Thoughts on LOVE 2012

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Almost two years ago, I wrote about love. Since then my life has changed, and I now have another experience which has in some ways (but not all) altered the way I see love.

So here are my thoughts on love, as they stand at this moment in time.

“In love”  the very words imply something transient..

Many years ago, I had a very close friend, David. We loved each other very much, and we had almost everything in common. We laughed together, we went out together…we argued, we made up. When I was in trouble he was always there for me, and likewise, I was always there for him. He was honest; when he thought I was doing something bad for me he told me so in no uncertain terms…and then picked up the pieces when I went and did the stupid thing anyway. We could sit in silence and read each others minds. We respected each other.

Then I began to feel my biological clock ticking, I desperately wanted a child, and David said. “Marry me, I want a child too.”  I said,  “But we’re not in love with each other, what happens if we should fall in love with someone else after we have made a family?” He said. “We have both been in love, and we have both been hurt…Being in love never lasts, but what I feel for you is forever, because you are my best friend.”
I thought about what he had said. I knew without any doubt that David loved me, I knew that I loved him, and I knew that he would be a wonderful father. But I was not in love with him, and I wanted to be in love…I wanted the dream.
So I said no.  David accepted my decision, but he said that I should think again, because what he was offering me was something real…I still refused.

Some time later I did fall in love, and I was glad I had not decided to marry David, because now I had the person I had waited for by my side… my perfect, beautiful husband.
But not long after we married we started to have problems. I lost two babies in the space of a year, and then was told I would never have any children.  There were other bereavements too. There were financial problems, problems with our relatives…many many problems. However, we seemed to always rise above the troubles, and gradually we made a good life.
We planned to take a trip across the USA in 2012, something that we had talked about for almost fifteen years. Then last Christmas everything fell apart…I parted from my husband last April.

I spent months thinking about my marriage; what it had been, and what it had become, and why it had ended.
For a time, I went into a very dark place. After a lifetime of marching forward with a wide open heart into love, whenever and wherever it appeared…I now began to think that love was possibly some kind of evil trick played on us by the Universe.  How could the person I’d lived with for so many years, suddenly change so dramatically? I felt as though my husband had been taken away, murdered…and that the murderer had taken his identity and was now in his place!  I was bewildered and broken.
Then, after much thought I realised that although I had been in love with my husband, that special bond was never there. We fell madly in love, I was certain that he was “The One” I believed I was his “One”… but we were never soulmates.  In my case I believed that I was still in love at the time everything went wrong, so the illusion of being in love can last a long time.  But what I found startling was how quickly this feeling disappeared after he was gone.  At first I put it down to the way he had treated me in the months after I said it was over, to when he actually left. But as time went by and there was some distance from the events of last year, I realised that something had always been missing.  It’s hard to describe what I mean, but there was a certain “sound” or vibration. A “Yes” which I have felt with two other people, that I never felt with my husband. For those two other people, even after many years,  that element is still there.

So what is a soulmate?  I have a story that was told to me by my friend Philip.

EDNA,  JOHN,  AND PHILIP.

Edna and Philip.

Philip has been a miniatures artist for over twenty years. When Philip was fifteen, he got a weekend job in a little shop in London which sold dolls houses and miniatures, that’s how I later met him, I was a dollmaker in those days…anyway.  The owner of the shop was Christine, a wonderful eccentric woman in her fifties, and she and Philip quickly became good friends. They hadn’t known each other for very long when Christine invited Philip to come with her to her mothers home for the weekend. Christines mother was Edna, a vibrant shining soul who grabbed life with both hands and lived it with all of her being.  She was talented in many ways, and had a natural affinity with everyone she met. She was married to John, who was equally gregarious, and their home was always filled with writers, artists, musicians, and the wild and wonderful!  Philip told me that the moment he and Edna met it was love at first sight, an instant connection and rapport.  He told me that they talked through the entire night on that first visit; they talked about everything and anything. Philip was fifteen, and Edna was seventy five. Their friendship continued over the next twenty one years.  Most weekends, Philip would go and stay with her and John, who also became a close friend.  Edna was with Philip through sadness and happiness.  Advised and helped him with his career, and was there to hold his hand when his heart got broken. They loved each other totally, true soulmates.

But there’s more…

Edna and John.

Edna had  married when she was very young and had a daughter, Christine soon afterwards. But her husband was a violent man, and Edna left him when Christine was still a baby.  This was in the 1930’s so to leave a marriage and go out into the world on her own with a child was a huge decision but she did it fearlessly, for her daughter and for herself. Edna had no family to go to, so she supported herself and Christine, by teaching music.

Christine grew up, and went to live in France where she met an artist and had a daughter of her own.  Edna continued to give music lessons, and that was how she met John, a seventeen year old boy who already was a brilliant violinist, but wanted some additional tuition for an exam which he was about to take.  Over the next few months a friendship grew between them.  John later said that he loved Edna from the moment he saw her. They became inseperable, but they were not lovers. John did not tell Edna how he felt because he was afraid he would lose her…Edna closed her eyes to what was obvious.

Then complications began to arise. Johns parents were not happy about him spending so much time with Edna…John was seventeen Edna was forty five. They told him to stop seeing her, but he refused.  So Johns parents went to see Edna and told her that if she continued to see their son, they would disown him. So the next time John came to see Edna, she told him what his parents had said, and that it was not worth alienating himself from his family for the friendship with her, and that they should stop seeing each other.  John was devastated, so he did the only thing he could do, and told her that he loved her.  Edna did the only thing that she could do, and told John she did not reciprocate his feelings and that he was in fact making her life very difficult, and that she never wanted to see him again..The truth was, her heart was breaking.

John vanished out of Ednas life for almost a year. Then one day in late summer, he came to her house with a packed bag and his violin, and told her that he still felt the same way about her, and that he knew she loved him too. He said that he had left home and wanted to be with her. Edna told him to go away, and she closed the door in his face.
But John did not go away. For the next week he sat on her doorstep refusing to leave. Edna ignored him until there was a rainstorm which soaked him, so she relented and finally let him into the house… they were never apart again. Edna continued to give music lessons, and John got a job as first violinist with a very successful orchestra…His family disowned him.

At the time that Philip met Edna and John, they had been together for almost thirty years, and he said that to see them together was a beautiful thing. They still laughed together, talked all the time, held hands…they were one soul.
Their marriage lasted for forty eight years.  John eventually became head of the orchestra, and at the age of eighty eight, Edna began to put together a book of the poetry she had written over the years, encouraged by both John and Philip.  She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of ninety four, with John and Philip either side of her, each holding her hand…her two soulmates.
After Edna died, John decided to complete the book of her poems, but he never did.  John died less than a year after Edna.

The thing about this story that has always stayed in my mind, was that Edna and John once told Philip that they did not “Fall in love.” there was no definitive moment. They met and they immediately connected, but there was no choir of angels and no sky rockets …They were best friends who looked around one day and could not remember a time in their lives when they did not love each other…This was true love.

I think that when we “fall in love”, it’s physical.  Falling in love brings us together, but it’s not the real thing…it changes, and that’s the way it has to be. We couldn’t function normally if we were continuously in love because it’s a kind of madness. But unfortunately after the madness has passed, for many of us there is nothing else left.  For some though, the madness of being in love flows into the realisation that they are and always have been, one soul.

Falling in love always has an element of the obsessive about it..Aside from the boundless joy we all feel at the beginning, being in love can make us do things that are totally irrational, it can make us jealous…it can fill us with fears.

Real love is calm. It has no jealousy, no madness…It does not fear, it knows… It does not want, it gives… It’s the sun.

One more thing.

Both David and Philip are gay, so the relationship I had with David would never have become a sexual one other than to have concieved our children. But we had a physical intimacy and tenderness that I have never experienced with anyone else.  When he came to stay with me, or I went to stay with him, we always slept together… and I would wake up  wrapped in his arms, knowing, without any shadow of a doubt…that I was loved.  🙂

“We should love, not fall in love, because everything that falls, gets broken.” ~
Taylor Swift

 

L.O.V.E.

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