it was undeserved because he took care of his responsabilities, he financed his children & left her the house & car. He gave her much more than most men would.
This woman will have to live with her behaviour & I'm sure those guests at the wedding will have already made their minds up on the subject.

The Happy Housewife said...

Beautiful story - life is just way too short...

Mom Ma'am Me said...

WOW. What a story. Thank you for telling it, for sharing the life of Peter and Joanne.

And how tragic that Peter's estranged wife could not give him his last wish without bitterness. How sad for them. How sad for her, too, because karma will have its way.

Attila The Mom said...

Oh this is so heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

I'm so sorry for your loss, Pen.

carrie said...

I'm speechless. That was an amazing story, what an amazing person your dear friend Peter was - strong, gentle, kind, wise and amazing. I am so happy that he was able to marry Joanne before it was too late. So happy.

I am so sorry that he's gone, for you.

Carrie

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You really know how to tell a story.

And you're right. It's impossible not to be happy for Peter and Joanne because they found what everyone hopes for in life, even if it didn't last forever.

Some eternities are shorter than others.

Open Grove Claudia said...

I am so sorry for your loss, for Joanne's loss, and yet delighted at the brilliance of this tale. May it ring in every bell across the land.

babird1 said...

Gosh, that's beautiful. Heart-rending, for sure, but I just read the whole thing from beginning to end. I had to. I started with the first few sentences and then had to find out how it ended.

Amber said...

Well told. Extraordinarily heart-wrenching but you paint such a wonderful picture.

P.S. Were you at BlogHer? I remember seeing a nametag on the first night...

Cece said...

Great story, thank you for sharing.

Mamacita Tina said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Thank you for sharing his story, so sad and yet uplifting at the same time. We can all learn from Peter's example: to live, to love, to not give up.

Rhonda said...

What a love story. It was simply beautiful. And, I am sorry for your loss of Peter.

Attila The Mom said...

Hope everything is going ok. Been missing my Pen!

Mrs. T said...

A wise man once said "It's not the number of years in a life, it's the life in the years."

Mimi said...

hope all is well:)u

Pattie said...

Hi,
I am hoping you are ok....just checking in :)

No Nonsense girl said...

you really touched me with your story.

I can't believe the EX.

I'm glad the bishop spiritually married them...

Thanks for telling us this amazing story

Laurie said...

Thought I'd check in again to see if you were OK. Let us know, OK?

Trenting said...

OMG That is an unbelievable story, I'm at work, over here crying with co-workers asking me what's wrong.. what's wrong, that was one the most wonderful stories I have ever read..

amusing said...

A sad but hopeful tale, as the rest of us can keep questing for true love and know that it might take until we are sixty to find it...

DebbieDoesLife said...

Hello?? Pendellum?? Where have you gone?

Mamacita Tina said...

Dear friend, it has been too long since your last post. I hope everyone is well.

Kristin said...

I miss you!

Billychic said...

This made me cry today, as it did when I first read it several months ago, but was too emotionally wrecked to write anything of substance as a comment.

I can only hope that I can find a love like that...in the end, that is the most important thing, I think.

Thank you, thank you, for posting this. You are so gifted.

Attila The Mom said...

Pen, Pen, where are you? Hope everything is ok...

Mama Drama Jenny said...

I miss you. Where are you?

I worry.