Today marks the ten-month anniversary of Raymond’s death. Ten months have gone by, since my beloved Raymond was taken back home. It’s hard to believe. My life is pretty quiet, here in the trailer park. Yesterday, I didn’t have to go outside for anything and I spent the whole day in Raymond’s gray, terry cloth bathrobe. I was snuggly and warm and had a deep sense of connection to him.
The death of Raymond was the first death that I had really experienced. Both my parents are still alive. Raymond always said that he would be here with me, when their time came. Even though he is not here with me to help me when that time does come, I have arrived at a sense of understanding and acceptance around the concept of death, as well as, the gift of life.
Grief is indeed, a hard taskmaster. I am no longer weepy every time I think about Raymond. My grief is lifting and I am coming to a place of peace and acceptance around his death. When my friends and I talk about him, we usually laugh. He was such a funny and interesting man. I have a close friend who shares a couple of Raymond’s “Arizona horse stories” with her friends. She say’s every time she tells those stories, her friends laugh and laugh.
I love to hear that people remember Raymond. How could anyone that knew him, ever forget him? In the two years that we were together, he was my friend, my lover, my teacher, and my mirror. He was a blessing in my life and I am grateful for the enduring lessons I learned while loving him.
He taught me to live simply, with no overhead. What a concept! It is a concept that I really needed to learn. Before we met, I was a single teacher, bringing home an excellent income and when I wanted something, I didn’t think twice, I simply bought it. I was a spender. I usually purchased “big ticket” items, like furniture or expensive trips. Not anymore. He taught me that the best things in life are truly free and that I already have everything I need. Some of my favorite memories of my time with Raymond are the ones in which we took drives in the country, went fishing or just sat around the house talking, snuggling, singing or watching movies. All those memories were free. They were ‘quality time’ together, happily enjoying nature and each other’s company.
Our love, was truly unconditional (something that neither of us had never experienced in all our combined years of dating.) We practiced open, heart to heart, communication. We both listened to, and heard each other. We understood what we were thinking or feeling in any given moment. When we had differences, we discussed them and resolved them quickly. Neither one of us were into drama. We’d both had enough of that in our lives.
I always wanted to marry Raymond. I asked him a number of times to marry me, but he told me that ours was the best “marriage” he had ever had. We were committed to each other and we were both in the relationship, for life, ‘till death do us part. He always said that “ours” was a “Godly union.” He knew that God had brought us together to be each other’s “last and greatest love.” I learned what a delightful feeling it is to be fully and consciously in a relationship. I experienced the immense treasure of feeling totally accepted and loved. Even when he teased me about my beer belly, I knew he loved me, just the way I was. I never felt so free! Free to be silly, free to age beautifully, free to show my love, free to be vulnerable. Together, we learned how to “do” relationship. For that, I will be eternally grateful.
Now, I actually understand, that life goes on. Time passes, wounds heal, season’s come and go. In the past ten months, there is no doubt that I have been through the gammit of every emotion a person could feel. I have come to realize that Raymond will never be forgotten. He lived his life with the same enthusiasm he sang and played his guitar with! He was loud, bold, smart, funny and passionate about everything he did. Those who knew him will tell his stories with a smile, with love and with a deep sense of what a unique human being he was.
I am the type of person that always had ‘a plan.’ I see now, that I need not “plan” my future. My life will unfold, as it should. I trust I am exactly where I am meant to be. I trust that there is love, happiness and grace in my life.
I trust that Raymond is guiding me, watching over me, and gently pushing me forward. I trust that the lessons I’ve learned from Raymond will serve me well in my future, which I also trust, will be a happy one, filled with love.