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...'
'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.
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.