In a couple of hours, it will be exactly three years since Laura passed. Three years. It seems impossible she has been gone so long. But there is a beautiful symmetry at work. We were together, as a couple, for three years. And now after another three years the pain of her loss has ebbed away, and what I am left with is a deep sense of peace and gratitude for the amazing person she was and still is. I talk to her almost daily and feel soothed and warmed by her spiritual sweetness and silliness. Some days she responds to my queries with ‘Yes my love’ and sometimes a quirky ‘Yessum!’ which I take to be her teasing impersonation of a maid – sort of ‘yes ma’am’.
Tonight on the third anniversary of her passing, I want to tell you what Laura said to me recently about her death. It took my breath away. But you need a little background first, so I am going to tell you about two surreal events. The first happened about a year after Laura passed. One night at bedtime, I felt her presence slip in under the covers beside me. We rolled around together play-fighting and tumbling over one another in an ecstasy of silliness. It was so much fun. I laughed non stop at the ‘realness’ of it. I guessed we had spent about five minutes doing this, but when I looked over at the clock an hour had slipped by. Laura loved to play fight in real life, so this felt very true to our relationship.
This didn’t happen again (as much as I would have loved it to), but last summer I woke up one day with a sense that Laura and I had been gladiators in a previous life. That sounds comical, but instead of laughing at the ridiculousness of it, it sent a shiver down my spine. A little while later I got a strong sense that we had been put into an arena together to fight to the death. I asked Laura, ‘So who killed who?’ And I heard back that she killed me. Understandably I was a bit miffed. ‘When is it my turn to get looked after?’ I asked huffily, thinking to myself that it wasn’t fair if she killed me in a past life, then in this life I got to look after her while she died. But Laura’s answer caught me off guard. She said. ‘ I died so you could live.’
‘I died so you could live.’ It stunned me. because it seemed at some deep level to be true. I feel more alive, more myself than ever before. It is as if, having this connection with Laura since her death, I see the world for the first time in its beautiful complexity and how it extends far beyond what we think of as ‘this life’. And by losing my fear of death, I’ve let go of many of my little everyday fears and anxieties, and am better able to find happiness, joy and ease. Life flows more sweetly. There is a terrible beauty in all this, out of such loss and suffering came this extraordinary gift. And Laura ..just so you know… I am eternally grateful.
PS Sometimes doubt creeps in – have I truly experienced all this, or is this just a mad fantasy after all? But every time I doubt, I am bowled over by surprises. Recently I found the yellowing remains of a collage I made in an art class 12 years ago. We were supposed to intuitively cut out images that appealed to us – not thinking about what we were doing. My collage was all images of nature, plants, night skies, wild animals, some weird burnt driftwood – and then at the last moment, I pasted into the middle a picture of a naked torso of a tattooed man, arms folded, looking indomitable. He looks like a gladiator or a warrior. Not at all my type. In fact the kind of man I usually avoid. None of the group could work out what it signified, least of all me. And now finally I think I know who he is.